Taiwan Headlines, Feb. 5

A British man who had contracted the new mutated UK version of the coronavirus while travelling there passed away Wednesday, bringing Taiwan’s death total to nine. 

In other coronavirus news, the most recent Taoyuan hospital cluster outbreak has risen to 20 cases.

Parents with young children can take family care leave from Feb. 18-21 as a government response measure after it announced the postponement of the reopening of schools at the high school level and below following the winter break for four days to Feb. 22 due to the pandemic.

The stated purpose is so that schools would have more time to disinfect their campuses and prepare pandemic prevention measures.

Childcare subsidies for households with children under the age of 5 will be raised to NT$3,500 per month from the current NT$2,500 starting Aug. 1.

The monthly allowances will be further increased to NT$5,000 starting August next year, in a bid to boost the nation’s low birthrate.

So, be sure to get ready to have babies after August next year. 

In related news, more than 1,000 children have been born to employees of Hon Hai (aka Foxconn) in the year since the company boosted the child care payments it offers.

On Feb. 1, 2020, Hon Hai unveiled an expanded child care subsidy program in which the company gives NT$15,000 per month, per child, to employees who have children until they turn 7.

A former university principal and several others have been charged with aggravated fraud by prosecutors, over their alleged involvement in recruiting Sri Lankans to study in Taiwan and then sending them to work illegally at a slaughterhouse.

The Sri Lankans arrived in Taiwan in late 2017, 50 of whom were sent to work at a slaughterhouse for 40 hours per week before they had received work visas. 

They only attended classes for two days a week at the university’s Taipei campus.

In recent years there have been two similar cases in Changhua. 

Taiwan’s military has announced that beginning in 2022 it will introduce new rules governing the call up of reservists to improve the combat readiness of the country’s reserve forces.

This is an important move, and I’ll be discussing it more in an upcoming show on Taiwan Report News Brief, with analysis and context. 

Nearly 11,000 Hong Kongers moved to Taiwan last year — almost double the number reported a year earlier — after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the territory in June. 

Taiwan has the world’s third-fastest 5G download speeds, according to a report released by wireless-mapping company Opensignal.

Taiwan ranked third for the average speed using an active 5G connection with a figure of 272.2 megabits per second (Mbps), trailing South Korea, which had an average speed of 354.4Mbps, and the United Arab Emirates (292.2 Mbps).

Taiwan has jumped 20 places in the 2020 Democracy Index rankings to 11th position globally from 31st in 2019, to rank top in Asia, according to the index report released Tuesday by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

What’s puzzling is why it took them so long to rank Taiwan above Japan and South Korea, when it was obvious to anyone in the region Taiwan was more democratic. 

The United States Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday.

This the first time a warship has done so in the Biden administration.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force has been violating Taiwan’s ADIZ almost daily since last year, with only one day in January with no such provocation. 

On Thursday, Taiwan’s foreign ministry announced it had signed an agreement with Guyana to open a Taiwan office.

But later on the same day after China complained, Guyana’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying: “The government has not established any diplomatic ties or relations with Taiwan and as a result of the miscommunication of the agreement signed, this agreement has since been terminated.”

This comes only days after Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping complained about nations bullying. 

The photo is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.

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