■ ShippingUS security officials arrive
A delegation of technical consultants from the US Homeland Security Department arrived in Taipei yesterday in preparation for implementing container security measures at Kaohsiung Harbor in southern Taiwan. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which represents US interests in Taipei in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, said delegation members will meet with Taiwan's customs officials and other law enforcement officers in Taipei and Kaohsiung to discuss details regarding implementation of the US-initiated container security plan. The US government began to implement the plan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC in 2001, with an aim to preventing large-scale smuggling of weapons of mass destruction via containers, AIT officials said. Noting that Kaohsiung is the fourth-largest port handling goods shipped to the US via containers, AIT officials said the US government attaches great importance to the security plan for Kaohsiung Harbor.
Hsiao speaks to group
National Policy Adviser Hsiao Hsin-huang (蕭新煌) delivered a speech in Osaka yesterday on Taiwan's democratic development over the past two decades and the gist of the nation's policy toward China. Hsiao told the 300-plus audience members that maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait has consistently been the country's top policy goal. The lecture was organized by the western Japan chapter of the Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace. The attendees included representatives of Taiwanese communities in western Japan as well as Japanese officials, scholars and business leaders. Hsiao said democracy is a cornerstone for permanent cross-strait peace. Noting that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have a common interest in peace, democracy and economic prosperity, Hsiao said Taiwan will do its utmost to maintain peace. Hsiao said Taiwan also hopes that China can learn from the nation's experience in carrying out democratic reform over the past two decades.
New manual published
The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesteray that it has published five bilingual editions of a new work manual for foreign laborers and caregivers to help them understand regulations relating to them and to adapt to the lifestyle in Taiwan. Five bilingual editions of the new work manual -- Chinese-Thai, Chinese-English, Chinese-Vietnamese, Chinese-Indonesian or Chinese-Mongolian -- are now available, CLA officials said.
Ma lauds his policies
It may be hard to believe, but the parking situation in Taipei City is improving, according to the mayor, who opened a public parking lot in the Hsinyi district yesterday. Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said the ratio of automobiles to parking spaces in Taipei City has been lowered to 1.04 to 1 this year. The ratio in 1998 was 1.24 to 1, Ma said. Parking will be free before Sept. 15 at the Chunguang Car Park, where 213 spaces for automobiles and 71 spaces for motorbikes are available. Ma said that currently there are about 380,000 parking spaces around Taipei City, including 300,000 private ones in or besides buildings and 80,000 public ones operated by the city government. Four hundred spaces for cars have been turned into parking for motorbikes since he became mayor, Ma said.