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Canoeist Lai Kuan-chieh, gymnast Ting Hua-tien qualify for Paris Olympics

Two more Taiwanese athletes have qualified for the Paris Olympics. One is gymnast Ting Hua-tien, who’s secured her spot in the balance beam event. The other is canoeist Lai Kuan-chieh, who qualified after winning a silver at the 2024 Asian Canoe Sprint Championships.

Asian Games gold medalist Lai Kuan-chieh advances steadily in Lane 5. Though he was in the middle of the pack at the start, the moment of truth came in the final stage.

In the last 200 meters, Lai unleashed explosive might to make his way to second place, closely trailing the Iranian rower next to him. Also rushing to the front was China in Lane 8, making for a nail-biter finish.

By a margin of less than 0.3 seconds, Lai clinched his ticket to Paris, and won silver in the men’s C-1 1,000 meter canoe sprint final.

Over at the Doha World Cup, Taiwanese gymnast Ting Hua-tien booked her Paris berth on the balance beam, despite failing to reach the final round. A Spanish competitor who outranked her had qualified for the Olympics floor exercise event, leaving her balance beam spot vacant for Ting. Paris will be Ting’s second Olympic Games in a row.

Also at the competition was Tang Chia-hung, who qualified for Paris at a previous stop of the Gymnastics World Cup Series. That didn’t stop him from bagging a third gold medal in the horizontal bar event in Doha. After a short break, Tang plans to return to training, to create a harder routine that’s set to score high in Paris.

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Uniforms packed with Taiwan elements unveiled for Paris Olympics opening ceremony

Taiwan has unveiled the uniforms that athletes will wear at the Paris Olympics opening ceremony this summer. The team will be all suited up in blue, with threaded flowers on the lapel. The design was drawn up by Justin Chou, who worked with a team of craftspeople to get an outfit packed with the beauty of Taiwan.

Olympic shooter Yang Kun-pi and boxer Wu Shih-yi model the uniforms that the Taiwanese team will wear for the opening ceremony at the Paris Olympics. The dashing outfits grabbed the attention of the whole room.

Yang Kun-pi
Taiwanese shooter for Paris Olympics
This is my first time to take part in a fashion show. I am very happy and honored to wear the clothes for Team Taiwan and feel everyone’s affection.

Wu Shih-yi
Taiwanese boxer for Paris Olympics
In preparing for the competitions, I have always had the attitude that I must do my very best, and so I have been working toward that.

The uniforms were designed by renowned Taiwanese fashion designer Justin Chou. He worked together with artist Paul Chiang and Indigenous banana leaf weaver Aing Banday, who was named as one of Taiwan’s Living National Treasures. Also involved in the project was, Lin Pei-ying, an expert in threaded flowers and ambigram calligrapher Lin Kuo-ching.

Lin Kuo-ching
Ambigram calligrapher
I combined English and Chinese, so we have “Chinese Taipei” in one direction and “Jiayou” in the other. When people see our athletes compete, we’ll all cheer for them, saying, “Jiayou, jiayou, jiayou.” I think that combining the cheer with the words “Chinese Taipei” is really creative.

The designers voiced hope that the athletes will make it big. The suits are coastal blue with threaded flowers pinned to the lapels – the national plum blossom and rapeseed flowers symbolizing cheering on the team. The material for the team’s polo shirts is sustainable and contains negative ions, which allegedly help boost comfort.

Justin Chou
Fashion designer
Through our opening ceremony uniforms, we can show everyone that Taiwan has other great things besides bubble tea and xiaolongbao steamed buns. The fabric for the polo sleeves was cut to create random patterns. So when they are wearing them, they will look like a team, but everyone will look different.

With the blessings of Taiwan’s people, the national athletes plan to shine at the Paris Olympics.

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Registration opens for DPP Youth Diplomacy Empowerment Program

Registration has opened for a DPP study abroad program that will take young Taiwanese to Washington for exchanges. The DPP Youth Diplomacy Empowerment Program will be held from July 23 to Aug. 2. There’s a registration fee of NT$10,000, but all expenses for the participants will be paid. The DPP’s acting secretary-general, Andrea Yang, says the program aims to develop more foreign affairs talent like Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim.

The director of the DPP’s mission in the U.S., Michael Fonte, proclaims, “Long live Taiwan democracy.” Speaking from Washington, D.C. in a prerecorded video, he encouraged participants to sign up for the DPP Youth Diplomacy Empowerment Program, which starts in July.

Michael Fonte
DPP US mission director
In other words, the program gives you a chance to come to the U.S. to gain a deeper understanding of U.S. policies on Taiwan and to meet U.S. officials and scholars. Whether you end up working as an aide or get elected president, forging these relationships will help you.

The program will take politically minded youth to Washington for exchanges. Such an initiative is not new. Back in 1995, Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim organized a similar course while working at the DPP’s mission in the U.S. The participants included current lawmaker Ho Hsin-chun, Prospect Foundation president Lai I-chung and Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs Herming Chiueh. With this latest youth camp, the DPP seeks to nurture more new talent in politics.

Andrea Yang
Acting DPP secretary-general
We want to find more Hsiao Bi-khims. It’s difficult to cultivate foreign affairs talent, in large part due to salaries and benefits. These are problems we have been trying to overcome in our talent development efforts.

Wen Lii
DPP director of international affairs
Perhaps you may all be thinking that the U.S. flights alone start at NT$50,000 or NT$60,000. But our registration fee is just NT$10,000 per person. While KMT lawmakers led by Fu Kun-chi are carrying out exchanges with China and the CCP, the DPP is taking a new generation out into the world, to strengthen relations between democracies, and stand united together.

Registration is now open for the youth camp, which will be held from July 23 to Aug. 2 in Washington, D.C. Fifteen to 20 participants will be chosen, and their expenses will be covered in full. In related news, DPP Chair Lai Ching-te has pledged to donate his election subsidy to support the education of young party members, to foster new talent in Taiwan politics.

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Local vaccine maker donates vaccines to children of lower-income households in 2 countie

Enterovirus infections over the past two years reached a record high, due to what some see as an immunity debt caused by the COVID pandemic. An enterovirus 71 vaccine was developed last year, and Taiwan’s Medigen announced last Sunday that it would donate 1,200 doses of the vaccine to disadvantaged children in two counties. The donations are being welcomed by pediatricians who have warned that there could be an outbreak on the horizon. They say that the vaccine will likely be publicly funded in the future, but for now, donations like Medigen’s are an important lifeline for disadvantaged households.

Local vaccine maker Medigen announced it would donate 1,200 doses of its enterovirus 71 vaccine to Hualien and Taitung counties, which would be available to children under the age of 2 from disadvantaged households.

Health officials said this week marks the start of an annual peak period for the spread of the different forms of enterovirus. According to health ministry statistics, the number of enterovirus infections began to climb in 2015 and reached a high in 2016 when there were 6,562 cases. Annual infections reached a low of 537 in 2022 due to precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, since then cases have again spiked, reaching a record high of 9,256 cases as of April this year, a 10-year high.

Chiu Nan-chang
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Taiwan
There are a lot of children who may have already been infected this year, so we think the chance of an enterovirus outbreak is very high. If the weather changes slightly and gets hotter, we will likely see a sudden increase in case numbers.

So far this year, there have been six cases of enterovirus 71, and one case of D68 – a mild variant. Pediatricians are worried that immunity debt caused by the COVID pandemic may lead to a wave of outbreaks for enterovirus-related illness. However, since the enterovirus vaccine is new, those hoping to get it must pay out of pocket to the tune of NT$7,000 to NT$10,000 per shot.

Ni Yan-hsuan
Taiwan Pediatric Association
Other vaccines such as that for hepatitis A were also initially administered at the patient’s own expense, but the government gradually allowed them to be publicly funded. After all, prevention is a better than treatment. Why wait until people get seriously ill and then give them guidelines on what to do? Why not just vaccinate people from the start?

Donations like Medigen’s allow more children to benefit from vaccines that prevent illness. Now pediatricians are hoping the enterovirus vaccine can become even more accessible to all children.

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ITRI showcases hydrogen tech, energy savings applications at Net Zero Day

Taiwan is on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. To help businesses achieve their green transition, the Industrial Technology Research Institute, or ITRI, showcased its latest innovations at its third annual Net Zero Day last Friday. The special exhibition focused on applications in hydrogen energy and energy efficiency technology.

A small drone takes off from Qingye Farm in Taichung. It climbs to an altitude of 3,200 meters to arrive at the Shinda Mountain Cabin, where it air-drops medical supplies. In another test, the drone goes from Beimen in Tainan to Dongji in Penghu. Flying 88 kilometers to deliver COVID test kits, its endurance tops expectations. Thanks to its fuel cell power generation system, this drone has three times the flight time of a drone powered by lithium batteries of the same weight. Not only that, the drone is low-noise and pollution-free, making a case for hydrogen applications as a future priority.

Wang Yao-ting
Taipower president
CPC Corporation is responsible for transport and storage, and Taipower is in charge of application. With regard to hydrogen mixed with natural gas, we completed all the testing last December. This year, we plan to move ahead by 5% and continue to improve, to understand how hydrogen blends affect efficiency and other performance metrics.

Besides hydrogen applications, energy saving is a focus of the future. To provide kilowatt-level cooling for AI servers, ITRI developed the Vapor Chamber Lid, which is integrated into the chip module and fits right on the AI chip. A vapor chamber is used to evaporate and condense water within the chip, achieving energy savings three times the global average for cooling systems. This system is at the heart of a collaboration between ITRI and Intel Taiwan. In addition, ITRI’s energy asset management system enables the efficient management of AI assets, reducing battery cycles, saving costs, lowering total power use by 20%, and increasing battery life by three years.

Liu Wen-hsiung
ITRI president
ITRI set up a technical service team to conduct a comprehensive industry review, to understand technology application and formulate approaches to tackling the challenges of carbon reduction and sustainability.

To reach net zero by 2050, industrial transformation is a must. At the third edition of its Net Zero Day, ITRI showcased innovations in hydrogen energy and green financing, to support businesses in achieving their green transition.

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Hotel chain adopts koala at Taipei Zoo to support conservation

Fu-rong the koala has been adopted, under Taipei Zoo’s corporate partnership program. Fullon Hotels and Resorts signed a deal with the zoo on Monday, with the goal of promoting koala conservation.

Fu-rong the koala nestles in a tree. In no time, she is sound asleep. Zoogoers rush to snap pictures of the adorable sight.

To support ongoing koala conservation and breeding, Fullon Hotels and Resorts has joined Taipei Zoo’s animal adoption program for corporations. On Monday, a hotel representative signed a memorandum of understanding with Taipei Zoo Director Chen Yi-tsung.

Wu Wei-te
Fullon Hotels and Resorts
Since the first koala, Patrick, arrived in Taiwan, koalas have been a highlight for children and adults alike. I hope that this adoption initiative will educate more people about koalas. A portion of the proceeds will go toward education and conservation efforts.

With proceeds from the corporate adoption, Taiwan’s only zoo with koalas will expand its ex-situ conservation work. Taipei Zoo hopes that in the not-too-distant future, it will welcome Fu-rong’s next generation.

Chen Yi-tsung
Taipei Zoo director
Actually all the koalas at Taipei Zoo are monitored for their breeding cycles. We’ve also carried out genetic analyses on them to facilitate the breeding of the next generation. So in the future, we do hope to have new koala joeys to introduce to everyone.

Conservationists estimate that as many as 60,000 koalas were killed during the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season. Through its corporate adoption, Fullon Hotel and Resorts hopes to raise awareness about animal conservation and climate change.

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French photographer Hubert Kilian records Taiwan’s complex urban landscapes

French photographer Hubert Kilian has made a study of Taiwan’s complex urban landscapes. Kilian’s photos have recorded the industrial and agricultural corners of Taipei, New Taipei, and Taoyuan. In recent years, his work on Taoyuan residents facing the loss of their land for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project has won particular attention. But deciding to dedicate himself to art has not been an easy decision. FTV accompanied Kilian on a trip to find some more of Taiwan’s urban tableaux, off the beaten track.

Hubert Kilian walks down a road amid the screech of trucks, his equipment on his back, constantly looking around. The French photographer started his walking adventures in 2020, wandering the coastal regions of Taoyuan, recording scenes from the margins of the city with his camera.

Hubert Kilian
I had a lot of questions about how the city is arranged. How are urban, industrial and agricultural areas divided? Where you put the agriculture? Does it need protection, or not? Or is economic development more important? I wanted to use my camera to consider all these questions, and to ask more questions.

In Kilian’s work, Taoyuan emerges as a city where industry and agriculture coexist side by side, sometimes in conflict, forming a distinctive contemporary Taiwanese landscape. Each photo has emotional resonance. After three years capturing Taoyuan, he found himself inadvertently recording history. At the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, many households are facing land expropriation, in a development that could drastically change the landscape.

Hubert Kilian
Photographer and French immigrant
I’m very interested in the hole at the back of the building. It represents the intimate connection between this land and agriculture. Looking at that building from here, you can judge that its former glory has become a ruin.

After marrying his wife in 2003, Kilian settled in Taiwan. A resident of Taipei, he wanted to find a reason to fall in love with the city. He picked up his camera in his spare time, and began recording images of Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan. He’s published two collections of photographs and is preparing a third currently. In late 2023, he started a business, a photography studio, to devote more time to his photography and to building his dream.

Hubert Kilian
Photographer and French immigrant
There have always been two paths in my mind. I was always wavering between them. I used to be a business consultant, then I was an artist. There was always a conflict. So I flipped back and forth between them. I was always stuck between these two roads. Now I’ve reached an age where I’m just going to choose a path and see how it goes.

Kilian’s art has brought him to a deeper perspective on Taiwan, and taken him to many less-travelled roads around the country. He has found himself surrounded by warmth from people met on his travels, and gradually he’s found his own way to resonate with the life of the land. The artist says he’s grateful for the 21 years of rich experiences Taiwan has already given him.

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TSMC secures subsidies to build third fab in Arizona

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced a US$6.6 billion grant to Taiwan’s top chip manufacturer for semiconductor production in Arizona, which includes a third facility that will bring the tech giant’s investment in the U.S. state to US$65 billion. Voice of America’s White House correspondent Anita Powell reports.

A single semiconductor transistor is smaller than a grain of sand. But billions of them, packed neatly together on a chip, can connect the world, control weapons of war, and, someday, even drive your car. But U.S. production of this American-born technology has fallen off in recent decades.

Andy Wang
Northern Arizona University
As a nation, we used to produce 40% of microchips for the whole world. Now we produce less than 10%.

The Biden administration announced US$6.6 billion in funding for the world’s top chipmaker to build a third facility in the state of Arizona. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company says it will put the U.S. on track to produce 20% of the world’s leading-edge semiconductors by the end of this decade. The funding comes from the bipartisan 2022 CHIPS and Science Act, which President Joe Biden highlighted that year in a visit to TSMC’s first Arizona facility.

Joe Biden
US president
American manufacturing is back, folks. American manufacturing is back.

Engineers say the legislation addresses a key weakness in American chip manufacturing.

Todd Achilles
University of California, Berkeley
We’ve just gotten in the cycle of the last 15 to 20 years, where innovation has slowed down. It’s all about financial results, investor payouts, and stock buybacks, and we’ve lost that innovation muscle. And the CHIPS Act, pulling that together with the CHIPS Act is the perfect opportunity to restore that.

But, they say, America urgently needs talent. The White House says this new investment could create 25,000 construction and manufacturing jobs. Are there enough workers to feed this need?

Zachary Holman
Arizona State University
Our engineering college is the largest in the country, with over 33,000 enrolled students, and still we’re hearing from companies across the semiconductor industry that they’re not able to get the talent they need in time.

TSMC in 2022 broke ground on a facility that makes some of the world’s most advanced chips. With each jump, chip production can get more and more complex and expensive. Can the country that made the mighty chip keep up? Biden’s betting on it.

For Levi Stallings in Flagstaff, Arizona, Anita Powell, VOA News, Washington.

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Speaking at Games, Lai promises Sports Administration to be upgraded to ministry

After a 12-year hiatus, the National Middle School Athletic Games is being conducted once again in the capital Taipei. The games’ opening ceremony was held Saturday night with the attendance of Taipei mayor Chiang Wan-an, Premier Chen Chien-jen, and Vice President Lai Ching-te. Lai mentioned during his remarks that he’ll be pushing for an upgrade of the Sports Administration to become the Ministry of Sports and Sports Industry Development.

Singer Will Hsu sang with a joint orchestra made up of members of Jieshou and Dunhua junior high schools’ orchestras at the Taipei Arena, mesmerizing the audience.

The uniform movements of the Taipei First Girls High School marching band, as well as a dance that integrated traditional skills with modern art, were part of four sets of performances that kicked off the 2024 National Middle School Athletic Games.

After a 12-year hiatus, the most important annual sporting event for Taiwan’s middle school students is being held in Taipei once again. From April 20 to 25, teenage athletes from around the nation will gather here to compete against one another in 22 different sports. Classes are suspended for four days starting April 22 in 150 schools, so that sports facilities on campus can be used for the games and students can participate.

Chiang Wan-an
Taipei mayor
I believe that this year’s National Games in Taipei will be very exciting. And I guarantee that in this year’s games, there will be athletes who will go on to win gold medals at the Olympics and Asian Games in the future.

In addition to Mayor Chiang, education minister Pan Wen-chung, Premier Chen Chien-jen, and Vice President Lai Ching-te were all on hand at the event to cheer on the participants.

Chen Chien-jen
I’d like to use the Olympic motto to motivate everyone, and that is “Faster, higher, stronger, together.”

Lai Ching-te
Vice President
During my presidential campaign, I proposed a sports policy, and that is, we should upgrade the Sports Administration to become the Ministry of Sports and Sports Industry Development. We will continue to promote Guidance Program 2.0 for outstanding athletes.

In addition to promoting the development of the sports industry, both the central and local governments have spared no effort to cultivate Taiwan’s future athletic stars through the annual national games for youths.

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High school baseball player opens burger shop after graduation

Lots of young people want to start a business, and 22-year-old Chan Chun-hsiang did just that. An athlete who played baseball up until graduation, Chan decided to become an entrepreneur after high school, first working in a food truck. Once he learned business basics, he set up a small burger stand outside his home in Banqiao. Now he has taken his business a step further by opening his own burger shop in east Taipei.

Chan Chun-hsiang uses both hands to beat the air out of freshly ground beef, then puts it on the griddle and fries it until the outer layer is slightly charred.

First comes lettuce, then the patty, bacon and onions, topped with a mild BBQ sauce that completes this American style burger. Toasted sugar and rich peanut butter add even more flavor that will make your mouth water.

Chan Chun-hsiang
We prepare all the ingredients ourselves, right down to grinding the beef. I’ve even tried many different kinds of sauces over time.

Chan may be just 22 years old, but he already has his own burger shop in east Taipei. Although he played baseball since he was young, he went into business because he felt uncertain about his future after graduating from high school.

Chan Chun-hsiang
I didn’t go to university, so after graduating high school I felt kind of lost. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Ever since I was young it was just sports, sports, sports. But the food industry is not that hard to get into, anyone can do it.

A friend introduced him to a food truck owner who taught him how to make burgers, purchase goods and keep basic accounts. Then he started his own small business, setting up a griddle outside his home in Banqiao.

Chan Chun-hsiang
At that time, we actually wanted to start a food truck, but didn’t have enough funds. So, I resorted to setting up a small food stand. After opening the restaurant in east Taipei, our sales shot up. Usually, our daily turnover will be over NT$10,000.

At the small stand in Banqiao, the daily turnover was around NT$3,000 at most. But after gathering a year of experience and moving to Taipei, revenue increased and customers became steadier. At such a young age, he is already a successful entrepreneur building his dreams.

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TSMC posts consolidated revenue of NT$592.64 billion in Q1 2024

TSMC reported a stellar first quarter at its earnings call on Thursday. Consolidated revenue reached NT$592.64 billion and earnings per share hit NT$8.7, a new high for the quarter. Looking ahead, TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said the April 3 earthquake and the April power price hike could have a minor impact on TSMC’s gross margin in the second quarter.

TSMC announced exceptional figures in the first quarter. Consolidated revenue stood at NT$592.64 billion, and earnings per share at NT$8.7. As TSMC expands globally to meet client demand, it’s also facing higher costs associated with overseas factories.

Voice of C.C. Wei
We do encounter some kind of higher costs overseas, or even recently the inflation and electricity. We expect our customers to share some of the higher costs with us.

The chipmaker said it would evaluate ways to share the higher costs with clients. It also gave an update on its global expansion. Three fabs are under construction in the U.S. The first is slated to enter mass production in the first half of 2024. The second and third are expected to come online between 2028 and 2030. TSMC’s second fab in Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture is expected to start production in 2027. The company’s project in Dresden, Germany will mostly focus on automobile and industrial chips. TSMC is also facing higher costs in Taiwan, after electricity rates rose on April 1.

Voice of Wendell Huang
TSMC senior vice president
Primarily due to impact of the earthquake on April 3, as just discussed, and higher electricity costs in Taiwan, TSMC’s electricity price in Taiwan was increased by another 25% starting April 1 this year. This is expected to take out 70 to 80 basis points from our second-quarter growth mark.

The April 3 earthquake and rising electricity bills are expected to have a minor effect on gross margin. But with its long-term outlook still strong, TSMC’s leadership in the sector remains unthreatened.

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Downpours disrupt morning commute in greater Taipei

Heavy rains battered Northern Taiwan on Thursday, wreaking havoc during the morning rush hour. Commuters had to contend with flooded roads, cut-off tunnels and inundated metro facilities. Traffic jams appeared across Taipei and New Taipei, triggering complaints on local officials’ Facebook pages.

A scooter sails across the water. In greater Taipei, the morning downpour caught many commuters off guard.

A lake formed on the road near Taishan Station on the Taoyuan Metro. In Wugu District, Shuhong 10th Road was submerged in 8 centimeters of water. At this underpass in Yonghe, a waterfall cascades from the ceiling.

A strong convective cloud system brought heavy rains to Taipei and New Taipei. In Xizhi District, a road near Chongde Elementary School turned into a river. Several scooters parked on the street fell to their side, getting completely submerged.

Su Hung-chieh
Chongde Borough warden
At around 6 o’clock this morning, heavy downpours caused flooding in some areas. Water levels reached 45 to 50 centimeters. It was around the time that many residents were going to work or school, and it wasn’t easy for them to retrieve their scooters. They had to wade through the water, and in some cases they couldn’t even get to their scooters.

At Taipei Main Station, a passage connecting Taiwan Railway to the Taoyuan Metro was flooded with 10 centimeters of water. Cleaning staff tried to clear out the water, as passersby waded across, pulling up on their clothes.

Member of public
It’s crazy! Of course it is. This is a key transport hub and it’s all flooded. It’s shocking.

Over at Wenzhou Street, strong winds topped a large tree. At Section 2 of Zhongyang North Road in Beitou, a car got trapped in a flooded tunnel. Water pumps were deployed to clear out the passage.

Lin Ping-yu
CWA forecaster
There was significant rainfall during the day in the central and northern Taiwan. After midday, and especially in the afternoon, the precipitation will be more pronounced in Southern Taiwan, especially in mountainous areas, as well as Hualien and Taitung. The wet weather will start easing in the evening.

Taipei and New Taipei established a Level Three disaster response center to manage the rains. Even so, online complaints flooded the Facebook pages of local officials. For many drenched commuters, the rains put a damper on the entire day.

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