Buses free in Penghu
All residents of Penghu County will be entitled to ride public buses free of charge from Jan. 1, while students will be allowed to do so starting today. The county government said it had made the decision in response to a proposal by county councilors. The new policy was partly aimed at reducing the economic burden on county residents and partly at joining nationwide efforts to cut carbon emissions. The initiative will slash county government revenue by some NT$20 million (US$620,000) a year, a loss that county officials said would be “tolerable.” The public ferry between Penghu County’s several islands could also be made free for the benefit of residents in remote areas. A free ferry service would reduce the county government’s annual income by about NT$30 million, officials said.
Free flu shots available
Free flu vaccine shots are available to the public starting today. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday estimated that the flu season would peak next month, and it urged the public to receive the free flu shots by the middle of this month because it takes around two weeks for the body to build immunity after the vaccine is administered. CDC Deputy Director-General Lin Ting (林頂) said the agency had purchased 3.2 million flu shots for this year, and that they have been available since Oct. 1 to people in high-risk groups — young children, the elderly and workers in the poultry industry. The CDC said that the flu shots could run out and recommended contacting local hospitals or clinics for availability.
Collapses kill at least one
Construction worker Wu Cheng-wei (吳正維) remained missing at press time after a landfill construction project collapsed yesterday morning. Wu was working at the Taichung City site when the collapse sent him falling into an 8m deep hole. Taichung City emergency rescuers Fu Chia-sen (傅家森) and his colleagues arrived on the scene shortly after the accident happened at 9:10am. However, Fu fell into the hole and was buried when another collapse occurred at around 10am. Emergency rescuers Lin Hung-yi (林宏羿) and Chen Chieh-chi (陳杰祺) arrived later to rescue Wu and Fu, but the two were themselves buried in yet another collapse. Lin and Chen were pulled out alive and rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. However, Fu was already dead when his body was recovered late in the afternoon.
Tu Li-ping attempts suicide
Tu Li-ping (杜麗萍), a board member of Yuanta Securities (元大證券), attempted suicide on Saturday night, a local TV cable station reported last night. Tu’s family discovered her in time and rushed her to hospital, TVBS reported, adding that Tu was in stable condition and had been released from a hospital yesterday morning. Tu was released on NT$1 million (US$30,000) bail on Friday for her alleged role in a money laundering investigation involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family. Tu is suspected by the Supreme Prosecutors Office’s Special Investigation Division of helping former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) wire as much as NT$740 million via Yuanta Financial Holdings into overseas bank accounts that were opened by Wu’s children or proxies. She denied playing any role in the alleged money laundering.