Veteran hiring credit mulled
The government is mulling a plan that would allow employers to claim tax credits for hiring military veterans as part of its efforts to move from a conscription service system to an all-volunteer military. Veterans Affairs Commission Minister Tseng Jing-ling (曾金陵) said the government is looking at the US’ 2011 Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act, which provides incentives of up to US$5,600 for each unemployed veteran hired, as a model. If the model is adopted, the tax credit will be applied primarily for the employment of volunteer veterans, he said, but did not specifically exclude conscripted veterans from the proposal. The US tax credits extend to the hiring of long-term unemployed veterans with service-related disabilities, offering up to US$9,600 per person, Tseng said. The government plans to move from a conscription service to an all-volunteer military by 2015.
Malaysians can vote
Malaysians living in Taiwan will be able to cast absentee ballots for the first time in their country’s upcoming general election, according to Mohammad Aliselamat, economic director of the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Center in Taipei. This is the first time Malaysia’s Election Commission has decided to allow eligible voters living overseas to cast votes in a general election, Aliselamat said. Malaysians who have registered for absentee voting can cast their votes on Sunday at the center, he said. The general election will take place May 5, and the one-week gap will allow the overseas ballots to be sent to Malaysia in time for the vote count, Aliselamat said.
Centers in Vietnam closed
Three Taiwanese-run education centers in Vietnam have been closed since February because of financial issues, the Ministry of Education said. The centers were operated by National Chi Nan University, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages and Lunghwa University of Science and Technology in cooperation with the ministry. Ministry official Chang Chun-chun (張俊均) said the centers were originally fully funded by the ministry, but funding shortages led the ministry to ask the universities to share half of the costs as of this year. The schools decided that the centers were not cost--efficient and eventually decided to terminate their partnership with the ministry, he said.
Tuna sells for NT$1.77m
The first bluefin tuna caught this year off the coast of Pingtung County was sold for nearly NT$1.77 million (US$59,000) at an auction in the county on Wednesday. The bidding started at NT$2,000 per kilogram and Taipei-based restaurant chain Mitsui Food and Beverage Enterprise Group won the auction with an offer of NT$5,888 per kilogram. The fish, which weighed 300.2kg, was caught by a Ryukyu Islands-registered boat on Thursday last week. The group’s chairman, Huang Yi-jui (黃奕瑞), also donated NT$400,000 for future rescue efforts at sea. “We will bring the fish with us [to Taipei], but leave our love here,” he said. He said he has a special bond with Pingtung because he used to work there about 20 years ago and it is his wife’s hometown. The county government is to hold a concert on Saturday next week, featuring pop star Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕), to start the county’s Bluefin Tuna Tourism Festival, which will run until late June.