Passage of same-sex marriage law CNA's top news story of 2019 - Focus Taiwan

Passage of same-sex marriage law CNA's top news story of 2019

Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) The historic legalization of same-sex marriage has topped the list of Taiwan's top 10 news stories of 2019 released by Taiwan's national news agency, the Central News Agency (CNA), on Tuesday.

On May 17, the country's Legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a first for an Asian country. The bill, titled Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, allows two persons of the same gender aged 18 or older to register their marriage.

The runner-up was Taiwan's loss of two diplomatic allies to China within a five-day period in September.

On Sept. 16, the Solomon Islands decided to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, and Kiribati followed suit four days later. The defection of the two countries left Taiwan with only 15 diplomatic allies worldwide.

The third biggest story was the collapse of a bridge in Nanfang'ao Port in Yilan, which killed six migrant fishermen -- three Indonesians and three Filipinos -- and injured 10 others.

The incident sparked questions over the safety of port bridges in Taiwan and the working and living conditions of migrant fishermen.

In fourth was a 17-day strike by EVA Airways flight attendants, which lasted from June 20 to July 6. The strike forced the airline, one of the largest in Taiwan, to cancel 1,439 flights, which affected 278,420 passengers and cost the airline NT$2.78 billion (US$91.3 million).

In fifth was the successful launch of FormoSat-7 into space on June 25. The satellite constellation, jointly developed by Taiwan and the U.S., is designed to collect meteorology, ionosphere and climate data, and was seen as a milestone in Taiwan space technology.

Rounding out the top 10 list were Taiwan qualifying as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-free without vaccination, Taiwan's two major parties naming their presidential nominees, the implementation of the "Patient Right to Autonomy Act," improved U.S.-Taiwan relations, and programs to encourage investment in Taiwan.

FMD-free: July 1 marked a year of no new cases of FMD or vaccinations against FMD, a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock. Taiwan is scheduled to be officially listed as FMD-free after May 2020, and intends to resume export of pork products soon after.

Presidential nominees: President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the opposition Kuomintang won their parties' presidential primaries and will face off against each other and James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the People's First Party in the Jan. 11, 2020 election.

Patient rights: The "Patient Right to Autonomy Act" was the first legislation of its kind in Asia. The act gives patients suffering from certain serious diseases the right to decide whether to continue life support or other treatment.

U.S.-Taiwan relations: This covered several developments, including a meeting between David Lee (李大維) and John Bolton, the first meeting between national security advisers of the two countries since the severing of official diplomatic ties in 1979.

Also, President Tsai made her first visit to New York, where she met with representatives to the United Nations from countries allied with Taiwan, and the Taipei-based Coordination Council for North American Affairs, which runs Taiwan's de facto embassy in the United States, changed its name to the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs (TCUSA).

Investment incentives: The government initiated an incentive program encouraging Taiwanese companies overseas to invest in Taiwan to avoid punitive duties assessed by the U.S. on goods imported from China. That was complemented by a program that gave incentives to Taiwanese companies to increase their domestic investment.

(By Tien Jui-hua and Chiang Yi-ching)

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