TRA offers discount passes
The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) will start issuing “TR Passes” on Monday, allowing passengers unlimited travel to any point within a stated period. Passengers can choose a three-day pass for NT$1,800 or a five-day pass for NT$2,500. Passengers traveling in a group of four can also avail of special discounts, with the three-day pass selling for NT$4,200 and the five-day pass for NT$7,000. TRA transport service director Lu Jie-shen (鹿潔身) said the TR Passes would be available at 65 railway stations nationwide. Passengers holding a TR Pass can also use it to take the express train service and make reservations in advance. For passengers who bought a group pass, they must board the train at the same time from the same station, Lu said.
Man freezes amid heat wave
A 38-year-old Taiwanese man froze to death as a heat wave swept the country after he walked into a refrigeration room to cool off and apparently was trapped inside, police said yesterday. Chen Sung-mou (陳松茂), a worker at a sugar factory in Penghu County, was found unconscious inside the room on Sunday and was pronounced dead in hospital, police said. He had apparently entered the room to seek refuge from the heat, police said, but was trapped inside because the lock was broken and couldn’t be opened from inside. A heat wave has hit Taiwan in recent days, with temperatures reaching 37°C in Taipei yesterday.
Long way to go in EU waiver
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) said yesterday there was still a long way to go for Taiwan to be granted visa-free exemption to the Schengen area. Shen made the remarks one day after the European Commission proposed giving the nation visa-waiver privileges. Refusing to predict whether Taiwanese passports holders would be able to travel to the 28 Schengen countries without a visa for short trips by the end of this year, Shen said: “We just keep our nose to the grindstone.” The proposal must be referred to the European Parliament for a vote, and the Council of the EU is the co-decision maker in this case, Shen said, adding that it normally takes half a year to complete the procedure. Taiwan will grant a full visa-free regime to all EU citizens by extending visa-free status to nationals of Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria reciprocally when the EU offers visa-free treatment to Taiwan, he said.
Girl contracts A(H1N1) flu
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said a new case of severe influenza A(H1N1) infection had been confirmed in the south. The latest case brought to 938 the total number of severe swine flu cases recorded in the country since last summer. CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said a nine-year-old girl was hospitalized on June 26, two days after coming down with a fever and cough. She was later admitted to an intensive care unit and is recovering after treatment, Chou said. The patient had not been vaccinated against the new flu strain or received seasonal flu vaccine, the official said, adding that none of her family has been infected. The government has touted its success in fighting A(H1N1), with a national immunization program under which 25 percent of the total population has been immunized.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of