Taiwan News: Super Typhoon Maria Approaches, US Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait

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The Central Weather Bureau could issue a sea warning for Super Typhoon Maria this evening at the earliest, as the storm continues to move towards northern Taiwan.

Maria is located some 1,500 km east of Cape Eluanbi (鵝鑾鼻) at the island's southernmost tip and is moving at 26 km/h in a west-northwesterly direction. The storm is packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 198 km/h, with gusts of up to 244 km/h.

The weather bureau says if the typhoon remains on its current projected path, a sea warning will be issued this evening and forecasters have not ruled out the possibility of issuing a land warning tomorrow morning at the earliest.

According to the latest weather bureau projections, the eye of the storm could clip northern Taiwan early Wednesday morning. However, the bureau says it remains too early to say whether it will make landfall.

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National Development Council (NDC) Deputy Minister Chiu Jun-rong has resigned from his post after he was found to have allegedly taken photographs of a woman's legs with his mobile phone at an MRT station in Taipei.

Chiu has issued an apology over the incident, which he previously said was mistake and claimed he accidentally took the photographs of "a view of the woman's back" while he was trying to make a call to one of his friends.

The incident occurred at the Ximen MRT Station on Saturday.

Chiu says he immediately deleted the photographs and apologized to the woman. However, the official said he was felt obliged to tender his resignation as the incident had caused controversy and affected Cabinet operations.

His resignation has been approved by NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling.

Police in Taipei say the woman reported the incident to them, they are currently reviewing closed-circuit television footage from the MRT station, and they could question Chiu about the incident.

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The Mainland Affairs Council says Beijing should cease overreacting after two US Navy vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait.

According to the council, China should not blame others for its own actions that have "disturbed peace and stability in the region," including conducting military exercises targeting Taiwan and suppressing Taiwan's international space.

The council says those actions have endangered the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, resulting in strong concern from the international community.

The statement comes after China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Liu Jie-yi charged the US with "playing the Taiwan card" against Beijing after two US guided missile destroyers passed through the Taiwan Strait over the weekend. The Chinese official also claimed the US is "damaging the interests of the people of Taiwan and also hurting China's interests."

Washington has described the ship's movements as "a routine voyage that has been carried out for many years."

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recalling six types of drugs used to treat heart disease and hypertension.

The move comes after several countries have recalled anti-hypertensive drugs produced by China's Huahai Pharmaceutical. All the recalled drugs contain valsartan.

The FDA says the move is precautionary measure due to concerns the recalled medicines could contain a chemical classified as a possible carcinogen. Health officials say six products manufactured by Huahai Pharmaceutical are available in Taiwan and they all contain valsartan.

According to the FDA, the recalled products are not widely prescribed in Taiwan and the move will not affect the majority of heart disease patients.

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Representatives of several local governments are attending the 6th biennial World Cities Summit in Singapore.

The event began Sunday and members of Taiwan's delegation are joining hundreds of their international counterparts and business leaders in an exchange of views about city governance.

The summit is focusing on the sustainable development of cities. It offers platforms for policy makers and industry experts to discuss challenges and practices to address environmental issues.

According to Taipei City International Affairs Committee Director Rao Qing-yu, the delegation will be sharing Taiwan's experiences of how data programs to can create a smart city, solve civic problems and expand international networks.

Taiwan's delegation includes New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu, Taoyuan Deputy Mayor Wang Ming-de, Taichung Deputy Mayor Lin Yi-ying, Tainan Acting Mayor Lee Meng-yen and Penghu County Deputy Magistrate Lin Jie-xing.

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The Ministry of Labor has launched a trial program to help stay-at-home women return to the workplace in an effort to boost their participation in the labor force.

Reports say many women here in Taiwan leave the workforce for family reasons such as raising their children, caring for the elderly or people with disabilities, or illness.

The decline in women's labor force participation rates have been particularly apparent in two age groups.

In the 30-34 age group, the rate was 80% at 34 years old, falling from 88.8% at 30 years old.

In the 50-54 age group, the rate was 56% at 54 years old, compared with 69% at 50 years old.

The labor ministry is holding 12 employment workshops to help women return to work, and will be offering a NT$20,000 subsidy for stay-at-home women looking to strengthen their professional skills by taking training courses.

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Deputy Science Minister Su Feng-qing says the Tsai administration is seeking to strengthen cooperation with the UK in the fields of technology, the humanities, and social sciences.

Su headed a delegation to London last week. According to the Taipei Representative Office in London, the delegation met with British Library executives to talk about cooperation in the areas of humanities and social sciences.

The delegation also participated in a bilateral forum with representatives of research institutes sponsored by the newly formed United Kingdom Research Innovation. Discussions were held at the forum on possible cooperation between the two countries in technology research.

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The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) says Taiwan has a little-known presence at the World Cup in Russia, thanks to soccer jerseys made from yarn using recycled PET bottles.

The EPA says at least half of the 32 national teams were wearing the environmentally friendly kit, including England and Belgium, which have made it to the semifinals.

Teams sponsored by the international sportswear brands Adidas and Nike all wore jerseys made using Taiwan techniques.

Administration official Lee Shou-qian says the Taiwanese businesses that produce yarn from recycled PET bottles supplied the material for the production of jerseys worn by at least 16 national teams.

Ten national teams had environmentally friendly ‘made in Taiwan’ jerseys during the last World Cup in Brazil.

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Taiwan's Dai Zi-ying has reaffirmed her place at the top of the world badminton rankings after winning the women's singles title at the Indonesia Open Sunday.

Dai beat China's No. 5 seed Chen Yu-fei in Jakarta to take the title.

The win marked Dai's 29th consecutive career victory and her 5th straight title this year.

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CPC (台灣中油) has increased gasoline and diesel prices at the pump from this morning following a hike in international crude oil prices.

Gasoline prices have increased by NT$0.2 per liter, while diesel prices have been raised by NT$0.3 per liter.

CPC calculates its weekly fuel prices based on a weighted oil price formula made up of 70% Dubai crude and 30% Brent crude.

Under its floating pricing mechanism, the average price per barrel rose US$0.83 this past week to US$75.38. That should have seen the price of 95 unleaded raised to NT$30.8 per liter. However, because of the government's fuel price stabilization mechanism, CPC shoulders 25% of the weekly price increase, while consumers bear the remaining 75%.

Formosa Petrochemical (台塑石化) has also announced similar hikes in gasoline and diesel prices at the pump from this morning.

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Read Next: OPINION: It's Time for Taiwan's Allies to Consider Their Own Taiwan Relations Act

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

TNL Editor: Nick Aspinwall

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