Drunk driving fines increase
Heftier penalties for drunk driving, with the maximum fine to be raised from NT$60,000 (US$2,027) to NT$90,000, are set to come into effect today, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. The ministry said it hopes the increased penalties will curb drunken driving and raise public awareness about road safety. A total of 371 people were killed in drunken driving incidents last year, a 15 percent year-on-year decline, which signaled increasing public vigilance against driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the ministry. Individuals found guilty of drunken driving twice or more over a period of five years, and those who refuse to take a breathalyzer test, will be subject to the maximum fine.
DPP finds US office space
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has chosen office space in Washington for its representative office to the US, which the party hopes will help build mutual trust between the party and the US government. The office on 16th Street Northwest, about 200m from the White House, will likely be officially opened in late May or early June, when DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is expected to visit the US, DPP representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said. It is necessary for the DPP to reopen an office in Washington to avoid future misunderstandings, Wu said. The party has not had an official mission in the US since it lost power after the presidential election in March 2008. Wu was appointed representative to Washington in November last year, shortly after the US presidential election. He is still based in Taipei and visits the US once every two to three months.
Taiwan to join blackout
Taiwan will participate in an international “Earth Hour” campaign this month, with landmarks including the Taipei 101 skyscraper pledging to switch its lights off in observance of the event that is aimed at raising environmental awareness, organizers said yesterday. Now in its fourth year in partnership with the WWF, which initiated the program, the Taiwan-based Society of Wilderness said many local governments and businesses have pledged to show support by turning off their lights for an hour. Taiwan is one of more than 150 countries around the world expected to take part in the “Earth Hour” campaign, which will take place from 8:30pm to 9:30pm, on March 23.
Museums to share know-how
The head of retail at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London is to visit Taiwan to share the museum’s experience in developing and marketing exhibition merchandise, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said. Jo Prosser will arrive in Taiwan in two weeks for exchanges with museum curators from around the country, Lung said toward the end of a 10-day cultural visit to the UK and France. Speaking of another opportunity for Taiwan-UK cultural partnership that her visit created, Lung said UK Trade and Investment, a government department working with UK businesses to ensure their success in international markets, broached with her the idea of jointly setting up a fund to finance artists and micro-entrepreneurs in the creative industry. Lung said it is her ministry’s core responsibility to foster ties with other countries using cultural exchanges at a time when the nation is working hard to expand its international standing.