CAL flight turns back
A China Airlines flight with about 300 passengers on board had to turn around and return to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning after an engine malfunction. Flight 100 took off from Taoyuan at 9:25am en route to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. The pilot detected an error signal on one of the engines about 30 minutes after takeoff and decided to return to Taoyuan after failing to fix the problem. The plane landed safely at 10:27am. The airline arranged for the 296 passengers on board to fly on another aircraft, which departed at 1:30pm. Passengers in the Airbus 330-300 said in interviews on TVBS cable network they heard a loud boom and could smell burning plastic. CAL said it would conduct further inspections to determine the cause of the problem.
Ma to give special coins
The red envelopes President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will be handing out for the Lunar New Year holiday will have different elements to welcome the Year of Rabbit: two NT$1 coins rather than coin-shape chocolates. Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said Ma and Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) would begin distributing the red envelopes on Lunar New Year’s Eve, which falls on Feb. 2. Lo said they had 200,000 enveloopes in stock, which cost about NT$1 million (US$34,100) to produce, including the cost of the coins. As the coins are real, Lo urged parents to remind their young children not to eat them. The special design was ordered by Ma to mark the centenary of the Republic of China, Lo said.
Cold snap hits north
Temperatures in northern parts of the country could drop to 10oC today after a strong cold air mass arrived over the weekend, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. The bureau also issued low temperature alerts for residents living in coastal areas north of Hsinchu County, as well as the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu. Daytime temperatures yesterday were between 14oC and 15oC in the north, while the central parts of the nation experienced temperatures in the high teens and low-20s in the south. The lowest temperature was reported early yesterday morning in Hsinchu, with the mercury sliding to 10.8oC. The bureau added that it might snow on Hehuanshan (合歡山) today. The strong cold air mass could start weakening by tomorrow. Temperatures will drop again on Friday when another cold wave is expected to hit the nation.
City to manage bike stands
The Taipei City Government yesterday said it would begin systematically managing 2,000 bicycle stands this year to address the parking needs of the growing number of riders who commute or get around on their bikes. The Parking Management and Development Office said it planned to put more spaces for bicycles on the side of roads as part of the project, but would also gradually increase the number of bicycle parking lots. One goal is to increase parking capacity near public transport hubs to make it easier for bike riders to take advantage of the MRT system’s expanding mixed-mode commuting network. Effectively managing those parking lots will be just as important as building them if the bicycle-MRT commuting option catches on, officials said. One new parking lot built last year near the MRT Technology Building Station, with a capacity of 655 bicycles, has already reduced bike parking violations and bicycle theft, the city said.