Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

GOVERNMENT

‘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.

TRAVEL

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.

EDUCATION

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.

TRAVEL

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.

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