Rain, cold coming: bureau
A cold front passing over the country is likely to bring downpours over the weekend, while another wave of cold air mass could send the mercury plunging next week, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. The bureau said significant rainfall was expected in the north and northeast until later today, with temperatures ranging between 13oC and 20oC and between 15oC and 24oC in the northern and southern parts of the nation respectively. The rainy weather pattern could ease up from tomorrow, forecasters said, but a cold air mass is forecast to bring low temperatures across the nation, with temperatures falling by about 2 degrees. An even stronger cold air mass could start affecting Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, when low temperatures could hover around 11oC in northern Taiwan, the bureau said. The weather could be at its coldest between Thursday and Friday, the bureau said, but added that by then, clear skies are likely across the country.
Drug smuggler repatriated
A Taiwanese fugitive drug smuggler was repatriated from Japan on Friday, the Investigation Bureau said. Police had sought Tsai Yao-hao (蔡曜壕), 43, since January 2005, after he fled a 15-year prison sentence for smuggling heroin, according to an Investigation Bureau statement. Tsai was arrested in 2002 on charges of violating narcotics laws. He was brought to trial in Taichung, where he was found guilty. According to bureau officials, Tsai had already planned to flee to Japan before he was convicted. Upon his arrival at Japan’s Nagoya Airport in 2004, he was apprehended by airport police for attempting to smuggle amphetamines into Japan, the officials said. Tsai was convicted and given a nine-year prison sentence and a fine of ￥2 million (US$22,000), the officials said, adding that he was released on parole on Dec. 20.
Taiwan-Japan visits at 2.95m
Taiwan and Japan saw a record-breaking 2.95 million visits by tourists between the two countries in the first 11 months of last year, the Interchange Association (Japan) Taipei Office said. Annual visits between the two countries might have broken 3 million last year, a target the two sides set in 2010 to strengthen tourism exchanges, the office said. Between January and November last year, the number of Taiwanese traveling to Japan and Japanese traveling to Taiwan was 1.6 million and 1.35 million respectively, the office said. Meanwhile, local travel agents said they were bullish about this year as the number of Taiwan-Japan flight routes continues to grow. A weakening Japanese yen will likely encourage more Taiwanese to travel to Japan, according to Comfort Travel Service Co, which added that it was expecting the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to grow by about 20 percent this year.
ISIC cards highest in Asia
The number of international student identity cards (ISIC) issued in Taiwan now stands at about 100,000 a year, the most in Asia, the local foundation authorized by the ISIC Association to issue the cards said on Friday. The Kang Wen Culture & Education Foundation said more than 100 million students now hold the cards, which students can use when traveling abroad to enjoy the same benefits and discounts as their local peers. The 100,000 cards issued annually to Taiwanese students ranks 10th in the world, the foundation said.