Sat, Jan 09, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

HEALTH

Smoking rate rises slightly

The nation recorded a smoking rate of 17.1 percent last year, up slightly from 16.4 percent in 2014 and marking the first year-on-year increase in seven years, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday. The figure translates into a smoking population of 3.27 million last year, an increase of 170,000 from the previous year, said Lo Su-ying (羅素英), head of the HPA’s Health Education and Tobacco Control Division. While the smoking rate among men rose from 29.2 percent in 2014 to 29.9 percent last year, that female smokers jumped from 3.5 percent to 4.2 percent, Lo said. She said low cigarette prices in Taiwan are a possible reason for the increase in the nation’s smoking rate. She said that a decision by the Legislative Yuan to raise the cigarette surcharge by NT$20 in 2013 pushed the number of people seeking smoking cessation services up from 380,000 that year to 620,000 in 2014.

CRIME

Taiwanese arrested in Tokyo

A Taiwanese man was arrested at Narita Airport in Tokyo after he was found to be carrying nearly 15kg of amphetamine on Dec. 15 last year, according to Japanese media reports. The man, surnamed Chen (陳), who was traveling with a tour group, was carrying the drug in containers labeled in Chinese-language as tea, the reports said, adding the containers were distributed in his checked luggage and backpack. With a total weight of 14.9kg, it was the second-largest shipment of drugs seized at Narita Airport since it opened in 1989, according to the reports, which put the street value of the amphetamine at around ¥1 billion (US$8.5 million). Chen reportedly tried to convince the police that friends of his had asked him on the day of his departure from Taiwan to carry the packages, but that he had no idea what they contained. He is being held in detention by airport police and could face at least 15 years in prison if convicted, the reports said.

TOURISM

Air traffic hits record

Taiwan’s air passenger traffic amounted to a record high of 57.81 million trips last year, as the nation stepped up efforts to build up its aviation industry, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday. Of the 57.81 million passengers, overseas, cross-strait and domestic travelers accounted for 36.18 million, 11.85 million and 9.77 million respectively, the agency said. The figure, up 5 percent from last year, surpassed the record of 56.3 million air passengers set in 1997, CAA data show. Air traffic in Taiwan began to slide in 1997 due to the start of high-speed rail services between Taipei and Kaohsiung. In 2008, a record low of 35.23 million air passengers were handled in the nation’s airports.

TRANSPORTATION

Nangang HSR on track

The new Nangang station on the high-speed railway (HSR) line is expected to start commercial operation in mid-July, as construction work has been progressing smoothly, the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) said. The station in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) is the 12th on the high-speed railway line, which has one stop roughly every 30km. Just over a month ago, three new stations were opened on the line, in Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin counties. During an inspection earlier this week, Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said the Nangang station was planned at first as a logistics station to service and resupply trains, but was changed to a regular operational station, which is expected to play an important role in the development of the Nangang area.

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