Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) Taiwan’s nationwide Level 3 COVID-19 alert was the biggest news story in the country this year while Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) was this year’s top newsmaker, according to lists released by Yahoo News on Monday.

The top national news in 2021 was the raising of the COVID-19 alert to Level 3 nationwide on May 19 after the country recorded over 100 locally-transmitted cases for several consecutive days, according to Yahoo News, which compiled this year’s 10 biggest Taiwanese news events based on keyword search volume, the number of article views, and highlights selected by news editors between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30.

Besides domestic news events, Yahoo News also compiled the top 10 newsmakers, and 10 biggest international news events.

A deadly crash involving a Taroko Express train in Hualien County on April 2 that killed 49 people and injured more than 200 came in second on the list followed by news about Taiwanese athletes’ best-ever showing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

Taiwan’s overcoming of a COVID-19 vaccine shortage to acquire and produce an adequate amount, and a new round of government-issued stimulus vouchers, valued at NT$5,000, issued to most residents to help stimulate Taiwan’s economy after it was hit by the domestic COVID-19 outbreak this year were the fourth and eighth biggest national news, respectively.

Taiwan’s worst drought in 56 years earlier this year, and a widespread power outage in May took fifth and sixth places, respectively, while a fire in a residential building on Oct. 14 in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung that killed 46 people and injured another 41 came in ninth.

Other top news stories were about a four referendum initiatives slated to be voted on in Taiwan on Dec. 18, and a string of recall motions launched against elected officials.

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), was selected as this year’s top newsmaker after the domestic COVID-19 outbreak and vaccines became popular news topics in Taiwan.

Second place went to Terry Gou (郭台銘), founder of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Hon Hai’s YongLin Charity worked with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), and the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation to procure a total of 15 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine to donate to the government after the country faced an acute vaccine shortage earlier this year.

Taiwanese badminton players Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟), who won the gold medal in men’s doubles at the Tokyo Olympics, and women’s weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳), who also claimed a gold medal at the Olympics, came in third and fourth places, respectively.

Fifth place went to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文); sixth was Elon Musk, CEO of U.S. electric vehicle giant Tesla; and Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳), who is responsible for digital issues, came in seventh.

Rounding out the top 10 newsmakers were United States President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), and Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) of the pro-independence Taiwan Statebuilding Party who became the first legislator in Taiwan’s history to lose a recall election in October.

The U.S. military withdrawal and Taliban takeover in Afghanistan claimed top spot in the list of this year’s 10 biggest international news stories, while the stranding of Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine cargo ship, the Ever Given, in the Suez Canal in March came in second place.

Third place went to the uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines between rich and poor nations.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Evelyn Kao)


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