DPP appoints new officials
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced a new lineup of party officials, including the appointment of Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), a former chief of the Government Information Office, as the party's new secretary-general. DPP chairman-elect Yu Shyi-kun, a former premier, yesterday said that Lin, who used to be Yu's Cabinet spokesman, will be a good candidate to liaise between the party, the Cabinet and the Presidential Office because of his Cabinet background. In addition, other high-ranking party positions confirmed yesterday included director of the party's policy research and coordinating committee Chao Yung-ching (趙永清), a DPP legislator, and director of the financial committee Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), a senior DPP legislator. Yu is slated to take up the chairman post on Thursday.
Kuanghua demolition begins
The Kuanghua overpass, which housed the popular Kuanghua Market for computer and book lovers since 1973, will begin to be dismantled on Jan. 29, the Taipei City Government said. Because of the renovation work, businesses in the Kuanghua Market and others in the area were relocated to the intersection of Xinsheng S Road and Civic Boulevard on Jan. 18. Traffic congestion in the area is expected during the demolition period, and only one lane will be left open for emergency use, the city said. The city expects to finish taking apart the bridge by Feb. 6, and will finish laying pavement and setting up bus lanes by May 3. During the renovation period, which is expected to be completed on Aug. 10, the city asked the public to avoid driving in the area and to take advantage of public transportation.
Spring cleaners beware
With the customary spring cleaning period for the Lunar New Year coming up, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) officials urged the public to remember to separate their waste material into the categories of "recyclables," "food scraps" and "ordinary garbage." Since Jan. 1 it has been mandatory for the public to separate their garbage according to the three categories. Although fines won't be issued for improperly separated garbage for another three months, items will be rejected. Those caught throwing rubbish into the streets or drains will face fines of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000. In regard to larger household items such as televisions, fridges and beds, officials said they will be collected by the environmental departments of each area at set times, and members of the public should abide by these times or else face fines. The EPA is also conducting a nationwide spring cleaning from yesterday through Friday.
Foreigners try sky lanterns
The sky lantern tradition will once again light up the night sky during next month's Lantern Festival, including some bearing wishes in foreign languages. Hot-air lanterns were made by foreigners in a cultural class at the Youth Language Study Activity Program of National Taiwan Normal University. The students in the six-week program come from different countries, including South Korea, Panama, Brazil and El Salvador. Students had a 20-minute introduction on the history of sky lanterns, before starting a hands-on experience. "This is cool. We don't have anything like this in my country," said Joan Martinez, from Panama. The lanterns will be launched in Hsinchu on Feb. 8.