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New law raises fines against illegal Chinese investments in Taiwan

TAIPEI, (CNA).- Taiwan's Legislature passed a law amendment Tuesday to sharply increase the maximum fine for illegal investments by Chinese interests, from NT$600,000 (US$19,456) to NT$25 million.

The revision to the Article 93-1 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area was put forth by the Cabinet, with the aim of stopping unauthorized funding in Taiwan by investors from China.

"It is necessary to raise the fine to effectively stop illegal investment by China investors," Cabinet officials have said, adding that such investments will cause chaos in the capital market.

In mid-January the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) slapped a fine of NT$60,000 on Dragon Peak International, a Hong Kong subsidiary of the Shanghai-based Longlife Group, over its purchase of local stocks through unauthorized channels.

Similar fines were imposed on Dragon Peak International twice in 2017 for the same reason, according to the FSC.

In January, the FSC said the Chinese enterprise held a share of more than 10 percent in a local company through illegal investments.

According to local media, the company was Tatung Co., a manufacturer of electronics and electrical products. 

(By Chen Chun-hua and Elizabeth Hsu)

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Treasury Increases Pressure on Cuba to End Support to Maduro by Imposing Further Oil Sector Sanctions

WASHINGTON.- Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four companies that operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy, pursuant to E.O. 13850, as amended. Additionally, OFAC identified nine vessels, some of which transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba, as blocked property owned by the four companies.

The United States is continuing to take strong action against the illegitimate regime of former President Nicolas Maduro, to include those that prop up Maduro’s regime and contribute to Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis.

“We continue to target companies that transport Venezuelan oil to Cuba, as they are profiting while the Maduro regime pillages natural resources. Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people, and should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong oppression,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“Maduro relies on the support he receives from the Cuban military and intelligence services to retain his hold on power because he does not have the support of the Venezuelan people.”

Today’s action further targets Venezuela’s oil sector, which continues to provide a lifeline to the illegitimate regime of former President Maduro:

Jennifer Navigation Limited is based in Monrovia, Liberia, and is the registered owner of Nedas.

Nedas is a crude oil tanker (IMO: 9289166) that delivered crude oil from Venezuela to Cuba during January and March of 2019.

Lima Shipping Corporation is based in Monrovia, Liberia, and is the registered owner of New Hellas.

New Hellas is a crude oil tanker (IMO: 9221891) that delivered crude oil from Venezuela to Cuba during February and March 2019.

Large Range Limited is based in Monrovia, Liberia, and is the registered owner of

S-Trotter is an oil products tanker (IMO: 9216547) that delivered oil products from Venezuela to Cuba during February and March 2019.

PB Tankers S.P.A. is based in Italy, and is the registered owner of several vessels, including Silver Point, Alba Marina, Gold Point, Ice Point, Indian Point, and Iron Point.

Silver Point is a chemical and oil tanker (IMO: 9510462) that delivered oil products from Venezuela to Cuba during March 2019.

Alba Marina is a floating storage tanker (IMO: 9151838).

Gold Point is a chemical and oil tanker (IMO: 9506693).

Ice Point is a chemical and oil tanker (IMO: 9379337).

Indian Point is a chemical and oil tanker (IMO: 9379325).

Iron Point is a chemical and oil tanker (IMO: 9388209).

For information about the methods that Venezuelan senior political figures, their associates, and front persons use to move and hide corrupt proceeds, including how they try to exploit the U.S. financial system and real estate market, please refer to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) advisories FIN-2017-A006, “Advisory on Widespread Public Corruption in Venezuela,” FIN-2017-A003, “Advisory to Financial Institutions and Real Estate Firms and Professionals” and FIN-2018-A003, “Advisory on Human Rights Abuses Enabled by Corrupt Senior Foreign Political Figures and their Financial Facilitators.”

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these entities, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated entities, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior. The United States has made clear that the removal of sanctions is available for persons designated under E.O. 13692 or E.O. 13850, both as amended, who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the illegitimate Maduro regime, and combat corruption in Venezuela.

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Some Sudanese Oppose Idea of Military Council

KHARTOUM/WASHINGTON, (DAN JOSEPH-VOANEWS).- Some demonstrators cheering the fall of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan are condemning the military council set to replace him.

The Sudan Professional Association, a key organizer of the recent protests against al-Bashir, issued a statement rejecting the defense minister's announcement that a transitional, army-led council will rule Sudan for the next two years.

The SPA appealed for a "civilian transitional government" and called on people to continue the sit-in at army headquarters in Khartoum that began Saturday.

People celebrate the end of three decades of autocratic rule by President Omar al-Bashir, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 11, 2019.

Two protesters in Khartoum also objected to the army takeover.

"The army announcement was disappointing," Mohamed Ali told VOA. "Because it didn't fulfill all missions of the revolution, I ask protestors to sit-in in front of army headquarters till the achievement of Sudan's revolution."

Suha Ahmed said protesters will not accept two more years of military rule. "After 30 years of the rule, we'll still be at a sit-in, until our demands are responded to with a transitional civil government, for a free, democratic, stable Sudan," she said.

Professor Hassan Hajji, a political science lecturer at the University of Khartoum, said some opposition groups will refuse any proposal for a military government.

"They need a civilian cabinet to be formed and this would be a transition government that would prepare for the general election," he told VOA Thursday.

He also said Sudan's next rulers will face some major challenges.

"First we have the economy which has deteriorated in the last year or so. This is the main concern now for most of the Sudanese people, how to meet their minimum needs for the families," said Hajji. "The other challenge is ... how to bring the military groups in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains and in the Southern Blue Nile to the peace process. How to maintain peace in Sudan is also another challenge for the coming military rule."

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. But Hajji said he doubts the now ex-president will be sent abroad for trial.

"In Sudan, a large number of people, say they want other ways of settling the grievances that took place in the previous era," he told VOA. "Some people are suggesting that we should follow South Africa's path or the Moroccan, or perhaps Truth and Justice [Commission], where people will try to solve this by traditional Sudanese and African means."

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Statement of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Following Fifth Finance Ministers’ Meeting on Venezuela

WASHINGTON.- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement following the fifth finance ministers’ meeting on Venezuela:

“I welcomed Finance Ministers to the Treasury Department today to discuss Venezuela’s dire economic and humanitarian situation. This was the fifth such meeting, and the first since more than 50 countries recognized Interim President Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate Interim President. Participants in the meeting included officials from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Peru, Spain, and the UK.

“Previously, Finance Ministers have examined the involvement of Maduro regime insiders in diverting funds from the subsidized food program, and the regime’s use of illegal gold mining to help Maduro maintain power. Today, the Ministers reviewed steps taken since January to increase financial pressure on the Maduro regime and additional steps to support the democratically elected National Assembly and Interim President Guaidó.

“The Ministers then discussed plans for future economic support of Venezuela. We welcomed to this discussion Dr. Ricardo Hausmann, whom Interim President Guaidó has designated as coordinator of his economic advisors. The Ministers considered Interim President Guaidó’s economic policy vision to stabilize Venezuela’s financial system, root out public corruption, and spur economic growth.

“The Ministers also agreed to support robust engagement by the international financial institutions to assist Interim President Guaidó’s government as it prepares for new elections. The Ministers acknowledged that there may be a long and costly process of rebuilding Venezuela after many years of poor economic policies and kleptocracy.

“The Ministers discussed that very significant trade finance is needed to restart Venezuela’s private sector. We are committed to work with partners to prepare these mechanisms and we are prepared to work with Venezuela to provide technical assistance and capacity building.

“The Ministers agreed to monitor developments in Venezuela closely. We will continue to support Venezuela in its transition to a legitimate government as soon as possible to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life and democratic future.”

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MOFA short shows how Taiwan Can Help achieve WHO’s Health For All

TAIPEI.- A short film highlighting how Taiwan Can Help achieve the World Health Organization’s major objective of Health For All was released April 9 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The eight-minute video documents the good work of Taiwan-trained Dr. Paul Bosawai Popora in Pacific ally the Solomon Islands. Shot entirely on location, the eye-catching production is subtitled in Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.

Popora, who spent 10 years studying medicine at National Cheng Kung University in southern Taiwan’s Tainan City on a government-sponsored scholarship, was amazed by the quality of Taiwan’s medical care, the MOFA said.

The selfless efforts and dedication displayed by NCKU Hospital doctors, nursing staff and volunteers greatly inspired Popora to share Taiwan’s world-class accomplishments and spirit of volunteerism, the ministry added.

After graduating from NCKU in 2014, Popora returned home to practice and later founded a privately run community clinic. The facility receives regular donations of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals from Taiwan, which he disburses at no cost to the economically disadvantaged.

According to the MOFA, the Pacific nation has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world, with only two qualified physicians per 10,000 people as compared to the global average of 14.89.

Over the past decade, Taiwan has helped train more than 70 medical staff in the Solomon Islands, the MOFA said, adding that Popora is a shining example of what can be achieved via the country’s All Hands On Deck approach to advancing global health, the ministry said. (SFC-E)

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