Su takes up GIO post
New Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) was inaugurated yesterday, saying that he wasn’t brave enough to refuse when asked to take the position in view of the critical economic situation facing the nation. Su succeeds Vanessa Shih (史亞平), who will leave for Singapore to serve as the nation’s representative there. Minister Without Portfolio Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) presided as Shih gave her office seal to Su at a handover ceremony at the Executive Yuan yesterday morning. “I am not here to make government statements, nor am I here to have debates. I am here to do something [for the country],” Su said. Su praised Shih for establishing a sound foundation during her seven-month tenure and leaving him an excellent team to work with. Born in 1976, Su will be the youngest member of the Cabinet. Tzeng commended Su for his eloquence while serving as spokesman for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) presidential campaign, saying that he would be good at conveying government policies to the public.
Taxi drivers announce fees
Because of the economic slow down this year, taxi drivers in Taipei City and county and Keelung have decided not to add a Lunar New Year holiday surcharge. Taipei Taxi Association president Liang Ping-liang (梁平良) said many taxi drivers earn less than NT$1,000 a day, and he hoped the decision would increase the public’s willingness to travel by taxi during the holiday. Taxi drivers in Taichung will add NT$85 to the meter from Lunar New Year’s Eve, which falls on Jan. 25, to the fifth day of the lunar new year, which falls on Jan. 30. A Taichung County traffic official said no decision had been made, but that they might follow the lead of Taichung City. Hualien taxi drivers will apply the night tax — an additional 20 percent to the meter — throughout the day. A Kaohsiung Taxi and Bus Association official said the city’s taxi drivers probably would follow Taipei’s example, but that the issue had not been discussed.
Chicken shots a success
The National Science Council (NSC) yesterday claimed preliminary success in developing a three-in-one vaccine for chickens, which will help the birds ward off Newcastle Disease, Infectious Bursal Disease and fowl pox. Project leader and veterinary medicine professor at the National Chung-hsing University Lee Long-huw (李龍湖) said if his team succeeded, the vaccine would be the first three-in-one for chickens in the world.
US visa-free path opens
Taiwan has recently forged a cooperative agreement with the US on improving travel security, paving the way for possible visa-free US entry for Taiwanese citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Tuesday. An exchange of notes concerning the initiative was completed on Dec. 19 in Washington by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US and the American Institute in Taiwan, MOFA said in a statement. According to the Principles for Cooperation on Improving Travel Security established between the two countries, they will work together to crack down on forged documents, share traveler information, promote the issuance of e-passports and exchange information on terrorists, MOFA said. The two sides will work together on these and other measures as Taiwan must meet the requirements before further negotiating with Washington for visa-free entry, the ministry added.