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May, 31, 2016

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Editorial
The Taiwanese media's penchant for salacious gossip is not old news. It has been criticized for its excessive reporting and a certain type of coverage, more often than not at the expense of more important news.
 
The Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for Cheng Chieh, the notorious murderer who went on a stabbing spree on a Taipei MRT train, killing four passengers and injuring 24 others in 2014. It remains uncertain when he will be executed, but it certainly will fuel the perennial debate on whether the death penalty should be abolished.
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The ongoing season of the local Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) is heating up after it officially kicked off in late March, when a record high number of baseball fans rushed into ballparks around the island to support the 27-year-old pro league.
 
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton scored big after their New York wins, casting themselves as inevitable as their respective parties' presidential nominees.
 
The world is embroiled in free trade problems as populism throws into question the movement toward greater economic liberalization, giving rise to opportunities for companies to operate across borders. This has fueled economic anxiety from those who have ended up on the receiving end of the effect, as they watch the secure jobs that have existed for decades being relocated.
 
Last week Vladimir Putin held his annual TV call-in show where the Russian president answered questions posed to him by ordinary citizens for hours.
 
One oft-quoted quip of American political pundits is: Elections are free, but the voters pay later. Their warning has been borne out in Taipei.
 
The ongoing row over the deportation of 45 Taiwanese suspects by Kenya to China has underscored the need for more cross-strait cooperation in cracking down on phone fraud.
 
"Mr. Player," (綜藝玩很大) a game variety show, has been one of the recent success stories in Taiwan entertainment. The main attraction of the show, in line with the current success formula of popular game shows elsewhere in Asia, is its difficult knowledge-testing games and big rewards for its contestants. Unlike older shows, hosts and guests are no longer just playing for laughs but are completing in games that can truly be demanding in terms of strength, skills and stamina.
 
There was a certain aura or charisma surrounding Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je when he took office in late 2014 as a self-styled "ordinary person outside of politics." His off-the-cuff remarks and way with words not only generated media talking points, but he was also bolstered by high approval ratings and quickly shot up as a rising star in Taiwanese politics.
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