Wed, May 14, 2003 - Page 11 News List

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STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Council urges labor policy

The growing number of foreign caregivers in Taiwan necessitates a policy review of the situation to protect the rights of local workers, according to the Council for Economic Planning and Development.

The council asked the Ministry of the Interior and the Council of Labor Affairs Monday to come up with measures by the end of next month during a meeting with government agencies. The council said that the large number of foreign caregivers has deprived domestic workers of job opportunities.

According to council Vice Chairwoman Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), the total number of foreign workers in Taiwan dropped by 921 for the whole of last year, but the number of foreign caregivers grew by 9,975.

Although the manufacturing and construction sectors are employing fewer foreign laborers, Ho said some institutions and private households have hired foreigners to work as maids and caregivers. She noted that a policy change is necessary in this regard.

Citibank launches service

Citibank Taiwan yesterday launched the first of its kind credit-card convenient-store payment service, allowing its cardholders to pay their credit bills at all 3,300 7-Eleven stores nationwide with no service charge.

"Through the opening of this channel, not only can the banks lower the operating cost, but also cardholders can enjoy a more diversified and 24-hour payment channel," Shariq Mukhtar, head of the bank's credit card business, said yesterday at a launching ceremony.

As regulated by the Ministry of Finance, 7-Eleven outlets can only accept payment up to NT$20,000 for security reasons according to the bank's statement yesterday. Moreover, payments made at 7-Eleven before 3pm will be credited into the

cardholder's account on the next business day, the statement added.

Flights continue to drop at CKS

The number of daily arrivals and departures at CKS International Airport dropped below 8,000 Monday for the first time in 24 years as SARS continued to take a toll on the nation.

Airport officials said yesterday that only 7,323 passengers passed through the airport Monday, the lowest number since the airport was inaugurated in 1979.

An average of 45,000 passengers traveled through CKS per day before the outbreak of SARS in this country in mid-March.

The airport registered only 2,969 arrivals and 4,354 departures Monday, according to CKS tallies.

The number of arrivals and departures dropped significantly from 16,444 on April 14 to 8,634 on May 8.

Stiffer fines set for illegal liquor

Punishment for those who produce or import illegal or substandard wine or tobacco will be subject to stiffer punishment according to an amendment of the wine and tobacco regulations passed in a Legislative Yuan committee on Monday.

The amendment redefines illegal or inferior liquor and tobacco as spirits or tobacco produced or imported without a licence. Substandard liquor and tobacco is redefined as products that pose a health hazard.

According to the amendment, those who sell, transport, or display with the intention to sell illegal wine and tobacco will be fined NT$50,000 to NT$500,000 (US$1,428 to US$14,280).

NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday fell against its US counterpart, dropping NT$0.006 to close at NT$34.721 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$436 million.

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