Kaohsiung mulls free MRT
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday that the city government could provide free travel on the city’s MRT system on certain Fridays. Chen told reporters after an administrative meeting yesterday morning that the city government was considering subsidizing passengers taking the MRT with the city’s air pollution fund. The city’s Environmental Protection Bureau has levied an “air pollution fee” from construction companies for their construction projects since July 1997. Chen said the city government was still deliberating details of the plan, but that the free rides were likely to be granted on certain Fridays, adding that it had also organized an “energy conservation and carbon dioxide emission task force.”
FAT loses domestic rights
The Civil Aeronautics Administration last night announced that the already cash-strapped Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) would lose the rights to all of its domestic flights for failing to meet conditions stipulated by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. CAA Director-General Billy Chang (張國政) said that unless FAT finds an influx of capital by June 15, the airline’s international flights would also be suspended and that the CAA would revoke the company’s operating license. FAT is being penalized for its failure to pay monthly takeoff and landing fees for its airplanes, employees’ wages and other operational costs. Last month, the company made a surprise announcement that it would suspend operations.
Ma makes museum call
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has asked Miaoli County not to use his name for a planned museum dedicated to him, the Presidential Office said yesterday. Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said that Ma had talked with Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) by telephone and made the request personally. Ma also expressed the hope that Liu would talk with local historical and cultural experts to see if the county government would proceed. Ma has not yet decided whether to donate his personal belongs to the museum for display, Wang said. The Miaoli County Government came under fire after allocating NT$50 million (US$1.6 million) to build the museum in Tongsiao Township’s (通宵) Ma Village (馬家庄), a traditional village whose residents are mostly surnamed Ma. While Liu argued that the project would help boost tourism in the county, some slammed it as an attempt by Liu to fawn on Ma. Liu claimed Ma had called him to lend his support to the project. The Hong Kong-born Ma’s ancestors did not come from the village and none of his family has ever lived in the village.
■ FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Yuan tapped for US envoy
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday that it was consulting with Washington over the appointment of Jason Yuan (袁健生) as the next representative to the US. In his first reception with reporters, Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) confirmed that Yuan, who has served as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) and the People First Party’s representative to the US since 2004, has been tapped by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to be the nation’s representative in Washington. “Yuan is experienced and well connected in Washington and has a profound understanding of the political situation in the US, which makes him very suitable for the post,” Ou said. Deputy Representative to the US Tung Kuo-yu (董國猷) said he expects the US government to reply within “a reasonable period of time.”
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