Millions set for scholarships
The government will allocate NT$150 million (US$5 million) in scholarship funds over a three-year period for more than 100 Taiwanese to pursue post-graduate study or research at top universities around the world, Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) said yesterday. The program, to be run from 2013 to 2015, will be jointly funded by the Ministry of Education, the National Science Council, the Board of Science and Technology and Academia Sinica in a bid to cultivate Taiwanese intellectuals, Chiang said. The program will select schools ranked among the top 30 in the world and research fields based on the nation’s needs, he said. The scholarships will be offered to applicants after they are accepted for doctoral or postdoctoral research at the chosen universities or institutions overseas, the minister said.
Legislators demand apology
Female Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmakers and women rights’ groups yesterday called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) to apologize for the “filthy” comments he allegedly made against DPP Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) at a Procedure Committee meeting on Tuesday. Aside from demanding that the legislature’s Disciplinary Committee investigate Fai’s comments, the groups also called for the establishment of a panel on gender equality in the legislature as discriminatory comments against female lawmakers have been common among their male colleagues. Lawmakers’ frequent discrimination against women in Taiwan is ironic, DPP LegislatorYu Mei-nu (尤美女) said. Fai denied that he had made the comments and refused to apologize.
Temblor hits Hualien County
A magnitude 4.1 earthquake shook Hualien County at about noon yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, according to the Central Weather Bureau’s Seismology Center. The temblor, which hit at 12:08pm, had a shallow epicenter at a depth of 5km beneath the Earth’s surface, the center said. The epicenter was located in Hualien County’s Shoufeng (壽豐) Township, 24.9km southwest of Hualien County Hall, the center said, adding that the strongest intensity of 5 was felt in Hualien.
Court nixes CEC decision
The Supreme Administrative Court yesterday overturned a decision by the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the administrative court rejecting a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU)-led proposed referendum on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and ordered a review of the case by the commission and the Referendum Review Committee. The court said the rejection of the proposed referendum on the grounds that any proposal on important policies or seeking to change the current situation must include a negative description was not part of the regulations in subparagraph 3 of Article 31 of the Referendum Act (公民投票法). TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said that he was delighted by the verdict. Executive Yuan spokesman Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said the Executive Yuan respected the court’s decision, adding that Huang’s proposal would be turned over to the committee for review based on regulations in the act.
Liner to visit Keelung
A US-based luxury cruise line will include Keelung in its Asian itinerary in late August when one of its large liners will dock there, the operator said on Wednesday. Lin Kai-ti (林楷迪), chairman of Royal Caribbean International’s Taiwan branch, said the Voyager of the Seas — a 140,000-tonne liner that can accommodate 3,800 passengers — was transferred from the Caribbean to Asia this year. He said the ship is the largest cruise liner ever to operate in Asia. The ship was in Singapore last month and will travel to Keelung on three separate cruises from late August to September, he said. Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) said the bureau set up an incentive program this year to encourage operators to include Taiwanese ports on their cruise itineraries. He said the bureau would subsidize operators based on the number of travelers onboard liners that dock in Taiwan and so far five operators have submitted applications for the subsidy program.