MOI may lower threshold
The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) adopted a draft amendment to the Regulations Governing Visiting, Residence and Permanent Residence of Aliens on Thursday in a move it hopes will attract more foreigners to invest in Taiwan. At present, Article 12 of the regulations stipulates that foreigners who invest NT$30 million (US$891,950) or more in Taiwan and create at least five jobs for locals for three years can be granted permanent residency. The same article also says that individuals who deposit immigration investments of NT$30 million into a designated financial institution for five years can obtain permanent residency. The proposed amendment to Article 12 of the regulations would halve the investment threshold for foreign investors applying for permanent residency to NT$15 million. The draft amendment will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.
Flower prices rise
Local flower prices have risen by between 10 percent and 20 percent in recent days because of a reduced supply resulting from cold weather, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) said yesterday. Chen said that a cold front that hit between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15 drove down the flower supply by 30 percent to 40 percent ahead of the Lunar New Year festival when compared with last year, leading to hikes in flower prices on the local market. With the approach of the holiday tomorrow, farmers are busy harvesting flowers to meet market demand. It is expected that they will be able to meet demand and will supply good quality flowers, Chen said. Taiwanese usually decorate their homes with flower arrangements during the holiday, using various types of blooms including lilies, swordlilies, anthuriums, balloon flowers and African daisies.
Young farmer honored
A graduate student at National Chiayi University (NCU) who also owns Taiwan’s largest organic farm was selected yesterday as one of the top 10 farmers in the country. Lee Wei-yu (李惟裕), who is attending NCU’s Graduate Institute of Agriculture, was the only student to make the prestigious Top Ten Outstanding Farmers list this year. Lee and nine other nominees are scheduled to be conferred the prestigious honor in April by the Council of Agriculture. Lee and three friends established Ten Ha Organic Farm in Tainan County’s Rende Township (仁德) three years ago. In a short period of time, Lee and his partners turned the vast 16-hectare tract of barren land into fertile farmland using ecological methods and organic fertilizers.
Dutch firm wins bid
Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) beat 135 rivals from 24 countries on Thursday to win the contract to design a world-class performing arts center in Taipei. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) announced that OMA, designer of many world-famous landmarks, had been chosen to design the Taipei Performing Arts Center. OMA will form a consortium with Taiwan’s Artech Inc to design the 2.2-hectare center, which will house one 1,500-seat theater and two 800-seat theaters. Designing the center will take about one year. It is scheduled to open in 2013. The Taipei City Government will also invite international architectural teams to design two other cultural facilities: the Taipei Pop Music Center and Taipei City Museum.