The shipment of the first batch of nearly 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the global vaccine sharing program COVAX has arrived.
1.02 million doses of AstraZeneca have been allocated to Taiwan through COVAX.
On March 3, Taiwan took delivery of its first batch of vaccines: 117,000 doses purchased directly from AstraZeneca rather than through COVAX.
Rollout began on March 22, but so far takeup has been slow.
In a bid to resolve one of the outstanding issues that keep Taiwan from realizing full marriage equality, three same-sex couples are suing for the right to adopt.
They hope to reach the Council of Grand Justices for a constitutional interpretation.
The law governing same-sex marriage that passed two years ago only allows a spouse to adopt the biological child of their partner, preventing the partners from adopting as a couple.
This is insidious, for if one partner is incapacitated or dies, the child could lose both parents at the same time.
The government has announced that all four coal-fired generators at the Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung will be phased out over the next five years and replaced with natural gas-powered units.
The No. 1 and 2 coal-fired generators are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2023 and the No. 3 and 4 generators will be reserved only for emergency use after new natural gas-powered units go online in 2024, and will be decommissioned at the end of 2025.
Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has ruled out the possibility of rebuilding the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
He said that “it cannot be and must not be rebuilt,” despite an upcoming national referendum on the issue in August.
This echoes comments by the president on the issue.
The shipment of the last batch of 120 unused fuel rods from the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to the US early on Sunday morning has no bearing on the plant’s future, according to Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) because the certification on the fuel rods had expired.
Chinese Unification Promotion Party President Chang An-lo has been subpoenaed for questioning for his statement of recruiting “red troops” in Taiwan.
During an interview in January with an official Chinese media outlet, Chang said he will form “red troops,” promote peaceful reunification, and had been converting young people in southern Taiwan from “green” to “red.”
In response to the subpoena, Chang said with typical bravado “I will absolutely not plead guilty.
I don’t care about this National Security Act, it has nothing to do with me.”
If found guilty, he could be sentenced to at least seven years and fined NT$50 million to NT$100 million.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has confirmed that BBC News China Correspondent John Sudworth has relocated to Taiwan after he claimed that he and his team faced threats and intimidation working in China.
MOFA said “Sudworth is now in Taiwan and is currently in quarantine in accordance with COVID-19 prevention measures.”
He is the latest in a stream of previously China-based reporters relocating to Taiwan.
This has helped raise the level of coverage on Taiwan’s politics, foreign affairs and most importantly, bubble milk tea.
The Belgian Senate has passed a resolution to strengthen Taiwan’s international status with 49 votes in favor, zero against, and five abstentions.
The resolution requires the Belgian government to bolster relations with Taiwan through the EU so it can help Taiwan participate in international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stated that Belgium has shown support for Taiwan three times in eight months, which signifies the strong relations between the two countries.
In similar news, nearly 20 French senators, headed by French-Taiwan Friendship Group Chair Alain Richard, have put forth a proposal calling on the government to further support Taiwan’s participation in the activities of international organizations similar to those mentioned in the Belgian resolution.
Richard, has already come under fire from Beijing over plans to lead a delegation to Taiwan this summer.
In a statement, the Defence Ministry denied a report in U.S.-based publication The National Interest, which cited Taiwanese news reports from 2019, that North Korea had discussed helping Taiwan with the submarines.
“In the development of our submarines there has never been, there is not now and will never be any contact with North Korea; assistance is all provided by important countries in Europe and the United States.”
This is significant because this is the first time European involvement has been openly acknowledged.
This has set off a lot of speculation on which European countries, which companies and what they’re working on.