Cold front arrives today
Cold and wet weather will persist over the coming days due to the arrival of a cold front today. Temperatures are expected to drop below 10oC in the north, according to a Central Weather Bureau report yesterday. Forecasters said there might be torrential rain in mountainous areas in parts of northern and northeastern Taiwan early today. Yesterday, temperatures in the north dropped dramatically to 14oC by the evening. "On Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures in coastal areas north of Tainan might decrease dramatically to below 10oC," said Wu Wan-hua (伍婉華), a bureau forecaster. Officials said weather may improve on Friday.
Special budgets rising
The budget to improve education for children in remote areas and disadvantaged groups has gradually increased yearly -- from some NT$3.3 billion (US$101 million) in 1999 to NT$12.5 billion this year, Ministry of Education officials said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has recently said that education for children from poor families should not be compromised because of bureaucratic rigidity. Su said he came from a poor family and knew well the plight of disadvantaged people because of "economic and regional barriers," adding that it was the government's duty to craft effective policies allowing children from less privileged families or remote areas to receive a better education.
China `pressuring' investors
Taiwanese investors with operations in China are being pressured to make negative remarks about Taiwan because of their heavy reliance on the Chinese market, Taiwan Thinktank chairman Chen Po-chih (陳博志) said yesterday. Taiwanese business owners in China are often coerced to make comments that toe Beijing's line, Chen said, in a reference to a Monday news report that cited the chairman of a China-based Taiwan trade association as saying that President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) decision to cease the operations of the National Unification Council (NUC) and its guidelines would increase capital flight to China out of a fear of increased insecurity. Chen Po-chih said such remarks were questionable and that he suspected the comments were made as a result of Chinese pressure. Remarks made last year by former Chi Mei Corp chairman Hsu Wen-lung (許文龍) in favor of Beijing's passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law were another example, he said.
Groups pan Arroyo decision
A local Filipino organization voiced its opposition to embattled Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's decision to declare a state of emergency and called for Arroyo's removal in a protest yesterday. Members of the Migrante Sectoral Party-Taiwan Chapter (MSP-TC) and local human rights activists accused Arroyo of corruption, election fraud and failing to make the Philippines a better country outside the Manila Economic and Cultural Office. The group plans to return on Sunday for another protest. Arroyo declared a state of emergency in a desperate move to cling to power, said Gi Estrada, Taiwan coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants and secretary-general of the MSP-TC. "The state of emergency is essentially martial law, which gives Arroyo the power to do whatever she wants," Estrada said. "We are disappointed at the current government," said Gil Lebria, a protester.