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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.
Taiwan's government has expressed its willingness to provide every possible assistance in the wake of the tsunami that struck coastal areas throughout the Sunda Strait Saturday night, leaving at least 281 dead and over 1,000 injured.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has expressed concern about the situation and says the government is prepared to help those affected in whatever way it can. A Ministry of National Defense spokesperson said the ministry is ready to deploy a C-130 transport plane to help with disaster relief work.
Eight Taiwanese tourists are reportedly stranded in a mountainous area after fleeing the tsunami, and two have reportedly been seriously injured, according to the executive of a charity foundation.
Coastal areas throughout the Sunda Strait, which separates Java and Sumatra, were hit by the wave late Saturday. The deadly tsunami occurred after undersea landslides caused by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano.
The executive said an eight-member Taiwanese tour group were in Lampung Province when the tsunami struck. A member of the tour group says two adults in the group were badly injured by falling objects and several others suffered minor injuries.
The injured were later taken to a local clinic where they received medical treatment and their injuries are not life-threatening, the member said.
Taiwan's representative to Indonesia has contacted the stranded people and dispatched staff to assist them.
Taiwanese heavy metal band Chthonic, led by pro-independence New Power Party (NPP) legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐), says it has been forced to cancel a show in Hong Kong over a work visa delay.
"The Hong Kong government has kept delaying and has yet to issue work visas... We have no choice but to cancel the show," the band said via its Facebook page.
Chthonic had been invited to perform at a festival by pro-democracy Cantopop star Denise Ho (何韻詩), according to Agence France-Presse.
Ho said in a Facebook post that the applications had been filed in November but immigration officials had failed to respond. Hong Kong's immigration website says work visas can take up to four weeks to process, but Ho says musical acts usually obtain approval within a week.
Lim was denied a travel visa to Hong Kong last year, according to AFP.
A series of new regulations will come into force across Taiwan on Jan. 1, 2019.
These include higher monthly and hourly minimum wages, greater patient autonomy in health care, and more stringent rules for reporting traffic violations.
The monthly minimum wage in Taiwan will be increased from NT$22,000 to NT$23,100 (US$750), while the hourly minimum wage will be increased by from NT$140 to NT$150 (US$4.87).
The wage increases are expected to involve about 1.8 million employees, mostly Taiwanese but also some migrant workers.
Meanwhile, in terms of National Health Insurance premiums, which are calculated as a proportion of income, some people will see a decrease of about NT$10 (US$0.32) per month, while others will see an increase of NT$5-10.
Also, Taiwan will be the first country in Asia to implement a "Patient Right to Autonomy Act." This will stipulate respect for patient autonomy in health care, including clear definitions of patient rights on the termination of life-sustaining treatment, as well as artificial nutrition and hydration.
The Taipei health authority is warning MRT passengers of potential contact with measles.
Authorities said yesterday that a baby infected with measles traveled on the Wenhu Line during the Dec. 13-15 period and they are encouraging anyone who took the metro during that time to pay close attention to any indication of measles symptoms for up to 18 days.
The patient was identified as an 11-month infant residing in Taipei, who was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Saturday as an imported case of measles contracted in the Philippines.
The Taipei City Department of Health says the measles in the child would have been communicable from Dec. 13-21.
Meanwhile, the CDC is urging people to refrain from traveling to measles-infected areas with children under the age of one, warning the disease is highly communicable.
The government plans to subsidize the installation of scooter braking systems.
The acting minister of transportation said either anti-lock or combined braking systems for motorbikes and scooters with 125cc engines or smaller will be eligible starting next year.
The ministry is expected to provide a subsidy of NT$4,000 (US$130) toward the installation of ABS or NT$1,000 (US$32.50) for CBS, on new or old motorbikes.
The subsidies will cover almost half the installation cost of the braking systems estimated at NT$2,000-$8,000 per unit.
However, new motorbike models with engines that are 126 cc or larger must have ABS installed and are not eligible for the subsidies.
The plan was drafted after the ministry amended a regulation earlier this month mandating that new scooter models released on the domestic market must be installed with ABS or CBS beginning Jan. 1, 2019, sparking controversy over the cost.
An official opening ceremony was held for the Green Mountain Line of the Danhai Light Rail Transit system in New Taipei Sunday, with operations to start Monday.
The New Taipei Metro Corp. says operations will include a month-long toll-free period for the public.
The ceremony included a concert and acrobatic performance, while also showcasing installation art works at the stations.
At 5:00 p.m. New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and other officials boarded the first light rail train to depart from Tamsui District Office Station.
The 7.3-km line, the first phase of the four-line light rail system, links 11 stations between Taipei metro's Hongshulin Station and Kanding Station, including seven overhead stops and four ground level stops.
All the stations are decorated with public art work by Taiwanese artist Jimmy, and the cars are painted light blue with large windows for easy sightseeing.
The tram will operate every day from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at intervals of 15 minutes, with fares ranging from NT$20 to NT$25.
The tram system will also accept the NT$1,280 (US$41.50) 30-day unlimited ridership cards.
Incoming Kaohsiung officials claim Austrian-American actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is to visit Kaohsiung in March 2019.
Pan Heng-hsu (潘恆旭), appointed by Kaohsiung Mayor-Elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to take over the Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau on Dec. 25, revealed that Schwarzenegger has agreed in principle to come to the southern port city, but specific details still need to discussed.
According to an ET Today online report Saturday, during his trip Schwarzenegger will make a speech on a topic related to the film industry and politics.
The speech will likely include experience that can be shared with the residents of Kaohsiung.
Born in 1947, the Austrian-American actor gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon after his breakthrough leading role in the sword-and-sorcery film Conan the Barbarian in 1982.
Schwarzenegger was governor of California from 2003-2011, where he demonstrated much concern for environmental issues.
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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