Visa free entry extended
Holders of Holy See diplomatic and official passports as well as regular Vatican passport holders will be granted visa-free entry to Taiwan for short stays, with immediate effect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The move is part of efforts to cement bilateral relations and promote exchanges, the ministry said. It said holders of Holy See diplomatic and official passports can enter Taiwan without visas for visits of up to 90 days, while for regular Vatican passport holders the maximum stay without a visa will be 30 days. The Vatican is the only European state that maintains formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Officials said the level of engagement between Taiwan and the Vatican has risen in frequency and importance. Vatican heavyweights, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes and Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, have visited Taiwan this year, the officials said. The Pontifical Council convened the 2009 Spiritual Exercise for the Leaders of the Church’s Charitable Organization in Taipei earlier this month, bringing together 450 charity executives from 29 countries.
Police raid meth factory
Three men were arrested in Pingtung County in a recent raid by the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau on a factory manufacturing methamphetamine, the bureau said in a statement yesterday. The bureau’s Southern Mobile Unit seized 386kg of liquefied methamphetamine and equipment used to produce the drug during the raid, the statement said. Officers said the factory was in a building in an area between the townships of Linyuan (林園) and Jiadong (佳冬) badly hit by flooding after Typhoon Morakot. The men took advantage of the fact that the police were busy with rescue and recovery missions to expand production, officers said. The factory is one of the largest meth labs discovered in the south in recent years.
Nearly 100 elementary school students in Taichung City and County remained hospitalized yesterday after falling ill on Friday with symptoms suggesting food poisoning, said Taichung City Public Health Bureau officials. Soon after eating lunch boxes provided by an outside contractor, students at Tanyang and Rueisuei elementary schools in Taichung County and Ssu Chang Li Elementary School in Taichung City were taken to hospital with fevers, bellyaches and diarrhea, officials said.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) proposed the appointment of deputies of several ministries to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for approval last night. Liang Chi-yuan (梁啟源), previously a research fellow at the Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica and recently appointed as member of the National Security Council, will become minister without portfolio of the Executive Yuan. Chu Chin-peng (朱景鵬), president of College of Humanities and Social Science of National Dong Hwa University, will become minister of the Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission; Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠), incumbent administrative vice minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, will be promoted to political vice minister of the ministry. Two of the three political vice chairmen, Liu Te-hsun (劉德勳) and Mainland Affairs Council Chao Chien-min (趙建民), will stay in the same position, while Fu Dong-cheng (傅棟成) will leave.
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying:
BILINGUAL ASSISTANCE: The center launched a chat bot that features Chinese and English interfaces to provide foreigners with instant information about the pandemic The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would discuss with other nations the possibility of allowing businesspeople to visit on a case-by-case basis. Asked about loosening border restrictions, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at the daily CECC news briefing that while the center is cautious about opening the nation’s borders, it would aim to diminish obstacles for important trade interactions without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus. Several foreign representatives in Taiwan have expressed an interest in the matter and the center would conduct related negotiations with the help of the