Manning the trade barriers
Students occupy Taiwan’s legislature in protest against a free-trade pact with China
TAIWAN’S Legislative Yuan, the island’s parliament, is used to rumbustious scenes. But the occupation since March 18th of its main chamber by protesting students is unprecedented in the country’s nearly two decades of full democracy. The demonstrators, whose actions took many by surprise, want the government to scrap an agreement with China that would allow freer trade in services across the Taiwan Strait. They have displayed a large cartoon of President Ma Ying-jeou in the debating hall, portraying him as a Chinese pawn. The president is at the nadir of his popularity, while China struggles to win over public opinion in Taiwan. Signs of public sympathy with the students are growing.
The past few months have been particularly tough for Mr Ma, now nearly halfway through his second and final four-year term as president. In September he tried to expel a political rival in the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), Wang Jin-pyng, the legislature’s speaker, for alleged influence-peddling. But the move only served to highlight disunity within his party. On March 19th, a day after the students stormed into the legislature, a court in Taipei ruled in Mr Wang’s favour, allowing him to keep his party membership and thus his job. It was another embarrassment for the president, whom critics attempt to portray as an aloof patrician with an autocratic streak.
The agreement his government reached with China last June on removing barriers to cross-strait trade in services such as banking, e-commerce and health care is at the heart of many of Mr Ma’s image problems. Mr Ma sees the pact as a reward for the more conciliatory approach to China that he has adopted since he became president. The students occupying the legislature, as well as opposition parties who back them, claim that the trade deal will lead to an influx of Chinese businesses that will overwhelm Taiwanese competitors, threaten basic freedoms in areas such as publishing, and employ cheap mainland labour rather than Taiwanese. They accuse Mr Ma’s government of being overly secretive in negotiating its terms.
Three days after the students began their occupation, Mr Ma argued that failure by the legislature to approve the agreement “could have serious consequences” (see Banyan). Going back on the deal, he said, could result in Taiwan being “regarded as an unreliable trade partner” by China as well other countries with which the island wants to negotiate free-trade pacts. He denied the agreement would open Taiwan’s job market to Chinese workers and said the government would reimpose barriers if national security were ever at risk.
These arguments appear to convince neither the students nor many members of the public. Thousands have shown support for the occupation by rallying outside the building. A poll conducted on March 20th-21st by TVBS, a broadcaster often regarded as sympathetic to the KMT, found that nearly half of respondents supported the students’ action and opposed the trade pact. Only a fifth were in favour of the deal.
On March 23rd hundreds of students broke into the Taipei compound of the central government, and some used ladders to enter the offices. Police evicted them a few hours later using water cannon and batons in an operation that left dozens injured. Another TVBS poll found much less public support for this action by the students, though support for the continuing occupation of parliament remained high.
In parts of Asia students are seen to embody a country’s moral conscience. Mr Ma is careful not to condemn them outright.
China, meanwhile, tries to sound unperturbed by the commotion in Taipei. Global Times, a Beijing newspaper, called the student action a “typical piece of theatre”. Mr Ma, however, acknowledges that the problem is bigger. “Domestically,“ he says, “we have not yet reached a significant consensus on how we want to develop our relations with mainland China.” After six years of trying, Mr Ma can claim too little progress on this.
文章連結 - http://goo.gl/bu2qC5
For Taiwan's Embattled President, Awkward Similarities With Ukraine's Ousted Leader 《彭博商業周刊》關於 #服貿 的看法
For Taiwan's Embattled President, Awkward Similarities With Ukraine's Ousted Leader
By Bruce Einhorn
After the events in Ukraine over the past month, the news from Taiwan feels eerily familiar. The turmoil takes place in a small country that has spent years living uncomfortably in the shadow of a major power—one with ambitions to recover territory lost during a humiliating period of weakness. The small country has a weak economy, and the government decides to push through a controversial deal to tie the small country’s prospects closer to its powerful neighbor. That move sparks outrage against the unpopular president, who has already faced criticism after the jailing of a popular opposition leader on corruption charges. The protests grow, turning violent as the embattled president orders security forces to break up the demonstrations.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is not former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych—Ma, for one, doesn’t have an opulent home with seven limos, a private zoo, and a life-size galleon on a man-made lake—but as political unrest grows in Taiwan, the similarities between the two are striking. Just as Russians considered Crimea to be territory unjustly separated from Mother Russia, the Chinese government has insisted since the days of Mao Zedong that Taiwan is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic.
Both the Ukrainian and Taiwanese economies have suffered from disappointing growth, especially compared with more dynamic neighbors, and just as Yanukovych wanted to cement closer ties with Russia, Ma has been promoting a deal to liberalize trade and services with China. Yanukovych jailed former Premier Yulia Tymoshenko for a seven-year term, while Ma’s predecessor, former President Chen Shui-bian, is serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted on corruption charges in 2009.
Now the Taiwanese leader is quelling a student-led revolt against his attempt to ram through the legislature the services trade pact signed with the mainland last year. While lawmakers have dragged their feet on approving the agreement, Ma has called it a vital step in his efforts to revitalize the Taiwanese economy, which last year grew 2.95 percent, down from 3.85 percent in 2012. The deal would open banking, brokerages, e-commerce, and other sectors of the Taiwanese economy to investment from the mainland.
Critics say Ma’s government has reneged on a promise to do a line-by-line review of the agreement. The president isn’t compromising, and in the early hours of Monday riot police fired water cannons at protesters to clear them from the building in Taipei that is the headquarters for the cabinet. Police arrested about 60 people, Bloomberg News reports, and a total of 110 people—demonstrators and police officers—were injured. But the students still are occupying the legislature.
Fortunately for Ma, the Taiwanese economy isn’t as bad as Ukraine’s. Taiwan’s unemployment rate was just above 4 percent in February, down from about 6 percent in mid-2009. The picture for the economy this year is looking slightly better than it did at the end of 2013: Last month, the government raised its forecast for growth in 2014 to 2.82 percent, compared with an earlier forecast of 2.59 percent, and the government expects exports to increase 3.33 percent, better than the earlier forecast of 3.07 percent.
Still, even if Ma manages to quell the student-led revolt, the economic problems keep mounting. The government’s debt level has been expanding from 24.1 percent of GDP in early 2000s to 35.8 percent last year, according to a March 11 report from Bank of America (BAC) Merrill Lynch. That’s manageable compared withthe debt levels in other Asian countries, but “Taiwan’s pace of recent expansion, 40.6% debt limit, below-trend GDP growth and an aging population continue to cause growing concern about its fiscal condition,” wrote the bank’s Marcella Chow, who warns that total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP has dropped from about 17 percent in the 1990s to 12.6 percent last year. Moreover, according to Chow, “the government may encounter further tax revenue shortages with the tax burden growing at an even weaker pace.”
The weak economy is one reason Ma says Taiwan must move ahead with the China trade deal, despite the objections of the protesters. “Regional economic integration is an unstoppable global trend,” he said in a televised briefing. “The government can’t accept anyone impeding its ability to function by barging in and charging its buildings.”
With the occupation of the cabinet headquarters over, Ma seems to have the upper hand for now. But Yanukovych probably thought he was in control, too.
然而，即使馬總統真的成功平息這場學運，經濟問題仍在持續增加。根據美國銀行/美林證券(註)今年3/11的一項報告指出，台灣政府的負債水平在21世紀初占GDP 24.1%，去年已上升至35.8%。和其他亞洲國家相比，這樣的負債水平仍算是可以應付的。但"台灣近來經濟成長步伐、40.6%的債務上限、低於趨勢水準的GDP成長和人口老化都將持續引發對其財務狀況的擔憂"，美國銀行的Marcella Chow寫道。他同時也提出警告，台灣的稅收總額占GDP百分比已由90年代的17%，降至去年的12.6%。此外，據他所言，"隨著國家稅負成長腳步更加緩慢，台灣政府可能會遭遇進一步的稅收短缺"。
Taiwan’s “Occupy” Movement Teeters between Peace and Violence
By Sandra Upson
In the biggest student-led protest in Taiwan’s history, an estimated 10,000 people have surrounded government buildings in Taipei in opposition to an impending trade deal with mainland China. The movement began spontaneously, when hundreds of protestors seized control of Taiwan’s main legislative building last Tuesday night. On Sunday evening the clashes escalated, with several dozen people injured in skirmishes between police and activists who had stormed the Executive Yuan, which houses the Cabinet.
Yet when I visited the protests on Saturday, I was struck by the extraordinary civility and peacefulness on display. The students, professors and other supporters sat in neat rows in the streets flanking the occupied legislative building. Many attendees carried sunflowers, a salute to the event’s nickname, the Sunflower Movement.
Protesters here are objecting to a move by Taiwan’s leading party to skip an itemized review of the trade agreement, as had been promised. The new pact would open up Taiwan’s service sector to Chinese investment, raising fears that the mainland will increase its leverage over the island. Businesses in the service sector make up almost 70 percent of Taiwan’s economy. Some protesters oppose the pact entirely, whereas others object to the way the government is pushing it forward without a public review.
The deal comes on the heels of a half-decade of warming relations between the Taiwanese government and mainland China. Only in 2008 did Taiwan begin to allow direct travel, trade and postal connections with China. Previously, all such links were routed through a third party, often Hong Kong. To get just a taste of Taiwan’s historically fierce protection of its sovereignty from China, consider that it only permits ten mainland films to be released in the island per year, a quota applied exclusively to its neighbor across the strait. This trade agreement will likely increase that figure.
On Saturday, the thousands upon thousands of young Taiwanese people sitting in the streets were quiet and friendly. Volunteers amiably but firmly kept walkways clear around the site. Upon exiting a port-a-potty, you could expect to find a volunteer offering to pour bottled water over your hands. Nearby businesses offered free snacks.
Protesters who had entered the legislative building were sitting on its roof and peering out its windows. Police maintained a very low profile—the most visible presence was at the Executive Yuan, around the corner, where several tiers of barbed wire stood between the police and pedestrians. Thorny fencing also guarded parts of the legislative building, but to less effect. Here, protestors had wrapped cushioning around the sharp edges and tucked sunflowers between its wires.
Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include telepathy, clairvoyance, divination, precognition, psychokinesis, mediumship, mind control, memory feats and rapid mathematics. Hypnosis may also be used as a stage tool. Mentalists are sometimes referred to as psychic entertainers.
在此影片中mentalist應解釋為：a mind reader, psychic, or fortuneteller 讀心術師、特異功能者、算命師
Magician and mind reader Jose Ahonen
Magic Takes Over the Stage
Mentalism, magic of the mind, humor, wonders. A performance that lasts about half an hour carries the audience into the mysterious and secret world of magic of the mind. Surprisingly, the assistants selected from the audience are also able to perform wonders!
Jose Ahonen - The Best Magician in Town (City Magazine, 2009)
”The demeanor of Jose Ahonen may resemble that of his American colleagues, but his art was absolutely captivating. The audience consisted of people in the travel and tourism industries, many of whom have seen live performances by American magicians, usually far from the stage. This time the magic walked up close and touched them. A real entertainer and artist like Jose Ahonen is able to enchant his spectators and create an ambience that grips the audience. I recommed this one.”
Jose Ahonen所展現的台風可說和他的美國同行相似，但他的藝術表演確實是迷倒眾生。他的觀眾群來自旅遊觀光業，多數皆已看過美國魔術師的現場表演，但通常為遠景魔術。這一次，魔術將和他們近距離親密接觸。一位像Jose Ahonen一樣真正的表演者、藝術家，能夠使他的觀眾瘋魔，並製造出充滿魅力的舞台氛圍擄獲觀眾的心。在此誠摯為您推薦。
例：three five-week-old lion cubs
例：Do not play favorites with your children.
例：Stop arguing in circles. You're begging the question.
2. to invite the (following) question. (This reinterpretation of beg the question is incorrect but is currently in widespread use.)
例：His complaints beg the question: Didn't he cause all of his problems himself?
2. An animal that feeds on others of its own kind.
If you "put someone on a pedestal", you admire them very much and think that they cannot be criticized. If someone is knocked off a pedestal they are no longer admired.
代表此人在你心中有崇高地位，若是用knocked off 代表已不再崇敬他。
ex： He puts his wife on a pedestal. She can do no wrong in his opinion.
to be reasonable
ex：His story of what happened to him just doesn't add up.
An especially attractive date, escort or other companion to a special event. Called "arm candy" because one locks arms with their "candy" (valuable possession) when they enter. A popular connotation of arm candy is a date that someone is using not to enjoy their company, but simply to appear important, wealthy or worthy of attention.
A "golddigger" would likely carry arm candy to a dance or party. (Urban Dictionary)
deliberately causing another person problems.
ex：The supervisor keeps telling me off. He’s out to get me.
If you run something by someone, you tell them about it or mention it, to see if they think it is a good idea, or can understand it.
把(某事) 告訴(某人) 以徵求意見
ex：I'm definitely interested, but I'll have to run it by Larry.
frozen yogurt 的簡稱
in complete agreement with
ex：This is a very good plan, I'm all for it.
The issue, main point, or problem is, as in The thing is,
ex： The thing is, whenever you change, you're also giving something up.
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All Rights Reserved.
- principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated
(The Free Dictionary)
Copyright © 2014 Arnold Schwarzenegger
All Rights Reserved.
The moving clip starts with a child celebrating her birthday and follows her moment by moment as war and conflict develops in the UK.
The hard hitting clip shows London being turned into a war zone where rockets are fired at buildings in broad daylight and children wear gas masks.
The powerful video ends with at moving shot of the young girl celebrating her birthday once again.
After the video finishes the message appears: "Just because it isn't happening here doesn't mean it isn't happening."
The video was produced by Save the Children to highlight the Syria crisis and how such a scenario could affect Britain.
影片由Save the Children慈善機構製作，目的是為了突顯出敘利亞目前仍在發生的危機，並讓民眾了解若事件發生於英國會是什麼景象。
以下是Save the Children官網內容：
SAVE SYRIA'S CHILDREN
It may not be happening here but in Syria the horror portrayed in our latest video is all too real. Three years of civil war has devastated the lives of an entire generation of children. It's cost the lives of more than 11,000 children and turned more than 1 million into refugees. It has subjected them to trauma, indiscriminate shelling and even torture.
這種縮時蒙太奇拍攝手法是目前國外流行的“second a day "videos，將一年的生活紀實濃縮於一天一秒的片段拼貼。
We’ve all seen these “photo a day” or “one second a day” videos before, time-lapse montages that show us the passage of time before our eyes: people having children,conquering long distances, and growing up……
If the video seems overly dramatized, it's worth revisiting the story of actual 7-year-old Dania Amroosh, who was maimed last year when a bomb struck her Aleppo home. Dania Amroosh shows her shrapnel wounds. Amroosh and her family fled to Turkey, joining at least 2.3 million people forced to flee Syria since its civil war began in 2011.
如果覺得這影片太戲劇化，年僅七歲的Dania Amroosh其親身經歷則值得我們回顧。Dania Amroosh於去年在敘利亞阿勒波市的家中遭炸彈攻擊而殘廢，影片中她展示了被炸彈碎片刺入的傷口。 Amroosh和家人逃往土耳其，包含他們在內，自2011年內戰爆發後被迫逃離敘利亞的難民至少有230萬人。