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Premier outlines priorities for New Year

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 2018-02-17

Premier William Lai has outlined the government’s priorities for the new lunar year.

On Saturday, the second day of the Lunar New Year, Lai traveled to the southern city of

Premier William Lai (front, second from left) traveled Saturday to the southern city of Tainan, where he served as mayor prior to taking up his current post. (Photo by CNA)

Tainan, where he served as mayor before accepting the post of premier. There, he celebrated the New Year by handing out red envelopes to members of the public and traveling to a temple to pray.

During his visit, Lai said that the government’s chief responsibility this year will be to develop the economy and strengthen Taiwan. Lai said that in the past, the government focused on the north of Taiwan and paid less attention to the south. In addition to balancing its focus between north and south, Lai said the government must now work to balance Taiwan as whole.
[FULL  STORY]

Cashing Out: E-Payments Advance in Malaysia, Taiwan & Singapore

China may be ahead in the mobile payment game, but these countries are starting to catch up.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/02/17
By: Edwin Yapp

While some New Year traditions have evolved over the years, one constant remains

20150218 red envelopePhoto Credit:george ruiz @Flickr CC BY 2.0
WeChat pioneered the technique of driving mobile payments through digital cash giveaways at Chinese New Year.

timeless – the age-old practice of giving and receiving of hongbaos (red packets).

The mechanism for doing so is evolving as innovative companies follow the success of WeChat in China by pushing the idea of giving hongbaos digitally instead of stuffing physical red packets full of cash. Expect tech startups across the region to promote these types of rewards as they attempt to push boundaries in cashless payments and mobile wallets.

The ultimate goal isn’t to give away money, but to displace cash altogether by giving consumers an easier way to make financial transactions on a daily basis.

They also offer more value-added services, including ties to loyalty cards, transferring and receiving money between users and bank accounts, and splitting bills, to name just a few.    [FULL  STORY]

President Tsai starts Lunar New Year tour in Taitung

Taiwan’s president became the first to begin a Lunar New Year tour in the south-east as she offered solidarity with Hualien and positive thoughts on the economy and cross-straits relations in her New Year’s Address

Taiwan News 
Date: 2018/02/17
By: David Spencer, Taiwan News, Contributing Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) broke with tradition

Tsai visiting a temple. (By Wikimedia Commons)

yesterday by becoming the first President to start their New Year’s tour of the country in Taitung.

The President will be traveling across the country over the next three days to hand out red envelopes. And she became the first President to begin the tour in the south-east of the country, with Taitung’s Tianhou Temple () her first stop.

A large crowd estimated at more than 4,000 queued to receive New Year’s greetings from the President along with a red envelope. The envelopes, which each contain a single NT$1 coin, are meant to symbolize good fortune for the year ahead.
[FULL  STORY]

Cold front to hit Taiwan Feb. 20

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2018/02/17
By: Chang Ming-hsuan and S.C. Chang

Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) Partly cloudy and warm weather will continue Sunday through probably the following day, although a new cold front is forecast to hit Taiwan the day after that, weathermen said Saturday.

Lee Meng-hsuan (李孟軒), a forecaster at the Central Weather Bureau, said that as the northeasterly wind mitigates, Sunday and Monday could be partly cloudy, with temperatures ranging between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius.

On Tuesday, however, the seasonal wind is expected to strengthen, bringing with it a cold air mass and the possibility of rain that will affect the northern and eastern parts of the country, he said.    [FULL  STORY]

Chunghwa Post issues fifth Year of Dog stamps

NEW YEAR WISHES: This year’s set features three designs, including one of a golden dog to symbolize the departure of the old and the arrival of good fortune

Taipei Times
Date: Feb 18, 2018
By: Chen Yi-chia  /  Staff reporter

While many look forward to the Lunar New Year holiday as a time for feasting and gift-

An undated photo shows stamps issued by Chunghwa Post this year marking the Year of the Dog.  Photo courtesy of Chunghwa Post

giving, philatelists welcome its advent as a chance to collect Chunghwa Post’s annual Chinese zodiac stamp collection, with this year’s issue celebrating the Year of the Dog.

“It has become a trend for countries around the world to roll out stamps featuring the year’s Chinese zodiac sign,” Chunghwa Post stamp collection division director Chien Liang-lin (簡良璘) said.

Aside from Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, where the Chinese zodiac signs are deeply rooted in their culture, culturally diverse nations like the US, Canada and France have also printed stamps depicting the animal signs, Chien said.

In Taiwan, the first Chinese zodiac-themed stamp set was issued in 1968, which was the Year of the Rooster.    [FULL  STORY]

VP Chen visits quake victims in Hualien

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 2018-02-16

Vice President Chen Chien-jen visited victims of the recent earthquake in Hualien on

Vice President Chen (middle) visits quake victims in Hualien on the first day of the Year of the Dog. (CNA photo)

Friday on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen. President Tsai wanted to express her concern for the victims and how they were doing on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Victims have already left shelters to stay at hotels or hostels. On the first day of the New Year, Vice President Chen paid a visit and brought a meal of sticky rice to many quake victims, one by one.    [FULL  STORY]

Literature Award for Migrants Showcases Stories from a Growing Community

Since 2014, the award has been encouraging these foreign-born groups to express themselves in their mother tongues, an effort that has also allowed the Taiwanese people to learn more about these cultures and stories.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/02/16
By: GlobalVoices 全球之聲

In Taiwan, the population of foreign workers and immigrants has been on the rise in

Photo Credit:張正提供

recent years and constitutes a significant part of Taiwanese society. The total population in Taiwan is about 23 million;the aboriginal population makes up about 2.3 percent of the total and there are also about 720,000 foreign workers serving in the industrial and service sectors in Taiwan. A majority of these workers are from Southeast Asian countries, mainly Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. Over the past 20 years, the number of spouses from Southeast Asia and their children that are settling in Taiwan has grown in size to around 200,000.

Since 2014, the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants has been encouraging these foreign-born groups to express themselves in their mother tongues, an effort that has also allowed the Taiwanese people to learn more about these cultures and stories.
[FULL  STORY]

Young Taiwanese lady claims the first blessings of the year of the Dog in Changhua

The 21 year old college student was the first to plant her incense at the Dajia Renn Lann Temple

Taiwan News 
Date: 2018/02/16
By: Duncan DeAeth, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) –In order to have the extra auspicious distinction of being the

Petitioners rush into a Temple in Taipei, Feb. 15 (By Central News Agency)

very first member of the public to place their incense stick into a temple’s grand ceremonial incense burner, people rushed into temples throughout Taiwan at the stroke of 11:00 p.m, when the Year of the Dog officially began.

It’s been reported that the very first person throughout Taiwan to officially place their incense in the burner, and thus receive their blessings for the year, was a 21 year old college student at the Dajia Renn Lann Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮) in Changhua County.

Petitioners began crowding outside temples throughout the islands on the evening of Feb. 15, the Lunar New Year’s Eve waiting for the chance to wish for the first blessings of the New Year.

At Dajia Renn Lann Temple, the Temple administrators and members first completed their own private ceremonies, and once finished, opened their doors to the waiting public. It has become a tradition for members of the public to rush in and grab a stick of incense as quickly as possible to get the first bit of luck the new year has to offer.
[FULL  STORY]

President Tsai hands out red envelopes Lunar New Year’s day

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2018/02/16
By: Huang Hsu-sheng and Flor Wang

Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday visited Yuhuang Temple in Pingtung City, where she greeted other worshipers and distributed red envelopes in celebration of the Lunar New Year of the Dog.

When Tsai arrived at the temple in southern Taiwan, more than 1,000 people were already waiting in long lines to welcome her.

She was accompanied by Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and several legislators of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

Asked whether she was planning to proceed to her hometown of Fengkang in Pingtung County, Tsai said she would return there sometime after the Lunar New Year holiday when the traffic would be less congested.    [FULL  STORY]

Ministry rebuts US official on status

SYMBOLISM: The ministry defended the nation’s sovereignty and democratic values after a US official said it was not US policy to display the ROC flag on its Web sites

Taipei Times
Date: Feb 17, 2018
By: Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday reiterated that Taiwan’s status as an

US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton says at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday that the removal of the Republic of China flag from several US government Web sites was in line with Washington’s policy.  Photo: Nadia Tsao, Taipei Times

independent, sovereign state is a fact and the “status quo,” after a high-level US Department of State official said the removal of the Republic of China (ROC) flag from several US government Web sites was in line with Washington’s policy.

Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the government would continue to maintain this “status quo” and defend the nation’s democratic values and way of life.

However, Lee said Taiwan-US ties have progressed significantly over the past years thanks to the US’ Taiwan Relations Act, expressing confidence that bilateral relations would only grow stronger.

Lee made the remarks one day after US Senator Marco Rubio asked Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary at the US Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, if she was aware of the disappearance of the ROC flag from the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Web site last month.    [FULL  STORY]