■ Government Legislature mulls staff limits \n \nThe Central Personnel Administration (CPA) has just completed a draft bill to create a leaner central government, with the bill scheduled to be screened jointly by three Legislative Yuan committees today. According to the CPA's draft bill, the total number of central government staff -- including those of organizations ranging from the Presidential Office and the five Yuans, to law enforcement agencies and national educational institutions -- will be limited to 200,500. The number of central government staff has continued to decline over the past three years, down 3.45 percent, 5.6 percent and 1.7 percent in 2002, 2003 and 2004, respectively, CPA officials said. The total central government staff has been cut by 48,000 over that period, they added. \n \n■ Technology \nTaiwan-Japan forum opens \n \nThe 2004 Taiwan-Japan Science and Technology Forum opened yesterday. About 260 businesspeople and academics from Japan and Taiwan will exchange views on industrial research and development policy, digital technology and nano-electroplating technology in the conference, which will end today. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), chairman of the Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research, lauded the forum for improving scientific and technological exchanges between Taiwan and Japan. \n \n■ Health \nHealth chief arrives in Rome \n \nDirector-General of the Department of Health Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) arrived in Rome Saturday for a four-day visit. While in the Italian capital, Chen will meet with ranking health officials and public opinion leaders of Italy and the Vatican to exchange views and explore the possibility of joint cooperative ventures, particularly in the prevention and control of new contagious diseases. According to Chen, Italian Health Minister Girolamo Sirchia has proposed strengthening two-way exchanges of medical students and medical treatment personnel as a gesture to thank Taiwan for setting up a fund commemorating Dr. Carlo Urbani, who died after having discovered the SARS virus and first identified the outbreak of the killer disease. \n \n■ Travel \nJapan plans flight screening \n \nJapan from next year will conduct immigration screening for South Koreans and Taiwanese in their home countries if they are flying to Japanese regional airports, a report said yesterday. The pre-clearance system aims to prevent illegal entries through regional airports which often have less strict screening, the mass-circulation Yomiuri Shimbun said, citing government sources. The system is likely to start with flights from Taiwan and South Korea since many travelers from those countries fly to regional airports, it said. Because local governments have been stepping up efforts to lure tourists from those countries, the number of charter flights direct to regional airports and the number of illegal entries with fake passports is rising, it noted. According to a draft transport ministry plan, three immigration officers each will be sent to South Korea and Taiwan, the Yomiuri said. They would set up special screening booths inside airports. Japan's two biggest airports, Narita and Kansai, would be excluded from the system to be launched in April next year.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up