■ Employment \nUnemployment at 4.5% \nThe overall unemployment rate for 2004 is expected to be 4.5 percent, thanks to a government program begun two years ago to create jobs, a government official said yesterday. Taiwan followed South Korea's model and offered jobs in the public service sector to boost employment in early 2003 and to help curb the growing jobless rate, said the official with the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD). According to official statistics, the short-term job-creation program offered nearly 46,000 people jobs for a period of six months last year, which CEPD officials said would help bring down the nation's jobless rate for 2004 to 4.5 percent. As of June last year, there were about 21,000 applicants hoping to find work through the program, with about 10,000 of them being placed with employers, statistics showed. \n■ Society \nForeign spouses to get aid \nBeginning this month, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is managing a NT$3 billion fund allocated by the Executive Yuan to help foreign spouses adjust to their new lives in Taiwan. The fund, known as the Foreign Spouse Care and Counseling Fund, aims to provide educational, counseling, and medical assistance to the nation's 330,000 foreign spouses and their children. In order to manage the fund, the MOI has set up a committee, which consists of 31 members. Among the members, one third of the members are government representatives while the remaining are academics and civic groups. The committee seeks to bring together the central and local governments and civic groups by making use of the fund to assist foreign spouses. This fund is in addition to the budget the MOI has set aside under Foreign and Chinese Spouses Counseling Management Plan. \n■ Weather \nTemperatures to increase \nThe Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said the temperature is expected to rise to above 20?C this morning and will even reach over 26?C in southern Taiwan. According to the CWB, the lowest temperatures yesterday were in Chiayi and Tamsui, at 5.3?C and 6.6?C respectively. Temperatures today are expected to reach at least 20?C in most regions: 20?C in the north, 23 in central areas, and 26 in the south. The CWB predicts warm weather will continue for two days before it turns cold again, and the chance of rain within these warm days is slim. The CWB also said that after tomorrow, another cold front may approach and the temperature may decline slightly and the precipitation may increase. \n■ Transportation \nBikes allowed on highways \nSince Jan. 1, licensed riders of 250cc motorcycles are allowed to hit high speed roads for the first time in Taiwan. The Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) opened two high speed roads -- the Province Road 68 in Hsinchu County and the Province Road 72 in Miaoli County with the upper limit of 80 kph -- to motorcycle for a six-month probation period. According to the Directorate General of Highways under the MOTC, Taiwan started to import motorcycles with engines above the size of 250cc as Taiwan entered the WTO in 2001. Yet riders of motorcycles with engines above the size of 250cc are still barred from the nation's high speed roads and highways. Officials said that they will assess the traffic security during the six-month probation period and consider whether to allow riders of 250cc motorcycles to take to the highways.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
ARMS RACE: Two DPP lawmakers said that China’s development model differed from Taiwan’s, as it aims to become a global hegemon, while Taiwan seeks to protect itself Taiwanese national defense experts are split on how Taiwan should respond to the ever-growing budget of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with some advocating for Taiwan to increase defense spending, while others say that little can be done. The Legislative Yuan approved NT$358 billion (US$12.1 billion) for national defense spending across fiscal 2020, a 3.47 percent increase compared with last year, while China’s military budget this year is NT$5.4 trillion, more than 15 times that of Taiwan. Regardless of whether the government adopts a zero-based budgeting method for national defense spending — in which all expenses are justified and approved each
Taiwan is the second-safest country in the world, after Qatar, according to visitors to an online database, who voted on 133 countries and territories worldwide. In online database Numbeo’s Crime Index by Country 2020 Mid-Year survey, Taiwan scored 84.74 out of 100 for safety. That score put Taiwan in second place, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 84.55 and Georgia with 79.50. The top ranked country, Qatar, had a safety score of 88.10. Numbeo said that the results were based on surveys of visitors to its Web site who were asked to rate the safety and overall level of crime