Wow. Making the rounds since last night is the news, not exactly unknown, that the KMT government is totally despicable. The Min. of Economic Affairs purchased internet keywords, including the names of anti-nuclear activists, to promote its pro-nuclear propaganda:
The anti-nuclear activists from various civic groups discovered that when they searched for their own names on Google, Yahoo and other search engines, a pro-nuclear power Web site (anuclear-safety.twenergy.org.tw) operated by the ministry will appear as the first suggested Web site.With a government like this, how can anyone trust the safety and financial assurances of these selfsame pro-nuke bureaucrats? Speaking of safety, Reuters reported that the first nuke plant was leaking water:
As the Web site’s content is clearly in contrast with the activists’ beliefs about nuclear power, the anti-nuclear advocates, including Nuclear-Free Homeland Alliance executive director Lee Cho-han (李卓翰), Tokyo-based Taiwanese anti-nuclear writer Liu Li-erh (劉黎兒) and Green Consumers Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉), among others, expressed anger and disgust about the advertising link.
The linkage was first discovered by Lee last week when he was searching for his own name on Google. He immediately contacted Google and Yahoo on the same day, asking them to take down the advertisement.
The Bureau of Energy said on Tuesday that it had bought the keyword advertisement on popular search engines, linking to a total of 92 keywords — including 29 names of people who often spoke publicly about nuclear power.
A nuclear power plant in Taiwan may have been leaking radioactive water for three years, according to a report published by the government's watchdog, adding to uncertainty over the fate of a new fourth nuclear power plant.Don't you feel re-assured now? The bad news out of Fukushima continues -- last month plumes of steam were observed emanating from one of the damaged units, meaning that it is possible something is fissioning in there. We have many of the same conditions here that Fukushima does, from a government and political party maniacally committed to nuclear power to the same set of quake and tsunami zones. There could hardly be anything dumber than building nuclear power plants in a place beset by quakes, tsunamis, and possible bombing and missile attacks, but the government of Taiwan put in four. With no place to store the waste.
The First Nuclear Power Plant, located at Shihmen in a remote northern coastal location but not far from densely populated Taipei, has been leaking toxic water from storage pools of two reactors, said the watchdog, called the Control Yuan.
An official of Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), which operates the island's nuclear power plants, said the water did not come from the storage pools, but may have come from condensation or water used for cleaning up the floor.
Speaking of the environment, the government is relaxing development restrictions around reservoirs. The Liberty Times says:
行政院院會昨通過水土保持法部分條文修正草案，未來水庫集水區內除須特別保護者劃定為「特定水土保持區」外，其餘水庫集水區可進行開發；已劃定為山坡地範圍的土地，經報行政院核定公告即可變更。但環保團體痛批此法為「亡國之法」，台灣會完蛋。This blogpost, forwarded to me by a local environmentalist, gives more details. Originally as many of my readers know, development was forbidden across the catchment area in its entirety. However, the Water Bureau felt that this was having a negative impact on the economy (hahahaha) by which it meant a negative impact on pockets filled by land development under the benevolent gaze of the construction-industrial state. Gravel and soil digging will also be permitted, according to this piece.
The Executive Yuan yesterday passed the draft amendment of certain provisions of the Soil and Water Conservation Act. Except for future reservoir catchment areas requiring special protection designated as a "Soil and Water Conservation Area", the reservoir catchment area can be developed and will be designated as slopeland areas. The Executive Yuan for approval and notice of the changes. But environmental groups criticized this move as the "subjugation of the law," saying that Taiwan will be finished.
Thus, now the term "Soil and Water Conservation Area" will cover only those areas such as streams and slopes with severe landslide threat. As if developers won't ignore that the way they always do. The result, according to the blogger, is that just 17% of catchment areas will be protected, leaving 83% -- 1.72 million hectares -- for developers to ensorcel that land using that special alchemical brew by which public land is turned into private gold.
The blogger goes on to note that only Baihe and Wushantou reservoirs will have entirely protected catchment areas. The destruction is going to be immense.
UPDATE: Don't miss Fagan's comments below.
- DON'T MISS: Excellent IPS piece by longtime Taiwan reporter and commentator Dennis Engbarth on the Services Pact and J Michael's piece on how reporters covering the protests against the forced evictions are being manhandled and blocked by the police.
- China prepares for psy-ops in war with Taiwan
- Only in China: A private zoo in Henan puts Tibetan mastiff in cage, labels it a lion
- 30,000 Pinoys line up for jobs in Taiwan as ban on hiring is lifted.
- Chinese herbal medicines can cause cancer. D'oh.
- How China is poaching skilled physicians from Taiwan: Commonwealth
- From Donovan Smith of ICRT, another 'Only in Taichung' story:
"Last Friday marked the opening of the “City Govt Tourist Night Market” featuring in the ballpark of 400 booths, amusement rides and more covering over 11,000 square metres. Billed as ‘Taiwan’s most expensive night market’ and located by the posh and fashionable Qiqi district, the market was an instant hit as crowds poured in to check out the newest city attraction.
Aside from the unexpectedly large crowds creating more traffic and garbage than was expected, the market had one significant problem--it wasn’t legal, and the ‘city govt’ portion of the name related to the street name and area of its location, not any connection to the city govt itself. The city had rejected their application on the ground that the proposed market was to be nearly 7 times larger than what is allowed in a residential district. Undeterred, organizers forged ahead.
City inspectors were ready on Friday, and immediately issued NT$60,000 in fines and ordered the market be shut down.
This did nothing to deter the organizers, however, and an increasing frustrated city govt kept increasing the fines--reaching a whopping NT$9.6 million total by the end of the weekend. Their defiance ended when the city pulled the plug on power and water, and moved in with equipment to tear it all down--leaving vendors and organizers scrambling to get their gear out before the city did it for them."
- NOT TAIWAN: If you want to understand what's happening in Egypt, mideast expert Juan Cole has a great post explaining it.
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