Legislature to review budget
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) vowed yesterday that the legislature would carry out its gate-keeping duty when reviewing the government’s special budget request of NT$150.6 billion (US$4.4 billion). Wang told reporters that he believed lawmakers would strictly review the Cabinet’s budget proposal instead of cutting it a great deal of slack, adding the legislature would also communicate with the Cabinet about any unreasonable budget requests. Wang made the remarks after lawmakers across party lines raised questions about details of the budget request. The budget request to increase investment in public construction projects was submitted to the legislature on Monday. The Procedure Committee on Tuesday agreed to prioritize the proposal in tomorrow’s plenary session — the first plenary meeting of the spring legislative session. Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) is expected to brief the legislature tomorrow on administrative achievements in the second half of last year and take questions concerning the special budget request on Tuesday.
Taiwan vows to help Tuvalu
The government promised yesterday to help residents of Tuvalu before the island chain is wiped off the map under a rising South Pacific. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) told visiting Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia that his government wanted to work more closely with the archipelago where the highest point is just 5m above sea level. Tuvalu, covering 26km2 over nine coral reefs, faces inundation as global warming pushes up sea levels. Leaders in the archipelago have sought an eventual haven for their 12,000 citizens as the sea level rises. “We’re an ally, so we will exhaust all options to save it,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said. “I think we’ll be working as hard as possible to help Tuvalu’s citizens.”
Cherry blossoms in bloom
The Taipei City Government said visitors to this year’s Yangmingshan National Park flower festival, which opens tomorrow and lasts until March 22, will be treated to spectacular cherry blossoms. Officials from the city’s Parks and Street Lights Office said that cherry trees on Yangmingshan are in full bloom and the red of their blossoms is the richest in years thanks to the big gap in temperatures from day to night. Details on the festival and traffic information are available in Chinese at the Web site http://2009yms.com.tw/page0.html.
History resources go online
Researchers interested in history and philology can now register with the Academia Sinica’s online database to enjoy free access to the 16 digital archives compiled by Academia Sinica’s Institute of History and Philology (IHP). To provide high quality and accessible research materials to sinologists, the IHP began digitizing its collection of antique books, documents and artifacts in the mid-1980s, Academia Sinica said. The collection has been visited about 5,000 times a day by affiliated researchers alone. The collections — including Scripta Sinica, the Database of Bronze Rubbings, the Database of Oracle Rubbings, Grand Secretariat Archives and Ming and Qing Dynasty Biographical information — will now be open to everyone, Academia Sinica said. To apply for online access, log onto http://applyonline.ihp.sinica.edu.tw/. An explanatory meeting will be held at the IHP tomorrow from 9am to 3:30pm.