Taiwan premier dismisses invite for debate over U.S. pork imports

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Taiwanese man designs dummy passenger to bypass carpool restrictions

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Daughter, son-in-law receive ‘care package’ from Taiwan relatives

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French expat surprised at large Taiwan huntsman spider in shower

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Family of murdered Malaysian student to sue Taiwan gov’t for alleged negligence: Lawyer

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U.S. Elections

Biden set to formally introduce his national security team

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is set to formally introduce his national security team to the nation, building out a team of Obama administration alumni that signals his shift away from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies and a return to U.S. engagement on the global stage.The picks for national security and foreign-policy posts include former Secretary of State John Kerry to take the lead on combating climate change. Kerry and several other people set to join the upcoming administration will be discussed by Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during a Tuesday afternoon event.Outside the realm of national security and foreign policy, Biden is expected to choose Janet Yellen as the first woman to become treasury secretary. She was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Federal Reserve, the first woman in that position, and served from 2014 to 2018.Biden's emerging Cabinet marks a return to a more traditional approach to governing, relying on veteran policymakers with deep expertise and strong relationships in Washington and global capitals. And with a roster that includes multiple women and people of color — some of whom are breaking historic barriers in their posts — Biden is fulfilling his campaign promise to lead a team that reflects the diversity of America.The incoming president will nominate longtime adviser Antony Blinken to be secretary of state; lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary; Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser. Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, will be nominated as director of national intelligence, the first woman to hold that post.Thomas-Greenfield is Black, and Mayorkas is Cuban American.Those being introduced on Tuesday “are experienced, crisis-tested leaders who are ready to hit the ground running on day one,” the transition said in a statement. “These officials will start working immediately to rebuild our institutions, renew and reimagine American leadership to keep Americans safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time — from infectious disease, to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and climate change.”In the weeks ahead, Biden could also name Michèle Flournoy as the first woman to lead the Defense Department. Pete Buttigieg, the former Indiana mayor and onetime presidential candidate, has also been mentioned as a contender for a Cabinet agency.In making the choices public on Monday, Biden moved forward with plans to fill out his administration even as President Donald Trump refused to concede defeat in the Nov. 3 election, has pursued baseless legal challenges in several key states and worked to stymie the transition process.Trump said later Monday that he was directing his team to cooperate on the transition but vowed to keep up the fight. His comment came after the General Services Administration ascertained that Biden was the apparent winner of the election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.Biden's nominations were generally met with silence on Capitol Hill, where the Senate's balance of power hinges on two runoff races that will be decided in January.The best known of the bunch is Kerry, who made climate change one of his top priorities while serving as Obama's secretary of state, during which he also negotiated the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. Trump withdrew from both agreements, which he said represented a failure of American diplomacy in a direct shot at Kerry, whom he called the worst secretary of state in U.S. history.“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry said. “I’m proud to partner with the president-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the president’s climate envoy.”Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and weighed in publicly just last week on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was Biden’s national security adviser when Biden was vice president, then moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Kerry.___Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington, Bill Barrow in Atlanta and Alexandra Jaffe in Wilmington, Delaware, contributed to this report.

Biden transition gets govt OK after Trump out of options

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, formally starting the transition of power after President Donald Trump spent weeks testing the boundaries of American democracy. He relented after suffering yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.Trump still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy gave the green light Monday for Biden to coordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Trump did tweet that he was directing his team to cooperate on the transition. The fast-moving series of events seemed to let much of the air out of Trump’s frantic efforts to undermine the will of the people in what has amounted to a weekslong stress test for American democracy. But Trump’s attempts to foment a crisis of confidence in the political system and the fairness of U.S. elections haven’t ended and are likely to persist well beyond his lame-duck presidency.Murphy, explaining her decision, cited "recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state. It also came as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged him to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn’t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied Biden access to highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team's ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.Murphy insisted she acted on her own. “Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted moments after Murphy's decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay but said Biden’s team would be able to overcome it. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges," he said. "The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the GSA action “is probably the closest thing to a concession that President Trump could issue.″ Noting that the nation “faces multiple crises that demand an orderly transition,″ Schumer urged Democrats and Republicans to “unite together for a smooth and peaceful transition that will benefit America.″Murphy’s action came just 90 minutes after Michigan election officials certified Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one GOP abstention. Trump and his allies had hoped to block the vote to allow time for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That long-shot bid is no longer possible in Michigan.“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said, adding it’s “time to put this election behind us.” Trump was increasingly frustrated by his legal team, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose erratic public performances drew bipartisan mockery in recent weeks. Still, the legal challenges were expected to continue, as Trump seeks to keep his supporters on his side and keep his options open for opportunities post-presidency.In Pennsylvania on Saturday, a conservative Republican judge shot down the Trump campaign’s biggest legal effort in the state with a scathing ruling that questioned why he was supposed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back their claims and an inept legal argument at best.But the lawyers still hope to block the state’s certification, quickly appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which ordered lawyers to file a brief Monday but did not agree to hear oral arguments.The campaign, in its filings, asked for urgent consideration so it could challenge the state election results before they are certified next month. If not, they will seek to decertify them, the filings said.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. Pennsylvania county election boards voted Monday, the state deadline, on whether to certify election results to the Department of State. The boards in two populous counties split along party lines, with majority Democrats in both places voting to certify. After all counties have sent certified results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, she must then tabulate, compute and canvass votes for all races. The law requires her to perform that task quickly but does not set a specific deadline.In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were slowing down the process with frequent challenges. Trump’s hope of reversing Biden’s victory there depends on disqualifying thousands of absentee ballots —- including the in-person absentee ballot cast by one of Trump’s own campaign attorneys in Dane County.___Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Jonathan Lemire in New York, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., contributed to this report.

Approval for transition gives Biden team access to resources

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is set to begin working with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team now that the head of the General Services Administration has “ascertained” that he is the apparent winner of this month's presidential election.Among other things, the ascertainment process gives the incoming president and his team access to officials at federal agencies and directs the Justice Department to work on security clearances for transition team members and Biden political appointees. It even gives his team access to official government website domains.Here is why else the designation is important:WHAT EXACTLY DOES BIDEN GET?With the ascertainment, GSA will now release $6.3 million in congressionally appropriated funds to Biden's transition team and 175,000 square feet (16,200 square meters) of federal office space, including secure areas where Biden and his team can receive sensitive intelligence briefings. DOES BIDEN'S TEAM REALLY NEED THE MONEY AND OFFICE SPACE?Biden made clear soon after declaring victory that the money that came with ascertainment was of less concern. But the president-elect and aides said that the designation was crucial so that he could legally begin consulting with federal government experts about plans to distribute a coronavirus vaccine that is expected to soon come to market. Trump administration officials also had refused to give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA made the ascertainment official.It also means the White House Transition Coordinating Council can proceeds with homeland security and emergency preparedness exercises with Biden's team as required by law.WHY DOES IT MATTER?Slowing the pace of the transition could hamstring a new administration right out of the gate. The Trump administration, experts say, never fully recovered from the slow pace of hiring from its mismanaged 2016 transition after Trump tossed aside carefully prepared plans the day after his victory. That said, the Biden transition team has started moving forward with building out the new administration. Biden announced on Monday that he's nominating Antony Blinken to serve as secretary of state; Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary; Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations; and Avril Haines to serve as director of national intelligence. He is also expected to soon formally announce that he's nominating former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become treasury secretary.COULD THE DELAY CAUSE LONG-TERM IMPACT?Most recent president-elects have had about 77 days between their election and inauguration. Biden's team will have 57 days.In 2000, the GSA determination was delayed until after the Florida recount fight was settled on Dec. 13. At the time, the administrator relied on an assessment from one of the drafters of the 1963 Presidential Transition Act that “in a close contest, the Administrator simply would not make the decision."The abbreviated transition process was identified by the 9/11 Commission Report as contributing to the nation’s unpreparedness for the terror attacks.

Loeffler to return to campaign after negative COVID-19 test

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler said Monday that she will return to public campaigning after she got a second straight negative coronavirus test.The Georgia Republican is facing a Jan. 5 runoff in one of the state’s twin U.S. Senate races.Loeffler took a rapid COVID-19 test Friday evening that came back positive, a day after she campaigned with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who also faces a Jan. 5 runoff. A test Saturday came back inconclusive and a test Sunday came back negative, Loeffler’s campaign said. She had isolated after the Friday test and said she was consulting with medical experts and following guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention“She continues to feel great, and has no symptoms,” spokesperson Stephen Lawson said in a statement. “She looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail.”Perdue said before Loeffler’s negative test was announced Sunday that he would remain at home as he awaited Loeffler’s results. He returned to public campaigning on Monday, appearing with Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in Griffin, south of Atlanta.At that event, when questioned by a bystander, Perdue backed up his previous call for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign over claims by Perdue and Loeffler that Raffensperger mishandled the presidential election in the state. “We called for the resignation of our secretary of state," Perdue said at event at a shooting range. "We’re calling for lawsuits right now. We’re doing a lot. Every legal vote should be counted for Donald Trump. And you know what? They should be counted for me, too. Absolutely.” Neither Perdue nor Loeffler has detailed what they think Raffensperger did wrong, although they want election officials to re-examine the signatures on envelopes of mailed-in absentee ballots, a move Raffensperger says is pointless because the ballots cannot be traced back to envelopes once separated.Perdue and Ernst are scheduled to appear Tuesday in Cordele, Thomasville and Hahira as part of a Perdue bus tour.Pence staffers did not indicate whether he was tested for the coronavirus after campaigning with Loeffler or whether he would isolate.Loeffler has held several rallies in recent weeks with crowds packed into close quarters and many audience members not wearing masks.Loeffler is facing Democrat Raphael Warnock in a Jan. 5 runoff election — one of two races that will determine which party has control of the Senate. The other race will feature Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. If the Republican wins either race, then the party will keep control of the U.S. Senate.

Mets abandon baseball president search, to look for GM

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets have abandoned their search for a president of baseball operations and will instead focus on hiring a general manager who will report to team president Sandy Alderson.Alderson returned to the team Nov. 6 when Steven Cohen completed his $2.42 billion purchase from the Wilpon and Katz families and that day fired general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. Alderson said then he wanted to hire a president of baseball operations but said Monday he had been thwarted in attempts to gain permission to speak with officials on other teams and another possible candidate had family issues that prevented a move.Alderson said Monday he will have a greater role in baseball operations than originally planned. He told Luis Rojas he will return for a second season as manager.Alderson turned 72 on Sunday. He was the Mets' general manager from October 2010 until he left in July 2018 following a recurrence of cancer.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Carl Bernstein says 21 GOP senators contemptuous of Trump

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Watergate sleuth Carl Bernstein took to Twitter to list the names of 21 Republican senators who he says have “repeatedly expressed contempt” for Donald Trump and his fitness to be president.Bernstein's post was condemned Monday by some of those involved. It was an eyebrow-raising modern twist on journalism from the former Washington Post reporter who, with partner Bob Woodward in the 1970s, penned scoops that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.Bernstein said he wasn't violating any confidentiality pledges in listing the senators. He said he learned of the politicians' supposed private feelings through conversations with some of their colleagues, staff members, lobbyists and White House aides.“With few exceptions, their craven public silence has helped enable Trump's most grievous conduct — including undermining and discrediting the U.S. electoral system,” he tweeted late Sunday.Bernstein, a CNN political analyst, declined a request to talk about his posts.Many Washington reporters have talked about lawmakers who have privately expressed reservations about Trump but rarely attached names to their stories. Bernstein said he believed several of the Republicans on his list were privately happy about Democrat Joe Biden's victory.Michael Zona, a spokesperson for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was on Bernstein's list, said the characterization was untrue.“Sen. Grassley has been a strong supporter of the president and at the same time has made it no secret when he disagrees with the president,” Zona said. “There is no difference between what Sen. Grassley says publicly and privately. Washington journalists might be wise to reconsider trafficking in baseless second- and third-hand rumor. It may restore some lost credibility.”Ohio Sen. Rob Portman “has never talked to Mr. Bernstein and we don't know where he's getting his false information,” said Emily Benavides, the senator's spokesperson.Portman, in a column written for the Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday, called on Trump to begin cooperating with President-elect Biden on a transition.There was no article on CNN's website about Bernstein's list on Monday. The veteran reporter appeared on CNN's “New Day” on Friday and named 15 of the 21 senators he tweeted about two days later.Roy Gutterman, a Syracuse University professor who specializes in journalism law and ethics, said Bernstein's approach was unusual and noted the journalist's frequent criticism of Trump.“I don't know if what he did today would fit the model of what he staked his reputation on, which was hard-core investigative reporting,” Gutterman said.It was unsurprising to find Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on Bernstein's list. Romney said last week of Trump's pressure to overturn the election results that it was “difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”“The senator's views about the president are well known by the public,” spokeswoman Liz Johnson said.In a statement, a spokesperson for Indiana Sen. Todd Young said Bernstein's “unsourced rumors” don't deserve a response. “It's clear Sen. Young has a great working relationship with President Trump that has yielded several historic wins for Indiana,” the spokesperson said.

Biden's choice for UN envoy signals return to US engagement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a low-key, veteran foreign service officer, reflects the president-elect's intent to return to a more traditional role at the world body as well as offer an olive branch to a beleaguered diplomatic corps. If confirmed by the Senate, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, would be neither the first African American nor the first woman, nor even the first African American woman, to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. But she’s a groundbreaking diplomat nonetheless. Thomas-Greenfield joined the State Department more than three decades ago, when Black women were even more of a rarity in the U.S. diplomatic corps than they are today.That makes her the most experienced diplomat of the six people named by Biden for top national security positions on Monday. Her tenure at the State Department rivals that of previous U.N. ambassadors like Richard Holbrooke, John Negroponte and Thomas Pickering, all of them white men. Thomas-Greenfield's background positions her well to carry out Biden’s goal of returning the United States to a role as a leading force at the world body, after four years of an administration that has had little use for multilateralism or international organizations.“My mother taught me to lead with the power of kindness and compassion to make the world a better place,” she said in a tweet Monday. “I’ve carried that lesson with me throughout my career in Foreign Service – and, if confirmed, will do the same as Ambassador to the United Nations.”Biden's office announced on Monday his intent to Thomas-Greenfield, who currently heads his transition team for the State Department, and for the job to retain its Cabinet-level rank.She is a 35-year veteran of the State Department who served as ambassador to Liberia, director general of the foreign service and top diplomat for Africa before being forced out during the early months of the Trump administration.While she won’t be the first African American to serve as America’s U.N. envoy — Andrew Young, who held the job during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, holds that distinction — Thomas-Greenfield’s selection is a signal to Biden supporters that his diversity message and plan to elevate career diplomats is not just lip service.Biden also named two white men, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, to top positions in his administration — respectively, secretary of state and national security adviser, and so Thomas-Greenfield's appointment will offer a balance. Susan Rice, who was also under consideration to be secretary of state, was the first African American woman to hold the U.N. post, but she was not a career foreign service officer, though she held a senior State Department position in President Bill Clinton’s administration.Other than secretary of state, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is often the most high-profile foreign policy portfolio in a presidential administration. The influence of these ambassadors has waxed and waned depending on the nature of the president and secretary of state, but Democratic administrations have traditionally leaned more heavily on them than Republicans have.Thomas-Greenfield's immediate predecessors — all women — highlight that dichotomy: Rice, Samantha Power, Nikki Haley and Kelly Craft. When then-President-elect Barack Obama named Rice to the job after being elected in 2008 and announced that the position would return to the Cabinet after eight years during George W. Bush's administration, he did so at the same time as announcing that his Democratic primary rival, Hillary Clinton, would be his secretary of state.At the U.N., Rice was clearly influential in the Obama administration, and Power followed suit after she replaced Rice when Rice was named national security adviser, retaining Cabinet rank. Haley, the former South Carolina governor, won some plaudits during Trump's early years in office but was dogged by persistent reports of clashes with the president's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Craft, by contrast, has played a far less-high profile role since taking over the U.N. job. Even before the transition made it public, Thomas-Greenfield’s expected nomination, along with that of Blinken's, was hailed by a number of former Democratic foreign policy appointees.Thomas-Greenfield “is a valued colleague and veteran diplomat who will restore US leadership and cooperation at the UN,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, for whose consulting company, Albright Stonebridge, the nominee now works. “This will be a phenomenal team,” said Power. “(They) bring decency, professionalism, judgment, and decades of foreign policy experience to these essential jobs. And America will be SO well served."

Biden names climate statesman John Kerry as climate envoy

John Kerry, one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement, is getting one more chance to lead the fight against climate change after President-elect Joe Biden named the longtime senator and former secretary of state as climate envoy for national security.Biden's team gave little immediate detail on Monday about how he envisioned Kerry shaping the new job, which many on social media and on all sides of the climate-action spectrum were quick to dub “climate czar.” But the transition team made clear that it will be a prominent role, with Kerry becoming the first member of the National Security Council to focus exclusively on climate change.It was one of Biden’s first steps making good on campaign pledges to confront climate-damage from fossil fuel emissions more broadly and forcefully than any previous U.S. administration. And it's a sign of how the incoming administration is heeding warnings that natural disasters from global warming will weaken U.S. defense and spur conflicts around the globe.“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry tweeted. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”At 76, Kerry has the stature to help him make deals with foreign governments on global climate efforts. But he's up to a half-century or more older than the activists who pushed climate change to the forefront of national politics over the past four years.Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement climate group, whose members skew younger, called the appointment a “very good move,” saying Kerry combined a long track record on climate issues with a commitment “to engaging and listening to young voices.” But Prakash called for Biden to go further, and create a new domestic federal office to push agencies on climate efforts.The incoming administration’s move comes after four years in which President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, promoted more drilling of climate-damaging oil and gas and mining of coal, and steadily dismantled Obama administration efforts to rein in fossil-fuel emissions.Biden has pledged to get the U.S. back into the Paris climate accord. After 2018 midterm elections in which young progressives like New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez succeeded in pushing climate change toward the front of the U.S. political agenda, Biden in his presidential race promised a $2 trillion plan to overhaul the nation’s transportation and power sectors and buildings to curb fossil fuel emissions.Kerry was a senator from Massachusetts, failed Democratic presidential candidate against George W. Bush in 2004, and Obama’s second secretary of state from 2013 to 2017.In the Senate, Kerry in 2010 was one of the main authors of one of the biggest legislative pushes to date by the Congress to limit fossil fuel emissions. It failed. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental advocacy group, welcomed the incoming Biden administration’s move on Kerry.But “it is important somewhere in Biden’s administration,” particularly in climate, to see “not just the same people and actors we have seen before on these issues,” Hartl said.Other environmental advocates — some of whom want the U.S. to pivot away from all fossil fuels within a few years — were more acerbic. Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Action said Kerry’s record was far too tepid on limiting fossil fuels. “Kerry’s proposals are tired ideas from years past that will do little or nothing to address our climate crisis,” Hauter said in a statement.The U.S. military has warned in a series of reports that climate change is a security threat on many fronts. That includes “through direct impacts on U.S. military infrastructure and by affecting factors, including food and water availability, that can exacerbate conflict outside U.S. borders,” the federal government’s most recent, grim climate report said.

AP source: Biden taps ex-Fed chair Yellen to lead treasury

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has chosen former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to serve as treasury secretary, a pivotal role in which she would help shape and direct his economic policies at a perilous time, according to a person familiar with the transition plans.Yellen, who is widely admired in the financial world, would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in a line stretching back to Alexander Hamilton in 1789. Her nomination was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Biden's plans.As treasury secretary, Yellen would face a shaky U.S. economy, weakened by the pandemic recession and now in the grip of a surging viral epidemic that is intensifying pressure on businesses and individuals. Concern is rising that the economy could slide into a “double-dip” recession this winter as states and cities reimpose restrictions on businesses and consumers stay at home to avoid contracting the disease.A path-breaking figure in the male-dominated economics field, Yellen, 74, was also the first woman to serve as Fed chair, from 2014 to 2018. She later became an adviser to Biden's presidential campaign in an unusual departure for a former Fed leader that thrust her into the political arena. The treasury post would add another new chapter to Yellen's broad and varied career in financial policymaking. As secretary, she would represent the administration in global financial affairs and lead a sprawling department whose responsibilities range from the government's finances and tax collections to global currency markets, bank regulation and the printing of money. She would also be a key adviser to Biden and a public spokesperson for his economic agenda.Yellen would also take on the formidable task of helping negotiate economic policy with Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who will remain Senate majority leader if his party wins at least one of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia in early January.At the same time, she would enjoy the advantage of having already built long-standing ties to many of the Fed's policymakers, notably Jerome Powell, who worked closely with her on the Fed's board and later succeeded her as chair. The health of the economy hinges in part on a close coordination between the Fed, an independent agency, and the Treasury, a presidential Cabinet department, especially during major crises like the pandemic recession that struck in early spring. Soon after that crisis erupted, the government established a suite of lending programs that were designed to shore up businesses and municipalities and that involve a partnership between the Treasury Department and the Fed.Before leading the Fed, Yellen was its vice chair for four years and previously was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco for six years. Earlier, under President Bill Clinton, she led the president's Council of Economic Advisers, after serving a stint on the Fed's board.Yellen is well-known on Capitol Hill after years of testifying as Fed chair to Senate committees about the economy and interest rate policy. During those years, she frequently clashed with Republican lawmakers who accused her of keeping rates too low for too long after the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them charged that Yellen and her predecessor Ben Bernanke had elevated the risk of runaway inflation and asset bubbles that could destabilize financial markets.None of those fears came to pass. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen — and later, under Powell — the Fed's more difficult challenge was raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. It has yet to do so consistently.Yellen, a Democrat, had served only one four-year term as Fed chair when President Donald Trump decided to replace her with Powell, a Republican. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.Biden had said last week that his choice for treasury secretary would be “someone who I think will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, progressives through the moderate coalition.”Yellen has the support of many progressive groups, said Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project, a left-leaning organization. Yellen is a labor economist and an expert on unemployment, an issue that could pose a challenge for the Biden administration, with unemployment at a still-high 6.9% as the economy struggles to recover from the pandemic recession. During her tenure as Fed chair, the central bank began shifting much of its policy focus from fighting inflation, which has been quiescent for decades, to trying to maximize employment, the second of its two congressional mandates. Yellen won praise for her attention to disadvantaged groups including the long-term unemployed. She made numerous visits to employment training centers to spotlight the need for training programs to equip people for good jobs.Having engaged this year on the issue of climate change, Yellen has endorsed a carbon tax as a way to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. When she stepped down from the Fed in early 2018, Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed-Up coalition, a collection of progressive groups, called Yellen's departure “a loss for working people across the country." He hailed her efforts to take on “economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace and the need for more diversity at the Fed.”Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. That rate hike, which caused a sharp increase in the value of the dollar, contributed to a slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2016 and is now seen by many economists as having been premature.After leaving the Fed, Yellen became a distinguished fellow in residence at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington. She did not initially comment about Trump's decision not to offer her a second term. But in a 2019 interview, Yellen said she didn't think Trump had a firm grasp of economic policy “or even knows the Federal Reserve's mandates” to stabilize prices and maximize employment.Yellen is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist whom she met in a Fed cafeteria in 1977. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

Asia News

美國訂房網曝亞洲旅遊趨勢 台灣國內旅遊超夯領先全球|Taiwan, Thailand leading Asia and the world in travel recovery: Agoda

【看CP學英文】美國線上訂房網Agoda於這週表示,台灣和泰國目前引領亞洲和全球國內旅遊的復發。 Taiwan and Thailand are leading Asia in a booming recovery in domestic travel, American online travel agency Agoda announced this week. 根據外媒報導,Agoda執行長John Brown(約翰・布朗)透露亞洲大部分國家都領先其他地區,然而疫情控制較好的市場可見較高的國內旅遊訂房率。 According to foreign...

台灣遭馬國女大生律師提告 家屬:女兒因台灣政府而死 | Family of murdered Malaysian student to sue Taiwan gov’t, school for alleged negligence: Lawyer

【看CP學英文】長榮大學24歲馬來西亞籍鍾姓女僑生於10月29日遭擄殺並棄屍引起各界譁然,如今鍾姓學生的父母已委託律師向台灣多個單位提出民事訴訟,指控因其疏忽而導致愛女遭害。 The family of Irene Chung will be filing a civil suit against several authorities in Taiwan for alleged negligence that led to her death...
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港式腸粉創新滋味!「黑腸粉」獲港人滿分好評 | Black Rice Rolls: Unconventional Flavors

【看CP學英文】香港鳳鳴石磨腸粉的共同創辦人林應祺打破傳統美食框架,創造出連老饕都頻頻點頭的道地家鄉味。 Lam Ying-ki, the co-founder of Feng Ming Rice Rolls, is breaking barriers of traditional cuisines. 白米飯是亞洲人的經典主食,然而,米飯烹調缺少變化,較難將之融入不同的美食料理,以致無法提升其風味特色。 White rice has long been the signature staple of Asian...

老外看台灣/老外洗澡看到這生物超驚嚇 法國網友崩潰:是恐怖片? | French expat freaks out at Taiwan huntsman spider in shower

【看CP學英文】台灣身為一個熱帶島嶼,是許多蚊蟲的家,而有些種類比其他更可怕一些。近期,一位法國人於週六洗澡時竟在浴室與一個台灣本地昆蟲面對面,大眼瞪小眼。 A tropical island, Taiwan is home to many species, some scarier than others.  An expat from France learned more about native species on Saturday when...

Opinion

Asia Today | China reports 2 virus cases after mass testing

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday reported two new coronavirus cases in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin as it seeks to prevent small outbreaks from becoming larger ones.The National Health Commission said that there were two new locally spread cases in the previous 24-hour period, one in each city. It also reported 20 cases among people who had arrived from overseas.In Shanghai, the mass testing of 17,719 workers at the city’s Pudong aiport found one infection, a Fedex employee. Everyone else tested negative.Three UPS workers at the airport have also tested positive in recent days, along with the wife of one of them. In all, Shanghai has reported eight non-imported cases since Friday.In Tianjin, where 2.3 million people had been tested as of Monday, the city reported one case in a person who developed symptoms after testing positive earlier. China does not include people without symptoms in its confirmed case count.To date, the health commission has recorded 86,464 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths.In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— Philippine officials say about 60 million Filipinos are being targeted for vaccination against the coronavirus next year at a cost of more than 73 billion pesos ($1.4 billion) to develop considerable immunity among a majority of Filipinos. Carlito Galvez Jr., who oversees government efforts to secure the vaccines, said negotiations were underway with four Western and Chinese pharmaceutical companies, including U.S.-based Pfizer Inc. and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., to secure the vaccines early next year. He said that one company based in the U.K., AstraZeneca, can commit to supply up to 20 million vaccines. The Philippines has had more than 420,000 confirmed cases, the second-most in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, and 8,173 deaths.— India has registered 37,975 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 480 deaths in the past 24 hours, maintaining a downturn. The latest increase has taken the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 9.18 million, with 134,218 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. Even though the number of daily cases nationwide has remained below 50,000 for several weeks, after peaking in September, several cities have are seeing a jump in cases and are implementing stricter restrictions. State governments in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat have decided to impose a night curfew on some of their cities and have postponed the re-opening of schools.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

What Biden means for Asia? | Excerpts from ST’s webinar with Tommy Koh, Chan Heng Chee

SINGAPORE (Strait Times/ANN) — Ties between the United States and Asia are set to improve under US President-elect Joe Biden, ushering in a period...

Report: Mobile fingerprinting a core tool in US deportations

BOSTON (AP) — A mobile fingerprinting app U.S. immigration agents use to run remote ID checks in the field has become a core tool...

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