Taiwan News: Tsai Backs Nuclear-Free 2025, Judiciary Warns on Gay Marriage

Taiwan News: Tsai Backs Nuclear-Free 2025, Judiciary Warns on Gay Marriage
Credit: CEphoto / Uwe Aranas
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said her administration's goal of making Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 remains unchanged, despite the passage of a referendum opposing the policy.

The statement comes after the Cabinet announced earlier this week that Taiwan will no longer stick to the goal of becoming nuclear-free by 2025.

In her first public comments since the ballot, Tsai said the goal of phasing out nuclear power in Taiwan is part of the Basic Environment Act.

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Credit: Kolas Yotaka / Facebook
Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka (C) had said Taiwan would scrap its plans to eliminate nuclear power by 2025. Tsai Ing-wen now says otherwise.

According to Tsai, the passage of a referendum against closing nuclear power facilities by the 2025 deadline does not mean the goal of creating a nuclear-free homeland must be abandoned.

Tsai said many factors must be taken into account, including the availability of other energy sources and local governments will have to decide how to manage radioactive waste if the country's nuclear power plants remain in operation in the long term.

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The Judicial Yuan is warning that any laws put into place following the passage of referendums initiated by opponents of same-sex marriage cannot run counter the Constitutional Court's Interpretation No. 748.

The interpretation was made the court in May of last year and states that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the Civil Code is unconstitutional and new regulations must be introduced within two years to protect same-sex marriage.

The Cabinet is expected to draw up a draft for a separate law within three months to extend equal marriage rights to same-sex couples and send it to the Legislative Yuan.

All three referendums initiated by the anti-same sex marriage Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation were passed on Saturday.

They called for excluding homosexual education from elementary and middle schools, restricting marriage as defined in the Civil Code to being between a man and woman, and for the drafting of a separate law to protect gay marriage.

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Credit: Jonathon Tree

Read More: Rainbows Break Through the Clouds Despite Defeat for LGBT+ Community

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Premier William Lai (賴清德) is asking the Central Election Commission to come up with an action plan for a more efficient voting process following the problems encountered in last Saturday's local elections.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said the election commission is also being asked to study the feasibility of using an electronic voting system for referendums in the future.

Voters had to wait in line for two to three hours at many polling stations and the vote counting process was not completed until 3:02 a.m. the following day.

That has led to allegations of poor planning by the Central Election Commission.

Commission Vice Chairman Chen Chiao-jien (陳朝建) said his office will meet with local government representatives within a month and is also seeking to amend the Referendum Act so that votes would not have to be held on the same day as a national election.

Commission Chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) resigned on Sunday to take responsibility for the problems.

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The Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation's board has voted to remove general manager Wu Yin-ning (吳音寧) from her post.

The move comes after Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) earlier this week said that Wu has done the job she was hired to do and should be replaced.

Wu was appointed to head the corporation by the Council of Agriculture earlier this year after now-Kaohsiung mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) resigned from the post.

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Credit: Wu Yin-ning / Facebook
Agriculture Minister Wu Yin-ning (R) has been removed from her post after months of controversy.

However, her appointment has proven difficult. She was seen as a political appointee, was involved in numerous disputes with the Taipei City government, and was also blamed for plunging vegetable prices.

Wu's dismissal is effective immediately and Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation Chief Secretary Lu Chuan-li (路全利) has been appointed acting general manager.

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The Cabinet has approved a draft bill aimed at addressing a shortage of mid-level technicians by attracting more foreign professionals.

The draft New Economic Immigration Law was initiated by the National Development Council and will now be submitted to the Legislature for review.

Officials say recruitment will focus mainly on foreign specialists, mid-level technicians and investors, and Taiwanese expats and it will not affect the job opportunities or wages of Taiwan citizens.

According to National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), a quota will be allocated to the various business sectors in Taiwan that require qualified foreign mid-level technicians.Figures show that as of February this year, Taiwan had a labor shortage of 244,000 workers, almost half of which were mid-level technician positions.

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The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee said it's relieved to learn the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not discuss Taiwan's eligibility at a board meeting in Japan.

According to committee secretary-general Shen Yi-ting (沈依婷), the IOC's head of institutional relations has personally told her that the "Taiwan" question will not be raised during discussions.

Shen says that means Taiwan's right to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will not be jeopardized.

IOC President Thomas Bach earlier this week confirmed that the Olympic committee is delighted with the results of Taiwan's name change referendum and said he welcomes Taiwan to take part in the Tokyo Games under the name "Chinese Taipei."

The referendum that asked whether voters agreed Taiwan should participate in all international sporting events and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, under the name "Taiwan" was defeated by a margin of 55 to 45 percent.

The IOC's executive board is meeting in Tokyo today and tomorrow.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG

Read More: OPINION: Failure of Olympic Name Poll Shows Taiwanese Voters' Pragmatism

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Premier William Lai said the Cabinet will help Taichung mayor-elect Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) if the city seeks to regain the right to host the first East Asian Youth Games.

According to Lai, he has directed the Ministry of Education and the Mainland Affairs Council to provide assistance to Lu her incoming city administration.

The statement comes after the Kuomintang (KMT) mayor-elect announced she plans to have Taichung's hosting rights for the Games restored.

Former Taichung mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who was responsible for securing the right to host the youth games, says Lu should also seek the cooperation of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee.

Taichung was selected to host the first East Asian Youth Games in October 2014. However, the city's hosting right was revoked by the East Asian Olympic Committees in July due to pressure from China.

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Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka is dismissing online rumors the government is planning to spend NT$50 billion (US$1.62 billion) to redesign paper currency.

Speaking to reporters, the spokeswoman called the claims "complete misinformation" and said New Taiwan dollar bills already have an excellent counterfeit-proof design and there are no plans for a new design.

She also said the government has not allocated any funds for such a move.

The statement comes after rumors appeared on the popular social networking app Line saying "opposition, opposition, opposition to redesign of the New Taiwan dollar bills that will cost taxpayers NT$50 billion."

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Japan says it could file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the passage of a referendum calling for the continued ban on the import of food products from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said while the government has to respect public opinion, as expressed in the referendum result, it will still hold talks with Tokyo over the matter to ensure that bilateral ties are not affected.

According to Lee, the government also believes that any final decision on the ban must be based on international standards, scientific evidence and the relevant WTO rules.

Japan filed a complaint with the WTO against South Korea over a similar ban in 2015 and won the case in February of this year.

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Credit: Reuters / Damir Sagolj
Fish for sale at a market just south of Japan's disaster-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Sep. 2013.

The global trade body ruled that Seoul's ban was inconsistent with its regulations against "arbitrarily or unjustifiably" discriminating against another country.

However, South Korea has appealed the WTO ruling and currently maintains a ban on food product imports from five Japanese prefectures.

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President Tsai is asking Japan to support Taiwan's bid to participate in the second round of accession talks for Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Tsai made the call during a meeting with a visiting Japanese delegation led by Mitsuo Ohashi, the chairman of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

According to the Presidential Office, it would be of great strategic significance if Taiwan is allowed to join the regional pact and the government hopes Ohashi will secure Tokyo's support for Taiwan to join the second round of accession talks.

Taiwan has been trying to join the regional economic bloc since its formation in March.

Negotiators from the 11 signatories agreed in July to start accession talks with potential new members in 2019, when the free trade pact is scheduled to go into effect.

Thailand, Indonesia, Columbia, and South Korea are also reportedly seeking to join.

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Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) has been hospitalized following a fall at his home.

The 95-year-old former president is currently stable, but doctors say he requires further observation.

According to Lee's office, the former president fell at his home and hit his head on the floor around noon Thursday.

He was rushed to, and examined at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital within half an hour of the accident.

Lee's attending physician says he is expected to remain in hospital for at least three days.

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The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ho Chi Minh City has confirmed that 17 Taiwanese nationals have been detained in Cambodia on charge of telecom fraud.

According to office head Chong Wen-cheng, the 17 were among more than 200 people arrested during a raid on a building in Cambodia's southern Takeo Province.

Chong said the case is still under investigation and the Ho Chi Minh office is working with local authorities to identify the Taiwanese citizens.

More than 200 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects arrested in various countries, including Cambodia, have been deported to China to face charges.

It currently remains unclear whether the 17 suspects detained in Cambodia this week will be deported to Taiwan or China.

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Credit: Kurdishstruggle / CC BY 2.0

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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