Legislators report for duty
Several legislators reported early for the new session yesterday, with one even staying overnight at the Legislative Yuan to be the first arrival. Legislators started reporting for the eighth plenary session of the seventh legislature at 8am yesterday. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠), Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), Lin Te-fu (林德福) and Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) attended, as well as Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Peng Shao-chin (彭紹瑾). The legislature holds two sessions each year, the first from February to the end of May, and the second from September to the end of December. Tsao said he arrived at 11:30pm on Wednesday night to get an early start, adding that he is often the first arrival for legislative sittings or committee meetings. KMT Legislator Lu Chia-chen (盧嘉辰) jogged in from Tucheng (土城) in New Taipei City (新北市). Lu said that when he was elected in 2008, he also jogged in to take his oath of office. The new session is scheduled to start on Sept. 16.
HSR to upgrade WiMAX
The Bureau of High Speed Rail (HSR) said on Wednesday it would upgrade its telecommunications service by June to offer its passengers uninterrupted Internet access on mobile devices. In a NT$500 million (US$17 million) joint project, including the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Industrial Technology Research Institute and a local telecommunications company, the bureau said it would introduce the 4G (fourth-generation) WiMAX technology to overcome glitches in the current service. At present, high-speed rail passengers using 2G or 3G cellular devices often have reception problems because the high speed of the trains makes it difficult to achieve a smooth signal transition from one base station to the next. However, that obstacle should soon be overcome because hundreds of WiMAX base stations and 360km of optical fiber cable are being installed along the railway line, the bureau said.
EasyCard seeks trial testers
EasyCard Corp began accepting applicants yesterday for a trial scheme for IC EasyCards with a new function that allows users to look up their card usage record online. EasyCard was first introduced in Taipei in 2002. The company is offering 20,000 free Republic of China -centennial-themed IC EasyCards for commuters who apply to test-drive the new cards. According to the company , the chip embedded in the card allows holders to access their usage record for the past three months at home using a reader, rather than just the six most recent transactions the current EasyCard permits. The company said applications would remain open until Monday or until 20,000 applications had been accepted. EasyCard users can apply and submit their comments or suggestions at www.easycard.com.tw/newcard, the company said.
Rocker Chyi Chin burned
Veteran Taiwanese rocker Chyi Chin (齊秦) was severely burned early yesterday at his home in Beijing, but was reported to be in stable condition, his agency said in a statement. The 51-year-old singer-songwriter suffered second-degree burns on his face and back while undergoing cupping therapy, the agency said, adding the therapist had accidentally spilled alcohol on Chyi. The burns covered about 8 percent of his body. Chyi was undergoing the treatment to alleviate fatigue. His agency said Chyi would cancel all public activities for the next two to three months to recuperate.
GIO sends ‘WSJ’ clarification
The Government Information Office (GIO) said yesterday that it has sent a clarifying statement to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) regarding a recent opinion piece in the paper that suggested parts of Taiwanese society have been penetrated by Chinese intelligence. The statement, drafted by the Ministry of National Defense, is expected to be published in one or two days, Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) said. The statement, written in English and two pages in length, not only denies the infiltration allegation, but highlights the substantive relations between Taiwan and the US, according to ministry spokesman Colonel David Lo (羅紹和). On Wednesday, Lo told a press conference that “there is a consensus within Taiwan’s armed forces that despite the warming of cross-strait relations, China is still an enemy.”
Bureau tells Family Mart ‘no’
Tourism Bureau director general Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) yesterday said the bureau has sent an official notice to Family Mart informing the convenience store chain that it cannot collect applications for Taiwan Compatriot Entry Permits from customers planning to visit China and deliver them to travel agencies. The chain announced on Aug. 23 that it was working with a courier company and a travel agency to launch the service, by which Taiwanese planning to visit China would pay a fee of NT$499 to get their single-entry Taiwan Compatriot Entry Permit to China renewed. FamilyMart said at the time it expected to handle 20,000 applications a month. Lai said the chain could violate the Act for Development of Tourism (發展觀光條例) if it went ahead with the new service. However, later in the day, FamilyMart said it would continue the service unless a formal ruling against the service was handed down.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up