THSR waiting for winner
The 200 millionth person to travel on the nation’ bullet train will be rewarded with unlimited free rides for a year, its operator said yesterday. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSR) said it expects ridership to reach the 200 million mark by the middle of next month or later. Ridership stood at about 195 million as of Wednesday, with daily ridership hovering at just over 120,000, the company said in a statement. The lucky 200 millionth person will be chosen based on the order of ticket purchase, the statement said. The two passengers who buy tickets immediately before and after the winner will receive eight free business class tickets, it added.
Abuse cases increase
Seventy-three severe child abuse and filicide-suicide cases have been recorded in the nation so far this year, a sharp 60 percent increase over last year, according to statistics released yesterday by the Child Welfare League Foundation. The cases resulted in the death of 28 children, 40 percent of whom were under three years of age, the statistics showed. With public awareness about the need to protect children against violence increasing, 17,667 possible abuse cases were reported to child protection services last year, up from 10,094 in 2006, the foundations said. Unfortunately, 70 percent of the 73 severe abuse cases that occurred so far this year were never reported, it said. The foundation urged the public to pay more attention to the problem and report any possible cases of child abuse to authorities to help prevent tragedies.
Boost in FIT numbers sought
Taiwan is aiming to attract 1,000 independent Chinese tourists per day, the maximum number allowed, by the end of this year, Tourism Bureau Director-General David Hsieh (謝謂君) said. The average number of independent Chinese tourists at present is 750 per day, a sharp increase from the daily average of 157 last year, according to the bureau’s data. Hsieh said the new Taiwan Strait Tourism Association office in Shanghai, which opened yesterday, will focus on promoting independent travel among residents of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Fujian, Anhui and Jiangxi, when more Chinese cities are added to the independent traveler program. The free independent traveler (FIT) program began in June last year, with residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen eligible to participate. Six more cities, including Tianjin and Chongqing, were added to the program in April and another four were added in August, bringing the total to 13 cities.
UK scholarship offered
Students can now start submitting their applications for the annual global scholarships offered by the UK government, the British Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei said yesterday. Those who hope to study a master’s degree in the UK can now apply for the Chevening Scholarships and the Delta/Chevening Environmental Scholarships for 2013-2014, the office said, adding that the deadline for Taiwanese applications is Jan. 2, 2013. The scheme targets students who plan to return to Taiwan for a career, said Fleur Willson, head of the office’s political section. The scholarships “aim to support UK foreign policy priorities by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers and decision-makers around the world,” the office said.