Legislature passes budget
The Legislative Yuan on Friday approved this year’s government budget, reduced by about NT$25.6 billion (US$901 million), or 1.18 percent, compared with last year. Under the Executive Yuan’s original budget proposal, the government planned to spend NT$2.1615 trillion, up NT$83.9 billion, or 4 percent, from last year. The Executive Yuan originally forecast a drop in government revenue of NT$62 billion to NT$2.045 trillion. However, in the budget approved by the legislature, government spending is budgeted at NT$2.1359 trillion, and revenue forecast at about NT$2.0534 trillion. The approved budget covers 5 percent less for subsidies to local governments, and 3 percent less for spending on military equipment and facilities. The allowances for official trips to China were cut by 40 percent, other overseas trips and training by 5 percent, outsourced projects by 5 percent and policy advocacy by 20 percent.
‘A Sun’ listed for Oscars
The Taiwanese family drama A Sun (陽光普照), along with 92 other entries, has been longlisted for best international feature film at the 93rd Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Thursday. The shortlist of 15 films will be announced on Feb. 9, it added. Directed by Pingtung County-born filmmaker Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏), A Sun depicts the hardships a family experiences in the aftermath of their son’s arrest. Starring Taiwanese actors Chen Yi-wen (陳以文) and Ko Shu-chin (柯淑勤), the film won a slew of awards at the Golden Horse Awards in 2019, including Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Film Editing. The academy is to announce nominees for all categories on March 15.
Taipei beautifies covers
The Taipei City Government has installed 25 uniquely designed maintenance hole covers across the capital, and it is inviting residents and tourists to explore the city’s rich culture and history through the often overlooked drainage system caps. The new covers feature eight designs, and are patterned and colored with symbols that reflect their respective surroundings. The city aims to raise aesthetic awareness and encourage people to learn more about Taipei, the Hydraulic Engineering Office said. The location of the special covers can be found at fb.watch/2pOKbCqkGU. There are about 16,000 maintenance holes on Taipei’s streets, with 7,000 accessible from underground locations.
YouBike fares raised
Users of the bicycle rental service YouBike in New Taipei City would soon also be charged for the first half-hour, the New Taipei City Department of Transportation said. However, the NT$50 charged for rides up to 30 minutes would not be charged from those who transfer from the YouBike system to a different means of public transportation, it added. Transfer users account for 75 percent of all rides in the city, the department said, adding that it believes the change would not discourage people from using public transportation. Department director Chung Ming-shih (鍾鳴時) said that the change would come into effect in late March at the earliest. Implemented in 2014, the city’s YouBike system comprises 635 stations and a fleet of 20,265 bikes, the department said. It is used by more than 100,000 people per day, it said, adding that an estimated 113 million people have since 2014 used YouBikes in the city.
A video allegedly featuring retired general Kao An-kuo (高安國) calling on Taiwanese military officers to surrender to China and overthrow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has sparked outrage and calls for him to be charged with treason. The video, titled “A message to Taiwanese military officers,” allegedly shows Kao saying: “I call on commanding officers of our military troops to stand up for Chinese nationalism, to take up this duty under heaven’s mandate to save Taiwanese from oppression and terrible suffering.” Dressed in military fatigues and a beret, the lieutenant general called on officers to overthrow the “fraudulent DPP regime,”
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected the claim Beijing has been making about Taiwan’s status, while thanking US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for raising concerns about Taiwan during her meeting with Chinese officials. Sherman met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on a visit to Tianjin on Sunday and Monday, with Wang urging Washington not to infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan is part of China, a fundamental fact that would never change, and China has the right to take any action needed to restrain Taiwanese independence, Wang said, urging Washington to abide