Chinese aircraft spotted
A Chinese military aircraft was spotted entering Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone yesterday morning, the ninth time this month that such aircraft have been seen near the nation, the Ministry of National Defense said. Ministry spokesman Major General Shih Shun-wen (史順文) said the aircraft briefly entered the zone, prompting Taiwanese patrol aircraft to respond with radio warnings until it left. The movement by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army came after three US military aircraft flew over the Bashi Channel toward the South China Sea that same day. China’s South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative posted on Twitter that the US aircraft came in three separate intervals, consisting of an EP-3E reconnaissance aircraft, a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and an aerial refueling KC-135T.
Ximen plaza bans smoking
The plaza outside Taipei’s Ximen MRT Station is to become a nonsmoking area on Wednesday next week, but the city would not issue fines until August, the Taipei Department of Environmental Protection said. Throughout next month, it would warn smokers, and in August it would fine them NT$2,000 to NT$10,000, the department said. People who dispose of cigarette butts on the ground would face fines from NT$1,200 to NT$6,000, it said. The plaza, which covers the area west of the Ximen station between exits 1 and 6, is a gateway to one of the city’s most popular shopping and entertainment areas. Environmental Cleaning and Maintenance Division head head Huang Kuan-chu (黃寬助) said the area is a big draw for young people and foreign tourists, and the city is banning smoking there to improve the overall environment for visitors. The city also plans to ban smoking in areas around Taipei Main Station and the Taipei Travel Plaza next year, he added.
Ministry approves merger
The Ministry of Education has approved a planned merger of National Yang-Ming University (NYMU) and National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), NCTU said on Wednesday. Pending the Executive Yuan’s approval, the research universities are to become one institution on Feb. 1 next year, it said. The universities plan to integrate their research resources in areas such as biotech, smart medicine, artificial intelligence, robotics and big data. NCTU last year ranked 227th and NYMU 287th in the QS World University Rankings. After the merger, NYCU is expected to rank about 156th, the document said. The universities in 2018 initiated the merger, and in March last year signed a memorandum of understanding.
UNI increases festival flights
UNI Air on Wednesday announced that it would increase its flights between Taipei and Taitung for the county’s 10th hot air balloon festival, which starts next month. The Taitung County Government has held the Taiwan International Balloon Festival annually since 2011 at the Luye Highland. The festival takes place from July 11 to Aug. 30, the county said. To meet the demand, UNI Air, which normally flies 70-seat ATR 72 aircraft on its Taitung routes, said it would add an additional eight flights per week throughout the festival, and would use a larger 184-seat Airbus A321 jet on one of its flights on Fridays and one on Sundays. This means that the airline would be offering nearly 10,000 more seats during the two-month period compared with previous years, it said.
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
AN EXAMPLE: After attending a memorial service for Lee Teng-hui, Mori said the former president’s career reflected the importance of peace and democracy Using military force to resolve conflict is no longer workable in this new era, which requires peaceful discussion, former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori said yesterday before leaving Taipei. Mori made the remarks at a news conference in front of the EVA Sky Jet Center at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), after leading a delegation to attend the official memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水). This was Mori’s second trip to mourn Lee; his last was on Aug. 9. Although he walked with a crutch, Mori, 83, chose to stand right in front of
CONTROVERSY: NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang said an outcry over overseas Taiwanese not paying premiums, but having coverage, is pushing rule amendments Rules changes are being considered that would force Taiwanese who permanently live abroad to pay National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums for the period they were overseas before they can re-enroll in the system, National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) yesterday said. The case of a married Taiwanese couple who lived in the US for about 30 years, but returned to Taiwan in April and tested positive for COVID-19 has again sparked public debate over why Taiwanese living abroad are allowed to use NHI resources, — although the couple’s expenses were not covered by the NHI. An often cited example