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Number of furloughed workers drop below 20,000

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 10 August, 20208
By: Leslie Liao

Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor is reporting the biggest weekly drop in the number of people on unpaid leave since the pandemic began. The total dipped below 20,000 for the first time since early May. 

The labor ministry says that right now, 734 businesses across Taiwan have 19,458 employees on unpaid leave. That’s a one-week decrease of nearly 400 businesses with workers on furlough, and about 7,600 workers back at work.     [FULL  STORY]

US and Taiwan tout ‘democratic’ effort on virus to China’s chagrin

Beijing plans military drills near the island following Azar's visit

Nikkei Asian Review
Date: August 11, 2020
By: Yu :Nakamura and Alex Fang, Nikkei staff writers

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, speaks as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen looks on in a news conference at the Presidential Office in Taipei on Aug. 10. (Photo courtesy of Central News Agency)

TAIPEI/NEW YORK — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the most senior American official to visit Taiwan in four decades, hailed Taipei's success in containing the coronavirus as "a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan's society and culture."

The comment, made at a press conference Monday, was a thinly veiled jab at mainland China's authoritarian system, which has been blamed for Beijing's hobbled initial response to the outbreak and the lack of information disclosure.

Both Washington and Taipei stressed that the trip by Azar was aimed at strengthening cooperation on fighting the virus. But there are signs that the trip was carefully timed to rankle China as tensions between Beijing and Washington continue to escalate.

"Beijing opposes all interactions between officials from the U.S. and Taiwan, so it is obviously irritated," said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia and director of the China Power Project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The Chinese are particularly on the alert because they think the U.S. may be weakening its commitment to, or even abandoning, its 'One China' policy," she said.    [FULL  STORY]

Iranian man handed 2-year sentence for cheating 4 Taiwanese women out of NT$1.35 million

Iranian posed as Norwegian, Canadian, used fake stories to con Taiwanese women out of over NT$1 million

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/08/10
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Daniel (center). (Taipei Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An Iranian man married to a Taiwanese woman has been convicted of fraud after posing as a Norwegian and Canadian man and conning four single Taiwanese women into lending him over NT$1 million (US$34,000) before "breaking up" with them.

The 43-year-old Iranian national, who has lived in New Taipei City's Xindian District for 15 years after marrying a Taiwanese woman, was found guilty on Monday (Aug. 10) by a Taipei court of fraud and assault. Four Taiwanese women claim that he posed as either a single Norwegian or Canadian man and cheated them out of an estimated NT$1.35 million before breaking off contact.

According to the judgment, the man acquired Taiwanese citizenship in 2012, and in 2016, he began to call himself "Daniel" (Chinese name 江威隆) and presented himself as a citizen of Norway or Canada on the internet. From 2016 to 2017, he started to use dating apps to meet Taiwanese women and used a number of fake stories, such as losing his wallet, suffering from a brain tumor, or needing to send his ailing grandfather back to his home country to trick them into lending him money.

In one case, a 41-year-old woman surnamed Liang (梁), who met and fell in love with the supposed Norwegian through a mobile dating app, was coaxed by the man through sweet talk to lend him hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese dollars. On July 25, 2017, Liang passed through Taipei's Nanchang Park, where the two had dated before, and she saw Daniel chatting with another Taiwanese woman.    [FULL  STORY]

Tropical Storm Mekkhala forecast to gain strength

Focus Taiwan
Date: 08/10/2020
By: Yu Hsiao-han,
Chang Hsiung-feng and Chiang Yi-ching

Image from CWB website

Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) Tropical Storm Mekkhala has intensified since forming on Monday morning and will continue to gain strength as it passes through the Taiwan Strait in the evening and on Tuesday, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

As of 9 p.m., the storm had entered the Taiwan Strait and was located 210 kilometers south-southwest of Penghu, the CWB said.

It was heading north toward Fujian province in China at a speed of 27 km per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 83 kph and with gusts of up to 108 kph, the CWB said.

The Taiwan-held island counties of Kinmen and Penghu, where the storm is forecast to pass over directly, are the only administrative districts in the country that have announced a suspension of class and work.    [FULL  STORY]

Taipei Music Center to become Asian pop music icon: official

Taipei Times
Date: Aug 11, 2020
By: Staff writer, with CNA

Producer and songwriter Kay Huang, left, leads Singaporean actress and singer-songwriter Boon Hui Lu, second left, singer Freda Li, second right, and guitarist Jack Shen of the pop duo MurMurShow on a tour outside the Taipei Music Center yesterday.
Photo: CNA

The soon to be inaugurated Taipei Music Center, which is to hold its opening concert next month, would become a new icon for popular music in Asia, officials said yesterday.

The 8.96-hectare pop music center on Civic Boulevard in Nangang District (南港), which has separate concert and exhibition halls, music classrooms, rehearsal rooms, offices and recording studios, is to be officially launched on Sept. 5, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) told a press conference.

The city envisions the center becoming a venue for pop music performances and the pop music industry, as well as a training center for music artists, Tsai said.

“The center will be like a diamond that lights up the area,” he said.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan sees Tropical Storm Jangmi take shape Sunday morning

Tropical depression intensifies into Taiwan’s fifth tropical storm of year, heavy rain expected until Wednesday

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/08/09
By: Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Typhoon Jangmi to bring heavy rainfall for Taiwan Monday through Wednesday. (CWB photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A tropical depression spawning northeast of the Philippines intensified into Taiwan's fifth tropical storm of the year on Sunday morning (Aug. 9) and is expected to bring plenty of rain across the country starting Monday.

Tropical Storm Jangmi, which means "rose" in Korean, is expected to pass east of Taiwan and reach parts of South Korea and Japan with its current northerly trajectory, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB). This is Taiwan's fifth tropical storm (mild typhoon) of the year and third in August after the country went through its first-ever July without any tropical storms or typhoons in the Pacific.

The current forward speed of Jangmi is 44 km/hr (27 mph) with maximum sustained winds of 65 km/hr (40 mph) and 90 km/hr (56 mph) gusts at center. Although it will likely be weakened by wind shear as it moves south, torrential rain is expected across Taiwan, particularly the southern and central regions, from Monday through Wednesday.

The forecasters pointed out that Tropical Storm Jangmi will not bring severe impacts on Taiwan but reminded citizens to bring an umbrella when going outdoors. They added that the weather should return to hot and sunny on Thursday (Aug. 20) with a chance of sporadic showers in the afternoon.    [FULL  STORY]

CORONAVIRUS/No community outbreak despite positive antibodies in Changhua: CECC

Focus Taiwan
Date: 08/09/2020
By: William Yen

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang chat before the press briefing. CNA photo Aug. 9, 2020

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Despite the emergence of positive cases in an ongoing mass testing program for COVID-19 antibodies in Changhua County, no community outbreak has been seen, the Central Epidemic Command Center said Sunday.

The positive cases reflect the possibility of hidden domestic cases, but also mean that the situation can be controlled as evidenced by the lack of an outbreak of locally transmitted cases, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, at a press conference in Taipei.

Taiwan has not recorded any domestic cases of COVID-19 since April 12, CECC data shows.

"However, no domestic cases does not equate to no risk. What we want is to be in control of the risks," Chen said.    [FULL  STORY]

Post carriers in new uniforms by the end of the year

Taipei Times
Date: Aug 10, 2020
By: Cheng Wei-chi / Staff reporter

Chunghwa Post Co is redesigning the uniforms for 11,000 postal carriers nationwide, and is expected to introduce the new outfits to its employees by the end of this year, the state-run company said.

The carriers’ outfits were last redesigned in 2015, but many employees complained about the clothes’ heaviness in warm weather and a generally poor design, the company said.

The current uniforms are made of durable Tetoron and cotton.

The company has invited employees and outside experts to join discussions on the redesign, Chunghwa Post president Chiang Jui-tang (江瑞堂) said on Saturday.    [FULL  STORY]

VIDEO: International hot air balloon festival takes off despite pandemic

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 07 August, 2020
By: Shirley Lin

Taitung’s hot air balloon festival takes off\

Taitung's hot air balloon festival takes off\[/caption] After being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan’s annual hot air balloon event in Taitung has finally taken off, giving those who have been cooped up indoors because of the pandemic a good excuse to get out and visit the eastern Taiwan county.

The Taiwan International Balloon Festival has been held in Taitung every summer since 2011. The festival has always attracted foreign balloon teams, and there were concerns that it would be cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it was delayed, this year’s festival has finally begun. It will run until August 30.    [FULL  STORY]

Gen. Keane: Azar Taiwan Visit ‘Statement About Our Support’

Retired four-star Army general Jack Keane (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call via AP)

Date: 07 August 2020
By: Theodore Bunker

Home | Newsfront
Tags: China | jack keane | alex azar | taiwan | visit
Gen. Keane: Azar Taiwan Visit ‘Statement About Our Support’
retired general jack keane is seen at the white house
Retired four-star Army general Jack Keane (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call via AP)

United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s upcoming trip to Taiwan sends a “statement” to China about the country’s recent actions, according to Fox News senior strategic analyst Jack Keane.

Azar’s visit, which was announced on Tuesday, marks the first time that a U.S. Cabinet member has traveled to the country in six years, since former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the country in 2014.    [FULL  STORY]