■ Executive Yuan Conservation fee proposed \n \nThe public will be charged a water-resource conser-vation fee if draft amend-ments to the Tap Water Law (自來水法) pass the legislature. According to a Cabinet official who asked not to be named, the draft, which is scheduled to be approved by the Cabinet during the weekly closed-door Cabinet meeting tomorrow, would authorize the Ministry of Economic Affairs to consult with local governments while mapping out the fee struc-ture. The draft would also mandate the establishment of a supervisory com-mittee to oversee the fund. "Taxa-tion levied on the water resources is different from other fees paid to the government agencies because it requires a more transparent mechanism to supervise the use of the fund," the official said. \n \n■ Travel \nNew passport draws flak \n \nThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it is checking with officials in Bosnia and Slovakia over reports from local travel agencies that the two countries have refused to recognize Taiwan's new passport. "We are trying to understand what exactly has happened there, and are telling them that the new passport has nothing to do with politics," said ministry spokesman Richard Shih (石瑞琦). His comment came after travel agencies reported that both countries had recently barred the entry of visitors using the new passports. The government began issuing the new passports earlier this month. The new pass-port includes the word "Taiwan" in Roman script on the cover, underneath the nation's official title "Republic of China." Shih said the government has informed other countries of the change, telling them that it was merely for the convenience of Taiwanese travelers. \n \n■ Cross-strait ties \nSmugglers turn to marriage \n \nPolice reported yesterday a new scheme by human smugglers, known as "snakeheads," to import Chinese women to be used for prostitution. Police said snakeheads recently approached three Aborigi-nal men in Fuhsing village, Taoyuan County, and offered them an expenses-paid month in China plus NT$30,000 (US$887) apiece. The trio traveled to China, where the snakeheads arranged marriages for them with Chinese women. The women then came to Taiwan and registered their marriages and were then free to move around the country. Police said that the three men had knowingly helped the women come to Taiwan and had committed forgery. They were turned over to the Prosecutors' Office after an initial investigation. Police vowed to step up a crackdown on marriages of convenience. \n \n■ Tourism \nVietnamese group to visit \n \nThirty-five Vietnamese journalists and businessmen from the tourism industry will arrive in Taipei today for a five-day visit at the invitation of the Tourism Bureau. A bureau official said yesterday that there is ample room for the devel-opment of tourism between the two countries because their trade relations are getting closer. There are about 30,000 Taiwanese doing business in Vietnam and many Vietnamese laborers work in Taiwan. There have also been many marriages between Viet-namese and Taiwanese. \nThe visitors will call on the China External Trade Development Council and visit several tourist attrac-tions during their stay.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would