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Alliance formed to draft Taiwanese constitution


Taiwan New Constitution Foundation chairman Koo Kwang-ming, right, and constitutional expert Lee Hong-hsi, second right, and others from various pro-independence organizations attend the launch of the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution.

“This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei.

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Six new cases from abroad and two local


People returning home to complete quarantine in time to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Taiwan yesterday recorded six new imported cases of COVID-19 and two new domestic cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the local infections are linked to the cluster at Taoyuan General Hospital, which now totals 12 cases.

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Preventing supply chain attacks

On Dec. 13 last year, cybersecurity company FireEye broke news of the most widespread hacking attack on US government agencies in the country’s history. Government departments affected by the attack, which exploited a vulnerability in proprietary network management software made by the Texas-based software provider SolarWinds, included the US departments of energy, treasury, homeland security, justice and defense.

The SolarWinds incident highlights the severe impact that “software supply chain” attacks can have. Hackers first analyze the software used by the target organization, then identify downstream suppliers to these software products with relatively weak data security practices and infect their software update infrastructure with malicious code. Once the organization updates the software, the malicious code is downloaded onto its systems.

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‘Bentu’ education cannot wait

While the Ministry of Education’s decision to expand compulsory classes for bentu (本土, “local” or “native”) languages to the junior-high school level should be applauded, it raises questions about attitudes toward these languages.

On Saturday, the ministry announced that seventh and eighth-grade students from next year would have one mandatory weekly session of Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Hakka, an Aboriginal language or Taiwan Sign Language, while the subjects would be optional for ninth-grade students.

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Third nurse infected in hospital cluster


Taoyuan General Hospital in the city’s Taoyuan District is pictured yesterday.
Photo: CNA

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week.

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Pompeo secures close Taiwan ties

Like a thunderbolt out of the blue, with only 11 days remaining of US President Donald Trump’s term, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday last week announced that the US Department of State had, effective immediately, lifted all “self-imposed” restrictions on how US diplomats and other government officials engage with their Taiwanese counterparts.

Pompeo’s announcement immediately triggered a backlash. Criticisms leveled by former US National Security Council director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia affairs Evan Medeiros, who served in the administration of former US president Barack Obama, were representative of the disapproving reaction.

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Newsflash


Lawyers Alex Yen, right, and Chen Hsiang-chuan, representing Puyuma Express conductor Yu Chen-chung, listen to a question from reporters during a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Lawyers representing Yu Chen-chung (尤振仲), conductor of Puyuma Express train No. 6432 that derailed on Oct. 21 in Yilan County, yesterday said that Yu rejected the government’s claim that his negligence caused the train to speed, which in turn caused the deadly incident.