This Week in Taiwan 0619-0627
June 19: The winners of the 5th Tang Prize for biotechnology and medicine in 2022 were announced, and three scientists shared the NT$50 million (about US$1.6 million) prize. They successfully developed the application of mRNA technology in biomedicine, and their breakthrough research made possible mRNA vaccines, which became powerful weapons in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The three winners include American immunologist Drew Weissman, biochemist Katalin Karikó, and Canadian physicist Peter Cullius. They expressed gratitude with taped remarks.
June 20: The Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, announced that the requirement for travelers to receive three doses of vaccine is canceled. Effectively immediately, those who have not received three doses of vaccine may show proof of a negative rapid test within 48 hours.
June 20: The Army held its annual Leiting Exercise at the Jiupeng base of the National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology. A multiple rocket launcher of the 58th Artillery Command experienced an MK45 rocket jam, causing an explosion within the frame and the entire unit to burn down. Fortunately, no officer was injured. This is the first accident since the Thunder Rocket Artillery Vehicle, indigenously developed by the Armed Forces, entered service.
June 22: While performing flight training at Zuoying base in the afternoon, an S-70C anti-submarine helicopter of the Navy suddenly fell to the ground from a height of 80 feet. The tail and rotor were broken and caught fire instantly. Four people including the pilot and co-pilot were injured. Among them, the foreman was in critical condition with burns between 90 and 95 percent. The family members gave up treatment on June 23. According to reports, the Navy did not notify at the first instance the Ministry of National Defense, which learned about the news more than an hour later.
June 22: The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan released its 2022 Taiwan White Paper. Vice Chair Andrea Wu indicated that the most urgent issue for Taiwan this year is to stabilize the energy supply. Up to 78 percent of members have concerns about unstable electricity supply. At the same time, the chamber called for opening the border while ensuring epidemic prevention safety, so as to secure investment opportunities.
June 23: The Taiwan Research Institute released its economic outlook for Taiwan for the second half of 2022. Considering factors such as the Russia-Ukraine War, inflation, and the pandemic, global economic recovery has slowed down, and Taiwan's overall exports are also facing great uncertainty. The economic growth rate estimate was revised to 3.8 percent, down from the previous 4.05 percent.
June 24: Taiwan saw the first imported case of monkeypox. A 25-year-old male student from Tainan returned to Taiwan on June 16 after studying in Germany for half a year received medical treatment on June 21 and 22 due to fever, sore throat, muscle aches, body rash, and swollen lymph nodes in the groin. He is currently housed in a hospital in Tainan. Taiwan is the third country in Asia to observe monkeypox cases.
June 27: The Ministry of Economic Affairs decided to increase electricity prices from July 1, raising prices most significantly on customers with high energy consumption and not increasing prices for residential and small business customers. The average increase will be 8.4 percent. High-voltage and ultra-high-voltage electricity customers will see prices hike by as much as 15 percent.
The business community criticized the price increase as unreasonable and urged the government to consider reviving nuclear power. According to critics, policy mistakes should not be borne by all the people.