‘Big owers’ to be named
The Ministry of Finance on Monday said that 969 individuals and companies are “big owers” to the national coffers, with a total of NT$95.7 billion (US$3.2 billion) in taxes due for the first half of the current fiscal year. That is 76 fewer people and firms and NT$3.7 billion less than last year’s figures, the ministry said. The ministry defines “big owers” as individuals whose accumulated due tax is NT$10 million or more and companies that owe NT$50 million or more. The ministry plans to make public the names and addresses of these individuals and companies, as well as the categories of tax being owed and other detail. The information will remain on government Web sites until Dec. 31, the ministry said.
New air route to Moscow
Russia’s Transaero Airlines is to inaugurate direct flight services between Moscow and Taipei today, capitalizing on an aviation agreement signed between the two nations in October last year. Transaero is to use a Boeing 767 for the 11 hour and 50 minute flight, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said. The weekly round-trip flight service will operate on a code-share model with China Airlines, the agency said. It said the air link is an implementation of the long-awaited air services agreement, the specifics of which were hammered out last month. Under the agreement, the two countries can jointly operate 28 flights per week. The agency said it will consider launching non-stop services in the future. The two airlines have been code-sharing a twice-weekly Taipei-Moscow flight via Bangkok.
Academia Sinica meets
Academia Sinica opened its biennial convocation yesterday. The convocation, which elects the institution’s members and sets policies for academic research, brought together 206 of the 258 academicians, and was presided over by Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠). In his opening speech, Wong urged the members to keep in mind the responsibility the intelligentsia has to society as they devote their energy to their research and put their expertise to good use for the public’s benefit. He outlined Academia Sinica’s main goals, including the building of a campus in southern Taiwan, construction of the National Biotech Park and the establishment of a national sustainability science program.
ROC passport rated highly
Republic of China (ROC) passports are ranked the 22nd-most powerful in the world in terms of gaining visa-free access to other countries, according to movehub.com, a UK-based site designed to help people move abroad. The site said holders of ROC passports are granted visa waivers or visas upon arrival in 130 countries, the same as the Vatican City and Antigua and Barbuda. However, government data show that as of May, ROC passport holders had visa-free or visa-upon-arrival treatment for 140 countries. Only five Asian countries have “more powerful” passports: Japan (170 countries), Singapore (167 countries), South Korea (166 countries), Malaysia (163 countries) and Hong Kong (152 countries), according to MoveHub. Worldwide, the UK, Sweden and Finland top the list, with 173 countries granting them visa-free or visa-on-arrival access. The US comes in second, along with Germany, Luxembourg and Denmark with 172. At the bottom of the list are Afghanistan and Iraq, with only 28 and 31 countries respectively giving them visa-on-arrival or visa-free entry.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan