Police escort giraffe south
The Taipei Zoo on Wednesday thanked police for escorting Hsiaochang (宵璋) to Hsinchu County for mating. The two-year-old giraffe was coaxed into its travel crate in the early hours and loaded onto a vehicle headed for Leofoo Village Theme Park, which is more than 60km away. To maintain the genetic diversity of its animals, the zoo sent one giraffe to Wanpi World Safari Zoo in Tainan for mating in 2008 and again in 2013. Preparations for transporting the 3m-tall, 315kg-heavy Hsiaochang to Leofoo Village began six months ago. His keeper said giraffes are naturally suspicious and highly sensitive, so to make Hsiaochang willingly move into the travel crate, starting in December last year, he was fed vitamins and other nutrients to boost his immune system, and last month, the crate was placed in his enclosure with his favorite leaves hanging inside to induce him to enter.
Park celebrates six years
A series of promotional activities are being held in Kinmen to mark Houpu 16 Creative Park’s sixth anniversary. During the celebrations, which started on Tuesday and run through Sunday in the Houpu Township (后浦) park, shoppers who check in on Facebook in one of the park’s 11 stores will be given brownie cookies, the park’s management committee said. The park, which was built around 16 traditional townhouses, was renovated in 2003 following its official designation as a national heritage site. Prior to renovation, the buildings had narrowly escaped demolition by land developers who wanted to build five-star hotels on the site. The park is known for products such as blown glassware, stone carvings and wooden charms and amulets, and is home to tea houses, beer gardens and restaurants.
Bill to extend coverage
Children born to foreign nationals who reside in Taiwan legally are to be automatically covered by the National Health Insurance program, according to a draft bill that passed an initial review by a legislative committee yesterday. Under the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法), children born to foreign nationals in Taiwan are not eligible for health insurance until they are six months old. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) proposed the revision. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, in a report submitted to the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, said that babies born to Taiwanese are automatically covered by the system and that newborns of foreign nationals should be treated the same way.
Additional trains planned
The nation’s two rail operators yesterday said they would provide additional services from Friday next week to May 31 to meet high expected demand for holiday travel during the Dragon Boat Festival. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp said that 162 trains would be added to its regular routes — 68 northbound and 94 southbound — bringing the total to 973. Booking for the holiday period is to begin today at midnight, it said. The Taiwan Railways Administration said it would provide six additional trains on its Hualien and Taitung counties’ routes during the period, with online booking to start today at 6am. The administration’s online ticketing system requires passengers’ names and national identification numbers, as it aims to give priority to residents of Hualien and Taitung during the holiday period, particularly for travel on six Tzuchiang-class express trains. The Dragon Boat Festival falls on May 30 this year, with the holiday extending from May 27 to May 30.
Ministry to launch job card
In order to combat youth unemployment, the government plans to launch a job card that provides access to career counseling, vocational training and job introduction, the Ministry of Labor announced yesterday. Government statistics showed that the unemployment rate in March was 3.78 percent, but it was 12.37 percent for those aged 20 to 25 and 6.64 percent for those aged 25 to 29. To help young people find jobs, the ministry is to adopt a system similar to Japan’s “Job card system,” it said, adding that the program would initially target young people who have been unemployed for a long time. More details are to be unveiled by the end of this year, the ministry said, adding that the card would incorporate career counseling and vocational training, as well as bring businesses and job seekers together.
Special prizes unclaimed
Seven January-February uniform invoice receipts — each bearing the number 82885130, entitling them to a NT$10 million (US$330,852) cash prize — have yet to be claimed, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. The ministry reminded the holders of the winning receipts to come forward for the prize before the deadline of July 5, because the money would remain in state coffers if unclaimed. A total of 17 sales invoices issued in January and February carry the special prize number of the nation’s uniform invoice lottery for the two-month period, the ministry said. Apart from the unclaimed NT$10 million special prize, there are also three grand prize winners from the period who have not claimed the prize of NT$2 million each, it added. The winning number for the grand prize is 59729884.
‘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
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
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