Shen Lyu-shun dies
Former representative to the US Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) passed away on Friday morning at Cardinal Tien Hospital in New Taipei City. He was 73. Born in 1949, Shen was a descendant of Shen Pao-chen (沈葆楨), a Qing Dynasty official who made a mark in Taiwan’s history by pushing for the nation’s modernization and exploration of mountainous areas. Shen served as deputy minister of foreign affairs from 2009 to 2011 and assumed several diplomatic posts, including representative to the US (2014-2016), representative to the UK (2011-2014), and representative to the EU and Belgium (2008-2009).
Allowance move approved
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Thursday approved an extension of the monthly per person living allowance of NT$750 (US$24.42) and NT$500 for individuals in income and middle-to-low income households for an additional year until the end of this year. Along with the policy’s extension, which Su had announced a day earlier, people from about 600,000 eligible households are to receive this month’s allowance before the Lunar New Year holiday on Jan. 20, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference in Taipei after a weekly Cabinet meeting. Su told the meeting that he had authorized NT$4.5 billion for the program and expected the funds to be disbursed to local governments yesterday, Lo said. Su hoped the living allowance would bring “warmth” to recipients ahead of the new year, Lo said. In a statement later in the day, the Ministry of Health and Welfare confirmed the extension of the program, which was launched in March last year as a part of the government’s COVID-19 relief measures. Local administrations would determine eligibility for the allowances, meaning that no application is necessary, it said.
House fire kills five
Five members of a family, including two boys aged 12 and 5, were killed in a suspected arson attack at a three-story house in Taichung’s Dali District (大里) early yesterday, the city’s Fire Bureau said. A 62-year-old woman, a woman aged 38, a 32-year-old man and the two boys, who were pulled from the home by firefighters, were pronounced dead at a hospital, the bureau said in a news release, adding that they were diagnosed as having had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. A 66-year-old man, who is also a member of the family, escaped alive, the statement said. The bureau dispatched 17 trucks, eight ambulances and 84 firefighters to the scene when it received a report of the blaze at 3:52am, it said, adding that the flames were extinguished at 5:25am. Authorities said they suspect the fire might have been arson, but did not provide details. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Air facility fee added
Air passengers who transit in Taiwan would have to pay a NT$500 facility fee per person, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced yesterday. Aviation regulations would be revised before the new policy is introduced, which exempts children under the age of two, as well as individuals and their companions who have received special dispensation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the transport ministry said. The fee would be collected by airline companies on the government’s behalf — either as part of airfares or at airports — it said, adding that passengers who pay but do not transit would be able to apply for a full refund.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with