Technology • Internet & Web
Clubhouse is now blocked in China
Clubhouse is now blocked in China
Credit: William Krause

Thousands of Chinese users suddenly found themselves unable to access Clubhouse on early Monday evening as the country prepared to start the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

Over the weekend, several large Chinese-language chat rooms were set up on the invite-only audio app, where guests talked about politically-charged topics such as the ongoing crackdown against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, democracy in Hong Kong and the sovereignty of Taiwan.

Clubhouse has faced criticism at home in the U.S. for its lack of effective moderation and abuse-prevention practices, so it's hardly a surprise that it has fallen afoul of China's rather more strict enforcement of measures designed to stifle the spread of information the government deems inappropriate for discussion.

Regional News • World
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Sydney's Lowy Institute assessed the Covid-19 response of 98 countries on six different criteria – including cases, deaths and testing – and ranked New Zealand's response to the virus the best. The other countries that made the top 10 are Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Mexico, Colombia and Iran and Brazil were in the bottom five, with Brazil being ranked at the bottom.

Tse Chi Lop, the alleged Chinese-Canadian drug kingpin, is arrested in Amsterdam

One of the world's most-wanted fugitives, the 56-year old billionaire Tse Chi Lop, was arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, police announced on Saturday. Tse Chi Lop is the alleged leader of a vast Asian drug syndicate responsible for up to 70% of all narcotics entering Australia.

He was arrested at the request of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) without incident during a stop-over on a flight from Taiwan to Canada.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Mediatek is now world's largest smartphone chipmaker
Mediatek is now world's largest smartphone chipmaker
Credit: unsplash.com / Mathew Schwartz

The Taiwanese chipmaker Mediatek has overtaken Qualcomm at the top in the third quarter of 2020 to become the world's largest smartphone chipmaker, according to findings from Counterpoint.

As the market researchers from Counterpoint report, the US chip developer Qualcomm is now only number 2 when it comes to the quantities sold of SoCs (system-on-a-chip) for smartphones. After that, Mediatek from Taiwan, with a market share of 31 per cent, beat Qualcomm with 29 per cent in the past third quarter of the year.

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan records first locally transmitted Covid-19 case in 255 days
Southern District Specialty Training Center completes epidemic prevention and preparation
Southern District Specialty Training Center completes epidemic prevention and preparation Credit: 軍事新聞通訊社, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Taiwan has recorded its first locally transmitted Covid-19 case since April 12. The infected person is a woman in her 30s who was infected after having contact with a foreign pilot, so the country's health ministry on Tuesday. The island has recorded a total of 770 cases.

Regional News • World
Over 100 European lawmakers ask for inclusion of Taiwan in World Health Organisation annual assembly
Over 100 European lawmakers ask for inclusion of Taiwan in World Health Organisation annual assembly
Credit: unsplash.com / TangChi Lee

In separate letters sent to the president of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom, 106 European lawmakers from eastern European countries have collectively expressed a “high-level of support” for Taiwan’s participation at the WHO’s 73rd annual assembly.

They argue that Taiwan's work to control the Covid-19 pandemic inside the country is “exemplary”.

Regional News • Asia
200 days without domestic Covid-19 cases in Taiwan
Taipei Credit: Chris (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Taiwan has not reported a domestically transmitted Covid-19 infection since April 12, marking 200 days without any new cases. The country has only recorded 553 Covid-19 cases and seven deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
EVA Air will have a Hello Kitty-themed flight to nowhere on August 8
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting Credit: Jeffhuang0627 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

EVA Air announced Monday it will be celebrating Father’s Day, August 8 in Taiwan, by selling tickets to a Hello Kitty flight to nowhere. The company is looking for innovative ways to get in the air again despite travel restrictions to other countries.

The Hello Kitty-themed plane will take off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport and will land three hours later back at the same location.

During the flight, guests onboard will be treated to a special amenity kit filled with gifts, and be given the chance to purchase Hello Kitty duty-free items at a steep discount. The company also announced passengers would be served a meal designed by Michelin three-star chef Motokazu Nakamura.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany accused of discrimination after the removal of the Taiwan flag from the Foreign Ministry website
Screenshot of the Federal Foreign Office website
Screenshot of the Federal Foreign Office website Credit: Federal Foreign Office

The Taiwanese Government reacted with dismay to the German Foreign Ministry's decision to remove Taiwan's national flag from its website.

Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou on Monday stated that the ministry "could not accept this kind of discrimination", because the page introducing Taiwan is inconsistent with other countries or regions.

When asked during a press conference about the decision, Rainer Breul, the foreign ministry representative, claimed the change was in keeping with Germany's "one China policy.".

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
iPhone assembler Foxconn allegedly plans $1 billion investment into plant in India
Foxconn factory at Czech Republic
Foxconn factory at Czech Republic Credit: Nadkachna (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The Taiwanese hardware and technology company Foxconn allegedly plans to invest up to $1 billion in India. The goal is to expand an existing factory southeastern India near Chennai where the company assembles iPhones for Apple.

According to a source published by the news agency Reuters "There’s a strong request from Apple to its clients to move part of the iPhone production out of China". Neither Foxconn nor Apple have commented on the news.

Technology • Internet & Web
Tinder starts testing video dates
Tinder Face to Face screenshots
Tinder Face to Face screenshots Credit: Tinder

Tinder announced Wednesday that it has begun testing the ‘Face to Face’ chat feature in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Peru and Chile.

In a press release, Tinder says: "We recently surveyed our members in the US, and half of them have had video dates with a match off Tinder in the past month. Not only that, but 40 percent of Gen Z members wanted to continue using video as a way to decide whether to meet IRL in the future - even once their favorite date spot is open again"

The new feature was promised as a way Tinder evolves its business in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan has announced plans to open an office for Hongkongers that flee to Taiwan
Chen Ming-tong
Chen Ming-tong Credit: VOA / Public domain

Taiwan has announced that the country will cover "necessary expenses" for people that flee from Hong Kong for "political reasons" for example because their freedom and safety are threatened due to the new security laws. Chen Ming-tong, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council has stated that "In the past the NGOs were basically doing that but now the government will stand up and finance the expense".

Climate & Environment
Taiwan's Green Island introduces project for waste reduction
Sign for a water refill station
Sign for a water refill station Credit: unsplash.com/Meritt Thomas

Green Island, a small volcanic island and tourist attraction east of Taiwan, is introducing a plan to reduce plastic waste. To counteract the use of bottled water, the island will grant access to 33 potable water facilities in public locations where travellers can refill their own water bottles.

Regional News • Asia
Tsai Ing-wen promises support for Hong Kong's people
Protest in Hong Kong on 09/06/2019
Protest in Hong Kong on 09/06/2019 Credit: unsplash.com/Jospeh Chan

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen promises to provide "necessary assistance" for the people of Hong Kong after an increase in protests due to China's newly proposed security law to bypass the city's legislature. In an announcement on Facebook, Tsai called the proposed legislation a "serious threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms and judicial independence," and that Taiwan would "even more proactively perfect and forge ahead with relevant support work, and provide Hong Kong’s people with necessary assistance."

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan announces 11 days without new Covid-19 infection

The Minister of Health and Welfare and head of the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taiwan, Chen Shih-chung, has announced that for the 11th consecutive day no new cases of the coronavirus have been reported.

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan government announces that they'll donate 10 million masks

The Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the country has increased the daily production of face masks and will provide other countries, which are affected by the coronavirus, with them. The countries current output has increased from 3.2 million surgical masks to 13 million surgical masks per day between February and the beginning of April.

Man in Taiwan fined $33,000 for breaking self-isolation

During a routine police check at a nightclub, the man was caught violating his mandatory 14-day self-isolation after he had returned from Southeast Asia. He got the maximum fine of 1 million Taiwanese Dollar which translates to around $33,000 US Dollar.

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan announces to donate 100,000 face masks per week to the United States

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has announced that they'd donate 100,000 masks per week as soon as their production levels have stabilized. In addition to this Taiwan and the United States will increase their cooperation regarding research, development and production of tests, vaccines, medicines as well as medical supplies and equipment.