Employment expected to rise
Benefiting from a strong economic recovery, Taiwan's unemployment rate has continued to decline over the past several months, with the monthly figure expected to drop to 4.8 percent last month from September's 4.9 percent, Lehman Brothers said yesterday. Lehman Brothers senior analyst Rob Subbaraman in his latest report continued to forecast healthy growth for the nation's economy, with the stock market continuing to expand throughout early next year. Subbaraman attributed the optimistic prospects to strong growth in Taiwan's export trade and the nation's rising level of foreign exchange reserves, which are now the "most competitive" of their kind since the 1970s. Subbaraman said Taiwan's stock market will be one of the markets offering the greatest potential in the Asia-Pacific region in the upcoming several months in terms of market growth.
Symposium on dengue opens
An international symposium on cross-border cooperation in preventing and controlling dengue fever among APEC members opened in Kaohsiung yesterday. Nearly 200 epidemiologists, medical professionals and government officials from APEC member countries including the host, Taiwan, are taking part in the three-day symposium being held at the Ambassador Hotel. The participants are expected to exchange views on policies and measures on dengue fever control and prevention in APEC member countries, as well as on the dengue fever situation in individual countries.
Flights to islands sought
In response to Mandarin Airlines' decision to cancel flights to offshore islands next year, government officials are working on legal revisions that would open the door to several investors willing to provide exclusive service to the islands. Civil Aeronautics Administration General Director Billy Chang (張國政) confirmed yesterday that the new amendments would aim to solve the chronic problem of needing to find an airline company willing to fly to the islands. The revisions would allow for the establishment of an airline that would fly only to the offshore islands. Unlike Mandarin Airlines, the new provider would not be subsidized by the government. Chang also said laws would reconsider allowing private jets to fly the offshore island routes. The revisions should take effect in two years' time. Mandarin Airlines is currently the only airline company providing service to the offshore islands, including Green Island (綠島), Lanyu (蘭嶼), Chimei (七美), and Wangan (望安).
■ Social activities
Singles event planned
Two female legislators of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday that they will host a reception on Dec. 7 in Hsinchu for unmarried employees of companies in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park. Legislators Chang Tsai-mei (張蔡美) and Hsu Sao-ping (徐少萍) said at a press conference that unmarried young men and young women are welcome to attend the social gathering. The two legislators are members of the "Ching Kuo Hui," or the Women's Association, which is an active subgroup of the KMT. Chang said most unmarried young men in the industrial park may prove to be good husbands. She said that, according to a recent survey, 48 percent of these young men have never fallen in love with a woman because they are too busy with their jobs to make friends with people they like.