■ Executive Yuan Conservation fee proposed \n \nThe public will be charged a water-resource conser-vation fee if draft amend-ments to the Tap Water Law (自來水法) pass the legislature. According to a Cabinet official who asked not to be named, the draft, which is scheduled to be approved by the Cabinet during the weekly closed-door Cabinet meeting tomorrow, would authorize the Ministry of Economic Affairs to consult with local governments while mapping out the fee struc-ture. The draft would also mandate the establishment of a supervisory com-mittee to oversee the fund. "Taxa-tion levied on the water resources is different from other fees paid to the government agencies because it requires a more transparent mechanism to supervise the use of the fund," the official said. \n \n■ Travel \nNew passport draws flak \n \nThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it is checking with officials in Bosnia and Slovakia over reports from local travel agencies that the two countries have refused to recognize Taiwan's new passport. "We are trying to understand what exactly has happened there, and are telling them that the new passport has nothing to do with politics," said ministry spokesman Richard Shih (石瑞琦). His comment came after travel agencies reported that both countries had recently barred the entry of visitors using the new passports. The government began issuing the new passports earlier this month. The new pass-port includes the word "Taiwan" in Roman script on the cover, underneath the nation's official title "Republic of China." Shih said the government has informed other countries of the change, telling them that it was merely for the convenience of Taiwanese travelers. \n \n■ Cross-strait ties \nSmugglers turn to marriage \n \nPolice reported yesterday a new scheme by human smugglers, known as "snakeheads," to import Chinese women to be used for prostitution. Police said snakeheads recently approached three Aborigi-nal men in Fuhsing village, Taoyuan County, and offered them an expenses-paid month in China plus NT$30,000 (US$887) apiece. The trio traveled to China, where the snakeheads arranged marriages for them with Chinese women. The women then came to Taiwan and registered their marriages and were then free to move around the country. Police said that the three men had knowingly helped the women come to Taiwan and had committed forgery. They were turned over to the Prosecutors' Office after an initial investigation. Police vowed to step up a crackdown on marriages of convenience. \n \n■ Tourism \nVietnamese group to visit \n \nThirty-five Vietnamese journalists and businessmen from the tourism industry will arrive in Taipei today for a five-day visit at the invitation of the Tourism Bureau. A bureau official said yesterday that there is ample room for the devel-opment of tourism between the two countries because their trade relations are getting closer. There are about 30,000 Taiwanese doing business in Vietnam and many Vietnamese laborers work in Taiwan. There have also been many marriages between Viet-namese and Taiwanese. \nThe visitors will call on the China External Trade Development Council and visit several tourist attrac-tions during their stay.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The central government is offering subsidies to hotels to house people who have been ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday elaborated on the rules for “social distancing” and said that the government is providing subsidies to encourage more hotels to become quarantine hotels. Chen on Tuesday urged the public to practice social distancing by keeping at least 1m apart outdoors and 1.5m apart indoors. If maintaining such distances is not possible due to confined or crowded spaces, then everyone should wear a mask, Chen yesterday told a daily news briefing at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taipei. The center also suggested that people avoid exhibitions, sports events, concerts and other social
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
STRENGTH IN UNITY: The Executive Yuan respects KMT legislators’ viewpoints, but has no comment on calls for the premier to step down, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of treating the Legislative Yuan with disdain and demanded that he apologize or step down for saying that KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) is unfit for her job. Prior to a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Tuesday, Su was asked by reporters to comment on Chen’s remark on Monday that Taiwan is not a country. “Then she is not qualified to be a lawmaker,” the premier said. Chen made the remark during a question-and-answer session with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), when she asked him about his view