May 2016: Taiwan Life in Brief

HSR STATION AWARD- The Changhua High Speed Rail station won the prestigious U.S.- based Architizer's A-plus Award. (Photo: CNA)

Architecture Award for Changhua HSR Station

The Changhua High Speed Rail station in central Taiwan won the U.S.-based Architizer’s A-plus Award in the bus and train stations category on April 12, beating out more than 100 submissions from around the world, including the Netherland’s Arnhem Central Masterplan and Delft Station, Austria’s Vienna Central Station, and the U.S.’s Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. Designed by acclaimed Taiwanese architect Kris Yao to evoke a greenhouse, the station features glass-paned walls allow for scenic views of rural Changhua County. Experts say the award not only solidifies Taiwan’s reputation for innovative design but will serve to enhance it agri-tourism business.

Water Park Disaster Organizer Sentenced

Lu Chung-chi, organizer of the Color Play Asia party at the Formosa Fun Coast water park that resulted in a fiery disaster last June 27, was found guilty of professional negligence in the deaths of 15 partygoers and sentenced to four years and 10 months imprisonment. During the party, colored powder that swirled amongst partygoers ignited, causing an inferno that left 508 injured, more than 200 seriously, and 15 dead. The sentence was met with outrage by victims and families as being too lenient, while Lu’s lawyer, Chen Chun-wei said that the sentence was too heavy and vowed to appeal.

U.S. Global Entry for Taiwan

On April 4, Joseph Donovan Jr., managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and Shen Lyu-shun, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, signed an agreement that lays the groundwork for Taiwan to enter into the United States’ Global Entry program. While the details have not been finalized, the agreement sets Taiwan on a course to become only the eighth country in the world, and the second in Asia, whose citizens are able to utilize the program. Global Entry allows pre-approved visitors to skip the long lines at immigration by going to a special kiosk that will scan their passports and fingerprints automatically, allowing them speedy entry into the United States. The program is aimed at low-risk, frequent travelers who have undergone extensive background checks and in-person interviews.