Health costs to rise at three upgraded medical centers
Health costs are set to rise at three newly designated medical centers in Taiwan from March 1, with an increase of NT$180 in outpatient fees and NT$350 for emergency services, according to the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA). The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) announced on February 6 the elevation of three hospitals in northern Taiwan to medical center status: The Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei Medical University Shuang-Ho Hospital, and the National Taiwan University Hospital Hsinchu Branch were upgraded following the 2023 medical center hospital evaluation. NHIA Deputy Director General Parng I-ming expressed concern that the increase in basic outpatient and emergency care charges resulting from the upgrade may impact patients’ willingness to seek treatment. He vowed continuous monitoring and evaluation of the impact on the national health insurance scheme. Following the elevation of these three hospitals, it is estimated that outpatient visits will reach around 10,000 per day, and 500 emergency visits. The MOHW will closely observe potential changes in patients’ willingness to seek care and the impact on health insurance resources.
Taiwan’s voting procedure and polling station rules
As Taiwan approaches its general election on January 13, voters are reminded to bring essential items like their ID, chop, and voter notice. Strict rules at polling stations and a ban on electioneering highlight the importance of adherence to procedures for a smooth election process.
Ministry of Labor: Election day recognized as a holiday
Taiwan is preparing for its national elections on January 13, which has been declared a ＂holiday＂ under the Labor Standards Act. Employers are required to give workers with voting rights a day off and maintain their regular pay. If employers insist on having employees work on election day, they must provide double pay for attendance hours and cannot prevent workers from voting. The elections will determine the 16th President and Vice President of Taiwan, as well as the 11th Legislative Yuan. No additional leave is granted if the voting day falls on a worker’s regular day off. Violations of these regulations may result in fines ranging from NT$20,000 to NT$1 million, in addition to wage compensation. Workers whose rights are compromised can file complaints with the local labor administrative authority.
DPP launches 10-day nationwide campaign trail
DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te and running mate Hsiao Bi-khim have begun their 10-day election campaign trail, which includes 21 large-scale rallies and greeting voters at over 1,000 crossroads across all 22 municipalities in Taiwan. Lai will take three more trips around the island before the election on Jan. 12. The campaign will conclude with joint campaigning in New Taipei and Taipei City.
New agency to speed up drug review process in Taiwan
Taiwan’s health ministry has announced the establishment of the Center for Health Policy and Technology Assessment (CHPTA) with an investment of nearly NT＄200 million from the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA). The CHPTA aims to expedite the review process for newly insured drugs by implementing parallel reviews. Starting from New Year’s Day in 2024, the new system is expected to significantly shorten the time required for reviewing newly insured drugs from an average of 13 months to 6 months. Health Minister Hsueh Jui-yuan emphasized that national health insurance plays a stabilizing role in Taiwanese society and disapproved of major amendments, ruling out the possibility of a ＂third generation health insurance.＂ He also expressed the belief that drug pricing policies under the health insurance system need reform, making the launch of CHPTA a significant reform effort.
Defense Ministry to boost security ahead of Taiwan elections
The Ministry of National Defense in Taiwan is preparing for the upcoming presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 13, 2024, by upgrading its security readiness for 40 hours. This will take place from 5 p.m. on Jan. 12 until 8 a.m. on Jan. 14. Around 5,000 military personnel may not be able to cast their votes, similar to the 2020 general elections. However, the number of naval and air force personnel, 24-hour on-call missile units, and air force operations management on standby is expected to exceed that of 2020. The ministry has ordered its forces to compile rosters for Election Day and implement rotation measures for combat readiness to ensure the voting rights of military personnel. Due to tense military situations caused by periodic crossings of the median line of the strait by People’s Liberation Army vessels and aircraft since August last year, there may be more naval and air force personnel on standby compared to the 2020 presidential election. Typically, soldiers stationed far from their registered residences vote in the morning and then return to their camps before noon to switch with standby soldiers who then go out to vote.
DPP Lai kicks off island-wide campaign to uphold democracy
Lai Ching-te, the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, began a four-day campaign trip in Yilan County, emphasizing Taiwan’s commitment to democracy and opposition to authoritarianism. Lai highlighted the significance of Yilan as the birthplace of Hokkien opera, a traditional drama that has helped promote Taiwan globally. He promised increased support for local culture and discussed his policies aimed at balancing Taiwan’s national development plans and restoring pride to Yilan residents.
Ko Wen-je illegally rented farmland: Hsinchu requires action
The Hsinchu City Government has confirmed that a farmland owned by Taiwan People’s Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je in Hsinchu has been rented out as a parking lot for tour buses. The government has given a 30-day deadline for improvements to be made. Ko has stated that he has contacted other landlords and businesses for car relocation and hopes the land can be restored to its original condition. An inspection has revealed that the farmland is being partially used for non-agricultural purposes. The authorities are demanding correction and restoration for agricultural use within 30 days, with potential fines ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 if not complied with. The Hsinchu City Government is also investigating whether income tax has been paid on the rent collected from the land.
Taipei braces for cold wave, snow in high mountains forecast
A meteorologist predicts a cold front will bring lower temperatures and possible snowfall in high mountain areas of Taiwan. Temperatures in Taipei could drop to 9.5 degrees Celsius, meeting the standard for a cold wave. Areas north of Miaoli County and the Huadong Valley may see temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius. The weather in areas north of Hsinchu and in Yilan will be damp and cold throughout the day. Snowfall is expected in Taipingshan, Lala Mountain, and Shei-Pa National Park, with Yangmingshan possibly experiencing sleet or rain mixed with snow. Mountains over 3,000 meters above sea level in areas north of Taoyuan and at the border of Yilan and Hualien counties may also see snowfall.
Dengue spreads like needle-shared diseases: study
A pivotal study reveals that dengue fever can rapidly spread through a transmission method similar to needle-sharing in infectious diseases like HBV, HCB, and HIV. The study, conducted by Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes in collaboration with the Department of Health and Kaohsiung City Government, analyzed the timing of infections during the 2015 outbreak. They found that in 85% of household cases, symptoms occurred within three days of each other, contradicting the previously believed incubation period for virus transmission. Using animal models, researchers confirmed that when mosquitoes bite an infected animal and then promptly bite another, the virus can transfer via the mosquito’s proboscis, bypassing the once-considered essential eight-day extrinsic incubation period. This finding explains the rapid spread of the 2015 dengue epidemic in Taiwan and raises concerns for the recent spike in cases. The study, published in the esteemed journal eBiomedicine, a Lancet subsidiary, in August 2023, also involved international researchers from the University of California, Nagoya University, Tsinghua University, and National Taiwan University.
Kaohsiung, Japan deepen bond in trade, education, tourism
Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association visited the Kaohsiung City government to discuss enhancing industry, education, and tourism cooperation exchanges with Mayor Chen Chi-Mai. Ohashi emphasized the significance of Kaohsiung in Japan’s relations with Taiwan. Mayor Chen expressed enthusiasm for deeper interactions between Taiwan and Japan, highlighting the crucial role of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry in global supply chain security. He cited the collaboration between Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) in Kaohsiung and Kumamoto, Japan, as an example of potential economic cooperation. Chen described the Taiwan-Japan relationship as a deepening bond, referencing their long-standing friendship and mutual support during crises. Ohashi, who visited Kaohsiung 40 years ago and has maintained connections with past Mayor Chen Chu and Taiwan’s representative to Japan, Frank Hsieh, expressed admiration for Kaohsiung’s recent development. He believes that Japan-Kaohsiung cooperation should extend to the private enterprise level and is hopeful for the future of Japanese-Taiwanese relations. Ohashi frequently speaks at the annual National Day reception at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, advocating for promoting friendly Japan-Taiwan relations as an example for the international community.
’Orange Devils’ return to Taiwan for premiere concert
The renowned Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School Band, also known as the ＂Orange Devils,＂ has returned to Taiwan in December after gaining a fervent fan base. Known for their vibrant and smile-filled performance style, the band made a memorable mark during last year’s National Day celebrations. The ’Orange Devils’ have planned flash mob events and are scheduled to hold their premiere concert at the National Concert Hall in Taipei. The band expressed their happiness about visiting Taiwan and their anticipation of meeting with the Taiwanese audience again. The visit aims to fortify cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Japan, as expressed by Huang Chun-chieh, the General Manager of a Taiwanese food brand. To enhance the band members’ experience in Taiwan, arrangements have been made for them to tour distinctive local scenic spots. Upon their arrival on the evening of December 9, the Kyoto Tachibana High School Band immediately showcased their signature enthusiasm and energy. The visit is expected to entertain their Taiwanese fans and continue strengthening the cultural bridges between the two nations.
’Orange Devils’ land in Taiwan, echo love for island
The Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School marching band, known as the ＂Orange Devils,＂ arrived in Taiwan to a warm welcome at Taoyuan International Airport. Their visit is a testament to the strong ties between Taiwan and Japan, which were first sparked during their performance at the 2022 Taiwan National Day celebration. The band’s invitation this year, alongside Taipei First Girls High School, is an effort to further strengthen cultural bonds, as they are set to participate in the upcoming celebration of TGH’s 120th Anniversary. The visit has been made possible through corporate support, including an invitation from the Kaohsiung City Government for school exchanges and performances. Over the next five days, the Tachibana SHS band will showcase their talent at prestigious venues such as Kaohsiung’s Time Avenue, TAI Urban Resort, New Taipei’s Fuji Grand Hotel, Ximending, and the National Theater & Concert Hall.
NTNU announces record 56-day winter break for students
National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) students are set to enjoy an unprecedented winter break lasting 56 days, from December 25 to February 18, the longest in the institution’s history. This extended vacation period aligns with the academic schedules of several countries, allowing international students to return home for Christmas. Other universities, such as National Taiwan University (NTU) and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech), also begin their winter breaks on December 25. NTU’s break will last until February 6, while Taiwan Tech has added 10 extra days, ending on February 16. During this winter break, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation is offering discounted tickets to university students, with discounts of 50%, 75%, and 88% available from January 4 to January 10. Additionally, there are 28 train services providing tickets at 50% off. The upcoming 2024 presidential election in Taiwan, taking place on January 13, is also on students’ minds, as it coincides with their winter break, potentially facilitating greater voter participation among the youth demographic.
Taichung to host Migrants Day Fest at Science Museum
A multicultural festival celebrating ＂Migrants Day＂ will take place at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung City on December 10. The festival will feature performances, cultural experiences, and a prize drawing event. In an effort to educate immigrants about marriage management, rights in Taiwan, and the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, the National Immigration Agency’s Central Administration Corps organized a family education and legal advocacy event in Taichung on December 6. The event used creative presentations to help diverse couples recognize signs of physical and psychological abuse, stalking, and harassment. Hsieh Liang, chair of the Union of New Immigrants of Taichung City, served as a marriage educator, teaching communication skills and advising against tolerance for violence. Sung Hsin-hui, a violence prevention planner from the Taichung City Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Center, introduced the Domestic Violence Prevention Act and the Stalking and Harassment Prevention Act, as well as reporting procedures and shared case studies. The event provided valuable insights for A Chun, an immigrant from Japan, who gained a correct understanding of family violence and expressed relief that Taiwan’s legal system offers protection to victims. With Taiwan’s immigrant population growing, the NIA aims to foster unity among all ethnic groups and create a welcoming environment for new residents, promoting cultural integration.
Sunny skies grace weekend; sporadic rain in Eastern Taiwan
Stay informed about the changing weather conditions in Taipei. Wu Der-rong, an adjunct associate professor of atmospheric sciences at National Central University, advises dressing warmly due to significant temperature fluctuations between day and night. Layering clothing is important during this period. From Saturday to Monday, expect mostly sunny to cloudy skies with sporadic rainfall in the eastern half of the island. Temperatures will gradually rise and maintain a larger diurnal range. On Tuesday, the northeast monsoon will bring local showers to areas north of Taoyuan and parts of the eastern region, cooling temperatures in northern Taiwan. However, the cold air mass is weak, indicating a limited decrease in temperatures. By Wednesday, the northeast monsoon is expected to weaken, leading to clear skies in western regions and occasional brief showers in the east. Temperatures will rebound. Stay updated with the latest weather reports and be prepared for the changing conditions.
Taipei Dome prevails over critics, declares baseball coach
Taipei Dome proves its resilience during the Asia Baseball Championship, according to veteran baseball coach and legislative candidate Tsai Ming-tang. Despite heavy rains the day before, the indoor game proceeded smoothly, showcasing the Dome as Taiwan’s only international-grade indoor baseball stadium immune to weather disruptions. Tsai praised the venue’s performance and criticized politicians for hindering infrastructure development. He also highlighted the Dome’s potential as a landmark national structure due to its prime location and accessibility. Additionally, Tsai expressed personal pride as five players from his coached team participated in the opening match. He emphasized the importance of grassroots baseball and advocated for the development of idle school properties into baseball fields to benefit more students.
Domestic egg supply stable: Minister of Agriculture
Taiwan’s domestic egg production is currently sufficient to meet consumer demands, eliminating the need for imports, according to Acting Minister of Agriculture Chen Junne-jih. Speaking at a joint meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s committees, Chen stated that the country produces around 24 million eggs per day, with approximately 34 million laying hens. While the domestic egg supply is stable, Chen highlighted that some schools’ ban on liquid eggs has weakened consumer demand, leading to increased stock and pressure on national egg production. Chen hopes that the ban can be reconsidered and lifted to maintain stable egg supplies. The potential decrease in egg prices depends on consumer demand, and Chen suggests that incorrect dietary restrictions could create market pressures.
Sudden chill hits Taiwan rivaling a continental air mass
Taipei experienced a sudden drop in temperature on November 14, with the morning low reaching 15.2 degrees Celsius. This is due to an intense cold air mass moving southward, which is expected to bring temperatures down to around 10 degrees Celsius throughout the week, particularly affecting coastal and plain areas. National Central University Atmospheric Sciences Professor Wu Der-Romg explained that a weather front arrived on Thursday, causing drastic changes in weather conditions. This front is accompanied by an arctic air mass, resulting in the strongest wave of cold air so far this autumn season. Professor Wu expects the impact of the cold air mass to continue until Saturday morning, with a gradual return to normal temperatures exceeding 20 degrees Celsius the following day. However, the Central Weather Administration (CWA) warned of the return of brisk temperatures as a typhoon approaches Taiwan in the coming weeks. The CWA is closely monitoring the tropical depression brewing east of the Philippine Sea, as it may disrupt future weather patterns in Taiwan.
THSR adds extra train for Coldplay concert fans in Taiwan
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) will add an additional northbound train on Sunday night (Nov. 12) to accommodate Coldplay fans attending the band’s performances at Kaohsiung National Stadium on Nov. 11 and 12. The train will depart from Zuoying Station at 10:30 p.m. and arrive at Taipei Station at 12:30 a.m., making stops at Tainan, Chiayi, Taichung, Hsinchu, Taoyuan, and Banqiao stations. Tickets will be sold at 00:00 am on Nov. 11, and THSR advises travelers to plan their onward travel accordingly. Tickets can be booked through the T-EX mobile ticketing app, THSR’s online booking system, convenience stores, or train stations. Non-reserved seat tickets can also be purchased on the day of travel.
TAO criticizes DPP as ’destroyers of peace and stability’
The Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson criticizes the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Lai Ching-te, as a pro-Taiwan independence advocate, warning that it would bring misfortune to Taiwan’s future generations. The spokesperson also praises former president Ma Ying-jeou for boycotting the National Day ceremony, interpreting it as opposition to Taiwan independence.
National Day celebration draws enthusiastic crowd in Taipei
Hundreds gather at the Presidential Palace for Taiwan’s National Day celebration. Chen Mei-ju highlights the nation’s enduring spirit, while Wu Chun-yin shares her hope for a prosperous future. Taiwanese unity takes center stage on Double Tenth Day.
Tokyo, UCLA bands join Taiwan’s National Day
Tokyo and UCLA marching bands unite for Taiwan’s National Day, showcasing a symbol of Taiwan-Japan-U.S. friendship. Enjoy performances and highlights from the ceremony.
Taiwan celebrates National Day with spectacular performances
Taiwan’s 112th National Day celebration featured impressive military performances and a display of artistry in front of the Presidential Office Building. Explore the highlights of Taiwan’s National Day ceremony.
Tsai sets democratic path for interaction with Beijing
President Tsai Ing-wen’s final National Day speech emphasizes Taiwan’s approach to Beijing, global partnerships, and the quest for peaceful coexistence. Read her key points here.