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COVID-19: Taiwan reports five new cases, bringing total to 623

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 25 November, 2020
By: Paula Chao

Taiwan has 623 confirmed COVID-19 cases

Taiwan reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This brings the total number of cases Taiwan has recorded so far up to 623.

All five cases are imported. Three of the patients are from Indonesia and the other two come from the Philippines.    [FULL  STORY]

China’s Type 022 Stealth Missile Boat Swarms: The Next Big Threat?

Or do these small warships not really post a threat?

National Interest
Date: November 25, 2020
By: Kris Osborn


Armed with surface-to-air missiles, 30mm guns and even anti-ship missiles, a group of Chinese Type 022 stealth missile boats fired weapons, conducted combat operations and moved in a deliberately threatening way in the South China Sea and near the coast of Taiwan. 

A flotilla of the boats (fast-attack craft that have been in existence since 2004) are trained in “comprehensive attack and defense, air defense and anti-terrorism,” according to a story in the Chinese-government backed Global Times. The war preparations, the report continued, should “serve as a strong deterrent to Taiwan secessionists and forces with ulterior motives in the South China Sea.” 

While referred to as “stealth,” the Type 022 missile boats exhibit many shapes, antennas and protruding structures likely to generate a return radar signature, a configuration which would appear somewhat less stealthy. The 140-ft fast attack craft are built with slightly rounded or curved hull shapes and very few sharp edges on the exterior, yet the boats do operate with a protruding mast and a range of vertical structures easily detectable to enemy radar. 
[FULL  STORY]

Taiwan president denies plans for Cabinet reshuffle

President Tsai praises Premier Su for his handling of coronavirus pandemic

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/11/250
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

President Tsai Ing-wen speaking to reporters at DPP headquarters Nov. 25.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told reporters Wednesday (Nov. 25) there are currently no plans to replace Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), as he and his team have done a good job boosting the economy amid the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Following a protest last weekend against the government’s decision to allow the import of American pork treated with the leanness-inducing drug ractopamine beginning Jan. 1, reports began circulating that Su, 73, might be asked to leave the position he has held since January 2019. He has been unable to present his latest government report at the Legislative Yuan due to a persistent boycott by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).    [FULL  STORY]

Parents of woman killed by drunk driver in Seoul call for harsher penalties

Focus Taiwan
Date: 11/25/2020
By: Chiang I-ching, Liao Yu-yang, and Chiang Yi-ching

Elaine Tseng (left) and her father Tseng Kin-fui. Photo courtesy of Tseng Kin-fui

Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) The parents of a 28-year-old woman who was killed earlier this month by a drunk driver in Seoul, are calling for the South Korean government to introduce harsher penalties for those who drive under the influence.

The woman, Elaine Tseng (曾以琳), was a PhD student at Torch Trinity Graduate University in the capital city. On Nov. 6, she was hit and killed by a drunk driver who ran a red light, when walking home from a professor's home.

Distraught, her parents and a South Korean friend of Elaine's have launched a petition on the presidential office website Cheong Wa Dae, calling for harsher penalties for people driving under the influence of alcohol.

In the petition, Elaine's friend describes her as a person who worked hard to realize her goals, despite encountering difficulties living abroad.    [FULL  STORY]

Bridge fell due to corrosion, lack of inspection

Taipei Times
Date: Nov 26, 2020
By: Shelley Shan / Staff reporter

Taiwan Transportation Safety Board senior investigator Wang Hsing-chung in Taipei yesterday explains the board’s report on the collapse of the Nanfangao Bridge in Yilan County’s Suao Township on Oct.1 last year.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Severe corrosion of stranded steel wires and a lack of inspections necessary for special bridges were the main reasons leading to the collapse of the Nanfangao Bridge (南方澳大橋) in Yilan County’s Port of Suao on Oct. 1 last year, an investigation by the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board showed yesterday.

The accident killed six people, injured 13 and damaged three fishing vessels moored under the bridge.

The board spent about one year investigating the cause of the accident before publishing the final report yesterday.

The bridge was at a fishing harbor, which made it susceptible to salt and humidity, the report said.
[FULL  STORY]

Mullet roe production at the mercy of warmer winter temperature

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 24 November, 2020
By: Leslie Liao

Mullet roe production in Taiwan may hit a snag…

Tis’ the season for a Taiwanese delicacy. Mullet roe is a favorite during the winter months, especially during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday. However, a warmer winter may hamper yearly production.

A torrent of caught fish falls out the back of a truck like a waterfall. These are mullets and, no, we don’t mean the hairdo. Mullets are being harvested this time of year, not for their meat, but for their eggs. That’s because cured mullet roe is a favorite among Taiwanese during this time of year. 

However, mullet roe producers are biting their nails. That’s because Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau has forecasted that the temperature in the coming weeks could break 30 degrees Celsius. Warmer temperatures spell trouble for  the mullet roe industry.     [FULL  STORY]

How milk tea boiled into a Pan-Asian alliance

Diplomatic Courier
Date: November 24, 2020
By: Dai Wei Tsang


t began like any internet fight. Vachirawat “Bright” Cheeva-aree, a popular Thai actor of American and Chinese descent, liked a tweet of an image that labeled Hong Kong as a country in April 2020. Chinese netizens dug up his girlfriend’s Instagram profile, and interpreted one of her earlier posts as support for Taiwan’s independence. When they began a round of internet bullying, Bright’s Thai fans rallied to the couple’s defense, and insults soon shifted from the personal to the national. What could have been a pedestrian squabble instead evolved into geopolitical flame war across multiple social media platforms under the hashtag “Milk Tea Alliance”, with the potential to develop into a pan-Asian call for reform. How did this snowball when other hashtags died?

The origin of the term “Milk Tea Alliance” is hard to trace, but easy to explain. In Asia, tea is the social beverage. Thailand has the brightly-colored Cha Nom Yen, Taiwan is famous for boba tea, Hong Kong makes its own with silk stockings, and India’s masala chai is as spicy as it is loved. Malaysia pulls its Teh Tarik in long pours, while Xinjiang, Mongolia and Tibet make buttery versions under the names of Sut Chai, Suutei Tsai, and Cha Süma. Across East Asia and Southeast Asia, each region possesses their unique version of milk tea, and all are connected in some way by history, ethnicity, or geography.

The term has become a shorthand for an online kinship shared across borders by a young, social, and disgruntled audience in Asia. Before the term started trending, members of this audience already had much in common. They shared the same worries about steep economic competition, a cynicism against ruling elites, and memories of life under authoritarian rule. They share the same pop culture “canon” based on popular TV shows translated into different languages, and in a region where multilingualism is the norm, translate memes and news for each other. Having grown up during the social media explosion, each person also tends to own an account on different platforms, and their real-life opinions flow into their online presence. All of these factors have combined to create a powerful in-group identity that transcends national and linguistic borders.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan and Thailand lead way in post-pandemic travel recovery: Agoda

Planned Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble should inspire more locations

Taiwan News
Date: 2.020/11/24
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Taipei City’s version of Thailand’s Loy Krathong Festival Sunday Nov. 22  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan, Thailand, and increasingly, Vietnam are showing the strongest recovery in the travel sector as most of the rest of the world continues to suffer under the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to online travel platform Agoda.

Travel is recovering faster in Asia than in the West, but most of it is domestic and in countries where “they really have the best control over COVID,” John Brown, chief executive of the Booking Holdings subsidiary, told CNBC.

While many Asian countries still have international travel bans — or at least tough restrictions — in place, their domestic travel businesses have been doing even better than the previous year, Brown said.

The Agoda executive pinned his hopes on the launch of travel bubbles, even though the highest-profile example, between Singapore and Hong Kong, was postponed for two weeks due to a surge in infections in the latter.    [FULL  STORY]

CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan can buy COVID-19 vaccines for 10-50% of population through COVAX

Focus Taiwan
Date: 11/24/2020
By: Chang Ming-hsuan and Chiang Yi-ching


CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang. CNA photo Nov. 24, 2020

Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Taiwan can procure COVID-19 vaccines for 10-50 percent of the country's population through the COVAX allocation platform, a top Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) official said on Tuesday, although he declined to give the specific amount that Taiwan plans to buy.

Under a deal Taiwan signed with COVAX in September, Taiwan will purchase at least enough doses to vaccinate 10 percent of the population, which amounts to around 2.3 million people, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press briefing.

COVAX is a global vaccine allocation plan through which countries can sign up to purchase COVID-19 vaccines. The project's aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of the vaccines, as well as guarantee fair and equitable access to the vaccines in every country.

Currently, three vaccines developed by international companies have been confirmed to be on COVAX's portfolio, according to Chuang.    [FULL  STORY]

Stocks of flu shots dwindle

Taipei Times
Date: Nov 25, 2020
By: Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: CNA

People eligible for government-funded influenza vaccines should get their shot as soon as possible, as more than 90 percent of the doses procured for this flu season have been used and fewer than 300,000 remain, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that 39,676 hospital visits for flu-like illness were reported last week, about 1.3 percent more than the previous week.

However, while the weekly case numbers are rising, they are still lower than the 72,428 visits in the same week last year, Guo said.

Among clustered respiratory infections and flu-like illness reported in the past four weeks, 14 clusters were caused by respiratory syncytial virus infections, he said.    [FULL  STORY]