Charter flights for festival
A total of 16 direct cross-strait charter flights have been scheduled for the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Civil Aviation Administration said on Friday. The flights will be offered by eight carriers: China-based Xiamen Airlines (廈門航空), China Eastern Airlines (中國東方航空) and Shanghai Airlines (上海航空), as well as Taiwan’s EVA Airways (長榮航空), Uni Air (立榮航空), China Airlines (中華航空), Trans Asia Airways (復興航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空). China Airlines starts its holiday service with a Taipei-Shanghai flight today. All the flights will be between Taipei and Shanghai except for two flights between Taipei and Xiamen on Sept. 19 and Sept. 21. Three flights will be offered on Thursday and one per day today, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Two flights are scheduled for Sept. 16 and Sept. 19, one each for Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, and three for Sept. 21.
No pricey gifts: minister
The value of gifts given to or by civil servants should not exceed NT$3,000 under normal circumstances, Central Personnel Administration Minister Chen Ching-hsiou (陳清秀) said. Chen made the statement following media reports that the government had introduced guidelines prohibiting civil servants from offering or accepting gifts worth more than NT$500. Chen said the NT$500 limit applied to gifts from people who had vested interests. In other cases, the cap on the value of gifts should be NT$3,000. Chen said the Council of Agriculture had recently planned to present fruit baskets to ministry officials, but after discussion at a Cabinet meeting, the plan was scrapped, mainly because the gifts were worth more than NT$700 each and the officials did not want to accept such pricey gifts because they have “high moral standards,” he said.
Brain museum now open
A museum opened in Pingtung County yesterday dedicated to introducing the public to the mysteries of the human brain. The Brain Education Museum in Sinpi Township (新埤) offers visitors a chance to “travel” the world of the most sophisticated organ of the human body. The museum was built by the Pingtung County Government and the Calo Psychiatric Center, a hospital specializing in the treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from psychological disorders. The museum is divided into two sections, one introducing the structure and functions of the sections of the brain and one focusing on how the brain works as a whole. The exhibition explains emotions, the senses and memory, maintaining a healthy brain, and brain diseases and disorders.
Rule change for foreigners
The Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday it would ease restrictions on employing foreign spouses to tap into a largely idle source of manpower. Council officials said there were 400,000 foreign spouses in the country, who are not included in an employment assistance and subsidy program for citizens. Once the restrictions are eased, foreign spouses, including Chinese, will be eligible for the same subsidies allocated for provisional jobs or vocational training. Employers will be given subsidies to encourage them to hire more foreign spouses. If they employ a foreign spouse for more than 32 hours per week for three months, they will receive a subsidy of NT$10,000 per person per month.