Taiwan News: VP to Visit Vatican, Super Typhoon Kong-Rey Likely to Miss Taiwan

Taiwan News: VP to Visit Vatican, Super Typhoon Kong-Rey Likely to Miss Taiwan
Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

Forecasters say Super Typhoon Kong-Rey is unlikely to impact Taiwan directly, but its periphery will bring heavy rain to northern and eastern parts of the island.

The Central Weather Bureau says Kong-Rey is currently east-southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip Eluanbi and was traveling in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 18 kilometers per hour.

The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 198kph, with gusts of up to 244kph.

Kong-Rey is expected to pass by northeast Taiwan on Thursday and Friday.

The weather bureau says there is a possibility it could issue a sea warning for the typhoon tonight or tomorrow night.

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Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) will depart Taiwan on October 11 for the Vatican, to attend a ceremony to canonize Pope Paul VI.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) designated Chen as her envoy to lead a Taiwan delegation to the ceremony, in demonstration of the the high value Taiwan places on its 76-year diplomatic relationship with the Holy See.

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Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office
Vice President Chen Chien-jen (second left) and his wife (left) are greeted by Sr. Mary Prema Pierick (second right), superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, during Chen's 2016 visit to the Vatican.

The visit was scheduled amid close monitoring of the diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Vatican in the wake of a landmark agreement the Vatican signed with Beijing late last month on the appointment of bishops in China.

During Chen's four-day stay in the Vatican, he will also visit Pope Paul VI's summer residence and the place where he died.

The Taiwan delegation will return to Taiwan on October 16.

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The Central Election Commission (CEC) has decided to hold a proposed referendum on combating air pollution in conjunction with local elections slated for Nov. 24.

The referendum was proposed by Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) asks whether voters agreed that the electricity output of thermal power plants should be lowered by at least 1 percent on average each year.

Lu is running as the KMT candidate in the mayoral election in Taichung, home to the coal-fired Taichung Power Plant, the largest of its kind in Taiwan.

Lu's team collected and delivered to the CEC a total of over 497,000 public endorsements for the referendum proposal.

However, over 182,000 endorsements were disqualified, including over 77,000 that were likely the result of forgery and another 11,800 "signed" by deceased people. Officials say they are investigating the forged signatures and will take legal action.

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has lodged a strong protest through his election campaign office over accusations of his involvement in organ harvesting in China.

Ko was accused by American writer and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann of lying during a press conference in Taipei that day.

Gutmann charged that Ko himself knew that "the organs are all from Falun Gong practitioners" and led patients to receive organ transplants in China while knowing the origin of the organs.

Ethan_Gutmann_(left)_with_Edward_McMilla
Credit: Jaya Gibson / Wikicommons
US investigative writer Ethan Gutmann (left) has renewed accusations against Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je.

Gutmann's accusations against Ko first appeared in his book, published in August 2014 in the United States, which features mass killings, organ harvesting and China's secret solution to its dissident problem.

Ko's campaign office is demanding that Gutmann present evidence to back his assertions.

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President Tsai said Taiwan is one of the United Kingdom's "best trade partners", citing the opening of the Taiwanese market to British pork earlier this year as evidence.

Speaking at a meeting with members of a British parliamentary delegation at the Presidential Office, Tsai said Taiwan and the U.K. held discussions on potential bilateral cooperation in energy and agriculture for the first time in June.

Taiwan decided to open its market to British pork for the first time in August. Tsai says this will give Taiwan consumers more options.

The U.K. is Taiwan's third largest trade partner in Europe while Taiwan is the UK's eighth largest trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a travel alert for Vietnam after it confirmed a new case of Zika virus infection that was imported from the Southeast Asian country.

The case represents the second confirmed imported case of Zika virus infection this year, involving a Taiwanese man who was infected while working in Vietnam between June and September.

CDC data shows that since 2016, a total of 19 imported Zika cases have been identified in Taiwan, five of whom were infected in Vietnam, four in Thailand, two each in the Philippines and Malaysia, and one each in Indonesia, Singapore, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States and Angola.

The center has raised its travel advisory level regarding the Zika virus for Vietnam to the second-highest level, an alert that urges travelers to the affected areas to be on their guard against infection.

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The Ministry of Education is implementing new immigrant language courses, with work to be complete in four phases.

First-phase editing of digital textbooks and materials for learning seven Southeast Asian languages has been completed and the materials have been put online.

The seven languages - Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Burmese, Cambodian and Thai - have been included in the new curriculum of the 12-year compulsory education system.

The language courses will be officially implemented in the 2019 school year, when students at elementary schools will be required to choose a native language or new immigrant language course to be offered once per week.

The number of new immigrants in Taiwan has surpassed 500,000, making them the fifth-largest ethnic group in Taiwan, while over 200,000 elementary or junior-high schools students have a parent who is a new immigrant.

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CTBC Bank has upgraded thousands of its ATMs around Taiwan to provide customers services in six different languages.

The company says more than 5,500 of its machines across the country now offer services in Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese.

The upgrade is designed to appeal to the increasing number of foreign visitors to Taiwan.

Tourism Bureau statistics show that the number of foreign visitors arriving in Taiwan passed 6 million last year, representing year-on-year growth of over 13 percent.

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A total of 59 athletes representing Taiwan have departed for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

A send-off ceremony for them presided over by Deputy Education Minister Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) in Taipei was held Tuesday.

The third Youth Olympic Games are to be held in Buenos Aires from October 6 to 18. Teams from 206 countries and areas are expected to compete, with competitors aged 15 to 18 taking part in a total of 32 competition sports.

Taiwan's 59 athletes are scheduled to compete in 19 of the sports.

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Chien-ming Wang (王建民) is thrilled that a documentary about him is being nominated for a Golden Horse Award.

The former ace pitcher for the New York Yankees says he hopes the film - "Late Life: The Chien-ming Wang Story" - will inspire young baseball players in Taiwan.

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Credit: Keith Allison / Flickr
Taiwanese former MLB pitcher Chien-ming Wang.

The documentary premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 9th and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival on May 12.

It will open in Taiwan cinemas nationwide on December 14.

The 55th Golden Hosre Awards is scheduled for November 17 in Taipei.

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The Ministry of Finance says a total of 11 receipts issued in July and August have the winning number for the NT$10 million (US$326,023) special prize in the latest uniform invoice lottery draw.

Amongst the 11 receipts, one belongs to a person who spent NT$10 on a newspaper at a convenience store in Taipei's Wenshan District.

Another winner was a person who paid NT$15 in processing fees at a convenience store in New Taipei's Banqiao District.

There were also 16 receipts that won the NT$2 million (US$65,209) grand prize.

The ministry also noted that there remain five unclaimed NT$10 million prizes from the May-June draw, which can still be claimed up to November 5th.

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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