Unstable weather is expected over Taiwan in the next couple of days, when two tropical depressions in adjacent areas are likely to develop into typhoons, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. The tropical depression located near the Ryukyu Islands was moving north-northwest at 25kph, while the other one near the South China Sea was stagnant, forecasters said. The systems do not pose any direct threat to Taiwan for the time being, they added. Meanwhile, another tropical depression was taking shape in waters southeast of Taiwan, which together with the other two depressions will form a large depression belt, forecasters said. As the belt moves closer to Taiwan today, chances of rain will significantly increase around the nation, the bureau said.
■ SOCIAL WELFARE
Disadvantaged up 27%
The number of disadvantaged households rose nearly 27 percent to 15,077 in the first six months of this year, with 90,146 people receiving financial assistance from the government, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. The government provided NT$228.9 million (US$7.2 million) to disadvantaged families from January to June, up 20 percent from the same period last year. The ministry said the number of families receiving assistance increased because of an amendment last year to the Act on Assisting Families in Difficult Circumstances (特殊境遇家庭扶助條例) that made single fathers and those families in which grandparents raise their grandchildren eligible for government subsidies and allowances. The act — originally aimed mostly at taking care of women — was first implemented in March 2008. It was amended last year to include eligible single fathers, grandparents and people under the age of 65 whose spouse has died.
Taiwan joins tuna agency
Taiwan yesterday officially became a full member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which entitles it to vote in the commission’s policy-making process and gives a boost to the rights of Taiwanese fishermen, the Council of Agricultural Affairs announced on Friday. At a time when international management of tuna stocks has become increasingly restrictive, Taiwan’s full membership in the IATTC is very helpful in protecting Taiwanese fishing boats operating on the high seas, the council’s Fisheries Agency said. The IATTC is in charge of the management and conservation of tuna in the East Pacific, an important fishing ground for high-value species such as bigeye and yellowfin tuna for Taiwanese fishing vessels. Taiwan has been an IATTC observer since 1973, but that status did not confer voting rights.
Chow Mei-ching to visit Haiti
First lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) is scheduled to make a humanitarian trip to Haiti today after the Caribbean country was devastated by a major earthquake in January, World Vision Taiwan said. She will make the trip as honorary president of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China and as “Love Ambassador” for World Vision. According to World Vision, Chow will give away solar-powered light fixtures as part of Taiwan’s continuing effort to help its ally get back on its feet. After Haiti, Chow will also make a two-day stopover in the Dominican Republic, where she will visit a job training center, two primary schools and a health center. The first lady is scheduled to return to Taiwan next Sunday.