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Taiwan opens first fully electric bus line
1 November 2018 - The city of Taipei has opened it's first fully electrified bus line. On the 31.5 km stretch a total of 12 electric buses will begin ferrying passengers. But these 12 are just the beginning. The Taiwanese capital plans to have a total of 400 electric buses on their roads in only four years. The electricity for the buses will be provided via a photovoltaic system on the roof of the bus depot. (more)

Enter the dragon boats to the beat of the drums at annual Taiwan races
30 May 2017 - There was cheering, drumming and a disciplined display of coordinated strength at the annual dragon boat races on Tuesday [30 May] in the Taiwan capital. Spectators chanted and cheered on the racers and spoke of the vibrant atmosphere and team spirit at the yearly affair. (more)

Taiwan observes Dragon Boat Festival with racing, shows
9 June 2016 - Residents of Taiwan celebrated Dragon Boat Festival on Thursday with cultural events and races of the traditional longboats as their four-day holiday began. Dragon Boat Festival is observed on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, June 9 this year. 'Dragon boat racing is a Chinese custom, which makes us feel heart to heart and that we are one family,' said Jeffrey Lu, a member of one racing team. 'We should pass down the tradition.' To read about more festivities see: (more)

Image of Asia: Lanterns released in hopes of good fortune
22 February 2016 - In this photo by Chiang Ying-ying, hundreds of people release lanterns into the air in hopes of good fortune and prosperity at the traditional lantern festival during the Lunar New Year in the Pingxi district of New Taipei City, Taiwan. The lantern festival starts 15 days after the Chinese New Year and falls on February 22 this year. (more)

Taiwan promotes locally grown, fresh foods, bans GMOs in school meals
15 December 2015 - The government in Taiwan recently passed legislation that would effectively prohibit any food containing genetically modified ingredients from being served to children in school meals. In fact, 103 of the city's 235 schools had already omitted GMOs, so the other portion of schools will now have to follow suit probably within the next year. Eating healthy, locally-grown foods is being encouraged. (more)

Taiwan: Electric scooters, and a network
7 December 2015 - Across Asia, motorized two-wheeled vehicles provide mobility for the masses, but emissions from hundreds of millions of scooters and motorcycles are responsible for more than half of traffic pollution in many cities. This year, a Taiwan-based startup called Gogoro has been using the scooter-filled streets of Taipei to test its Smartscooter, an electric scooter with an efficient all-electric drive train, sleek design and Internet of Things ingenuity. But Gogoro doesn't want to be called a scooter company. It sees itself as an energy services company at heart. Gogoro scooters are powered by two lithium-ion batteries that use the same Panasonic cells as Tesla batteries. When it's time to swap in fresh batteries, a smartphone app offers directions to the closest station with available batteries. The Taipei government is actively promoting electric scooter purchases. A subsidy of up to $800 is available to those who replace their gas motorcycles with electric scooters. (more)

Presidents of China, Taiwan meet for 1st time, shake hands
7 November 2015 - The leaders of China and Taiwan met Saturday for the first time since the formerly bitter Cold War foes split amid civil war 66 years ago, and though no concrete agreement resulted, both hailed the meeting as a sign of a new stability in relations. (more)

Timeline of China-Taiwan relations leading to historic meet
7 November 2015 - China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, but China claims sovereignty over the island and insists the two sides eventually unify. They have in recent years set aside that dispute to build trust and sign economic cooperation deals, and their Presidents met for the first time Saturday. A timeline of relations as the two sides have moved gradually over the past 36 years from outright hostility to face-to-face meetings: (more)

Taiwan economy grows at solid pace, signals improving global demand
30 April 2014 - Taiwan's export-dependent economy grew at its quickest pace in over a year in the first quarter, data showed on Wednesday, suggesting rising momentum in developed economies and an improving outlook for the global tech sector. Taiwan's economy, home to the world's biggest contract chipmaker and a crucial supply chain for major electronics brands, is often viewed as a bellwether for global growth and tech demand. (more)

Bicycle brings 3D printing to Taiwan streets
16 March 2014 - Cycling through the streets of Taiwan's capital, staff from a design company turn discarded plastic cups and bottles into pieces of art on the spot with Mobile Fab -- an ordinary bike kitted out with a computer and 3D printer. 'We wanted to do something to bring both recycling and 3D printing closer to average people,' said Kamm Kai-yu, a co-founder of the Taipei-based company Fabraft. It's Mobile Fab's concept of combining environmental awareness with cutting-edge technology that has raised Fabraft's profile in the ultra-competitive Taiwan tech scene. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Taiwan: Overall intelligence increases in students who learn Transcendental Meditation
28 October 2013 - The results of a study on students in Taiwan show growth in many areas of intelligence and academic performance in those practising Transcendental Meditation, compared to control groups. The areas affected were very diverse, indicating that Transcendental Meditation increases a very holistic kind of intelligence, commented Dr Michael Dillbeck, editor of the recently published Volume 7 of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers, in which the Taiwan study is reprinted. (more)

Taiwan: Transcendental Meditation increases students' academic performance
28 October 2013 - A new volume that compiles more than 80 recent studies on Transcendental Meditation has a section titled Intelligence, Learning, and Academic Performance. One of the papers is a composite study looking at the academic performance of students in Taiwan. Students who practised Transcendental Meditation 'showed a very holistic improvement in their intellectual performance' compared to controls, said Dr Michael Dillbeck, editor of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers, Volume 7. They displayed increased creativity, practical intelligence, mental efficiency, and abstract intelligence. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Schools shut, flights canceled as Super Typhoon Meranti hits Taiwan
14 September 2016 - Tens of thousands of homes lost power across Taiwan on Wednesday, 14 September, as Super Typhoon Meranti hit the island, a storm seen as the strongest in the world so far this year, forcing schools and businesses to close and flights to be canceled. Taiwan will feel the full force of the typhoon through Wednesday and into Thursday before the storm barrels into China, meteorologists said. (more)

Taiwan: Stroke risk higher among young adults with insomnia
9 April 2014 - People with insomnia may have a higher risk of stroke than their well-rested peers, a new study shows. The link between insomnia and stroke was especially strong in young adults, who were up to eight times more likely to suffer a stroke if they had insomnia. 'The article raises the question of, are we doctors taking chronic insomnia seriously?' Dr. Demetrius Lopes told Reuters Health. 'It gives us ammunition to promote good sleep hygiene.' He said the research draws attention to the problem of stroke in young adults. Strokes cause more serious long-term disability in the US than any other disease and are the third leading cause of death, according to the National Institutes of Health. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes afflict people over the age of 65, and stroke risk more than doubles each decade after age 55. However, some studies show that stroke incidence is rising among young adults. (more)

Taiwan says nuclear plant may have leaked toxic water
9 August 2013 - A nuclear power plant in Taiwan may have been leaking radioactive water for three years, according to a report published by the government's watchdog, adding to uncertainty over the fate of a new fourth nuclear power plant. The First Nuclear Power Plant, located at Shihmen in a remote northern coastal location but not far from densely populated Taipei, has been leaking toxic water from storage pools of two reactors, said the watchdog, called the Control Yuan. The Control Yuan said there had been a catalogue of errors, including a lack of a proper plan for how to handle spent nuclear materials, and did not believe the explanations from Taipower. 'The company has yet to clearly establish the reason for the water leak,' it said. The use of nuclear power on resource-poor Taiwan has long been controversial, not least because the island is comparatively small and any major nuclear accident would likely affect its entire land area. (more)

Taiwan: Excessive pesticide found on peas, beans, peppers
6 July 2013 - Taiwan's Consumers' Foundation said on Friday that its latest random testing of vegetables for pesticides found that 91 per cent of cowpeas, 67 per cent of snow peas, 47 per cent of string beans and 18 per cent of sweet peppers bought in the Greater Taipei area contained excessive amounts of pesticide residues or pesticides that are not allowed. Buying from organic stores was no guarantee of purity. The survey said a sweet pepper purchased from an organic food store had six types of pesticides, including one type banned from use on sweet peppers and one type that exceeded the regulated amount. (more)

US considering sale of fighter jets to Taiwan
27 April 2012 - The administration of President Barack Obama is raising the possibility that it could sell new jet fighter aircraft to Taiwan to help redress the island's air power deficit with China. If the move goes through, it would infuriate Beijing, which claims the democratic island as its territory and regards all foreign defense sales there as interference in its affairs. China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. Despite a marked improvement in relations over the past four years, China still threatens to attack across the 160-kilometre-wide (100-mile-wide) Taiwan Strait if Taiwan moves to make its de facto independence permanent. (more)

Wave of deaths, arrests as Red Cross visits Syria
4 September 2011 - Syria saw a wave of violence and arrests Sunday as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited Damascus to address issues including caring for the wounded and access to detainees during the government's crackdown on a five-month-old uprising. Activists reported military operations and sweeping arrests in flash point areas including Idlib near the Turkish border and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. The United Nations estimates some 2,200 people have been killed since March as protesters take to the streets every week, despite the near-certainty that they will face a barrage of bullets and sniper fire by security forces. (more)

Painkiller use linked to stroke risk
19 August 2010 - Common painkillers that have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack may also elevate risk of stroke, a new study suggests. Researchers found that among nearly 38,000 Taiwanese adults who suffered a stroke over one year, the use of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in the prior month may have elevated their stroke risk. NSAIDs are a group of painkillers that include over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and other brands) and naproxen (Aleve), as well as prescription arthritis drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. In general, the study found that use of any NSAID in the 30 days before the stroke was linked to an increased risk -- of anywhere from 20 per cent to 90 per cent for most of the oral NSAIDs, depending on the drug. Oral ketorolac was linked to the greatest risk increase of 2.6-fold. (more)

Suicide tied to air pollution and asthma
15 July 2010 - Air pollution and asthma symptoms may increase suicide risk, two new studies from Asia suggest. According to Taiwanese researchers, as many as 1 in 14 suicides among Taiwanese youth may have been caused by asthma, a condition that affects about 10 percent of children. 'It points out another negative part of air pollution,' said Dr. Wayne Katon, a psychiatrist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Asthma has been linked to suicide before, but researchers say this is the first time the role of air quality has been tested. (more)

Sixty per cent of Taiwan youth consider suicide: study
19 November 2009 - About 60 per cent of Taiwan's youth have considered suicide while more than 30 per cent lack direction in life, because of a lack of public role models and weakened family support, a magazine survey found this week. Taiwan-based CommonWealth magazine's first ever Life and Education Survey of 4,475 students between 15 and 22 found that most had thought about suicide, with 23 per cent still considering it, survey center director Huang Ching-hsuan said. About 34 per cent of respondents said they had no idea what to do in life, the mail survey found. Over the past five years teens in 23 million-population Taiwan have lost most public role models; family ties have weakened over the same period, as numbers of children per household decrease while both parents work. (more)

Taiwan ex-President Chen given life term for graft
11 September 2009 - A Taiwan court sentenced former President Chen Shui-bian to life in prison after convicting him on graft charges Friday, a spectacular fall from grace for a man who rode to power on promises to end decades of corruption and deepen the island's de facto independence. The conviction, which will automatically be appealed, marks a watershed in Taiwan's turbulent political history, and a crucial test for the island's still-evolving democracy. The court also convicted Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, on related graft offenses, and sentenced her as well to life in prison. The big question for Taiwan now is whether Chen's pro-independence allies will capitalize on President Ma's currently weakened position -- and on any wave of anger stemming from Mr Chen's heavy sentence -- to sidetrack the new President's rapidly developing China policy. (more)


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