Taiwan News: East Taiwan Tilting Trains to Operate with 2 Drivers After Crash, Minister Says

Taiwan News: East Taiwan Tilting Trains to Operate with 2 Drivers After Crash, Minister Says
Photo Credit: 中央社

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

Transportation Minister Wu Hong-mo ( 吳宏謀) said Monday that all express trains with tilting features that run mainly in eastern Taiwan will have two drivers instead of one, starting today.

The announcement follows a deadly Puyuma Express crash on Oct. 21, which left 18 people dead and more than 170 people injured.

Wu said the new system will be introduced on all 36 Puyuma Express and 14 Taroko Express runs on weekdays and 38 Puyuma and 18 Taroko runs on weekends to improve travel safety.

The system will allow the main driver to focus on operating the train, while the co-driver can concentrate on communicating with the dispatcher and solve whatever problems occur during the journey.

The decision will cost an extra NT$125,400 (US$4,046) on weekdays and $136,400 NT on weekends.

Wu said the Taiwan Railways Administration will also study safety issues related to the Automatic Train Protection system, which was deactivated during the Oct. 21 derailment, including drafting standard procedures that limit maximum speeds for trains if the system is turned off.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has thanked the king of eSwatini for his support for Taiwan at the United Nations' General Assembly this year, and for his expressions of concern for the victims of a train crash in Taiwan last week.

The Presidential Office said Tsai and King Mswati III spoke by telephone earlier in the day.

In the 10-minute conversation, Tsai also thanked the African king for speaking out and voicing his country's support for Taiwan during the UN.'s week-long general debate on Sept. 26.

Tsai also told the king that eSwatini came to her mind as she thought about plans to open new markets and new production bases that she mentioned in her National Day speech on Oct. 10.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs extended its congratulations to Brazil's president-elect after the candidate won a sweeping victory Sunday.

The ministry said through Twitter that Taiwan looks forward to stronger relations with Brazil.

According to MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) Jair Bolsonaro last visited Taiwan this March as a member of the Brazilian Congress "to get a first-hand understanding of the country's economic, trade, science and education development."

Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian presidential candidate to visit Taiwan since the South American country cut ties with Taiwan in favor of China in 1974.

The visit drew a protest from China's embassy in Brazil.

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has said the use of a batch of a children's influenza vaccine has been halted, after suspended matter was found in the product.

Kaohsiung's health department reported Sunday that a clinic in the city noticed white suspended matter in a dose of flu vaccine manufactured by Taiwan-based vaccine maker Adimmune Corp.

Some 82,000 doses from this batch of vaccine have been delivered to the CDC, while 48, 0000 doses have been distributed to health departments in Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung cities and Pingtung, Hualien, Taitung, Penghu and Kinmen counties as part of a free public immunization program.

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Officials have said that over a period of 11 days, 73 cases of attempted smuggling of meat products into Taiwan from areas affected by a highly contagious livestock disease were discovered.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine says since Oct. 18, it has been issuing a maximum fine of NT$15,000 against travelers attempting to bring meat products into the country from areas affected by the African swine fever or hoof-and-mouth disease.

According to bureau statistics, 43 of the fined cases came from China, 21 from Vietnam, five from the Philippines, and two from both South Korea and Thailand.

Officials also confirmed a draft amendment to raise the maximum fine to NT$300,000 for illegally bringing meat products into Taiwan was sent to the Executive Yuan on Oct. 22.

The draft amendment will need to be passed in the Legislative Yuan after the Executive Yuan's approval.

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Representatives from all five Taipei Mayoral candidates' campaign offices will meet today to discuss the dates for televised debates.

The expected meeting comes after Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) initially argued that he was too busy with city affairs and would not have time for campaign-related matters until after Nov. 8.

The independent incumbent mayor signed a deal to take part in the debate, which will be hosted by the Public Television Service, late last week after being urged to do so by the other four candidates, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Democratic Progressive Party candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智).

Independent candidates Lee Si-kuen (李錫錕), a National Taiwan University political science professor, and Wu E-yang (吳萼洋) make up the rest of the field for the Nov. 24 race to Taipei City Hall.

柯文哲
Photo Credit: 中央社
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je will join the PTS debate, likely to be scheduled fro Nov. 10-11.

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The Tourism Bureau will inject over NT$90 million in subsidies for accommodation and transportation during the last two months of the year to boost tourism in eastern and southern Taiwan.

The bureau said the funds are available to those who visit Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Hualien, Taitung and parts of Yilan on weekdays in November and December.

The package will provide up to NT$1,000 per room in subsidies to independent travelers under the age of 60 and up to NT$1,500 per room to those 60 and over.

The subsidies do not cover travel in Yilan City and Toucheng and Jiaoxi townships in Yilan County.

A maximum NT$1,000 transportation subsidy will also be given per room.

Subsidies are also available for group tours.

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Three Taiwanese suspects who tried to smuggle drugs into Taiwan using international parcel delivery service have been charged with violating the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, the Aviation Police Bureau said on Monday.

The case came to light when customs officials and aviation police in Taiwan received information from Thai authorities in August regarding drugs shipped from their country to Taiwan using a parcel delivery service.

After Taiwan customs twice intercepted packages containing ketamine and other assorted narcotics, police in both Thailand and Taiwan tracked down the senders and recipients.

Three people were arrested in Taipei and New Taipei, and charged with violating the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act.

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The Taiwanese and Italian associations named after Italian epidemiologist Carlo Urbani inked a deal with Vietnamese drug maker Stella to support medical care programs in Vietnam.

The memorandum of understanding was signed in commemoration of Urbani, who identified the threat of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Under the agreement, Stella will provide all generic drugs needed for medical cooperation projects initiated by the two associations in Vietnam in the next three years.

Urbani, a World Health Organization infectious disease specialist stationed in Hanoi first alerted the world to a pneumonia-like emerging disease in February 2003 that was later identified as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

His early warning may have saved millions of lives, but Urbani became infected with the virus while treating SARS infected patients, and died in Bangkok on March 29, 2003 at the age of 46 due to complications from the condition.

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Budget airline AirAsia announced Monday it will offer flights between Taoyuan and Osaka starting on January 30, 2019, its first route connecting Taiwan and a northeast Asian country.

The Taoyuan-Osaka flights will operate as an extension of its existing Kuala Lumpur-Taoyuan service, and will fly every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through March 30.

The subsequent schedule after is still under review by Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration.

AirAsia said it will also become the first budget airline to operate a wide body Airbus A330-300 on the route.

The low-cost carrier says thanks to the Fifth Freedom Right, which allows carriers to fly passengers between foreign countries (in this case Taiwan and Japan) as part of a service routed through its host country, AirAsia will be able to tap into new markets in northeast Asia while increasing traffic in its main hub of Kuala Lumpur.

The airline will also begin Kaohsiung-Manila flights on Tuesday.

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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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