Reform bill passes reading
The long-discussed Cabinet downsizing will come into force Jan. 1, next year, in line with a package of amendments to the existing law governing the Executive Yuan's structure that passed the first reading in the legislature on Thursday. After lengthy discussions, the legislature's legal, interior and budget committees finally completed the first reading of the Executive Yuan Organic Law (行政院組織法) revision bill at a joint meeting on Thursday evening, but certain provisions are still pending further cross-party consultations. According to the tentatively approved bill, the number of the Executive Yuan units will be cut from the current 36 to either 20 or 21. At the moment, Executive Yuan subordinate agencies are either named ministries, commissions or councils. In the future, there will be only ministries and commissions.
Chinese hack attack foiled
The Ministry of National Defense categorically denied a media report yesterday that a Chinese "cyber army" had recently successfully hacked into the computer network of a warfare nerve center. Ministry spokesman Liu Chih-chian (劉志堅) said in a regular press briefing that Chinese hackers had tried to intrude into the computer system of the Hengshan Command located near Taipei City via a peripheral ministry unit. However, the attempt was blocked in time on a firewall node by information technology officers on duty, Liu said, adding that no military intelligence was stolen or tampered with. Liu said the ministry regrets that the media made such a sensational report without checking their source, adding that it has launched a protest against this kind of media practice. Meanwhile, Liu said the military maintained one of the most secure computer systems in the world.
Fundraising to help Lee
A group of Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers announced yesterday that they will launch a NT$10-per-person fundraising drive in support of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who has been told by the court to pay NT$10 million (US$300,000) in compensation for defaming People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜). Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) said the caucus decided to start the campaign because a lot of the party's supporters have expressed their desire to donate money to support Lee. The Taipei District Court ruled on Wednesday that Lee should compensate Soong financially and publish an apology on the front pages of nine Chinese-language newspapers for three consecutive days for defamatory remarks he made last year. Lee insinuated that Soong was playing mahjong when supporters of the opposition "pan-blue alliance" were holding a demonstration in front of the Presidential Office to protest last year's presidential election.
Bus Web site offers English
The Taipei City Transportation Department is introducing a trial English version of its online bus route search system today. According to the department, the search system, which previously only had a Chinese version, includes information such as bus routes, schedules and bus stop locations. The department said it welcomed feedback from the public on the new service. The original Web site currently has an average of 20,000 hits per day. In order to provide a better and more professional service, the department will set up a brand new Web site which will integrate information from both the Chinese and English language versions. The trial version can be accessed at www.taipeibus.taipei.gov.tw.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung