Visa restrictions changed
As Ulan Bator has been added to the list of affected areas of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) by the World Health Organization (WHO), visitors from the Mongolian capital will be required to abide by the government's visa restriction measures applied to these areas. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday that the WHO's updated information on May 1 has included the Mongolian capital on its list of SARS-affected areas. The government's visa restriction measures on visitors from SARS-affected areas are thus applicable to visitors from Ulan Bator. Effective on April 30, WHO lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Toronto, Canada, while still listing the Canadian city as SARS-affected area, the statement said. Visitors from Toronto are required to visa restriction measures applied to SARS-affected areas, while travelers from the rest of Canada can proceed with their Taiwanese visa application with a SARS-free health certification, the statement added.
Goodwill visit on track
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the navy's goodwill visit to Haiti remained on track despite Haitians' earlier panic over the arrival of Taiwanese sailors who they believed might carry severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). "Through the explanations by the Haitian government and our embassy, the local press has begun a relatively objective coverage of the fleet's visit, and the goodwill fleet has arrived Haiti as scheduled," said the ministry in a statement. The local press said the Haitian president has received hundreds of sailors on May 1 as scheduled, the statement said.
MOFA commissions study
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has commissioned the Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) to set up an international trade and economic studies center to help the government deal with affairs related with the WTO, ministry officials said on Friday. Under a contract signed between the ministry and CIER, the officials said, the future studies center will provide the government with far-sighted and strategic study reports on dealing with disputes under the WTO framework and legal consultations. It will also organize activities for promoting WTO regulations and training officials to deal with affairs related with the world trade regulatory body. Since its accession to the WTO in January of last year, Taiwan has faced a series of issues that should be settled through bilateral and multilateral negotiations, they said
Police arrest smugglers
Vietnamese police have arrested two Taiwanese for smuggling more than 100 cellphones into the country, Vietnamese media said yesterday. Chang Heng-san (張橫山) and Tsai Fu-jung (蔡富忠) were stopped by customs officers at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Ho Chi Minh city last Sunday after they landed from a flight from Taiwan, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. Customs officials found the cellphones of different models in their luggage. The pair admitted to police they had smuggled a large volume of the handsets into Vietnam. They had sometimes brought up to three consignments in a day to the country without being discovered, the paper said. Police also arrested their Vietnamese partner in Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen Thi Phuong Trang, and seized nearly 200 cellphones at her house.