Visa change for Bruneians
Effective on Tuesday next week, Brunei citizens will be eligible for a visa upon landing in Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Director-General James Chou (周穎華) announced yesterday. The landing visa will be valid for 14 days and can be applied for at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Brunei Darussalam, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan), Kaohsiung International Airport or Taichung Airport, Chou told a press conference. The visa privilege was granted to reciprocate the treatment Brunei granted to Republic of China citizens on June 4. Chou said the ministry considered Brunei qualified for a landing visa because the country has strict guidelines for issuing passports. This has helped Brunei secure visa-free status or visa-on-arrival status in 66 countries. Rates of overstay or illegal employment by Bruneians in Taiwan are low.
Bus fire hospitalizes 24
Twenty-four people were injured and sent to hospital for treatment yesterday after their tour bus caught fire in Taoyuan County, the county’s Fire Bureau reported. Firefighters said they first received a report of the incident at 7:17am and that the tour bus was carrying 37 passengers. The bus was making its way north from Fonggang (楓港) in Pingtung County at the time. There was no immediate word on what caused the fire.
Cool conditions on the way
People planning to spend New Year’s Eve outdoors may need to bundle up as the Central Weather Bureau warned that temperatures could drop to 11°C in the north. Bureau forecaster Jiang Li-hong (姜禮鴻) said temperatures had begun to rebound yesterday as a cold air mass that arrived over the weekend weakened. Possible scattered showers are forecast for the east, with highs of between 21°C and 24°C in the north and east and 24°C to 26°C in central and southern areas. However, temperatures could drop to between 15°C and 16°C at night. Jiang said the good weather would continue until tomorrow. However, chances of rain will rise on Friday nationwide due to a frontal system. On Saturday, low temperatures and rain are forecast for the north and the east due to the strong northeast monsoon. Chances of showers are high in central and southern areas as well. Jiang added that a strong continental cold air mass would arrive on Sunday, with temperatures dropping to 11°C in the north and 12°C in central and southern areas.
Man indicted for hospital fire
A man has been indicted on murder and arson charges for allegedly starting a fire at a hospital in Greater Tainan in October that killed 13 people and injured 60 others, prosecutors said yesterday. Prosecutors said they ruled out seeking the death penalty for the 67-year-old, identified only by his surname, Lin (林), because he had confessed to the crime and was in poor health. Lin, a patient at the hospital, was accused of lighting tissue papers and throwing them into a storage room full of clothes on Oct. 23, which caused the fire, according to the indictment. He was arrested hours later and has claimed he started the blaze as he was upset because he was suffering from cancer and other chronic illnesses, it said. The fire erupted before dawn at the nursing facility, whose 115 patients included people in their 90s.