目前日期文章:20121129 (16)

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One year after a Taiwan envoy pleaded guilty to labor fraud in the United States, another is embroiled in controversy. This time it’s Taipei’s ambassador to Guatemala, Adolfo Sun. He was bashed by women’s groups today after a former staffer recently accused him of suggesting it’s ok to abuse women. 

Ambassador Adolfo Sun’s alleged verbal abuse began in March of 2011. A male secretary named Tsao Sung-mao and a female news staffer named Hu Sheng-fen were arguing over a piece of copy Hu wrote. Tsao thought the quality was poor and threw a file at Hu. Sun stepped in to calm the pair down, but apparently told Hu, quote, “What does it matter if women let men rough them up a bit?” After Hu filed a lawsuit against the secretary, Sun allegedly threatened her by saying, quote, “If you don’t obey, it will hasten your demise. And you’ll never get your pension.” Ambassador Sun denies the accusations, but women’s groups came to the defense of Hu.

Huang Sue-ying
Taiwan Women’s Link
I think it’s unbelievable that a country’s foreign representative could utterly disrespect women and say something that ignores human rights and democratic values. I think if he said such things, he’s not suitable for his position.

Steve Hsia
Foreign Ministry Spokesman

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After the cabinet proposed new debt rules for local governments last week, local leaders became highly protective of their budgets. Today lawmakers joined the fight, arguing for better treatment of their respective districts. 

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin does not want to see local funds dry up. He continued his recent attacks on the cabinet.

Hau Lung-bin
Taipei Mayor
The Ministry of Finance is still unable to provide its formula or the numbers it uses.

Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford ripped into Hau and his local counterparts. Chang asks why localities are spending so much on New Year’s events when they say money is tight.

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Some of Taiwan’s leading television personalities are embroiled in an alleged art scam. They were recruited by suspected fraudster Yan Cheng-de 嚴程德to speak at investors’ meetings in which people were apparently duped into paying big bucks for worthless art. When the allegations against Yan arose, the TV stars said they too were fooled. 

Lai Sian-jheng, a well-known independent stock analyst, was recruited to give a speech offering his analysis of cultural industries. Hosting the event was the company UAN Cultural and Creative. After giving his speech, Lai never thought that he would be investigated as part of an art scam where UAN chairman Yan Cheng-de is accused of raking in NT$500 million. Aside from Lai, other TV personalities ensnared in the case include Tsai Yu-cheng, Ying Nai-ching and Lan Hsuan.

Prosecutors believe that Yan encouraged investors to purchase works by contemporary artists, selling 5,100 paintings and prints. They say he promised that these art investors could sell back their purchases within five years for double the money. Within six months he apparently had duped more than 1,000 investors and earned NT$500 million, even embroiling a number of TV personalities 

Lai Sian-jheng
Independent Stock Analyst
It’s really an unexpected misfortune. I just joined a simple speaking engagement.

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A city in the United Kingdom installed fitness equipment that also generates electricity into one of its parks, keeping the park lit at night and helping people stay in shape. The city hope the idea spreads to other areas to improve the environment and public health. 

Many public parks in the UK have fitness equipment which encourages people to exercise. However, in Hull, this fitness equipment actually generates electricity. 

“It’s fantastic and free of charge and you can just come on it anytime you want to which is great.” 

“It’s really good because you get fit.”

Whether it’s exercising one’s arms or thigh muscles, each piece of fitness equipment can generate electricity. Hull hopes this equipment can generate enough power to meet the needs of public facilities and one day contribute to the power grid. 

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Winter temperatures seem here to stay. The Central Weather Bureau predicts another cold front will arrive tomorrow, keeping conditions cool. But forecasters say Taiwan does not need to worry about a tropical storm that recently formed over the Pacific. 

Rain eased this morning, but not the low temperatures. The Central Weather Bureau expects these conditions to remain through Friday.

Wu Wan-hua
CWB Forecaster
Another weather front will blow in. From the 28th to 30th central Taiwan up north, along with the east and even mountainous areas in the south, could see rain. But it doesn’t seem like that front will cause temperatures as low as this cold air system did.

The bureau predicts wet, cool conditions in the north until the end of the work week. Residents in the south can expect sun. Meanwhile forecasters have detected a tropical storm that formed over the Pacific, 5,000 kilometers from Taiwan. It is named Bopha.

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Recently a Kaohsiung man unwittingly burned himself after sitting next to a heater for an extended period of time. Doctors warn that it’s important to maintain a proper distance and to give the skin frequent breaks from the dry heat produced by heaters. 

Low temperatures have led to an increased use of heaters, but users beware. A male in his 30s went to the doctor because he thought he had an allergic skin reaction on his upper left arm. In fact he burned himself using a heater to the point that red spots had formed.

Liu Jhao-hong
Dermatologist
It’s likely he was near a heat source for a long period of time without wearing much heavy clothing. He was roasted to the point where his arm became red and inflamed.

Doctors say it’s best to stay at least 30 centimeters from a heater and to give the skin a break every half hour.

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A poor showing by domestic films at the recently concluded Golden Horse Awards led a group of opposition lawmakers to call for an end to the event. Today most pulled back from their controversial comments and instead suggested more support for local filmmakers. 

The Golden Horse Awards have become politicized due to the strong performance by Chinese and Hong Kong films. Some opposition lawmakers even called for an end to the local awards ceremony, which sparked a stern rebuke from filmmakers and other supporters.

Wang Jin-pyng
Legislative Speaker
The awards ceremony is well run. Since we only took a few awards, we should try to work a little harder.

Over the past few days, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung had called for a review of the policies supporting domestic films. He says he was improperly targeted as the person who called for an end to the awards ceremony.

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After the finance minister criticized local governments for lavish New Year’s Eve celebrations, today Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin struck back. Hau took exception to the claim that spending money on fireworks is a waste of money, arguing that it brings substantial economic value to the city. 

Fireworks are the highlight of New Year's Eve celebrations throughout Taiwan. And in the past few years, events such as the Taipei 101 fireworks display have attracted lots of public attention.

To welcome in the year 2013, a special French fireworks team has been commissioned for the first time. This team has worked on past displays such as the Eiffel Tower, the Burj Khalifa and the Doha Asian Games. The show is expected to last 188 seconds and cost a whopping NT$30 million.

Michael Liu
Taipei 101 Spokesman 
I think that fireworks are a sort of memory that everyone can share. It’s also a rare festive event that makes everyone happy for a few moments.

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The Financial Supervisory Commission has announced that it’s considering easing rules on day trading to boost low turnover. But some investors think it will have little effect and will simply add more risk. 

After a rebound for two consecutive days, the Taiwan Stock Exchange appeared anemic, rising by just three-tenths of a percentage point. Turnover fell to NT$71.4 billion. This is despite the cabinet’s economic vitalization plan that could permit certain types of day trading.

Investor
The government seems to be doing its utmost with this policy, but it is having little effect. Turnover changed only slightly. Over the long term, I am not bullish. I think it will create more chaos in the market

By allowing certain day trades, investors may be able to make transactions with minimal capital or little cost. However, potential day trading losses can lead to the risk of default when it comes to account settlements, and could adversely affect market stability.

Lo Shu-lei

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Before the Next Media sale took place in Macau, protesters converged outside the Executive Yuan building in Taipei. They worry the deal will give the pro-China businessman Tsai Eng-meng a monopoly over local media. 

Nearly a hundred student activists rallied to form a youth association that opposes media monopolies. Since last night the group has been protesting the proposed sale of Next Media’s Apple Daily, Next Magazine and Next TV to a syndicate that includes the Want Want China Times Group. The group is headed by the controversial businessman and media mogul Tsai Eng-meng.

Student Activist
After the acquisition of Next Media’s newspaper unit is complete, it will constitute a monopoly. One voice will ring out louder than all others, and China will be able to disrupt Taiwan’s media freedom.

The first round of protests ended at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Academics joined the chorus of people calling on the government to keep big business from monopolizing the media. Premier Sean Chen responded.

Sean Chen

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Boracay is a popular place for Taiwanese tourists who are visiting the Philippines. But one couple is complaining about overcharging which took place at seafood restaurant where they paid NT$4,700 for a single lobster. 

Boracay is known for its beautiful beaches and bountiful seafood. Unfortunately, Mr. Ho and his girlfriend were unwittingly duped when they went to a local restaurant that had a sign advertising lobster for the equivalent of NT$128. When they finished their meal, they learned the price was actually NT$128 per 100 grams, meaning their 3.7 kg lobster ultimately cost NT$4,700. Worse yet, the couple didn’t have the cash on them to pay this exorbitant bill and they were soon taken to the local police station.

While many people may be shocked by this news, the reality of the situation is that the price of such lobster at markets in Taiwan may be even more expensive.

Fishmonger
It’s impossible. NT$128 is impossible. Even at a 70 percent discount it would be impossible to cost just NT$120.

Chen Yi-chuan of Taiwan’s Travel Quality Assurance Association reminded tourists to pay more attention when visiting the Boracay Fish Market. He warned that such vendors may deceptively label prices and said it’s important to know just how much you are spending before you commit to a meal.

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Taiwan’s Ang Lee has received one of France’s highest cultural honors. Yesterday he was made an officer in the French National Order of Arts and Letters. During the ceremony, the culture minister praised Lee for communicating touching stories to different cultures around the world. 

The French minister of culture and communication, Aurelie Filipetti, inducted Ang Lee into France’s cultural honor role. She praised Lee for his contribution to globalization and his vision that every individual contains great potential. 

Lee said that as a young person, he was inspired by French film. And in “Life of Pi” he even added a role for revered French actor Gerard Depardieu.

Gerard Depardieu
French Actor 
The chef is not in the book, but it is indeed a very good adaptation.

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Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is standing by his decision to grant himself sweeping powers, despite protests from hundreds of thousands in the capital city of Cairo. Similar protests and unrest have spread throughout major cities as the power grab embroils Egypt’s political system. 

Demonstrators clashed with the police near Tahrir Square and the US embassy. The scene was filled with tear gas and protestors throwing stones and other debris, as many were injured and one fatality was attributed to tear gas.

Protestors filled Tahrir Square both day and night, despite the danger, even setting fire to nearby cars. They have been protesting every since Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi announced last week that the president would be immune to judicial review. This led the square to be inundated by tens of thousands of protestors who camped out and demanded he rescind his expanded powers. 

Protester
We reject any form of dictatorship. We want democracy.

Egypt's second largest city of Alexandria also saw similar violent protests with demonstrators ransacking the headquarters of Morsi’s political party, the Muslim Brotherhood. Files and office furniture were thrown from the balcony of this office as protestors vented their anger. The last thing the protestors want is another dictator after successfully toppling former President Hosni Mubarak.

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As the importance of Songshan Airport grows, the areas surrounding it remain stagnant. Besides a few low-rise apartment buildings, little development is taking place. To raise competiveness, the Civil Aeronautics Administration plans to turn it into an air transit industrial corridor.

Besides the square in front of the airport metro station, the administration wants to develop three plots of land. The administration’s new office will also be built near the airport. Altogether, it comprises over 8 hectares to be developed using the build-operate-transfer model.

Today was the first investment promotion meeting. Eighty-five enterprises sent executives to attend, including Nanshan Life Insurance and Shin Kong Group.

Yeh Kuang-shih
Ministry of Transportation
We forecast that NT$3-400 million will be invested using the BOT model. Our conservative estimate is that it will produce thousands of jobs.

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TransGlobe Life Insurance was the surprise winner in the third auction of insolvent Kuo Hua Life Insurance. The deal includes a government payout of more than NT$88 billion, igniting a fair bit of controversy from lawmakers. 

In August 2009, Kuo Hua Life Insurance was brought under government receivership due to deteriorating asset value. On Tuesday, the government conducted its third auction of the company, with TransGlobe beating out Chinatrust Life Insurance and Mercuries Life Insurance to run the troubled insurer.

Chu Yun-peng
Insurance Stabilization Fund Chairman
We consider the results of the auction to be below market expectations with a final settlement price of NT$88.368 billion.

TransGlobe’s acquisition of Kuo Hua Life Insurance includes a payment of NT$88.4 billion by the government’s Insurance Guaranty Fund, setting a record for the largest government settlement for a troubled financial institution.

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The Next Media sale is finally complete. A consortium led by the Formosa Plastics Group will buy Taiwan’s Apple Daily, Next Magazine and Next TV, pending regulatory approval. Many academics and opposition lawmakers hope that approval never comes, because they worry Chinese money is backing the consortium. A KMT lawmaker calls that concern ungrounded. 

After close to four months, a deal for Next Media was signed in Macau. Contrary to initial reports, it was finished early this morning and not Tuesday afternoon. After the deal was signed, Apple Daily made it headline news. 

Previously there were three buyers for the print and TV units, but a fourth was added to each. Stakes bought by each party also changed.

Originally Tsai Eng-meng was to control 32 percent of Next TV. Instead his share will go to Lee Tai-hung, chairman of the Taiwan Fire and Marine Insurance Co. To comply with Financial Supervisory Commission regulations, Chinatrust Charity Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr. will get only a 20 percent share in the TV and print media units.

The other change is who gets the remaining 14 percent share in the print and TV units: Lung Yen Group Chairman Li Shih-tsung. The five buyers are involved in the food, petrochemical, banking, insurance, mortuary and building industries. Each is highly influential. Opposition lawmakers wonder why they’re interested in media. 

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