Fri, Apr 30, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick take

AGENCIES

■ENVIRONMENT

Dust storm effects recede

Air quality across the nation has returned to normal, suggesting that the effects of a dust storm from China has lessened, the Environmental Protection Administration said yesterday. Chu Yu-chi (朱雨其), director-general of the Environmental Monitoring and Information Management unit, said observation stations nationwide have recorded safe atmospheric particle levels, thanks mainly to recent heavy rainfall. However, in Kinmen and Matsu, a higher volume of dust particles was recorded, Chu said. Particle levels also remain slightly higher than normal in several regions of northern Taiwan such as Guanyin (觀音), Wanli (萬里) and Shilin (士林), Chu said.

■ ENVIRONMENT

Premier calls for monitoring

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday ordered government agencies to step up monitoring of water management in southern Taiwan, after reports that the Kaohsiung and Tainan areas could face water shortages if the current dry spell continues. Although the situation in northern Taiwan has eased after recent rainfalls, Wu said Kaohsiung and Tainan could see problems with their water supplies starting in June. Ministry of Economic Affairs officials said normal water supplies in the two areas could be affected if the amount of rainfall fails to reach 40 percent of the annual average by the end of June. Wu also ordered authorities to take full anti-flooding precautions as the typhoon season approaches. Cultivation of rice for the first harvest in some central and southern counties has been suspended to save water.

■ SOCIETY

‘Night Market Life’ fined

The National Communications Commission recently fined Formosa Television’s (FTV) Night Market Life (夜市人生) NT$420,000 for violating television ratings regulations. An independent content review panel recommended the penalty, said Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the communication contents department. Ho said an episode that aired on Dec. 30 last year showed a boy being robbed by three other children, who also stole his pants. The boy later questioned his classmates to find out who the robbers were. “The scenario was similar to the way gangsters settle disputes,” Ho said. “The violence and terror displayed in the episode essentially infringed upon regulations on programming content for general audiences, as well as parental guidance ratings, and may serve as a bad influence for both children and young people.”

■ HEALTH

DOH reveals new premiums

Department of Health (DOH) Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) yesterday said that premiums for a second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) program based on total household income would be between 2.57 percent and 3.06 percent. This was the first time the DOH had revealed details of the proposed program, which is expected to be introduced within two years. Earlier this month, Yaung said the premiums would be between 3 percent and 4 percent. At a legislative committee meeting, he presented 16 versions of plans for the program. Yaung said that under any of the versions, about 60 percent of households would enjoy lower health insurance premiums, with 40 percent of singles paying lower rates. The proposal’s lowest premium — for a total annual household income of at least NT$150,000 — is 2.57 percent. He said the rate couldn’t be lower because the government is required to pay for 30 percent of total medical expenses and no reserve fund is allocated.

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