New Education Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) says he hopes to settle the dispute over the selection of a new National Taiwan University (NTU) president over the next one to two months.

Speaking to reporters following his swearing-in ceremony, Yeh described the timeframe as a "golden period for handling the dispute" and said he is seeking talks with the university on the matter.

According to Yeh, although NTU has retained a lawyer to settle the dispute surrounding the education ministry's refusal to approve the appointment of Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), he believes legal proceedings could be time-consuming and should be avoided.

The minister says the education ministry has requested that NTU restart the process to select a new president, citing flaws in Kuan's selection and leaving the vacancy unfilled for too long will harm the university's development.

Yeh is also insisting the request to hold new elections was issued based on the government's respect for university autonomy.

Controversy over Kuan's selection has already resulted in the resignation of two education ministers since May.

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) recorded losses of NT$24 billion in the first half of the year, making it the only one of four state-run enterprises operated under the Ministry of Economic Affairs to see a decline in revenue.

Taipower is attributing the losses to higher fuel prices and the company's being forced to increase its electricity output from natural gas generators in accordance with the government's air pollution control and coal-reduction policies.

The company had a a deficit of NT$7.1 billion in the same period of last year.

The other three state-operated companies Taiwan Sugar, Taiwan Water Corporation, and oil refiner CPC all saw profits in first half of this year.

Data shows that CPC generated NT$29.4 billion in pretax profit. Taiwan Sugar recorded a pretax profit of NT$3.3 billion, while Taiwan Water made a pretax profit of NT$222 million in the first half of this year.

The Taiwan Sports Lottery says it saw record-breaking sales during the just concluded FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The company says its generated NT$7 billion in sales from the soccer tournament and bets exceeded NT$400 million per game in the semifinals. Sunday's final between France and Croatia saw a record NT$850 million in sales.

Some of the biggest winners included a Taichung resident who spent NT$5,000 and won NT$1.17 million, and a Tainan resident who bet NT$100 on the final and won NT$13,000.


Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG

A bettor at Taiwan's first computerized lottery, January 16, 2002.

Ticket sales also broke the Lottery's own record for any individual sporting event set in 2014, when sales from that year’s World Cup totaled NT$2.4 billion.

The company is now expected to inject NT$700 million into a sports development fund.

New National Palace Museum Director Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) has assumed his post, replacing outgoing director Lin Jeng-yi (林正儀).

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the 71-year old joked that he "feels comfortable" taking the position as he himself is "like a historic relic."

Chen also outlined his vision of turning the museum into a Taiwan-centric establishment, saying he will try to help people who believe in localization accept the concept that the museum belongs to Taiwan and will try to "minimize all related disputes."

According to Chen, the items housed at the museum are not a result of looting, and even if visitors cannot get to know Taiwan better from the exhibits "it will not diminish respect for ancient culture."

He also promised to continue to upgrade both the Taipei facility and its southern branch in Chiayi County and to help promote Taiwan's tourism.

Chen previously served as head of the Council of Cultural Affairs.

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) is visiting the United States this week to boost policy communications between the two countries and to seek US support for Taiwan's cross-strait policy.

Chen will give a keynote speech on cross-strait ties at a seminar co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and will also meet US officials and think tank members. It will be the ninth seminar jointly held by the Mainland Affairs Council and the Washington-based think tank.

The council says the visit comes at a time when the US needs a better understanding of Taiwan's policy direction.

Chen is the first Mainland Affairs Council minister to visit the US since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May of 2016.

StarLux Airlines (星宇航空) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to purchase 17 A350 XWB aircraft.

The deal has been valued at US$6 billion (NT$183.3 billion) and was announced by Starlux founder and chairman Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) at the Farnborough Airshow in England.

The order includes 12 A350-1000s and five A350-900s, which are scheduled to be delivered to Starlux beginning in late 2021.

The airline is currently being reviewed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration and is set to start operations in early 2020.

Chang was chairman of EVA Airways from 2013 to 2016, but was ousted in a battle over control of the company following the death of his father, Evergreen Group founder Chang Yung-fa (張榮發).

President Tsai is touting the Changhua County government for its achievements in promoting green energy.

Speaking during a visit to voice support for County Magistrate Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷), Tsai said Changhua is thought to have the greatest green energy capacity of any of Taiwan's cities and counties because of its ample wind resources and sunshine.

The president also encouraged the county government to continue efforts to pass on its experience in the field to other countries and to let people around the world know the value of green energy.

Taipower has signed a letter of intent with the county to invest NT$200 billion in offshore wind power farms.

Taiwan currently has 36 offshore wind farms, of which 21 are in Changhua County.

Kinmen County has been officially recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as being free of foot-and-mouth disease with the use of vaccines.

Council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) presented Kinmen County Magistrate Chen Fu-hai (陳福海) with the OIE certificate showing that the outlying island was no longer a foot-and-mouth disease threat at a ceremony at Kinmen County Hall.

Lin first received the accreditation on behalf of Kinmen during the 86th OIE General Session in Paris in May.

Speaking during the ceremony on Kinmen, Lin praised the offshore county for achieving foot-and-mouth-free status, saying it shows that its control efforts are in accordance with global standards.

Taiwan proper, Penghu and Matsu were officially given the "foot-and-mouth-disease-free with vaccination" designation by the OIE last year.

Former Estonia President Toomas Henrik Ilves will visit Taiwan this week to attend the Digital Innovation Forum 2018.

Estonia is recognized as one of the world's leaders in digitization.

The APEC Business Advisory Council-sponsored forum, which is jointly organized by Taiwan and Papua New Guinea, will take place this Thursday and Friday at the Taipei International Convention Center.

The event will focus on artificial intelligence, scientific and financial technology, and digital innovation.

Ilves will be among 36 speakers at the forum, which also include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Organizers say the event is expected to attract more than 1,000 people from 21 member APEC economies.

Ship builder CSBC has won a contract from the Coast Guard Administration to build 15 100-ton patrol vessels, with a bid of NT$2.8 billion.

According to the administration, the term of the contract started July 14 and will end October 31, 2023, with the first patrol boat slated to be delivered by the end of 2020.

CSBC says it plans to build the vessels at its factory in Keelung and construction is scheduled to be fully completed by the October 2023 deadline. The ship builder also says it hopes to transform the Keelung yard into a facility dedicated to building vessels for official or military use.

The Navy is also likely to roll out several construction projects this year and CSBC says it will participate in those projects in support of the government's national defense policy.

The Taoyuan Metro Corporation will cut ticket prices for all journeys on the airport MRT between Taipei and Taoyuan by NT$10 from October.

According to Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), the price cut will be introduced on October 1 and it is hoped it will boost ridership, as previous promotional campaigns have seen a positive response.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Taoyuan Airport MRT express platform at Taipei Main Station.

The Taoyuan mayor says the service has made a profit since it began operations in March of 2017 and the company now wants to give something back to its customers.

The metro corporation says daily ridership reached an average of 61,000 passengers during the first six months of this year, up by between 8 and 9 percent from last year.

Existing campaigns, including a 20 percent discount for residents of Taoyuan and transfer discounts, will continue.

The current price from Taipei Main Station to the airport terminal stations is NT$160.

The Industrial Technology Research Institute has signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on responses to toxic chemical disasters with Japan's Maritime Disaster Prevention Center.

According to the Environmental Protection Administration, the agreement will help promote exchanges of ground and sea rescue expertise, strengthen toxic chemical disaster response capabilities, and improve both sides handling of pollution accidents.

The Industrial Technology Research Institute established Taiwan's first Emergency Response Information Center in 1996 to deal with toxic chemical disasters.

Sixteen-year-old Taiwanese tennis player Tseng Chun-hsin (曾俊欣) is planning to turn professional after winning the boy's singles title at Wimbledon this past weekend.

Tseng won the French Open boys singles title last month. Tseng will be looking to make it three consecutive Grand Slam titles next month when he plays in the US Open before heading to the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.

According to Tseng, he plans to join the professional tour next year.

The Tzu Chi Foundation (慈濟基金會) has been awarded the Manhai peace prize in South Korea.

Tzu Chi will receive US$88,000 (NT$2.69 million) on August 12 at the Manhai Festival, which will be held in Inje County in Gangwon Province in South Korea.

Founded in 1966, the Tzu Chi Foundation has helped people in more than 120 countries with emergency relief, education, medical care, and environmental protection. It has also provided famine relief to North Korea nine times since 1997.

The Manhai peace prize was established in memory of Master Manhai, a South Korean Buddhist monk.

In addition to the peace prize, the organizers also honor outstanding figures in the fields of literature and social practices.

The Chiayi Forest District Office says the Alishan National Scenic Area will host a series of events organized around observing the Perseid meteor shower from August 10 through 15.

The Perseids are annual meteor showers associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle and can be observed from the end of July through August every year. The Alishan scenic area, which is 2,000 meters above sea level, is seen as an ideal spot for stargazing as its low light pollution offers great visibility.

The events are being organized jointly with the Chiayi Astronomical Society and will take place at the Xiaoliyuanshan Lookout in the evenings.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海精密) is likely to sign a deal next month with the government of the western Indian state of Maharashtra to build a mobile phones and component plant.

According to Economic Times, Hon Hai executives met with local government officials earlier this month and the plant will be built in special economic zone there.

Reports say Hon Hai Chairman Terry Guo (郭台銘) is scheduled to visit India next month to sign the deal.

Hon Hai first announced plans to invest in Maharashtra in 2015, and the company said it will invest US$5 billion (NT$152.8 billion) to build the plant, which is expected to create 50,000 jobs by 2020.

Hon Hai is already rolling out television sets and both Xiaomi and Nokia branded phones in India.

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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