Consular services expanded
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday announced an expansion to its mobile consular services to 29 another cities worldwide to regularly post consular staff in areas with significant populations of overseas Taiwanese, Taiwanese businesspeople and tourists. The services include passport and visa issuance, document authentication and other consular matters. Starting this month, consular officers from the nation’s representative offices in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand will be sent on a monthly basis to other cities in those countries. Mobile services in New Zealand are available every four months and twice a year in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, India, Australia, Russia, the US, Canada, St. Vincent, South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius and the UK. In Costa Rica, consular services will be provided once every three months by officers from the embassy in Nicaragua. Details can be found online on the Web sites of individual embassies and representative offices.
Amendment targets teens
The Cabinet amended the statute governing video arcades yesterday to impose a clear ban on young teenagers visiting arcades late at night or when they should be at school. The amendment stipulates that children under 15 “are forbidden” from visiting video arcades after 10pm and during school hours. All minors under 18 “are forbidden” from visiting adult video arcades. The main change to the law was in the wording, with the term “are forbidden” replacing the phrase “are not allowed.” The amendment also prohibits individuals who have been convicted on rape or child prostitution charges from owning or managing a video arcade.
Agency lowers fuel fee
Travelers who book their tickets with domestic airlines after next Wednesday can expect better prices. The Civil Aeronautics Administration said on Monday it would adjust the fuel surcharge for international flights. Long-distance international flights, including flights to New Zealand and Australia, will see the fuel surcharge dropped from US$39 to US$26. The fuel surcharge for short-distance international flights will fall from US$15 to US$10. The adjustment came after CPC, Taiwan’s (台灣中油) fuel price dropped from US$83.44 per barrel to US$67.38 this month.
President drops funds
The Presidential Office said yesterday it would forfeit the NT$61 million (US$2 million) budget earmarked for hiring presidential advisers and would instead choose advisers willing to work for free. The office’s list of advisers will be made available today or tomorrow, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said. Wang said the decision was made after taking into consideration the government’s strained financial situation. It would also create trouble if the budget were approved but not used, he said. Wang said the Presidential Office would propose an amendment to the Organic Act of the Presidential Office (總統府組織法) to scrap paid presidential advisers. As the law stands, the president must hire senior advisers to the president, national policy advisers and military strategy advisers. The number of paid and unpaid senior advisers must not exceed 15 each. That of paid national policy advisers must be less than 30 and unpaid ones less than 60. The number of military strategy advisers is 15.