Taiwan Headlines, Jan. 28

The second stage signature drive against DPP Kaohsiung city councillor Kao Min-lin (高閔琳) has come up short after many signatures were disqualified.
The organizers have a little over a week to get nearly 5500 qualified signatures to successfully launch a recall.

Judicial investigators have questioned a Taipei City Councilor of the New Party and a New Taipei City Councilor of the KMT on allegations of embezzling public funds allocated to pay for their office assistants’ salaries.
Yes, you heard that right, the deeply pro-China New Party still has elected politicians, three in total.
Now one may be in trouble.
In the 1990s the party was a significant player, but has since slid into obscurity as the party grew increasingly close to the Chinese Communist Party line.

The Cabinet has announced that it will accept an agreed reduction of the government’s proposed 2021 budget by NT$25.5 billion (US$910.13 million), after the ruling and opposition parties in the Legislature reached a consensus during their ongoing negotiation.
The cuts account for around 1.18 percent of the total NT$2.1615 trillion in planned expenditures.
Normally in Taiwan the legislature and city councils only cut executive branch proposed budgets by two percent or less.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has deployed 159 emergency wells and created an emergency desalinization plant to tackle a looming water shortage.

Google has opened a new 16-floor office in Banqiao in New Taipei to serve as the company’s largest hardware research and development base outside the United States.
The number of Google employees in Taiwan has risen 10-fold over the past five years, and Google expects it will continue to grow.

Four major contract chipmakers in Taiwan have agreed to assign capacity to manufacture chips for car use in a bid to alleviate a global shortage of automotive chips.
The move comes as Japan has added to the growing international chorus calling for Taiwan to ramp up production.

According to the National Development Council (NDC), Taiwan’s economic indicators flashed the first yellow-red light in nearly a decade in December, indicating a warming economy.
Even better, the economic leading indicator, which evaluates the economic climate over the next three to six months, also moved higher in the month.
That’s not all, National Central University survey showed consumer sentiment edged up this month as people displayed more confidence in job hunting, stock investment and purchases of durable goods.
That’s in spite of the cluster outbreak in Taoyuan.
However, housing transactions last year hit a seven-year high, which is not good news for younger workers.

The Executive Yuan’s Department of Cybersecurity in December detected just shy of 100,000 cybersecurity threats involving the government’s backbone networks.
That is the highest number of monthly incidents in nearly two years.

The Navy has revealed to the public for the first time the locally built M109 special operations speedboat that will be used by the military to defend harbors and counter-terrorists, pirates and hijackers at sea.
The Air Force, meanwhile conducted a rare public drill of loading a type of locally made cruise missiles that reportedly has a range within reach of coastal Chinese provinces.

Beijing has recently been escalating the belligerence in their tone and their overt threats in their pronouncements on Taiwan.
A Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman said, for example, “We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ elements: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war.”
A Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson said “in order to effectively handle interference from foreign forces and secessionist activities made by a few Taiwan secessionists, we will not promise to abandon the use of force, and we reserve the right to take all measures. This will never change.”
Specific references to war have significantly risen over the last year.

Image courtesy of the Global Times FB page

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