Sun, Sep 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

■ EARTHQUAKE

Tremblor hits Ilan

An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale hit the east coast at 2:27pm yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau said, locating the epicenter at 34.6km south-southeast of Ilan City. The quake was located at a depth of 18.2km. The highest intensity was felt in Nan'ao Ilan County, at 6 on the Richter scale, followed by Hualien City and Ilan City at 4 and 3 respectively. No damage or deaths were reported.

■ LEGISLATION

Draft bill on discrimination

Governing and opposition lawmakers reached a consensus on Friday on a draft amendment to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法) pertaining to discrimination. The amended bill stipulates that it would be against the law to discriminate against people on the basis of nationality, race, skin color, social rank or place of birth. Violators would face fines of up to NT$30,000 (US$900). After concluding inter-party negotiations on the proposed amendment, Democratic Progressive Party legislators Hsiao Bi-Khim (蕭美琴), Kao Chien-chih (高建智) and Huang Chu-ying (黃淑英) signed the agreement with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) and Joanna Lei (雷倩). Lawmakers who took part in the talks also agreed that existing laws banning foreigners from taking part in activities or doing work that does not match the reason for which their visa was granted should be abandoned.

■ DIPLOMACY

Chen to attend summit

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is scheduled to attend a summit in the Marshall Islands next month with leaders of the country's diplomatic allies in the Pacific. Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said Chen would embark on the four-day visit on Oct. 11 and return on Oct. 14. Details of the transfer stop are still being arranged. As Chen has expressed the hope of seeing New Zealand attend the event as an observer, the ministry is making efforts to make this possible, it said. The first summit was held in Palau in September last year, bringing Chen together with heads of the six Pacific island states holding diplomatic ties with Taipei -- the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

■ TRANSPORTATION

Free bus in Kaohsiung

Rides on Kaohsiung City buses will be free of charge until Friday, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday. Ferry rides between Kaohsiung's Hsinkuang Wharf (新光碼頭) and Chijin (旗津) will also be free until Tuesday, she said. The measures are part of the city government's effort to promote use of mass transportation. The city government aims to build a more convenient mass transportation system combining the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System, buses, ferries and bicycles, she said. "Everyone is responsible for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The city government should take the lead," Chen said while riding a bicycle on the city's car free day yesterday. "The utility rate of the Kaohsiung mass transportation system so far only amounts to 5 percent. We hope to increase that rate to 15 percent after the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System begins operation [at the end of this year.]," she said.

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