Taiwan News: Govt Flip Flops on Shenao Power Plant, Tsai Opens Biotech Park

Taiwan News: Govt Flip Flops on Shenao Power Plant, Tsai Opens Biotech Park
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Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Monday that the government will revoke an environmental impact assessment (EIA) that gave the go-ahead for Taiwan Power Co. to re-open and expand the Shenao coal-fired power plant.

The move comes after lawmakers from across party lines called on the Cabinet to terminate the project by revoking all administrative approvals granted since 2006.

Environmental groups are backing the move.

According to the economics minister, approval to terminate the EIA should be completed within two months after the Cabinet receives a formal application by Taipower to stop the project.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) suggested last Friday that plans for the plant would be shelved, despite passing a revised EIA in May, saying a planned third liquefied natural gas terminal proposed by CPC Corp. will ensure stable power supplies.

That project passed an environmental impact assessment on Monday of last week.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said the inauguration of the National Biotechnology Research Park marks a major step forward for Taiwan's biomedical industry and is a breakthrough in the advancement of national technology and research innovation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Tsai said the key to strengthening Taiwan's economic power hinges on improving technology standards along with research and development innovation.

The park in Taipei's Nangang District is home to several government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Laboratory Animal Center and the Development Center for Biotechnology.

It also houses research centers from Academia Sinica, the national academy of Taiwan.

Tsai said the the government agencies will work with Academia Sinica to create an environment favorable for the development of biotechnology, new pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

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Credit: Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook
President Tsai presides over the inauguration of the National Biotechnology Research Park.

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Criminal Investigation Bureau Commissioner (CIB) Tsai Tsan-po (蔡蒼柏) has said he hopes his agency will be able to participate in next month's Interpol general assembly in the United Arab Emirates.

Tsai said he has filed an application to participate in the annual meeting as an observer.

Taiwan was an Interpol member until 1984, when it was replaced by China.

The government has applied to participate in the annual meeting since 2016.

However, the requests have been rejected by Interpol because of opposition from China.

The CIB said that as part of the international community, Taiwan should not be denied its right to join the international organization, to exchange information and combat transnational crime.

The 87th Interpol General Assembly is scheduled to be held at the Dubai World Trade Center from Nov. 16-21.

Until recently, Meng Hongwei was Interpol's first Chinese president, but he resigned on Oct. 7 and is now in custody in China on corruption charges.

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President Tsai has thanked Pope Francis for greetings he extended to her and the people of Taiwan.

Writing on her Facebook page, Tsai said Taiwan will take proactive and concrete action to support efforts by the Vatican to spread the values of freedom, justice and peace to the world.

The post comes after Pope Francis asked Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) to convey his greetings to Tsai during a meeting before a canonization ceremony at the Vatican on Sunday.

Tsai expressed her gratitude to the pope for his greetings and also extended her thanks to Chen for inviting the pope to visit Taiwan on behalf of her and the Taiwanese people.

Chen represented Taiwan at the ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica.

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Deputy Labor Minister Lin San-quei (林三貴) has said a recent labor affairs consultation meeting between Taiwan and the European Union represents a milestone in bilateral cooperation.

Lin led Taiwan's delegation to the meeting in Brussels on Oct. 11 and he said both sides had long had good exchanges on a wide range of labor affairs related topics.

According to Lin, the first-ever labor affairs consultation meeting between the two sides represents the beginning of a regular exchange mechanism to facilitate future cooperation.

Lin says the EU delegation paid close attention to Taiwan's experience in executing labor policies and discussed youth unemployment and the impact of economic globalization.

The EU delegation also expressed its hope that the next meeting will focus on Taiwan's polices to boost the rights of immigrant and fisheries sector workers.

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Credit: Fisheries Agency
Read More: Taiwanese Fishing Vessels Fined, Suspended for Work Abuse, Shark Finning

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Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said Monday that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has thanked Taiwan for its continuing support for his country.

The message was delivered by Honduran Vice President Olga Alvarado on behalf of Hernandez during talks with Vice President Chen at the Vatican.

Chen thanked Honduras on behalf of President Tsai for the Latin American country's support and asked Alvarado to extend his greetings to Hernandez.

According to Lin, the two vice presidents also talked about how to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation between Taiwan and Honduras, including in education.

Chen was leading a delegation to the Holy See to attend a canonization ceremony and is scheduled to return to Taiwan today.

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State Scott Busby, who serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, is visiting Taiwan this week to attend a workshop on defending democracy through media literacy.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Busby will deliver the opening address at the workshop, which is being held under the Taiwan-U.S. Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF).

The the two-day workshop is scheduled for this Thursday and Friday.

AIT Director William Brent Christensen, Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) will also attend the event.

While Digital Minister Audrey Tang (唐鳳) will deliver a keynote welcome address.

The GCTF was established in June 2015 and is designed to support bilateral cooperation in international public health, humanitarian assistance and other global issues.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Scott Busby will arrive in Taipei this week for a workshop on defending democracy.

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The Ministry of National Defense will be conducting war games in eastern Taiwan today and tomorrow.

Defense officials say the exercise is codenamed Joint-Electronic 107-2 and will simulate attacks involving Chinese forces against military bases in the area.

The joint dill involves elements from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Reports say units tasked with electronic warfare at military bases located along the east coast will be tested for the first time.

According to the defense ministry, the drills are aimed at examining the military's ability to withstand a coordinated air and electronic attack, while seeking to strengthen the combat readiness of the armed forces.

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Construction of the Taoyuan Metro Green Line has broken earth in the city's Bade District.

The Taoyuan Department of Rapid Transit Systems says the line will cost an estimated NT$98 billion (US$3.17 billion) and construction is expected to be completed by 2025.

The 27.8-kilometer line covers the four administrative districts of Bade, Taoyuan, Luzhu and Dayuan and will have 21 stations.

The central part of the line, covering all of the Taoyuan stations and the first three in Bade District will be underground, while the rest of the system will be elevated.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that due to the line's different planning and construction methods, the system will be developed in three phases.

Planning for the green line started in 2008, was approved by the central government in April of 2016 and was later included in the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.

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Expansion work on a desalination plant in Kinmen has been completed and local officials say it should help increase freshwater supplies and ease the threat of water shortages on the outlying island.

According to the Water Resources Agency, the facility is expected to supply 4,000 cubic meters of freshwater per day.

That's up from its daily production of 500 cubic meters before the project began.

According to the Kinmen Daily News, the county consumes roughly 23,000 cubic meters of water per day, which includes 12,000 cubic meters of groundwater.

Kinmen began a 30-year water purchase agreement to import water from Fujian province in China in August to ease long-term concerns of potential water shortages.

And Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said the desalination plant's increased capacity will help diversify the county's water sources.

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Authorities say 181 people have been fined since September for trying to bring meat products into Taiwan from China.

Twenty-five of them were given the maximum fine of NT$15,000.

The crackdown on the illegal import of meat products from China comes as the government is taking action to prevent the spread of African swine fever to Taiwan.

China has reported 37 outbreaks of swine fever in nine provinces, regions and cities and reports say the disease continuing to spread there after a farm with 20,000 pigs became the largest to report being struck by the outbreak on Monday.

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Indonesia's Supreme Court has rejected appeals by two Taiwanese nationals against the death sentences they were given for smuggling 60-kilograms of amphetamines into the country.

The two were sentenced to death by the Jakarta High Court in September 2017 for possession of amphetamines following their arrest in an apartment in northern Jakarta.

Indonesian authorities say the verdict is not final and that the two can still appeal the decision.

According to Indonesian authorities, there are currently 19 other Taiwanese nationals in Indonesian prisons on death row for drug-related crimes.

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South Korean authorities have arrested three Taiwanese nationals in connection with the smuggling of 112 kilograms of methamphetamine into the country.

The three were among a group of six drug trafficker detained in Seoul.

Taiwan's representative office in South Korea says the arrests were made as part of joint cross-border operation that included the Criminal Investigation Bureau here in Taipei.

The other three suspects included Japanese and South Korean nationals.

It was the largest seizure of methamphetamine ever in South Korea and police say the drugs had been smuggled from Thailand to Busan, a port in southern South Korea.

Four other suspects believed to be involved Taiwan's Bamboo Union Gang and the Japanese Inagawa-kai crime syndicate remain at large.

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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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