Torrential Rains Pummel Kaohsiung, Pingtung
Late August brought severe flooding to much of southern Taiwan. As of August 26 – with continued heavy rainfall still forecast – seven people were reported to have died due to the floods, with another 116 injured and nearly 600 temporarily housed in shelters. The Central Emergency Operation Center estimated the value of agricultural losses to date at more than US$18 million. It also noted extensive damage to schools and other public buildings.
The Executive Yuan announced an NT$22 billion (US$715 million) project under the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program to be carried out over the next two years to improve drainage and flood prevention in southern and central Taiwan.
English to be Recognized as an Official Language
Premier Lai Ching-te has disclosed plans to “make Taiwan a bilingual country, with English and Chinese being its official languages,” in an effort to boost Taiwan’s international competitiveness. After Lai made that pledge in an interview with a local newspaper, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said that the Ministry of Education is preparing a report for the Premier, for submission in the next several weeks, outlining more details on how to meet the objective of achieving dual official-language capability. In Lai’s previous post as mayor of Tainan, he promoted a similar program to raise English-language standards in the southern city.
Drug Connection Likely in Foreigner’s Murder
In an unusually grisly crime in normally safe and peaceful Taiwan, a 43-year-old Canadian English-language teacher, Sanjay Ryan Ramgahan, was killed and dismembered with machetes in what police believe to be a drug-related crime. His torso was found in a riverside park in the Yonghe District of New Taipei City, while plastic bags containing his head and limbs were recovered on nearby sand bars in the Sindian River. Ramgahan had been awaiting trial on charges of drug dealing, and police are investigating the possible involvement of organized crime in his death.