■ Engineering China unveils hi-tech train \n \nThe first Chinese-made magnetic-levitation train has begun test runs in the northern port city of Dalian, the government said. Unlike other maglev prototypes that travel at high speeds, the Chinese model is a low-speed train designed for urban transportation, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday as the train made its debut. Its top speed is under 110kph, Xinhua said. Dalian plans to build a 1.5km maglev line in a bid to boost tourism, it said. China's only other magnetic-levitation train, built by a consortium of German companies in Shanghai, connects Pudong International Airport with the city's financial district. The 30km line reaches top speeds of 430kph. German, French and Japanese companies are competing fiercely for involvement in a high-speed rail line between Shanghai and Beijing. \n \n■ Economy \nMinister plans tax breaks \n \nGerman Finance Minister Hans Eichel is planning to raise tax revenue by making further cuts in tax breaks in an effort to keep the 2005 budget within the 3 percent European budget deficit limit, according to a news report. The weekly Welt am Sonntag reported yesterday that Eichel is considering scrapping subsidies for commuters and taxing bonus payments for work on Sundays and public holidays. He is also mulling cutting industry exemptions to an ecology tax. However, a spokeswoman for Eichel's ministry denied the report, saying there were "no plans to undertake these measures." The spokeswoman also described as speculation a media report that Eichel is facing a tax revenue shortfall of 5.5 billion euros for this year and next year. \n \n■ Computers \nLinux common in Asia \n \nNew personal computers with the free Linux operating system are often used with pirated copies of the Microsoft Windows operating system, reports a study by the US-based marketing research firm Gartner. Particularly in growth markets in Eastern Europe and Asia, PCs that come preinstalled with Linux are being offered in order to avoid the license fees for Windows, Gartner indicated in an interview. "In 2005, 11 percent of all new PCs in the growth markets will be delivered with Linux; three-quarters of them will end up running on a Windows system," the Gartner study indicated. The Gartner analysts note in their study that the price of hardware for a personal computer has sunk significantly in the last 10 years. \n \n■ Investment \nDirect investing to SE Asia \n \nForeign direct investment (FDI) is on the rebound in Southeast Asia six years after a financial crisis that devastated the region, but politically troubled countries are missing out, a UN report said. Brunei, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all saw higher foreign direct investment to bring the Southeast Asian total to US$107 billion last year compared to US$94 billion in 2002, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said. But while high-growth economies attracted more FDI, countries suffering from political tensions attracted less, it said in a statement released by the UN Development Program country office. It cited as an example the Philippines, where a bloodless popular revolt toppled the democratically elected president Joseph Estrada in 2001 and his successor, Gloria Arroyo, survived a military revolt last year.
HELPING HAND: Taiwan is ready to help other nations and will not sit idly by while the global fight against the coronavirus continues, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan, as a responsible member of the international community, is to offer humanitarian assistance to nations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by sending them masks and medicine, as well as sharing with them an electronic system that the government has been using to track down people that need to be quarantined, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. With the nation’s daily production having reached 13 million masks and soon to reach 15 million, the government is to donate 10 million masks to medical personnel in nations most severely affected by the coronavirus, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei. The
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday released a set of revised criteria for reporting suspected COVID-19 cases, while also announcing its guidelines for disclosing patients’ personal information. The center said that its advisory specialist panel revised the definition for “severe pneumonia with novel pathogens” — COVID-19 infection — by expanding the criteria needed to report suspected cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that physicians should report people for testing if they meet one of three clinical conditions: They have a fever, acute respiratory infection, or a lack of smell or taste; there is a