MOE urges debt payment
The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday urged students to remember to pay off their student loans regularly. Tsai Chung-yi (蔡忠益), section chief of the MOE’s Department of Higher Education, said university presidents should pay extra attention to students’ bad debt and remind them that failure to pay their student loans would have a negative impact on their credit rating. The ministry’s call came after the latest MOE statistics showed that unpaid student debt had reached NT$4.4 billion (US$130.6 million) and was expected to exceed NT$4.5 billion by the end of the year. The majority of the bad debt came from private universities, with Feng Chia University, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Fu Jen Catholic University, Southern Taiwan University and Tamkang University topping the list, MOE statistics showed.
Indoor air in spotlight
The legislative Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday commenced the first discussion on the pending indoor air quality management bill. However, no conclusions were reached and the committee decided to host follow-up meetings soon. As people on average spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, the law will regulate maximum contents of pollutants in indoor air, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, germs and methane. However, yesterday legislators were split on whether germs should be listed as a pollutant, whether hospitals and medical agencies should also be regulated by the proposed law and whether the Environmental Protection Administration possesses adequate equipment to assess indoor air quality. As such, the committee decided to hold a further meeting in the future to involve health authorities in the discussion.
Hepatitis check for vendors
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced yesterday it would begin issuing “Hepatitis A-free” labels to food vendors at Shilin and Keelung night markets who have completed the CDC’s vaccine course. CDC spokesman Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said that the program was aimed at assuring customers of hygiene standards, as hepatitis A can spread through water and food. There are approximately 200 new cases of Hepatitis A diagnosed each year. Shih said the CDC began to encourage vendors at the two night markets to get innoculated last year. Vendors who have had both shots will be issued the label. Shih also encouraged food vendors at other night markets to be vaccinated.
Cops nab money man
Police have arrested a 55-year-old man for lobbing bank notes worth about NT$1 million (US$29,600) from vehicles, causing disorder in the streets, an officer said yesterday. The man tossed the bills from a taxi in Taichung City on Sunday, causing people to pick up the cash, a Changhua police official said. He is believed to have thrown more money on an earlier road trip starting in Taipei. The man also burned about NT$400,000 and had two more sacks of cash, apparently the proceeds of a property sale, police said. Some passers-by who picked up the bills turned the money over to police, while others pocketed it, he said. The taxi driver turned the man in to police in Changhua County. The suspect was to be charged with public endangerment and destruction of currency, police said.