Taiwan braces for typhoon Mitag

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2019   •   354

People struggle with the wind as they cross the street under the rain as typhoon Mitag is expected to hit northern Taiwan, in Keelung, Taiwan, 30 September 2019. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan shut down its financial markets and ordered schools closed on Monday (September 30) as a typhoon approached its north-eastern coast, while airlines cancelled more than 150 flights amid warnings of floods and high winds.

Typhoon Mitag, categorised by Taiwan’s weather bureau at the second-strongest typhoon level, was expected to approach the coast of Yilan county with maximum winds of 162 kmph (100 mph) on Monday night.

It was moving across the ocean in a north-north-westerly direction at 25 kmph (15 mph), weather officials said, and could gain strength as it approaches the island.

About 12,000 soldiers were on standby amid fears of floods and storm surge, preparing villages for flood waters with truck-loads of sand bags.

More than 150 flights and ferry services were cancelled, while several highways across the island were shut amid fears of landslides and floods.

After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon was expected to approach China’s eastern city of Shanghai on Tuesday, forecasts showed. (Reuters)

(Production: Fabian Hamacher)

Taiwan rejects deportation call against Pinay caregiver critical of Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The country’s foreign ministry has rejected calls for the deportation of a Filipina caregiver accused of cyber-libel by a Philippine labor official in Taiwan for “willful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte.”

In a news conference on Tuesday (April 28), Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou noted that as a democratic country, Taiwan gives the same treatment to all foreign workers as its own citizens and that “their rights are protected, including freedom of speech.”

Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag of the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taichung, Taiwan brought up the issue on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website on Saturday (April 25).

In a press statement, Macauyag said the Filipina worker’s action “intended to cause hatred amidst the current global health crisis caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”

The Pinay caregiver,  identified as Elanei Egot Ordidor, is employed in Yunlin County in Taiwan.

The official alleged that Ordidor was using multiple social media accounts and joined groups “organized to discredit and malign the President and destabilize the government.”

He said his staff went to warn the OFW of the consequences of her posts on April 20 to which she conceded and assured to delete them and post a public apology to the President and the Philippines government.

His office also has coordinated with the worker’s broker and employer on her deportation on her supposed violation of the Philippines’ Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In an interview with Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA), Philippine representative and chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, Angelito Banayo said there was no instruction coming from the Philippines regarding the matter. 

He also noted that the order for deportation is a sovereign right of Taiwan being the host government.

“So the question of deportation is something that only the Taiwanese government can decide upon,” he said.

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.

Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.

The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.

Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.

Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.

“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.

Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.

He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

Streets deserted in Milan during coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

A handful of people were seen on the streets of Milan on Wednesday morning (March 12) following stringent measures imposed to contain the coronavirus.

Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were cancelled and streets emptied across Italy on Tuesday (March 10), the first day of an unprecedented, nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus.

Just hours after the dramatic new restrictions came into force, health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.

The total number of confirmed cases rose at a much slower rate than recently seen, hitting 10,149 against a previous 9,172, but officials warned that the region at the epicentre, Lombardy, had provided incomplete data.

The government has told all Italians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel until April 3, radically widening steps already taken in much of the wealthy north, which is the epicentre of the spreading contagion. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

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