People who enjoy smoking and chatting at cafes and restaurants may want to think twice about their pastime because it could cost them between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000 in fines. \nThe Executive Yuan yesterday approved draft amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (煙害防治法) that would prevent smoking in public places such as schools, museums and cafes. \nIt would also forbid proprietors and staffers of such public places from offering cigarettes to those under the age of 18 and free cigarettes to consumers. \nThe proposal will proceed to the legislature for further review and final approval. \nAddressing a press conference held after the weekly closed-door Cabinet affairs meeting yesterday morning, Cabinet Spokesman Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) said that it is necessary to amend the law, which went into effect in September 1997. \n"Although the law was last amended in January 2000, we found that some articles are either incomplete or difficult to implement," Chuang said. \nAccording to the proposal, people would be banned from smoking at schools, libraries, swimming pools and other public places. \nSmoking would be allowed, however, in smoking areas set aside in certain public places. The size of those areas would not be allowed to exceed that of the venue's non-smoking area. \nThe smoking area would also have to be separate from the non-smoking area and have a separate air conditioning and ventilation system. \nWith the approval of the authorities, tobacco companies would be allowed to post advertisements in magazines that do not target readers under 18. \nThe total number of advertisements run by one tobacco company, however, however, will not be permitted to exceed 120 per year. Violators would face a fine of between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million. \nThe amendments would also require cigarette packages to carry consumer warnings on their labels and terms such as "low tar" would be banned. \nViolators of those rules would face fines between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly