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U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative gets off the ground Saturday

Focus Taiwan
Date: 1/14/2021
By: Emerson Lim and Chen Yun-yu

(CNA) A United States-Taiwan Education Initiative that was introduced late last year will kick off Jan. 16 with a symposium on Chinese language teaching, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.

The symposium, co-hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (FSE), will be held at Taipei International Convention Center, Douglas Hsu (徐佑典), head of MOFA's North American Affairs Department, said at a regular press briefing Thursday.

The FSE, also known as Fulbright Taiwan, is one of the 49 bilateral organizations in the world established to manage the U.S.' flagship educational exchange program Fulbright.

Saturday's symposium will be attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), officials from the Ministry of Education and the Overseas Community Affairs Council, and AIT Director Brent Christensen, Hsu said  [FULL  STORY]

Help promised for Taiwanese if ailed by Chinese vaccine

Taipei- Times
Date: Jan 15, 2021
By: Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan would provide medical assistance to people if complications arise from taking Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

Deputy MAC Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) made the remarks in response to media queries amid reports that China-based Taiwanese businesspeople were +facing pressure from Beijing to be vaccinated for free under its program.

“No Taiwanese businesspeople wanted to get that vaccine,” a source told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on condition of anonymity. “China makes forms that Taiwanese businesspeople have to fill out. After they fill out the form, it half-forces them to take the Chinese vaccine.”

The council is “paying close attention” to the situation and would ensure that Taiwanese receive medical care should their health be compromised in China, Chiu said.    [FULL  STORY]

National Immigration Agency extends foreigners’ visas for 7th time

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 13 January, 20211
By: Stas Butler\

The National Immigration Agency said on Wednesday that the new extension is aimed at preventing COVID-19 transmission by people flying in and out of the country.

Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency has announced it is extending foreigners’ visas for the seventh time in the past six months. All foreigners who arrived in Taiwan on or before March 21 and have not already overstayed their visa will receive an automatic 30-day extension.

Under normal circumstances, the maximum length of stay without a resident visa is 180 days.[FULL  STORY]

Taiwan man blows 783 bubbles inside of larger bubble for world record

Date: JAN. 13, 20210
By: Ben Hooper

Jan. 13 (UPI) — A soap bubble master in Taiwan broke a Guinness World Record by blowing 783 bubbles inside of a much larger bubble.

Guinness said Chang Yu-Te filled a large bubble with 783 smaller bubbles during an attempt in Taoyuan.

The feat earned Chang the record for most soap bubbles blown inside one larger bubble. The record-keeping organization shared video of Chang using a large bubble wand to control the larger bubble while he blew the smaller bubbles from the side.

Chang previously set the Guinness record for most bounces of a soap bubble.   [SOURCE]

Taiwan to increase monitoring of Meishan Fault

Seismologist says interval between quakes in 1792 and 1906 indicates need for increased vigilance

Taiwan News
Date: 2021/01/130
By: George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

(National Chung Cheng University photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — About 100 earthquake sensors have been embedded in Gukeng Township in Yunlin County and Meishan Township in Chiayi County to monitor the Meishan Fault, as it has not caused any earthquakes stronger than a magnitude seven on the Richter scale in over a century, arousing the suspicion of seismologists.

Wen Strong (温士忠), associate professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, said that historical data showed that disastrous earthquakes in Taiwan’s southwest in 1792 and 1906 were both related to ruptures of the Meishan Fault, CNA reported. Therefore, Wen said the Meishan Fault has a recurrence interval of about 110 years.    [FULL  STORY]

CORONAVIRUS/Japan tightens border controls to include Taiwan

Focus Taiwan
Date: 01/13/2021
By: Yang Ming-chu and Lee Hsin-Yin

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Tokyo, Jan. 13 (CNA) The Japanese government will tighten its border restrictions with effect from Thursday, temporarily banning the entry of visitors from all countries, including Taiwan, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Wednesday.

A month-long state of emergency in Tokyo, which was imposed to tackle the COVID-19 situation, will be expanded to other parts of the country, and Japan will close its borders Jan. 14 to Feb. 7 to all non-residents, Suga said.    [FULL  STORY]

More sites locally infected cases visited are disclosed

ALLEVIATING FEARS: The CECC would only announce public places where it is difficult to identify everyone there at the same time as the couple, minister Chen said

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 14, 2021
By: Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan, right, answers questions from reporters in the city yesterday about a telephone discussion he had with Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung.
Photo: Hsieh Wu-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced six places where two locally infected COVID-19 cases had visited between Thursday last week and Sunday, urging people who had been at the places at the same time to monitor their health.

The couple, cases 838, a doctor, and 839, his nurse girlfriend, were reported by the center on Tuesday.

The doctor had treated a patient with COVID-19 last week before he began suffering symptoms on Friday, while the nurse began suffering symptoms on Saturday.

They work in the same hospital in northern Taiwan, but the nurse had not worked with COVID-19 patients, so she was likely to have been infected by her boyfriend, the center said on Tuesday.    [FULL  STORY]

VIDEO: Public urged to join foster family program to help children in need

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 12 January, 2021
By: Paula Chao

Taiwan Fund for Children and Families is calling on the public to join its foster family program to help children in need.

Taiwan Fund for Children and Families is calling on the public to join its foster family program to help children in need. The NGO said over 500 children need a foster family each year but only around 100 households are able to shelter them.

It’s been 40 years since Taiwan Fund for Children and Families began offering foster family services to those in need. As of last autumn, about 4,500 households have joined the program, offering foster care to 55,000 children.

The two sisters, surnamed Ma, have opened their homes to more than 80 children over the past few decades. The elder sister, who is 69 years old, says she loves it and has no plans to retire.

Taiwan ‘Closely Monitoring’ Chinese Military Exercises Ahead of U.S. Official Visit

Date: 1/12/21
By: John Feng

Taiwan's defense ministry says it is "closely monitoring" Chinese military activities around the island after the People's Liberation Army conducted a series of live-fire drills ahead of a high-profile visit to Taipei by a Trump administration official.

United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft is scheduled to spend three days meeting Taiwanese officials—including Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and foreign minister Joseph Wu—between January 13 and 15, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou told Newsweek on Friday.

Craft will become the first serving U.S. representative to the U.N. to visit Taiwan since Taipei's withdrawal from the international body in 1971, Ou noted.

Major media outlets in Taiwan, however, have focused on a pair of "pincer-like" military exercises conducted north and south of the island. PLA Navy warships fired missiles during drills in the East China Sea, while the Chinese army trained troops in island assault operations off the coast of Fujian province—nearest to Taiwan—China's state broadcaster CCTV reported Monday.    [FULL  STORY]

Low temperatures wreck wax apple harvest in South Taiwan

Farmers unlikely to qualify for insurance payments

Taiwan News
Date: 2021/01/12
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Premier Su Tseng-chang (second from left) inspects damaged wax apples in Pingtung (CNA, Executive Yuan photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — This year’s wax apple harvest in Pingtung County is turning into a disaster due to recent low temperatures, reports said Tuesday (Jan. 12).

While residents of north Taiwan raced into the mountains for a rare opportunity to admire snowfall, further south the spell of cold weather inflicted considerable damage on agricultural produce, UDN reported.

The Pingtung County township of Linbian, famous for its wax apples and known as “the home of the black pearl,” accounted for almost half of the NT$70 million (US$2.49 million) of damage recorded by the region’s wax apple sector.

Total damage was expected to surge to more than NT$100 million, as more fruit was expected to fall out of the trees, making them unsuitable for consumption. At the origin of the problem was the rapid change in temperature, with first the cold and then a spot of sunlight causing the fruit to split and fall off the trees.    [FULL  STORY]