Speaker’s diplomatic visit
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is to leave today on a visit to the US and Central America, during which he will deliver a speech in Anchorage, Alaska, and meet with the UN mission chiefs of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in New York. On the Central American leg of the trip, Wang is to visit diplomatic allies Nicaragua and El Salvador. In the US, Wang is to give a speech at the opening of the annual meeting of the US National Speakers Conference in Anchorage. He is then to travel to New York, where he will host a dinner in honor of the UN ambassadors of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. He is scheduled to depart New York on Aug. 22 for Nicaragua followed by El Salvador.
Philippines mulls visa deal
The Philippines is to hopefully grant Taiwanese visa waiver status by the end of the year, according to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍). Hsu made the remarks following a recent trip to the Philippines, where she, at the head of a legislative delegation, met with six members of Philippine congress, including House Deputy Speaker Jesus Remulla and Senator Alan Cayetano. Members of the delegation included KMT legislators Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉) and Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井). Taiwanese made around 190,000 visits to the Philippines last year and visa fees reached NT$300 million (US$9.98 million), Su said. If Manila decides to grant Taiwanese visa-free status, it could help increase the number of Taiwanese visitors to the country by at least 50 percent and help boost its economy, he added. According to Liao, the Philippine senators and represenatives they met on the trip all promised to encourage Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs to grant Taiwan visa-free status as soon as possible.
Xinyi gets bus-route map
Taipei City’ Department of Transportation is providing bus-route maps at major bus stops in Xinyi District (信義) to help passengers find bus lines to their destinations in the area. The map integrates bus information around the district, including bus routes around the area, locations of major bus stops and bus lines that travel to other districts. Passengers can identify their locations and find the bus lines they need to reach their destinations. Department of Transportation Commissioner Jason Lin (林志盈) said the design of the map aims to help both residents and visitors who plan to travel around the city by bus. For example, if a foreign visitor plans to go to Taipei Main Station from Taipei 101, he or she can easily find the bus lines to the station on the map. The map is available at 28 bus stops in the distric, and portable maps are available at Taipei City Hall Transfer Station and major department stores. The department said it would expand the scope of its service and also provide bus route maps in other areas.
The Control Yuan yesterday passed a resolution to impeach former Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine director Hsu Tien-lai (許天來) and Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Wang Cheng-teng (王政騰) for seeking to cover up January’s H5N2 avian flu outbreak. The resolution said Wang inappropriately lobbied to cover up the outbreak of flu as a favor to a friend and that Hsu had also committed illegal lobbying to cover up the outbreak. Both face disciplinary hearings.