Electric buses in September
Greater Kaohsiung is to see 11 electric buses taking to the streets as soon as September, once all the recharging stations have been installed. The buses will run between the Zuoying high-speed railway station in Zuoying District (左營) and Cishan District (旗山), said Huang Jung-hui (黃榮輝), an official with the city’s transportation bureau. The first eight vehicles, completed last month, were not put into service because the recharging stations had not been fully installed, Huang said. He added that the 11 recharging stations, all in Cishan, are scheduled to be in place by the end of next month. When fully charged, the buses, built with government funding of NT$57 million (US$1.9 million), can cover 200km, or approximately two round-trips, Huang said.
Teenagers get less pay
More than 90 percent of employers in Greater Taichung pay their teenage part-time workers less than the minimum wage and do not provide health and labor insurance coverage for them, according to a recent poll. The survey showed that while 69.7 percent of teenagers in Taichung are interested in working part time during the summer vacation, only 49.9 percent are aware that their employers are required by law to provide them with labor and health insurance coverage. Among the 33.7 percent of teens who said they had part-time work experience, 72.8 percent reported the pay they had received was below the minimum hourly wage of NT$103, while 89.8 percent said they had not been offered health and labor insurance coverage, according to the survey conducted by the Taichung-based Chionyuan Social Welfare Foundation. The survey was conducted from June 7 to June 20 among 1,178 students in junior and senior-high schools.
Council denies it is ‘tool’
The National Security Council on Tuesday denied a report that accused it of having been a political tool for the Chinese Nationlist Party (KMT) by monitoring opposition parties in the run-up to the January elections. The council said in a statement that the Hong Kong magazine Yazhou Zhoukan’s report about a flawed mechanism in the agency “is false.” The magazine reported that the mechanism to integrate the country’s security system and intelligence resources has become a tool for political wrestling between a ruling party and opposition parties. The reported also said the council gave an order to the Investigation Bureau to monitor the activities of opposition parties ahead of the elections. The council said had already explained that it did not conduct any intelligence gathering targeting opposition parties when a similar report emerged in December last year.
Missions are ‘valuable’
Taiwan’s overseas medical missions are a projection of the nation’s soft power, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said yesterday at a meeting held to encourage hospitals to take part in international humanitarian projects. Describing medical missions as “valuable assets,” Yang said Taiwan’s success in conducting such missions since 1962 has gained the acclaim of its allies. Taiwan’s initiatives have also enabled the country to establish connections with other major international organizations, he told an audience of representatives from more than a dozen hospitals nationwide, citing a recent health program launched with Taiwan’s help in the Gambia that has greatly benefited pregnant mothers and babies.