More cash for disabled
Following senior farmers' and fishermen's receiving a NT$1,000 increase of their monthly pension, the Executive Yuan yesterday announced that physically handicapped people on medium to low incomes are entitled to NT$1,000 more in their monthly pension. The program is estimated to benefit over 225,000 people and cost the central and local governments about NT$2.7 billion next year. According to Vice Minister of the Interior Hsu Ying-shen (許應深), currently the monthly pensions received by medium and low income people with physical disabilities receive between NT$2,000 and NT$6,000, depending on the severity of their physical condition. Hsu made the remark after briefing Premier Yu Shyi-kun about the ministry's proposed annual budget for next year.
Cabinet releases projections
The Executive Yuan yesterday tentatively projected next year's annual expenditures at NT$1.61 trillion, a 2.7 percent increase compared to this year, and annual income at NT$1.37 trillion, a 1.5 percent decrease. The budget proposal is subject to change and scheduled to be finalized in late August. According to Director General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Liu San-chi (劉三錡), proposed spending on education, culture and science accounts for most of the total budget -- 18.5 percent, or NT$298.4 billion. It is followed by social welfare's 17.9 percent, or NT$290 billion; national defense's 15.6 percent, or NT$251.9 billion; and economic development's 15.6 percent, or NT$251.7 billion.
Stranded boat to be moved
The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau and the local agent of a grounded Saudi Arabia-registered oil tanker yesterday sent tugboats to help unload some of the chemicals on the tanker in preparation for efforts to raise the vessel. The harbor bureau and the local agent will continue salvaging operations of the 30,000-tonne Al Farabi today, which ran aground off Kaohsiung last week. The harbor bureau and the local agent have sent tugboats several times over the past days to try to raise the vessel, but failed due to low tides. To speed up salvaging operations and prevent an ecological disaster, the tugboats offloaded 8,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes of methanol and ethanol yesterday in two trips to the crippled vessel. Harbor officials estimated that if the offloading operations go well and the tides are ideal, operations will continue today morning.
Police officers win in Spain
The Chinese Taipei, Taiwan team to the 2003 World Police and Fire Games underway in Barcelona, Spain have won two gold medals as of yesterday, two days into the event, officials from the National Police Administration said yesterday. Police officer Yen Kuo-che (嚴國哲) won a gold medal in the men's judo competition yesterday after beating four of his rivals. Yen spent only one minute in his final round to flatten his challenger. Officer Chen Min-chen (陳名臻) garnered the nation's first gold medal on Sunday in the women's 70kg group judo competition. Team members also bagged one silver and two bronze medals in judo. The team is made up of law-enforcement personnel. Both Yen and Chen waved the national flag when they received their gold medals, to the anger of the Chinese delegation, which protested to the Spanish sponsors.