■ DiplomacyVanuatu ties still uncertain
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday that a court decision in Vanuatu regarding whether a vote of no confidence can be brought against its prime minister of 6 months, would be announced tomorrow afternoon. MOFA spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday that according to the information he had received, the court had been in session yesterday but would not be making public its decision until tomorrow. Taiwan's ties with the Southern Pacific nation are at stake in the court decision as Vanuatu prime minister Serge Vohor has been the main proponent of ties with Taiwan rather than China.
MOFA taking on tax cheaters
The Ministry of Finance said yesterday that it will be relentless in its crackdown on rogue manufacturers who try to claim business tax rebates through false export documents. In light of the growing number of manufacturers who lie about export prices or obtain false documents to claim a business tax rebates officials have been paying more attention to certain business dealings that could be manipulated. Finance officials said that they recently busted six companies engaging in this illegal practice, among them a high-tech company that falsely inflated export prices to claim over NT$10 million (US$312,500) in business tax rebates. The company later had to pay the tax as well as a fine of NT$70 million. The officials said that to maintain a just tax system and to crack down on tax evasion, steep fines will be imposed on violators.
Smoking ban supported
More local people support the smoke-free restaurants campaign, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday. According to a recent survey conducted by the DOH's Bureau of Health Promotion, 93.1 percent of the respondents gave a thumbs-up to the DOH-launched smoke-free restaurants campaign, compared to 88.3 percent recorded in a similar survey conducted last year. The latest survey found that 76 percent of those interviewed support the proposal that a law be legislated to ban smoking in restaurants. Meanwhile, 87.9 percent of restaurant operators surveyed said they support the DOH's smoke-free restaurants campaign. As of the end of last month, DOH officials said, there were nearly 5,000 smoke-free restaurants around the country.
Taiwan studies promoted
George Washington University in the US inaugurated a resource center on Taiwan studies on Friday as part of is efforts to reinforce research on Taiwan's history and contemporary developments. David Lee (李大維), Taiwan's representative to the US, was invited to cut the ribbon to open the Taiwan Studies Resource Center at the inaugural ceremony. Lee thanked the university for establishing the resource center. The center is the first of its kind in the US. Several public and private institutions in Taiwan have donated books and periodicals to help enrich its collection. The Taiwan Studies Resource Center at George Washington University's library collects numerous Chinese and English books and periodicals on Taiwanese history and contemporary developments as well as magazines and newspapers published in Taiwan. The center is connected with Taiwan's major academic institutions through the Internet.