BTCO to stop passport work
From May 17, UK passport applications for British nationals will no longer be handled by the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) and will need to be sent directly by the applicant to a regional passport processing center in Hong Kong, the UK’s representative office in Taiwan announced yesterday. The office will no longer accept passport applications from British nationals, said the BTCO, Britain’s official authority in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties. Previously, the BTCO acted as a middleman for British passport applications in Taipei, accepting the applications, sending them to the issuing authorities in Hong Kong, and then issuing the passport to the applicant. The BTCO said the changes are part of a global initiative to streamline the issuance of passports overseas. The Passport Processing Center in Hong Kong, which will produce and return passports directly to applicants in Taiwan, aims to issue all new passports within 10 working days, the office said. If British nationals need to travel urgently, however, the BTCO will still be able to issue emergency travel documents.
Kaohsiung set for rationing
Water rationing measures might be implemented in Kaohsiung from late next month because of a serious drought in the southern part of the country, Water Resources Agency (WRA) officials said yesterday. WRA Director-General Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said the WRA had expected normal water supplies to continue into mid-June in the Kaohsiung and Pingtung areas and late June in the Tainan area. However, water reserves in southern Taiwan are diminishing faster than expected, with almost no rainfall in the Kaohsiung and Pingtung areas in recent months, Yang said. If the drought continues, water rationing measures will have to be enforced in Kaohsiung beginning late next month, he said, urging residents to conserve water.
Alishan flower visitors down
Road damage has taken a heavy toll on travel services in the Alishan area, causing the number of visitors to the mountain resort during this year’s spring flower season to drop to a 27-year low, according statistics released by the Alishan Highway Toll Station show. The statistics showed only 102,853 people visited the Alishan National Scenic Area between March 15 and Thursday, the lowest number for the period since the inauguration of the Alishan Highway in 1983. A toll station official attributed the low number mainly to the suspension of services on the Alishan alpine railway in the wake of Typhoon Morakot in August last year.
Man indicted for spying
A Taiwanese businessman was indicted by the Shihlin Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday on suspicion spying for China, according to the indictment released the same day. Ho Chih-chiang (何志強), a China-based Taiwanese businessman, was recruited by China’s national security authorities in 2007 to collect Taiwanese national security secrets in return for financial subsidies and other privileges, the indictment said. Ho returned to Taiwan and tried to recruit a Taiwan National Security Bureau officer to serve as a spy and collect information related to the government’s policies on Falun Gong, Tibetan independence, Japan and diplomacy, between December 2008 and February this year it said. Ho was indicted on charges of bribery and of violating laws on national security and the protection of national secrets.
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up