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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.
A controversial proposal by state refiner CPC Corp. to build a third liquefied natural gas (LBG) receiving terminal in Taoyuan has passed an environmental impact evaluation.
The government said Monday that the planned LNG terminal at the Guantang Industrial Park is a key part of its national energy security policy and plans to phase out nuclear power by 2025.
It could start operating by the first quarter of 2023.
However, environmental groups continue to oppose the project, saying the government should seek work to protect an endemic species of crustose coralline algae on coastal reefs found at the planned construction site.
CPC said the goals of environmental protection and economic development have been met and the terminal will provide a stable power supply and reduce air pollution.
According to the state refiner, the company will also be adopting a plan to preserve the coastal environment and reduce the impact on the surrounding ecology.
The government has approved the resignation of Deputy Environment Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴).
Approval comes after Chan made his request to step down public on social media, telling Facebook followers that his initial letter of resignation had been ignored for nearly a month.
Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said the Cabinet recognizes Chan's performance over the past two and a half years and approval for his resignation was given "reluctantly."
Chan has faced criticism from civic groups since he cast a decisive vote in March, allowing Taipower to re-open and expand the coal-fired Shenao power plant in New Taipei.
According to the Cabinet spokeswoman, Chan did his job based on the law when voted n favor of the plan after Taipower presented plans to reduce the scale of the project, to lower its potential environmental impact, and raise air pollution thresholds.
Chan said he faced intolerable pressure from Premier William Lai (賴清德), who he last year criticized for riding roughshod over democratic principles during his time as mayor of Tainan, that prevented him from being able to continue carrying out his duties in good faith.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has honored Paraguay's visiting president with the Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon.
The Presidential Office said the honor was conferred on President Mario Abdo Benitez in recognition of his contributions to the development of relations between the two countries.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Tsai thanked Benitez for his firm support for Taiwan's bid to join international organizations and said the recognition symbolizes the strong relationship between Taiwan and Paraguay.
The two heads of state have also signed a joint statement aimed at deepening relations and friendship between the two countries that dates back to 1957.
According to the Presidential Office, the joint statement signifies a "new era" of bilateral relations focusing on further cooperation in facilitating investment, trade and infrastructure until 2023.
The Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon is the top civilian honor granted to foreign nationals who have made outstanding contributions to the island's development.
The Mainland Affairs Council has said it has no plans to automatically revoke the voting rights or household registrations of Taiwanese nationals who apply for China's new residence permit.
However, council minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said people who receive the permits will have to declare their Chinese residence status with Taiwanese authorities, and if they fail to do so they could still see some of their rights revoked.
According to Chen, Beijing is using the residence permits as part of it's "united front" tactics on Taiwan in order to exert its political influence over the island.
Chen said the council is still discussing ways to penalize Taiwanese nationals who fail to declare their China residence status and they could lose their political participation rights.
That means that Taiwanese nationals who hold the new China residence permit could be banned from becoming civil servants or running for office here in Taiwan.
President Tsai has expressed her concern and sympathy to the people of Haiti following a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that rocked the country late Saturday, leaving at least 14 people dead.
The Presidential Office said Tsai has also offered to provide post earthquake assistance to the country.
According to the Presidential Office, the president is also calling for information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about any Taiwanese casualties and has extended her condolences to the government and people of Haiti.
The Central Election Commission has said a petition calling for a referendum on whether Taiwan should compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei" has gathered enough signatures to put it on a public ballot.
According to the commission, it will meet later today to review the petition and if the proposal is approved, the referendum will be held alongside the local government elections on Nov. 24.
If approved, the referendum will ask the question, "Do you agree Taiwan should use the name 'Taiwan' to participate in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and all other international sporting events."
The election commission said household registration authorities have verified 429,395 valid signatures on the referendum petition, which required a minimum of 281,745 to get on the ballot.
The petition drive was led by Chi Cheng (紀政), a track and field athlete who won a bronze medal in the 1968 Olympics.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that 23 foreign companies have signed letters of intent to commit to invest at least NT$54 billion (US$1.74 billion) in Taiwan over three years.
The letters were signed during the Taiwan Business Alliance Conference in Taipei.
The government said the investments are expected to create more than 13,000 jobs in Taiwan.
The companies who signed the agreement come from the U.S., Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Tsai said the government is working to improve Taiwan's investment environment in the hope of working with foreign partners to grow and ensure prosperity for the next generation.
Transport Minister Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) has said the government will be launching a stricter motorcycle driver's license test from next month.
According to Wu, applicants will be required to answer more questions designed to simulate actual road conditions in their written tests from Nov. 1.
Wu said the move aims to improve road safety and the new test will include 10 questions among a total of 50 questions.
The questions will cover issues such as the correct way to wear a crash helmet, carry passengers or luggage, and where to stop at traffic lights.
Driving schools will also be required to increase the time devoted to safety lectures from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.
Data shows that of the 1,517 people killed in traffic accidents last year, 913 of them were either motorcycle riders or passengers.
Nongovernmental organizations are calling for greater public participation in a national campaign to discuss alternatives to the death penalty.
Some 30 deliberative meetings, titled "Let's Discuss the Alternatives to the Death Penalty," have been scheduled since May.
And 10 such meetings have so far been held, at which NGO's have been discussing the matter with people holding different views on the death penalty.
The other 20 sessions are scheduled to be held by the middle of next year.
According to the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, organizers of the meetings are seeking to hear differing opinions on the subject no matter whether they support retaining or abolishing capital punishment.
The deliberation campaign has gotten support from the European Union's top representative and Australia's deputy representative to Taiwan.
Claude Monet's "Luncheon on the Grass" will be put on display here in Taiwan for the first time next month, as part of a special exhibition at the National Palace Museum.
The exhibition will feature 65 landscape paintings by 48 renowned artists from the 17th to 20th centuries loaned by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
The exhibition will be putting particular focus on impressionist and post-impressionist works.
Monet's "Luncheon on the Grass" depicts the Parisian middle class enjoying a picnic in the forests of Fontainebleau and it was painted by the artist when he was in his 20s just before the dawn of Impressionism.
Other artists whose works will be featured in the exhibition include Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Rousseau.
The exhibition will run from Nov. 17 until Feb. 17 of next year.
This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.
Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)
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