Wed, Jul 07, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■TRAVEL

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.

■WEATHER

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.

■DIPLOMACY

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.

■HEALTH

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.

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