Mon, Oct 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ GovernmentLegislature mulls staff limits

The 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.

■ Technology

Taiwan-Japan forum opens

The 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.

■ Health

Health chief arrives in Rome

Director-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.

■ Travel

Japan plans flight screening

Japan 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.

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