Yeh charged with desertion
A military intelligence officer who was brought back from the UK last month after 18 months out of the country has been indicted on desertion charges, prosecutors said yesterday. The offense carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces. Emily Yeh (葉玫), who was in military service in Greater Taichung, traveled to the UK in June 2012 without permission from her superiors. She had been granted vacation time from June 17 until June 24 of that year to visit Thailand, but failed to return. Yeh was later found to have traveled via Thailand to the UK, where she sought asylum. She took up residency in Newport, Wales, until her arrest on Dec. 10 last year for overstaying her visa. She was repatriated on Jan. 19 and has been in detention since then.
Post office to remit renminbi
The public will soon be able to remit Chinese currency, the renminbi, directly to China from local post offices without having to convert the money into US dollars, Chunghwa Post Co said yesterday. Chunghwa Post will join other local banks in providing the service and said the service would reduce exchange risks. Currently, people who want to remit money to China through local post offices must first convert the funds into US dollars, while the recipient in China has to convert the money from US dollars to Chinese yuan. Local post offices conducted more than 14,000 transactions from Taiwan to China last year for a total amount of NT$1.3 billion (US$42.96 million), and more than 2,000 transactions from China to Taiwan worth a total of NT$400 million, the company said. Chunghwa Post will also lower its overseas transaction fees to NT$300 per transaction, it said.
City announces English plan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said it plans to employ a foreign English teacher in each elementary school in the city as part of its efforts to promote English language learning. A test run of the program is to begin in September at eight schools in less-advantaged areas, the city’s Department of Education Director Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said. The foreign employees must be qualified elementary-school teachers from English-speaking countries, Lin added. Since 2010, the city government has been promoting a project to set up an English Village in each of the city’s 12 administrative districts to help schools create a better English teaching environment. Twenty-six foreign teachers have been hired to work in the eight villages that have been opened so far. Another four villages are expected to be launched in August this year, the department said.
Taipei named No. 1 for Wi-Fi
Taipei, which offers hundreds of free public Wi-Fi hotspots, has been named one of the world’s most connected cities by London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. Nine cities worldwide are mentioned in the article published by the online edition of the Telegraph under the travel section, with Taipei coming first on the list. The article said that getting online became even easier in Taiwan this week, with travelers allowed to register ahead of arrival to receive 30 days of free access to a national, government-backed network of more than 5,000 hotspots. The iTaiwan hotspots are marked on a zoomable map, which can be accessed at itaiwan.taiwan.net.tw/FitTravelRegister.aspx, the article said.