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Taiwan Election 2024: Nuclear power becomes the focus of energy policies

  • By: Man TSE、Yuchen LI、Junzhe JIANGEdited by: Junzhe JIANG
  • 2024-01-12

Taipei (TYR) - With conflicting energy policies from three candidates, the Taiwan presidential election will be held on Jan. 13, which has become one of the major focuses among voters in Taiwan. To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, three political parties propose different approaches. While the Kuomintang proposes to extend the use of the existing three nuclear power plants and restart the fourth plant, the Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan People's Party focus on developing renewable energy, such as hydroelectric power, geothermal energy and ocean energy, to reduce dependence on nuclear power. In the past nearly eight years under Tsai Ing-wen’s government, Taiwan's electricity price has been raised by 23%; the most recent rise was about 11% in April 2023. According to the data from Taiwan Power Company, the latest average price of electricity in November was NT $3.09/ kWh (about HK$ 0.78/ kWh), which is 13.4% and 19.2% higher than the average price in the past two years, respectively. The research from Global Petrol Price.com shows that the world's average electricity price for family use in June 2023 was US$ 0.156/ kWh (about HK$ 1.25/ kWh), which was 76% higher than the average price in Taiwan in the same period. The average electricity price for businesses was US$0.153/ kWh (about HK$ 1.17/ kWh), recorded 39% higher than in the same period in Taiwan. Regarding the changes in electricity prices, residents in Taichung city said the increase in electricity prices is acceptable.  “The prices of everything are rising, not only the electricity price but also the costs of food, transportation and housing. I think the increase in electricity prices is not a major burden,” said Marry Liao, a housewife living in Taichung. Data from the Taiwan Statistics Bureau shows that Taiwan's year-on-year CPI index increased by 2.5% in 2023, recording …

Society

For this Filipino domestic helper dragon boat team in Hong Kong, paddling empowers their community and women

  • By: Jemima BadajosEdited by: Wisha LIMBU
  • 2023-12-12

As the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Gala 2023 kicked off at Tai Pak Beach, it was a homecoming for Filipino Dynamo, a Filipino domestic helper dragon boat team in Hong Kong, as they were going to compete where they first began. Filipino Dynamo was first founded in January 2018 by Liza Avelino, a Filipino domestic helper who used to compete in a mixed dragon boat team. She wanted to start a team of her own, composed of female Filipino domestic helpers.  When it first started, the team recruited helpers who had little to no experience in paddling. Over the years, Filipino Dynamo has proved itself on a competitive level, recently winning 1st runner-up in the Sinopec Ladies Race at the Gala. Although dragon boating has been around for more than a thousand years, Hong Kong has propelled it forward into a ‘modern sport’. This year, 43 local and international dragon boat races were held, according to the Dragon Boat Hong Kong. The Filipino Dynamo team aims to join at least one race every season. However, dragon boat racing is also an expensive sport. To compete in the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Gala, the ladies race category alone costs HK$3,800 to register. Without a dragon boat and parking space licence, the group also has to rely on sponsorships and club membership fees to rent out boats for water training. Most domestic helpers have Sundays as their day off, with plenty that can be seen gathering with their friends in public areas. By law, domestic helpers are required to have a 24-hour rest period every week. But for Filipino Dynamo members, they spend their one day-off training for the next race. Their training regime consists of a mix of yoga, circuit, and strength training on land and paddling techniques in water.  With …

Society

GDL Causes Massive Train Service Disruptions in Germany

  • By: Tsz Yau CHANEdited by: Wisha LIMBU
  • 2023-12-12

Germany's GDL train drivers' union has announced a strike from Thursday afternoon until Friday evening, impacting both freight and passenger trains.  The strike, a result of an ongoing wage dispute with Deutsche Bahn, will commence at 6pm local time for freight traffic and 10pm for passenger trains, concluding on Friday at 10pm.  Travelers with planned journeys during this period faced significant disruptions and cancellations. The GDL strike prompted the Deutsche Bahn to implement extensive restrictions, affecting services from Thursday evening until Friday. Freja Olsson, a 22- year-old student had to book a hotel in a hurry as her train from Prague to Hamburg was canceled, spending over EUR$85 (HK$700) for a hostel in Dresden Germany. “There had been multiple strikes in Germany this year and it had affected my traveling plans as they were all announced in a rush,” Olsson said. According to the Deutsche Bahn’s website, affected travelers have the option to postpone their journey without any time limit, use valid tickets even if the route changes, cancel seat reservations for free, or receive a full refund without deductions for complete journey cancellations due to the GDL strike. Another traveller, William Anderson, 35, is planning to spend the night at the train station till midnight until the train returns to normal service. “I have gotten used to the strikes, it’s just normal to me,” Anderson said calmly.  The GDL, in its pursuit of better working conditions, is demanding a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours per week for shift workers without salaries being cut, which Deutsche Bahn has refused. Additionally, they seek an increase of EUR$555 (HK$4,675 ) per month and a one-off inflation compensation bonus of EUR$3,000 (HK$25,271). Deutsche Bahn has said it made an offer that amounts to an 11 per cent raise. Negotiations …

Society

Hong Kong’s unsung heroes awarded in recognition of Hong Kong’s Spirit

  • By: Yau To LUMEdited by: Tsz Yin HO
  • 2023-12-02

Eight unsung heroes were awarded the Spirit of Hong Kong Award 2023 in recognition of their efforts to Hong Kong and representing the city's spirit for this year. Established in 2013, the campaign aimed to shine a light on the city’s unsung heroes and honour their achievements. The 11th edition of the annual campaign was co-organised by the South China Morning Post and property developer Sino Group. The award winners were announced at a ceremony on Friday evening at the Conrad Hong Kong Hotel. A panel of judges selected seven for their remarkable accomplishments in the perseverance, community, culture, innovation, teamwork and youth categories, with a new Spirit of Sustainability Award category.  The eighth winner was chosen by SCMP’s readers and won the Lion Rock People’s Choice Award. Lee Hoi-wu, 52, who took over her family’s decades-old restaurant in Hong Kong in 2014, won the Lion Rock People’s Choice Award.  “I will continue to make good milk tea, I will strive to use it to tell the good stories of Hong Kong,” she said. “I hope that people will continue to pay attention to Hong Kong and like Hong Kong,” She added. Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu congratulated the winners at the ceremony, saying that their different cultural backgrounds and upbringings represent the spirit of the city. “They are ordinary people but also heroes. Each in their own shining and singular way, they represent the spirit of Hong Kong,” Lee said. Hong Kong has had a difficult few years, particularly since 2019, according to Lee.  “Nonetheless, the people of Hong Kong have persisted. Throughout, the Hong Kong spirit has prevailed,” Lee added. The city leader praised their selfless contribution in areas spanning technology, medicine, education, culture, sports, community service and more. “They make a profound difference,” Lee said. “For the …

Society

World's first Frozen-themed land opens at Hong Kong Disneyland

  • By: Yee Ling TSANG、Wai Sum CHEUNGEdited by: Tsz In Warren LEUNG
  • 2023-11-27

Hong Kong Disneyland unveiled its new playland based on the theme of the movie, Frozen. It is the first and only playland on this theme among the world’s Disneyland Resorts.  

Society

Midland Realty and subsidiaries face commission manipulation allegations

  • By: Xiya RUI、Hanzhi YANGEdited by: Ming Min AW YONG、Noah Tsang
  • 2023-11-17

The Competition Commission filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing Midland Realty. Holdings and its two subsidiaries over alleged sales commission fixing.  The Competition Commission alleges that Midland Holdings and its subsidiaries instructed agents to charge a minimum net commission rate of 2 percent for first-hand residential properties, starting from December 2022. Some members of the public have given their support to further address unethical practices in the real estate industry.  "I am very grateful to the Competition Commission for strictly supervising this matter," said Hurry Lee, 42 years old, a buyer who bought a home at Midland Realty in February. "The price-fixing in the real estate industry is deeply concerning," Lee said, "It means that homebuyers like me may have been paying inflated prices due to collusion. I paid nearly HK$200,000 in agency fees, but that could potentially be lower if there is fair competition." According to the data from The Land Registry, since the alleged commission manipulation artificially increased the rate to 2% in December 2022, the number of sale and purchase agreements of building units for that month hit its lowest point of the year at 3,565. Furthermore, last month witnessed a decline of 33.9% compared to October last year. "I also wish for lower agency fees, because it would make it easier for us to attract potential buyers when selling properties," said Galong Wong, a staff member at Midland Real Estate Agency. "Our salary is composed of a base salary and commissions earned for each transaction completed. While the entire real estate industry has collectively increased the commission rates to 2%, allowing the company to earn more money, our individual commission for selling a property has not seen a corresponding increase," Wong said. According to the investigation by the Hong Kong's Competition Commission, Midland had conspired with Centaline …

Society

Copenhagen Airport said Storm Babet causes Flight chaos

  • By: Tsz Yau CHANEdited by: Rajnandini PANDEY
  • 2023-10-31

On Friday, storm Babet caused 142 flight delays or cancellations at Copenhagen Airport. Denmark’s state forecaster issued a category 3 warning on storm surges in the southern area of Denmark and lifted the warning the next morning. According to the Danish Meteorological Institution, DMI, on the night of the violent storm surge, several regions across the nation recorded the highest water levels in 100 years, with sea levels rising to two meters above normal in some places.  There was no significant damage to airport facilities, and minor damages were repaired swiftly. All affected passengers were compensated with hotel stays and rebooking of flights in the following days. At midnight, more than 200 passengers were stranded at the airport waiting for hotel accommodations and flight rearrangements. Ellia Osborna and her friend Faye Ainsworth, both 22-year-old physiotherapists, visited Copenhagen for three days and were about to return to Manchester, England, when storm Babet hit. Their flight was delayed for over two hours and was eventually cancelled. They were compensated with a hotel stay for two nights and a rebooking of a flight transferring at Amsterdam two days later. “We are supposed to be working tomorrow for a football match, but now we’ll have someone to cover for us, which causes us to lose about 50 GBP (HK$475) each,” said Osborna. “The waiting process was tiring but it could have been worse,” she added. Ainsworth said that the airport ground staff was not very helpful throughout the process. “The staff just gave us a piece of paper and told us to complete all the rebooking process on the app, without much explanation,” said Ainsworth. “I think the staff is not really prepared for such situations,” she added. Another traveller, Hussein Shaheen, 63, was travelling to Belgrade, Serbia, to visit his friend but was …

Society

Typhoon Koinu leaves thousands stranded at Hong Kong airport

  • By: Hanzhi YANG、Xiya RUIEdited by: Tsz Yin HO
  • 2023-10-12

Thousands were left stranded at the Hong Kong airport on Sunday after the suspension of the airport train and buses and a shortage of taxis during typhoon Koinu. The Hong Kong Observatory issued typhoon signal 9, the second highest signal, at 11.50 pm on October 8 as typhoon Koinu approached the coast of Guangdong. According to the Observatory, most places in Hong Kong had more than 100 millimetres of rain and reaching 200 millimetres in some districts such as Hong Kong Island East. Speaking on RTHK, the Hong Kong's Airport Authority stated that 90 flights were cancelled throughout the day and another 130 were delayed. But some 60 flights that landed that evening brought in hundreds of passengers. Most public transport services stopped soon after signal 9 was issued, including the Citybus’s Cityflyer route and MTR’s Airport Express, which give access to the airport and urban areas. The waiting time for taxis exceeded three hours, leading to frustration among incoming passengers complaining about the insufficient supply of taxis in the city. “We have been waiting for over two hours, but we haven't even reached the halfway point of the queue,” said Moses Chan, 37, a Singaporean visitor waiting in line, adding that he and his wife were shocked by the overwhelming crowds. “Due to the typhoon, the supply of taxis in Hong Kong is actually very low, with only dozens of taxis arriving at the airport per hour,” said Kelly Tang, a staff member of the airport who was responsible for managing order. Airport staff also expressed their apologies for the situation, and free water along with around-the-clock catering services was distributed to those stranded at the airport. “The waiting time is really long, with no end in sight,” Chan, the Singaporean traveller added. Chan and his wife chose to …

Society

Tai Hang Fire Dragon dances for the first time in four years

  • By: Lisheng CHENG、Ji Youn LeeEdited by: Yu Yin WONG
  • 2023-10-05

The Tai Hang Fire Dragon danced for the first time in four years during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year’s performance from Sept. 27 to Sept. 30, is part of the government's efforts to revive Hong Kong’s entertainment and tourism sectors after a long stretch of pandemic lockdowns.  As festive season kicks off, people from across the world are back in the city, some specifically for the fire dragon. Alex Grion, 16, is a tourist from France. “I enjoy the strong traditional Chinese culture atmosphere here,” he told The Young Reporter. The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance has a rich 180-year history. It originated from a folk story about a buddhist monk who was told to create a burning dragon out of incense to ward off pestilence. Nowadays, residents of the area create a dragon out of incense sticks and burn it during the three day Mid-Autumn festival celebration to wish for good luck.  The ritual has been recognised as a national heritage by the mainland  and Hong Kong in 2011 and 2017 respectively,  John Lau, a 50-year-old Tai Hang resident, was so excited and kept cheering.  “I have participated in this activity since I was a child. The dragon is a symbol of peace and happiness for us,” said John. The 67 metre dragon is traditionally carried by 300 of Tai Hang’s current and past residents, and stretches about the length of two blocks. Michelle Cheung, 60, runs a souvenir booth for the dragon dance. HIs products  range from T-shirts to commemorative dolls holding incense sticks.  The shop owner is glad to see the dragon’s comeback.  “After so many years of the epidemic, seeing so many people come to participate this year is actually a reflection of Hong Kong's renewed vitality. Because everyone had to stay at home and not …

Society

Local street dancer Bobby wins chance to represent Hong Kong in international competition

  • By: Sze Kei WONGEdited by: Ka Ki FUNG、Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-09-19

A local street dancer beat out 15 other hopefuls on Sunday afternoon, winning the chance to represent Hong Kong for the first time in an international dance competition in Germany.  Lam Yuet Wing, 32, who performs as Bobby, won a majority of audience votes at the Red Bull Dance Your Style competition at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. He will compete against 29 international dance groups in Frankfurt in November. The audience selected the winner using different colored fans to show their vote. The outdoor competition was open to the public with a free after party for both dancers and registered audience members.  Lam started dancing in 2006 and is known for the dance style “popping”—a category of street dance that involves rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles, giving the dancer a pop feeling to match the beat. "My first competition was held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. I didn't even make it into the audition,” he said. “The second time I attempted battle in the venue was today, and I got the award." “Since I just injured my leg, now I will heal my wounds and equip myself to go to Germany for exchange," Lam said.   He also added, ”No matter if I lose or win, I will experience more abroad and bring more knowledge to Hong Kong”.  “The event was fun and we saw a lot of exciting battles today,”said Chu Yung Chuen, 25, an audience member who also is a dancer. “The atmosphere of the event was very good. Many people gathered here, and I enjoyed it very much,” said Tsui Tsz Hung, 24, an audience member.