April 12th, 2013
07:16 AM ET

Explosives found on Taiwan train; 600 evacuated

Authorities in Taiwan say 600 passengers were evacuated from a high-speed train Friday after explosives were found in luggage inside a bathroom.

The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. train stopped at Hsinchu City after someone found the explosives in two pieces of luggage in a toilet shortly after 9 a.m. local time, according to police.


Filed under: Taiwan
October 24th, 2012
05:29 AM ET

Patient 'upset at illness' confesses to starting deadly fire

A 67-year-old cancer patient was arrested Wednesday in connection with a fire that ripped through a hospital in Taiwan killing at least 12 people and injuring 60 others.

Lin Chi-hsiung, who was found hiding in a storage facility at the hospital, confessed to starting the fire a day earlier because he was upset over his illness, according to Tseng Chao-kai, head prosecutor for the Tainan District Prosecutor's Office.

Lin is a colon cancer patient who has been hospitalized in the facility since late 2010, Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

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Filed under: Arson • Crime • Health • Taiwan • World • World Update
October 17th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

'Occupy' movement goes global as a symbol of shared economic frustration

Editor's note: iReporters all over the globe are showing us what Occupy Wall Street is like in their towns and cities through the Open Story: from the Aleutian Islands to Raleigh, North Carolina; from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Zadar, Croatia. Check out a map of the reports, videos and pictures here.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which swept across the United States as thousands demanded that government institutions change to help fix a struggling economy, gained a major boost as the world began to come together in solidarity over shared economic frustrations.

As the sun rose on each country, one-by-one in the same way each stock market would open, protesters took to the streets. What began as a movement that was largely ignored by the mainstream media can't be dismissed anymore, not when thousands of people are sharing rally cries from Zucotti Park in New York to City Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark. Perhaps that's what organizers hoped for when they called the global day of protest "Solidarity Saturday."

But that global push may not end with the one day of solidarity. Some would say it has bolstered the ambitions and confidence of those who began Occupy Wall Street. It was a hint that, with the right support and organization, they can spread the message they've so desperately tried to get across: They want change, and they want it now. And even though the frustrations and complaints may differ from country to country, the theme remains that governments aren't handling economic crises properly.

The protests spread amid the growing financial troubles for several Western countries. Maybe that's why it's no surprise the global movement came during a G20 meeting of ministers and bankers in Paris. Finance ministers with the Group of 20 pledged Saturday to take "all necessary actions" to stabilize global markets and ensure that banks are capitalized.

Europeans turned out to protest amid debt troubles and austerity plans in Greece, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Germany. And in an increasingly intertwined global economy where Americans watch what happens in the Greek debt crisis, the world too is watching to see how the United States is handling its economic issues.

In the spirit of that solidarity, thousands stepped out to support the frustrations of the unemployed in the U.S. and, in some cases, to share their own grievances.

We're taking a look at scenes from across the world to find out more about the main frustrations being lodged and how the protests are drawing support from each other through the lenses of our reporters and iReporters around the world.


The movement gained traction in London especially because of the presence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Some Brits, who have not been shy to share their frustrations with their economic situation during riots months earlier, echoed American sentiments that governments need to focus not just on the rich but on the little man.

Amedeo d'Amore , an iReporter, was at a demonstration near St. Paul's Cathedral, where he said there were about 1,500 to 2,000 protesters along with a few hundred police officers.

Protesters gather at the London Stock Exchange on Saturday.

"Essentially, they are very disappointed by the current economic system," he said. "From my understanding, they feel that governments have done too much to protect companies while doing very little to assist the average citizen."


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Filed under: Canada • Economy • Europe • France • Iceland • Italy • Japan • Jobs • Julian Assange • Netherlands • Norway • Occupy Wall Street • Taiwan • U.S. • United Kingdom
7-Eleven stores in Taiwan pull Hitler lookalike items
These items were pulled from 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan after complaints about their resemblance to Adolf Hitler.
September 28th, 2011
01:33 PM ET

7-Eleven stores in Taiwan pull Hitler lookalike items

In Taiwan, 7-Eleven stores have pulled products featuring a cartoon vampire that bears a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler after receiving complaints from the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO) for selling the items, according to several media reports.

The convenience store chain, whose 4,400 Taiwanese locations are owned by the President Chain Store Corp., has suspended sales of the key chains, USB drives and magnets sporting the apparent caricature of the Nazi dictator. Company officials originally denied that the cartoon was meant to depict Hitler, first calling the black square on the figure’s face a tooth, then a nose, rather than a mustache. But on Wednesday, the company acknowledged that many saw the image as offensive and said that it did not intend to be insensitive by selling the items.

“Because there are people with doubts, we've stopped selling the products for now,” a representative from 7-Eleven told the German Press Agency, according to an Israeli newspaper.

The ISECO, which is Israel’s de facto embassy to Taiwan, since China does not allow its diplomatic allies to have official ties with the island, says that while it does not think the products were meant to be a show of support for anti-Semitic ideology, the cartoon figure does signify a lack of understanding of the Nazi party’s history.

“We were appalled to see the Hitler lookalike image being used, again, as a marketing aid and sold in Taiwan's 7-Eleven stores,” ISECO representative Simona Halperin said in a statement Tuesday. “I find it tragic that once again people down the chain of marketing and promotion fail to recognize the meaning of the Dark Age in human history that the Nazi dictator represents.”

Taiwan has a history of Nazi imagery popping up in public as a result of commercial use.

Outrage about Thai school's Nazi parade

In 1999, a local company used an image of Hitler to advertise space heaters made in Germany. Additionally, in 2000, a restaurant in Taipei called The Jail displayed images of Nazi concentration camps, while a bar in Taipei operated under the name “Nazi Bar” during the 1990s. Both businesses later removed the references.


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Filed under: Adolf Hitler • Taiwan
On the Radar: Nurses' strike, Obama speech, Taiwan arms
Health care workers walk a picket line outside a Kaiser Permanente facility in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
September 22nd, 2011
06:32 AM ET

On the Radar: Nurses' strike, Obama speech, Taiwan arms

Three things you need to know today.

Nurses strike: Almost 23,000 nurses at hospitals in northern and central California won't report to work on Thursday as they stage a one-day strike to protest concessions demanded by hospitals that the nurses say will hurt their role as patient advocates and cut their health and pension benefits.

The strike by members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United targets hospitals operated by Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente as well as Children's Hospital in Oakland.

Among their grievances, the  nurses say job concessions sought by Sutter Health would require them to report to work when ill, endangering patient health, according to a statement on the union's website.

At Kaiser, nurses are striking in sympathy with co-workers who face cuts in their health coverage and retirement plans, the nurses' union says.

Complaints at Children's Hospital include cuts to health care plans that would make it too expensive for nurses to bring their own kids to Children's for treatment, according to the union statement.

See a list of affected facilities.

Obama jobs speech: President Barack Obama head to Cincinnati on Thursday to pitch his $447 billion jobs bill – a combination of infrastructure spending, tax cuts and aid to state and local governments.

He'll speak with the Brent Spence Bridge as a backdrop. The span across the Ohio River carries one of the country's major trucking routes, but it is in need of $2.4 billion in repairs, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The bridge links the constituencies of the top two Republicans in Congress - House Speaker John Boehner's district is on the Ohio side while Kentucky is home of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and winning Ohio's 18 electoral votes in 2012 could be pivotal to Obama's re-election.

Taiwan arms: China warned the United States Thursday that a multi-billion dollar arms sales to Taiwan will create "severe obstacles" between Beijing and Washington, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"The wrongdoing by the U.S. side will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said, according to Xinhua. Zhang summoned U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to lodge a protest.

The $5.3 billion arms package includes upgrades to Taiwan's F-16 fighter fleet, a five-year extension of F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and spare parts for the upkeep of three different planes used by the Taiwanese, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The deal is part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • California • China • John Boehner • Kentucky • Ohio • On the Radar • Taiwan
Self-proclaimed prophet says massive quake will hit Taiwan on Wednesday
Supplies and shipping container homes were being assembled Tuesday for a doomsday blogger and his believers in Puli, Taiwan.
May 10th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Self-proclaimed prophet says massive quake will hit Taiwan on Wednesday

A Taiwanese man is predicting that a massive earthquake will strike Taiwan on Wednesday morning, killing more than a million people, but an official with the country's National Science Council says there's no indication of any seismic movements.

The self-proclaimed prophet, a blogger who calls himself Teacher Wang, has predicted that a 14-magnitude quake will strike the island at 10:42:37 a.m. local time Wednesday. It will be followed by a massive tsunami more than 550 feet (170 meters) high on May 17, Wang has said, according to news reports from Taiwan.

"The final countdown has started," the prophet, whose real name is Wang Chao-hung, told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday, according to a report in the Straits Times.

The dual catastrophes will "rip the island in half," Wang has said, according to a report on Focus Taiwan.


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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters • Taiwan • Tsunami
Termites behind train wreck that killed 5
Four cars of a train were derailed when a one-ton branch struck it on Taiwan's Alishan Forest Railway this week.
April 29th, 2011
07:14 AM ET

Termites behind train wreck that killed 5

Termites are responsible for a train crash in Taiwan that killed five Chinese tourists and injured more than 100 others, government officials said in a report on the state-run Taiwan Today website.

The accident happened Wednesday, when a 40-foot-long (12.5 meter) branch weighing one ton fell from a 90-foot-tall Mori oak tree less than 10 yards from the track of the narrow-gauge Alishan Forest Railway, striking a train and derailing four cars, according to the report.

Investigators dispatched by the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture determined that termites had eaten away the interior of the large branch, and with further stress on the tree from recent dry weather, it broke and fell on the train, the report said.

"The heavy branch fell because it was decayed inside," said one of the investigators, Wang Ya-nan, a professor at National Taiwan University, according to a report on the Focus Taiwan website.

“This natural phenomenon could not have been predicted or prevented,” the investigators said, according to Taiwan Today.

Service on the popular scenic mountain railway has been suspended for a week, Focus Taiwan said.

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Filed under: Taiwan • Travel • World
Taiwan issues mixed message on missile test ahead of U.S.-China talks
Taiwan reportedly tested 19 missiles on the day Chinese President Hu Jintao left for talks in Washington.
January 18th, 2011
03:53 PM ET

Taiwan issues mixed message on missile test ahead of U.S.-China talks

The timing is odd, for sure, but Taiwan’s president says Tuesday's missile test had nothing to do with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington.

The Taipei Times reported that President Ma Ying-jeou was not exactly pleased with the test results. Of the 19 missiles fired, some of which were U.S.-made, six encountered technical difficulties.

One, an American AIM-7 Sparrow, ascended 200 yards “before radically changing direction and plummeting into the South China Sea,” the Times reported. Four others failed to detonate.

“I’m not satisfied with the results,” Ma said. “I hope the military will determine the reasons and improve its training.”

The paper said that 576 members of the armed forces participated in the drills.

Several media outlets pointed out the noteworthy timing of the test, which came on the day Hu left for the United States.

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Filed under: China • Politics • Security • Taiwan
November 26th, 2010
01:40 PM ET

Shooting at Taiwan rally wounds former V.P.'s son

The son of former Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan was wounded and another person was killed by bullets fired at a political rally Friday night, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.

The gunshot wound to Lien Chan's son's right temple is not believed to be life-threatening, the report said. It did not give the son's name or the identity of the civilian who was killed.

A suspect, who is believed to be a local gang member, was arrested with a gun and 48 rounds of ammunition, the report said.

"I will let God take care of my son, Taiwan, and the public," Lien Chan told reporters.

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Filed under: Taiwan
September 19th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

Typhoon batters Taiwan, knocking out power

Typhoon Fanapi hit eastern Taiwan on Sunday, leaving at least three people dead in related accidents and knocking out power to more than 50,000 homes, state media reported.

Meanwhile, China raised its alert leval to the second-highest category as the typhoon nears the country's southern coast, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.


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Filed under: China • Hurricanes • Taiwan • Tropical weather • Weather
September 16th, 2010
08:53 AM ET

Crossing guards needed for crabs

A crab crosses Provincial Highway 26 in Taiwan.

Help wanted: Crossing guards.

Job description: Escort female crabs across a busy highway during the peak of spawning season.

Think you’re the right person for the job? Apply to Kenting National Park in Taiwan. The park put out the word Thursday that it needs help protecting female land crabs as they migrate from inland areas to coastal spawning grounds. To get there, they need to cross Provincial Highway 26.

Crushed crustaceans are a common sight along the highway, so the park administration will close parts of it for three days this month and three days in October, the Taipei Times reported Thursday.

During other times, park administration is asking motorists to slow down and posting yield-to-the-crabs signs. Officials are also asking for volunteers to carry the creatures across the highway to the ocean.

Officials say there are more than 30 species of land crab in the park, making the park and its surrounding areas the richest habitat for land crabs in the world, according to the Taipei Times report.

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Filed under: Taiwan