Holidays set for 2018
Workers are to receive 115 days off work next year, with six extended public holidays, the longest being the six-day Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration said yesterday. The six extended holidays are: Republic of China (ROC) Founding Day (three days), Lunar New Year (six), Children’s Day and Tomb Sweeping Day (five), Dragon Boat Festival (three) and Mid-Autumn Festival (three), while the ROC Founding Day in 2019 will be four days. Officials said that whenever a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the agency will make arrangements to turn it into an extended holiday, with the previous Saturday used as an official work day. For example, Tomb Sweeping Day next year falls on a Thursday, so Friday, April 6, will be included in a five-day public holiday, with the previous Saturday, March 31, a work day.
Losses top NT$90 million
As of 5pm yesterday, the nation posted NT$90.58 million (US$3.01 million) in agricultural losses over the past few days as a result of torrential rains brought by a slow-moving weather front, the Council of Agriculture said. Agricultural product losses amounted to NT$67.26 million, it added. Yunlin County was the hardest hit municipality, with agricultural losses of NT$25.91 million, or 29 percent of the total, followed by New Taipei City with NT$17.8 million, Koahsiung with NT$10.02 million and Nantou with NT$9.58 million, the council said. Across the nation, 3,472 hectares of crops were damaged; 1,480 hectares of which were rice fields that accounted for NT$14.01 million in losses, while watermelon, corn, peanut and tomato cultivation was also hard hit, the council said. Poultry and livestock losses amounted to NT$8.49 million, while fishery losses totaled NT$1.76 million, the council said, adding that other losses were estimated at NT$13.06 million and included flooding or erosion of farm lands and damage to farm equipment.
Red light trips up suspect
A 63-year-old man wanted on fraud charges for 24 years was caught yesterday after running a red light in Kaohsiung’s Lingya District (苓雅), police said. The man, surnamed Chang (張), told police he missed the red light because he could not see the traffic lights clearly. Chang initially gave the police a fake ID number, but the officers became suspicious when the picture did not match the number. Asked again for his ID, Chang pretended to faint, but banged his head on the car floor and started bleeding. Police rushed him to a nearby hospital, where on further questioning he revealed his real identity. He had been wanted since 1993 on suspicion of forging securities, and the statute of limitations on the charges would have run out next year, police said.
Drug suspect arrested
A Taiwanese man was arrested on Saturday in Manila on suspicion of drug trafficking, a spokesman for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Sunday. PDEA agents and police posing as drug buyers arrested the man, 56, at a Manila hotel, an agency spokesman said. Agents found 50kg of crystals in a container used to store dried fish in his car. If the crystals are identified as amphetamines, their street value would be about 250 million Philippine pesos (US$5.17 million), the spokesman said. If tried and found guilty, the suspect could be sentenced to life in prison.
Divorce rate rises
There were 53,850 divorces in the nation last year, among which marriages that had lasted less than five years accounted for the majority, statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior showed. The divorce rate last year exceeded that of the previous year by 402, the statistics showed, with an average of 147.5 couples getting divorced per day last year. The numbers indicate a trend toward high divorce rates among couples who have been married for less than five years. Short marriages accounted for 33.6 percent of the total divorces last year, the ministry said. Coming in second were couples who had been married for five to nine years, making up 20.7 percent of the total divorces. Data compiled over the past decade showed that the divorce rate fluctuated between 2007 and last year, the ministry said. The average annual divorce number for 2007 to 2012 was roughly 57,000, with the figure dropping to about 53,000 from 2013 to last year.
Fourteen share lottery
Fourteen people won the NT$10 million (US$332,336) special prize, while 13 won the NT$2 million grand prize in the March-April uniform invoice lottery, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday last week. Winners can claim their prizes from June 6 to Sept. 5, the ministry said. Among the 14 invoices that won the special prize, two were issued by 7-Eleven convenience stores for purchases of NT$65. The stores are in Taipei’s Zhongshan (中山) and Zhongzheng (中正) districts. Another convenience store, FamilyMart, also issued two special prize-winning invoices. The buyers spent NT$60 and NT$78 to buy instant noodles and cigarettes at stores in New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重) and Taichung respectively.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,