Taiwan News: Olympians Caution on Name Change Referendum

Taiwan News: Olympians Caution on Name Change Referendum
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Taiwanese Olympians on Wednesday voiced their opposition to a referendum on whether Taiwan should apply to participate in international sporting events under the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei."

According to Lei Chien-ying (雷千瑩), who won bronze in the women's archery event at the 2016 Rio Games, Taiwan faces exclusion from competing in Olympic-related events if the referendum passes and Taiwan needs to adhere to 1981 Lausanne Agreement.

Taiwan's top discus thrower, Chang Ming-huang (張銘煌) said the arguments in support of the name change are illogical, because Taiwan could be suspended not only from the Olympics, but all international sporting events if it violates the Lausanne Agreement.

The statements come a day after backers of the name change referendum claimed that if Taiwan is suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), its athletes will still be accepted as independent Olympians.

The government said while it will respect the results of the name change referendum as a "representation of public opinion," it will still continue to follow IOC rules in the future.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Chang Ming-Huang, here competing in the men's shot put final at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has put his weight behind calls to oppose a referendum for Taiwan to compete as 'Taiwan' instead of 'Chinese Taipei' at Olympics events.

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The Central Election Commission has hosted a debate on the issue of whether homosexuality should be included in the school curriculum.

The issue is one of the questions that will be asked in a series on referendums this Saturday.

The referendum on sex education will ask voters if they agree that information on homosexuality should be included as part of the national curriculum on sex education in elementary and junior high schools.

Supporters of the move say the inclusion of the teaching of homosexuality in the school curriculum is not aimed at "turning" students into homosexuals, but rather guiding them to better understand of sexual orientation.

Opponents claim that teaching issues about homosexuality in elementary and junior high schools will lead students to not accept their physiological gender even before they reach full mental development.

The current Gender Equity Education Act does not include provisions for information on homosexuality to be taught as part of the sex education curriculum.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Anti-same-sex marriage groups gather for a rally ahead of various related referendums in Kaohsiung on Nov. 18, 2018.

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Former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) is calling on voters to reject a referendum proposal that supports the continued use of nuclear power.

According to Lin, if passed, the referendum will derail efforts to make Taiwan nuclear power free by 2025.

The statement is aimed at heading off passage of a proposal, which asks voters if they agree to abolish paragraph 1 of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which stipulates that all nuclear power facilities shall completely cease operations by 2025.

Lin said that if passed, the referendum will prolong the use of nuclear power and result in the stalling of efforts to boost renewable energy development projects.

The referendum was initiated by the Kuomintang's Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), who argues that nuclear energy is a safe and clean source of electricity that will allow time to develop renewable energy without damaging the environment or contributing to global warming.

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The National Police Agency has said it is stepping-up efforts to crackdown on illegal gambling on the results of Saturday's local elections.

According to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the gambling is mostly conducted at underground gambling or lottery spots and police patrols will be increased to collect information about these places.

The bureau said it has broken up eight election gambling rings over the past two weeks and several arrests have been made.

Figures also show that district prosecutors offices around the island have received 4,617 complaints of illegal election activities involving 10,164 suspects.

These reports include 3,527 complaints of vote-buying involving 8,064 people, and 373 complaints of election-related violence involving 511 people.

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The Chiayi District Prosecutors' Office has said it will not be charging two local government employees with tampering with election ballots.

The two employees were stopped by police in a restricted area with a carton of ballots on Sunday.

One of the employees was found leaving the ballot printing facility in Shuishang Township carrying a box containing of 333 ballots for the election for the county's local government officials.

Prosecutors said the suspects claimed they were unaware the boxes contained ballots and had been helping a colleague who was distributing lunchboxes to workers at the government-contracted print factory.

According to the prosecutors' office, no charges will be brought because investigators have determined that incident was simply a mistake.

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Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) has attended events in the Marshall Islands celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two sides.

The celebrations took place on a Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration patrol vessel that sailed to Pacific island for the both the event and to carryout a joint maritime rescue drill.

Writing on his Twitter account, Wu said he was deeply moved to hear the two county's national anthems played during the celebrations and that Taiwan will work hard to ensure that ties continue.

Wu also held talks with Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine during his visit.

Heine last week survived a vote of no confidence in parliament that was reportedly initiated by Chinese-backed business interests in the Marshall Islands.

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Kiribati's President Taneti Maamau has reaffirmed his country's ties with Taiwan amid reports it could sever relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing.

Speaking to lawmakers in Kiribati, Maamau dismissed reports of a possible move towards China, saying such reports are "rumors," and his administration will continue to enjoy official diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The statement comes after lawmakers in the Pacific Island nation voiced their concern about moves by several state-owned Chinese companies to set up joint ventures with local companies in Kiribati.

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The National Health Insurance Administration has said a plan to revise state health insurance premiums has been mapped out to reflect a 5 percent hike in the monthly minimum wage.

The monthly minimum wage is set to be increased from NT$22,000 (US$712) to NT$23,100 from Jan 1.

Under the revised premiums, 120,000 people whose monthly salary ranges from NT$22,801 to NT$23,100, and whose basic salary is NT$24,000 are expected to see their monthly premium cut by NT$13.

Some 3.17 million workers whose salary is between NT$22,000 and NT$22,800 will see their monthly premium increase by between NT$4 and NT$57 because their basic salaries will be revised up to NT$23,100.

The revisions will also affect 50,000 ward, village and neighborhood chiefs and some 5,000 self-employed and independent professionals and technical specialists.

The revisions are expected to boost National Health Insurance premium collections by an estimated NT$2.6-billion per year.

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Credit: Depositphotos
Read More: Health Care for All: The Good & Not-So-Great of Taiwan's Universal Coverage

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The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) is urging the government to further promote the equal treatment of foreign nationals here in Taiwan.

The calls are part of the chamber's 2019 position papers.

The ECCT said it welcomes the government's recent decision to change the number format used on Alien Resident Cards and Alien Permanent Resident Cards (APRCs), but says more could be done.

One remaining issue concerns applications for the APRC, with the chamber saying while it welcomes the loosening of restrictions on the long-term validity of APRCs, the change currently only applies to "professionals," and not long-term residents who have achieved their APRCs through marriage or relatives.

The ECCT also said it is asking the government to cancel requirements for APRC holders to apply for a separate work permit and to set out a standardized translation system for government documents.

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The Supreme Court has ordered former socialite Justin Lee (李宗瑞), son of former Yuanta Financial Holding Co. board member Lee Yueh-tsang (李岳蒼), to pay NT$15 million in compensation to seven more women he was found guilty of sexually assaulting.

Lee is serving 39 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting nine women, and he was initially ordered to pay those victims compensation of NT$12 million.

The latest ruling in the case means Lee will now have to pay compensation totaling NT$27 million to 16 of his victims.

Two more cases also involving claims of compensation to Lee's victims are still being heard.

Lee was found guilty of drugging and filming the rapes of numerous women between 2009 and 2011.

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The Ministry of Examination has signed off on an amendment to the Professionals and Technologists Examinations Act that will allow foreign nationals to take relevant exams in English.

The amendments were passed by lawmakers earlier this month.

According to the ministry, the main part of the bill gives foreign professionals who sit a license exam the option of taking the tests in English or Chinese.

Prior to the amendment, both foreign and Taiwanese applicants in certain professions were required sit a license exam only administered in Chinese.

The government says the move will provide more opportunities for foreign nationals and overseas Chinese to take exams in order to be able to work as tour guides, social workers, psychologists and certified public bookkeepers.

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A research team from Taiwan has potentially laid the groundwork for going beyond Moore's law with a monolayer diode.

According to the Ministry of Science, the move could lead to a major breakthrough in the semiconductor industry.

The team was made up of researchers from the National Cheng Gang University and the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center.

The team has developed a two-dimensional monolayer diode, which has the potential to meet the manufacturing needs of a new generation of energy-saving integrated circuits.

Compared to common silicon semiconductors, the monolayer diode is thinner, smaller, and faster.

Read Next: OPINION: UK's Civil Nuclear Obsession Has Military Roots

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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