Taiwan News: Crash Controversy, CPC Faces NT$2.7 Bln Compensation Claims

Taiwan News: Crash Controversy, CPC Faces NT$2.7 Bln Compensation Claims
Credit: Reuters / Lee Kun Han
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The Cabinet task force investigating the cause of Sunday's derailment of a Puyuma Express is refuting claims by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) concerning the deactivation of the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system.

The railways administration is insisting the driver failed to report that he shut off the system prior to the accident, which made follow-up mechanical support impossible.

However, Minister Without Portfolio Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成), who is heading the Cabinet task force, said evidence shows the driver clearly informed dispatchers that he had turned off the ATP four minutes before the train derailed near Sinma Station in Yilan County.

According to Wu, the driver, surnamed You (尤), first reported the train was having power supply problems at 4:05 p.m., and remained in contact with dispatchers until the train derailed.

The Taiwan Railway Labor Union is backing the task force, with union official Wu Chang-chih (吳長智) saying communication records show the train driver reported that the ATP had been turned off, though he did so later than he should have.

Prosecutors said the deactivation of the ATP system was the main cause of the derailment as the train was traveling at nearly twice the allowed speed when it entered Sinma station.

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CPC Corp. Chairman Tai Chein (戴謙) said his company could end up paying out NT$2.7 billion (US$87 million) in compensation for selling substandard 95-octane unleaded gasoline.

The statement comes days after the state-refiner admitted that gasoline supplied by its Taoyuan refinery to three pumps in northern Taiwan failed to pass quality tests.

According to Tai, motorists who bought the problematic fuel containing unstable additives between Oct. 1 and Oct. 21 will get a full refund and the same amount of fuel for free by showing proof of purchase.

CPC Vice President Lee Shun-chin (李順欽) said up to 41,000-kiloliters of the problematic gasoline worth NT$1.2-billion was sold during the period.

Most of it was sold at gas stations in New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli.

Affected franchise gas stations and customers whose cars are certified by a third party commissioned by CPC as having been damaged due to the problematic fuel are also eligible for reimbursements.

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Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Wednesday that the decision to designate Taiwan as a 'developed' economy in the World Trade Organization (WTO) will not affect its existing rights and interests.

Speaking at a legislative hearing, the minister said the government will continue efforts to protect the interests of Taiwan's agricultural and industrial sectors in all future WTO trade negotiations.

The statement comes as the government is preparing for possible effects of Taiwan's decision to change its designation at the global trade body from a 'developing' to a 'developed' economy.

The move means Taiwan will no longer be entitled to the favorable treatment accorded to so-called 'developing' members in trade negotiations.

Taiwan's decision to change its status to a 'developed' economy has been applauded by several major WTO members, including the United States, the European Union and Japan.

However, the move has led to concerns here in Taiwan that it could negatively affect trade negotiations.

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The Ministry of National Defense has said it has not detected any indications of military maneuvers in waters near Taiwan.

The statement follows reports the U.S. could be set to carryout a series of drills near Taiwan next month.

Those exercises comesas Washington is seeking to demonstrate its commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

According to Joint Intelligence and Research Center in Taipei, the military is continuing to monitor the situation and understands the U.S. will be conducting a military exercise in waters near Guam in the coming weeks.

The U.S. sent sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, which is being seen by some as a demonstration of support for Taipei.

The Pentagon says the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed through the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law.

RTX24OH7
Credit: Reuters / TPG
USS Curtis Wilbur sailing through the Taiwan Strait was likely a prelude to US military exercises in waters off Guam.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said Taiwan will continue to work with democracies in the fight against misinformation and disinformation campaigns intended to undermine people's trust in government institutions and values.

Tsai made the remarks at the Presidential Office while meeting members of a U.S. delegation led by William Schneider.

Schneider is a senior fellow from the Washington-based Hudson Institute and is visiting Taiwan for the first time in over a decade.

Speaking during the meeting, Tsai said she hopes the delegation will see the resilience Taiwanese people have shown in confronting the challenges facing the island's democracy.

The president took the opportunity to once again thank U.S. President Donald Trump's administration for its staunch support for Taiwan.

And she also expressed her hope that more like-minded countries will engage in cooperation with Taiwan, including on other non-traditional security issues, to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG

Read More: INSIDER: Taiwan Is Bungling Its Response to China's Psychological Warfare

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Environmental groups are planning to rally in Taipei on Nov. 3 to raise awareness of the effects of carbon emissions on the environment.

According to Action Coalition for Healthy Air in Taiwan, protesters will gather on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and march past the Legislature and the Democratic Progressive Party headquarters, calling for a reduction in the use of coal-fired power plants.

The coalition said many people believe the government's current energy policy is outdated as it relies heavily on fossil fuels and the most effective way to improve air quality is to reduce coal-fired power generation.

The coalition also says a government proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on reclaimed land in an industrial park in Taoyuan next to coastal reefs in the city's Datan area is evidence of that outdated policy.

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Defense officials said prototypes of the CM-34 "Clouded Leopard" eight-wheeled armored vehicle have recently passed a series of tests and will soon enter mass production.

According to the military's Armaments Bureau, four prototypes of the Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle passed all 62 categories in the primary pre-mass production tests while failing only two categories in the secondary pre-mass production tests.

Bureau chief Army Lieutenant General Fang Mao-hung (房茂宏) told lawmakers that the military has already initiated mass production of the vehicle model equipped with a 30-millimeter chain gun.

And a total of 284 of that model vehicle are expected to be made in the coming years.

However, no further details have been released concerning the production schedules of other variants of the Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

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The Ministry of the Interior says it will release a list of residential properties in Taiwan that have been constructed using earthquake shock absorbers manufactured by Japan's Kawakin Holdings and KYB Corporation.

Both companies are currently under investigation in Japan following revelations they fabricated data to ensure that some of their earthquake dampers passed safety checks.

The ministry said the list of affected buildings will be released tomorrow by the Construction and Planning Agency.

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The New Taipei Metro Corporation says the first phase of the Danhai Light Rail Transit will be completed by December and the system will begin operations in June 2019.

Construction of the light rail transit system began in November 2014 with the goal of easing traffic congestion in the Tamsui District.

And the metro corporation began trials runs in May on the Green Mountain Line, which is the first phase of the project.

According to the company, a digital wallet service will be introduced for the convenience of passengers when the line begins operations next June.

And nine mobile payment services are being considered.

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The Raptor Research Group has said the number of migratory gray-faced buzzard eagles spotted in the Hengchun Peninsula this month has reached 59,500.

That is the highest figure recorded in three decades.

Bird watcher Tsai I-jung (蔡乙榮) is being quoted as saying said that the Kenting National Park was a key factor in the steep rise in the number of migratory birds in the area.

The Kenting National Park administration began researching the eagle species in 1989, when the highest number recorded in Taiwan was 10,000.

The eagles usually stop mainly in Manjou Township in Hengchun on their southward migratory path and township head Yu Tseng-chun (余增春) said he now plans to promote the area as an eco-tourism hub to attract bird watchers from around Asia.

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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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