Kaohsiung births increase
Greater Kaohsiung observed an increase in both marriages and births last year, a year many people considered to be lucky, the city’s Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said. According to department’s statistics, 18,732 couples tied the knot in the municipality last year, compared with 15,659 couples in 2010. As for the birthrate, the number of babies born reached 21,411, compared with 19,198 in 2010. As it is the Year of the Dragon, the department said it was expecting high birthrates for this year as well. The Social Affairs Bureau added it would offer financial rewards to couples who have children this year. Parents would be given a birth stipend of NT$6,000 per child and NT$10,000 to couples that have a third child, the bureau said, adding that before infants reach their first birthday, parents are entitled to a monthly subsidy of NT$3,000.
Trucks to get recorders
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said it is planning to install recorders on hundreds of garbage trucks nationwide as part of government efforts to crack down on environmental violations. Wu Tien-chi (吳天基), head of the Department of Waste Management, said that to reinforce a crackdown on violations, such as dropping cigarette butts or belching exhaust smoke, a total of 960 garbage trucks around Taiwan would be fitted with recorders in the initial stage. Meanwhile, EPA Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) encouraged residents to report environmental violations.
Ties to get closer: Zheng
China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Deputy Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) predicted yesterday in Greater Tainan that cross-strait engagements would become even closer and wider, with many people from many sectors pitching in. Zheng said it was once “beyond the imagination” that 558 flights could fly directly across the Strait per week. After so many years of efforts, both sides now appreciate that peace and collaboration are the only options to end tensions and standoffs, he said. Zheng, who arrived in Taipei on Saturday, is visiting at the invitation of the National Policy Foundation, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think tank. His visit, primarily to southern Taiwan, comes less than a month after the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections. Prior to visiting Greater Tainan, he was in Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County over the weekend. Academics said his visit was mainly aimed at winning more trust from Taiwanese at the grassroots level, particularly those residing in southern Taiwan.
Envoy offers condolences
Representative to the Philippines Raymond Wang (王樂生) expressed condolences on Sunday to the family of a Taiwanese woman living in the Southeast Asian country who was murdered there last month. The 29-year-old victim, surnamed Hsu (許), was robbed and shot in Manila’s Chinatown on Jan. 11. Her brother and father were also injured. According to a police investigation, the perpetrator was an active duty policeman. Wang said the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila had requested the country’s police to take the suspect into custody as soon as possible. He also urged the local government to install security monitoring systems to improve the city’s safety. The victim’s father, who is involved in the onion trade, has been based in the Philippines for several decades.