Coast guard beef up arms
A number of Coast Guard Administration (CGA) patrol vessels will be installed with 40mm anti-aircraft guns supplied by the navy, according to the CGA. The first three of seven such guns will be installed on the patrol ship New Taipei, construction of which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, it said. Prior to installation, the guns will have their fire-control systems adapted by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology because the current systems used by the navy are not suitable for Coast Guard vessels, it added. The CGA said it estimated it will cost NT$211.44 million (US$7.13 million) to adapt the systems.
MOFA defends work holidays
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that Taiwanese on working holidays abroad should not be labeled as “Taiwanese laborers” since the holidays are more about learning than performing manual labor. The ministry was intent on polishing the image of working holidays after a local magazine report indicated that the program was turning into an overseas jobs scheme. Business Today told the story earlier in the week of a National Tsing Hua University economics graduate leaving Taiwan for a better-paying job at an Australian meat processing plant through the program, sparking concerns of more Taiwanese using working holidays to do manual labor in higher-wage countries. The ministry said in a statement yesterday that working holidays were launched to encourage students to venture overseas to broaden their horizons and enrich their international experience. The program has proven largely beneficial, helping many participants improve their language skills and find work after they return, it said, rejecting the idea that those who go on working holidays are simply “Taiwanese laborers.”
Tokyo sponsors student trip
A group of Taiwanese high-school students yesterday traveled to Japan to learn more about the country’s reconstruction efforts following a devastating earthquake and tsunami last year. One hundred Taiwanese students departed for a nine-day trip sponsored by the Japanese government that will include one a stop at the Iwate Prefecture, which was hit hard by the magnitude 9 earthquake on March 11 last year, the Interchange Association, Japan, said in a statement. The Taiwanese youngsters will also live with Japanese host families and visit schools in Chiba Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture to learn more about the local culture, it said. The Japanese government initiated the program to thank countries that offered rescue assistance and donations after the earthquake and ensuing tsunami, said the association. Taiwan donated about US$260 million in relief and reconstruction aid to Japan, the most of any country in the world.
Visitor numbers near record
The number of visitor arrivals in Taiwan rose sharply in the first eight months of the year and could exceed 7 million for the first time in the country’s history, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday. A total of 4.77 million overseas visitors arrived in Taiwan between January and last month, up 24.76 percent from the same period last year, and visitor arrivals have posted double-digit annual growth every month so far this year, the bureau said. The surge was led by visitors from China, whose numbers grew 54.41 percent from a year earlier.