US visas NT$100 cheaper
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced yesterday that it will reduce its non-immigrant visa processing fee from NT$3,400 to NT$3,300, effective next Monday. The AIT said the reduction was the result of recent shifts in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the NT dollar. Because the adjustment is being made on the basis of exchange rate shifts and not changes to underlying visa processing costs or fee structures, the AIT said there would be no refunds for the extra NT$100 before next Monday.
No change to air subsidies
The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced yesterday that it would continue to subsidize domestic airlines that provide regular flights for passengers who are registered residents of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu. According to the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法), airlines can receive a subsidy equivalent to 20 percent of the ticket price for each Kinmen, Matsu or Penghu resident they carry. The announcement came after the administration said last week that it was considering canceling or reducing the subsidies, as some airlines were offering their passengers 50 percent ticket discounts. A statement issued by the CAA yesterday said that the administration would continue to monitor price changes closely and check to see if the deals fall within the legally acceptable range.
Tuoh pans former legislator
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) yesterday lambasted former DPP legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) for calling on the public to vote against DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) wins 60 percent of the legislative seats in January. Shen, who has been vocal about his disappointment with his former party, said Taiwan would succumb to another eight years of "chaos" if the KMT party wins a majority in the legislature and the DPP wins the presidential office. Wang called Shen's statement illogical and called KMT presidential hopeful Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) a liar and a poor leader. Wang said Ma had been indoctrinated by his late father, a KMT pro-unification stalwart, and would never work toward security and prosperity for Taiwan.
Chen plugs policy
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that building an environment that is suited to the needs of the handicapped and protecting the rights of the mentally and physically challenged had always been a priority of his administration. In a speech delivered at the 18th Asian Conference on Mental Retardation yesterday morning at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, Chen said there was still room for improvement despite what had been achieved. Chen said it was the goal of his administration to defend the welfare of the mentally and physically challenged and promote opportunities for participating in the wider community. Chen said that was the reason the Democratic Progressive Party had placed Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如), the deputy chairwoman of the Parents' Association for People with Intellectual Disability, at the top of its list of legislator-at-large candidates for the legislative elections in January.