Wed, May 19, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■POLITICS

Cabinet reshuffle finalized

The government completed its reshuffle yesterday, with Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) saying that Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) would remain in his post, as would Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Vice Chairperson Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠), whom Wu said last week would leave the Cabinet. Asked why he changed his mind and kept Lee Jih-chu, Wu declined to comment on whether it was because she had told reporters on Thursday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Wu had offered her four different positions to step down as FSC vice chairperson. The reshuffle saw former FSC chairman Sean Chen (陳冲) succeed Eric Chu (朱立倫) as vice premier, while the former chairman of First Financial Holding Co, Chen Yuh-chang (陳裕璋), succeeded Sean Chen at the commission. Meanwhile, Christina Liu (劉憶如), former Chinatrust Financial Holding Co’s chief economic adviser, replaced Tsai Hsun-hsiung (蔡勳雄) as chair of the Council for Economic Planning and Development. Tsai refused the post of president of state-owned CPC Corp, Taiwan, a position vacant since September when Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) was appointed to lead the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Late last night, the Executive Yuan appointed Tsai as chief of Sinotech Engineering Inc, a government-funded non-profit organization dedicated to providing engineering consulting services.

■DIPLOMACY

MOFA prepares Thai plan

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has prepared a contingency plan in response to the escalating conflict between protesters and the Thai government in Bangkok, with evacuation of Taiwanese expatriates the last resort, the ministry said yesterday. Spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said the nation’s representative office in Thailand had prepared responses to different scenarios and evacuating Taiwanese expatriates in Thailand was merely one of the scenarios. Chen said the office had not activated the measure, but advised Taiwanese businesspeople and other expatriates in Bangkok to stay in touch with each other. When asked under what circumstances the ministry would begin an evacuation, Chen said the measure would be implemented when expatriates’ lives are in danger. The ministry raised the level of its travel alert for Bangkok to “red” on Friday, advising people to avoid traveling to Bangkok after the US and the UK closed their embassies amid an upsurge in violence between security forces and protesters.

■TRANSPORTATION

KRTC expects to trim losses

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC), which has been in the red since the Kaohsiung MRT opened in 2008, expects its losses to fall by about NT$100 million (US$3.14 million) this year because of increasing passenger volume. According to KRTC figures, the metro system carried 15.3 million passengers in the first four months of the year, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier. “The daily average passenger volume rose by about 7,000 passengers [to 127,000] during the four-month period,” a KRTC official said. “If the growth is sustained for the rest of the year, we expect the loss for 2010 to be nearly NT$100 million less than last year,” he said. Passenger numbers were still far short of the 300,000 per day that the company has said it would need to break even. Last year, the Kaohsiung metro system incurred a loss of NT$1.54 billion after receiving a subsidy from the Kaohsiung City Government.

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