Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday defended the efficiency of his city government amid accusations that it failed to take the lead among the five special municipalities in announcing the official back-to-school day.
Saying Taipei would be a “bellwether” among the special municipalities during the swearing-in ceremony for his second term last month, Hau vowed to lead municipal development efforts. However, New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) beat him to the task when he announced on Monday that the new semester would start on Feb. 14.
The announcement came amid disputes over whether schools should delay the start of the new semester until the beginning of the week, as the initial day, Feb. 11, falls on a Friday. The Ministry of Education had been scheduled to hold a meeting with local governments today to reach a decision on the matter.
A few hours after Chu made the announcement, Taipei City Government spokesperson Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) said the city would also delay the official back-to-school day to Feb. 14, with a make-up day on Feb. 19.
Hau dismissed accusations that he had been slow to respond to the situation and had been less aggressive than Chu in promoting municipal policies.
“We need to communicate with schools and parent groups before deciding on which day to resume classes. It’s not about whether Taipei City can make the announcement first,” he said at Taipei City Hall.
While the position of Taipei mayor served as a springboard to the presidency for both President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Chu, 49, is considered a rising star in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and a likely presidential candidate to take over Ma’s leading role in the party.
Asked to comment on his beating Hau to the announcement, Chu said his administration was simply trying to handle municipal issues in a faster and more efficient manner.
Meanwhile, Hau continued to promote the city’s childbirth subsidy program, saying policies to create a friendly environment for youth had encouraged more people to move to the city.
Statistics provided by the city showed the number of people who registered their household in Taipei last year reached 120,189, while the number of people who left was 105,269.
The number of residents who registered their marriage last year reached 17,321, or 3,055 more than the previous year.
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
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu