DPP takes Ma to task
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to keep a campaign promise by donating or cutting his salary. DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said Ma should learn from South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who announced he would donate his salary and part of his property for failing to achieve some of his campaign promises. Gao said that if Lee could keep his promise, then Ma could, too. The president failed to meet his 6-3-3 campaign pledge of 6 percent annual GDP growth, 3 percent unemployment and an average annual income of US$30,000, and he said during the campaign that he would cut his salary by half if he failed, Gao said. The lawmaker said it was irresponsible of Ma to claim he could achieve his 6-3-3 pledge within eight years if he were re-elected. He called on the Presidential Office to stop its “cover-up” for Ma. The government announced last month that unemployment rose to 5.82 percent in May, while the economy shrank a record 8.36 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter.
Free buses during Games
With less than 10 days to go before the World Games, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday she would grant residents and tourists free bus rides during the games. The benefit will apply to the 83 bus routes and shuttle buses between the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit stations between July 16 and July 26, Chen said. Transportation Bureau Director Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材) said the city government made the decision to make it more convenient for residents and tourists to go to the Games or go shopping during the international sports event. The plan, which is expected to cost the city government NT$14 million (US$424,000), will be covered by the air pollution prevention fund of the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau, Wang said.
Fire kills four, injures two
Four people were killed and two injured in a fire at a building on Huacheng Rd in Sinjhuang, Taipei County, yesterday morning. The fire, which started at about 3am, was put out in 40 minutes by 74 firefighters and 34 fire engines. However, they were unable to prevent the flames from spreading to buildings nearby, including a bakery, a printing plant and a corrugated steel structure. The bodies of a man and a woman were found in the printing plant and were identified as the business owners. Four people, including a mother who ran the bakery and her two children, were sent to Taipei Hospital in Sinjhuang, Taipei County Hospital in Sanchong and Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei. Only the mother survived.
Japanese donates to Tainan
A 26-year-old Japanese environmentalist who recently traveled around Taiwan on foot in less than three months donated NT$30,000 to the Tainan City Government for use in environmental protection initiatives yesterday. Yuji Miyata set off on his walking tour from Tainan on April 22 and headed south, then walked counter-clockwise around the country. As the Japanese environmental activist circled the country, he planted trees in an effort to help create a greener planet. He said he intends to plant more trees in Tainan and Kaohsiung before he leaves for Japan on July 22. Miyata said he was very impressed with many places and people in Taiwan, adding that there were several areas in Hualien and Taitung counties on the east coast that had not been touched by pollution.