Taiwan News: Tsai-Ko Taipei Dome Talk, Recount Confirms Ko's Mayoral Win

Taiwan News: Tsai-Ko Taipei Dome Talk, Recount Confirms Ko's Mayoral Win
Photo Credit: 中央社
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) held talks Thursday focusing on cooperation between the central and city government's on major development projects in the capital.

The meeting took place at the Taipei Post Office, near the city's historic North Gate, which is seen as the center of an urban renewal project undertaken by the city government under Ko.

One of the issues discussed was the Taipei Dome project, which has been at a standstill since 2015 due to safety concerns.

Ko called on Tsai to assist in coordination between the city and central government over land issues that have prevented the city government from beginning construction of planned access roads to the Dome.

That issue centers on the nearby Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, which is administered by the Ministry of Culture.

Ko said that without the ministry's approval for construction of access roads, "there is no solution to the Dome problem."

The talks with the mayor are the first of Tsai's planned meetings with all the newly-elected mayors of the six special municipalities, all of which are scheduled to be completed before the mayors assume their posts on Dec. 25.

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Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) has said he is now seeking legal recourse to uphold fairness in the city's election, after a vote recount showed him losing by a slightly larger margin.

Ting filed a lawsuit to have the election annulled earlier this week, before the Taipei District Count officially announced the results of the recount yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, Ting said that although there was no big difference between the recount and the numbers released by the Central Election Commission on election night, the recount revealed irregularities in the voting process.

Ting claims thousands of ballots were given to unverified voters and that 1,800 ballots were found to be problematic, and that his lawsuit to nullify the election is aimed at ensuring fairness of the election system.

The recount showed that Ko Wen-je beat Ting by 3,567 votes, instead of the original 3,254 – as announced by the Central Election Commission on the morning of Nov. 25.

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林美珠
Photo Credit: 立法院議事轉播系統
Lin Mei-chu has tendered her resignation less than a day after her appointment as chair of the Taiwan Asset Management Corporation.

Former Labor Minister Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) has resigned within 24 hours of being appointed chairperson of the Taiwan Asset Management Corporation amid allegations of cronyism.

The corporation approved Lin's appointment at an interim board meeting due to concern that Lin was appointed because she is President Tsai Ing-wen's cousin.

Lin tendered her resignation citing personal reasons.

Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said Lin's appointment was based entirely on professional considerations, and her resignation was accepted despite her being fully qualified for the post.

However, New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) pointed out that Lin has no experience in asset management.

Lin stepped down as labor minister in February citing health reasons.

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The Cabinet has approved a series of draft amendments aimed at increasing penalties for the spreading of false information on natural disasters, agricultural product prices, infectious diseases, food safety and nuclear accidents.

Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) has said the amendments are aimed at protecting the public and addressing deficiencies in the law in terms of stopping the spread of disinformation.

Under the draft amendment to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, individuals who spread rumors or incorrect information about food safety issues will be subject to a maximum prison sentence of three years or a fine of up to NT$1 million (US$32,460).

The draft amendments to the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act and the Nuclear Emergency Response Act propose a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for spreading false information that causes deaths. An amendment to the Law on the Control of Communicable Diseases has also been approved.

Lo also said a draft digital communications law is being drawn up to help better define the responsibilities of social media operators in curbing the dissemination of disinformation, including requirements that they cooperate with government and have a mechanism to remove posts that break the law, is also being drawn up.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said 11 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies have voiced their support for the island's participation in Interpol.

According to the ministry, the allies separately sent letters to Interpol Secretary-General Jurgen Stock asking the organization to arrange for Taiwan's participation prior to Interpol's 87th General Assembly, which took place in mid-November in Dubai.

The letters were sent after Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau sent a letter to Stock in September asking that Taiwan be allowed to participate as an observer and play a meaningful role in the organization's activities and operational mechanisms.

Interpol refused both requests in October, prompting Taiwan Premier William Lai (賴清德) to remark: "Interpol's rejection of Taiwan is unreasonable but we know the important reason behind it is China's suppression of Taiwan."

Other countries, including the United States, the UK and France have also voiced their support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in Interpol in recent months.

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China is unlikely to carry out a large scale operations in the Taiwan Strait any time soon, as its military reform is still in progress, according to a report by the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR).

According to the report, China's ongoing military reform is aimed at purging corruption, eliminating abuse of power, and transforming its armed forces from a homeland defense force into an outward-facing military.

The report goes on to say that despite the rapid restructuring, the reset in the People's Liberation Army command system means a 'break-in' period is a requisite, implying that, in the short term, Beijing is "unlikely to provoke a large-scale crisis in the Taiwan Strait."

The INDSR was established in May and is headed by former defense minister, Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬).

RTX6G9MU
Credit: Reuters / TPG
China's military, here taking part in a maritime rescue exercise near Chinese amphibious transport dock Kunlun Shan during the China-ASEAN Maritime Exercise in Zhanjiang, Guangdong, are unlikely to mount a significant operation in the Taiwan Strait while reforms are ongoing, according to the INDSR.

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The Mainland Affairs Council has confirmed that Chinese authorities have approved a request by Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜) to visit her husband, Lee Ming-che (李明哲) at the Chishan prison in Hunan Province.

The council said authorities have approved a request for the visit to take place on Dec. 17 and 18.

An official with the Straits Exchange Foundation will accompany her on the upcoming trip to China.

According to foundation spokesperson Kuan An-lu (管安露), the office was notified by a Taiwanese business association in Hunan that Lee's request for a prison visit has been approved.

Lee Ming-che has been detained in China since March 2017 and was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of "subversion of state power" in November of last year.

Chinese authorities have turned down several previous requests for Lee's relatives to visit him, the most recent rejection coming in late November.

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Indonesia's Minister of Manpower is visiting Taiwan today to meet with Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春), and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding covering labor rights.

The agreement covers the recruitment, placement and protection of Indonesian migrant workers.

The signing will be followed by a closed-door meeting between the two sides.

Those talks are expected to focus on issues including a wage increase for Indonesian domestic helpers and allowing Indonesian migrant workers to freely switch employers.

Reports have said the Indonesian government wants Taiwan to raise the monthly minimum wage for domestic helpers and in-home caregivers from the current NT$17,000 to NT$19,000.

Labor ministry figures show that there are some 190,000 Indonesian migrant workers work as caregivers or domestic helpers currently working in Taiwan.

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Repeat offenders caught smuggling meat products into Taiwan from areas affected by African swine fever will face a fine of up to NT$ 1 million from today.

The increased fine follows a recent amendment to the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease.

People found smuggling meat or live animals for the first time face a fine of NT$50,000, while those caught offending a second time in three years will be fined NT$500,000, and third time offenders will be fined NT$1 million.

The heavier fines were introduced to protect Taiwan's pig farming industry from African swine fever, which has spread to 21 provinces in China since August.

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蔡英文啟動輔選列車 全台授旗誓師
Photo Credit: 中央社
Chen Ming-wen (R) faces six months in prison or a fine of NT$180,000 following a Supreme Court decision to uphold his sentence for

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling, sentencing Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) to six months in prison on charges of leaking information.

Chen was found guilty of leaking details of the lowest tender to a sewage construction company when he served as Chiayi County magistrate in 2007.

Chen had appealed the original ruling by the Tainan branch of the High Court in September of last year.

The Supreme Court ruling is final, but Chen can commute the sentence to a fine of NT$180,000.

Chen was found guilty of breaching the Anti-Corruption Act by disclosing the lowest tender to a bidder in a sewer project offered by Chiayi County government in Minxiong Township.

However, he was cleared of charges of profiting from the information.

Chen continues to deny any wrongdoing.

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The Taiwan People News will cease daily operations on Dec. 31 after six years, due to financial difficulties.

According to its founder Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興), shareholders of the online publication decided that daily operations will cease at the end of this year because of an inability to meet the financial cost of running a daily news website.

The Taiwan People News had been supported by about 300 small shareholders from the medical, cultural, and small-and-medium enterprise sectors.

A survey in October conducted by Taiwan Media Watch found that the Taiwan People News' Facebook page was one of the most trustworthy and diverse among 36 media groups that publish daily news in Taiwan.

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Delegates from Taiwan and the United States will attend a workshop in Nantou today to train professionals in the Indo-Pacific region in the areas of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

The American Institute in Taiwan says the workshop is being held under the U.S.-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework.

The one-day workshop will be held at the National Fire Agency's Training Center.

The U.S.-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework was established in 2015 and is aimed at allowing the US and Taiwan to address regional and global concerns.

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The Central Weather Bureau says temperatures in northern Taiwan are likely to drop to 13 degrees early next week due to the arrival of the first cold air mass of this winter.

The cold air front is forecast to affect the area on Monday and Tuesday.

However, temperatures are expected to rise by next Wednesday, as the cold front weakens.

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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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