■ Engineering China unveils hi-tech train \n \nThe first Chinese-made magnetic-levitation train has begun test runs in the northern port city of Dalian, the government said. Unlike other maglev prototypes that travel at high speeds, the Chinese model is a low-speed train designed for urban transportation, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday as the train made its debut. Its top speed is under 110kph, Xinhua said. Dalian plans to build a 1.5km maglev line in a bid to boost tourism, it said. China's only other magnetic-levitation train, built by a consortium of German companies in Shanghai, connects Pudong International Airport with the city's financial district. The 30km line reaches top speeds of 430kph. German, French and Japanese companies are competing fiercely for involvement in a high-speed rail line between Shanghai and Beijing. \n \n■ Economy \nMinister plans tax breaks \n \nGerman Finance Minister Hans Eichel is planning to raise tax revenue by making further cuts in tax breaks in an effort to keep the 2005 budget within the 3 percent European budget deficit limit, according to a news report. The weekly Welt am Sonntag reported yesterday that Eichel is considering scrapping subsidies for commuters and taxing bonus payments for work on Sundays and public holidays. He is also mulling cutting industry exemptions to an ecology tax. However, a spokeswoman for Eichel's ministry denied the report, saying there were "no plans to undertake these measures." The spokeswoman also described as speculation a media report that Eichel is facing a tax revenue shortfall of 5.5 billion euros for this year and next year. \n \n■ Computers \nLinux common in Asia \n \nNew personal computers with the free Linux operating system are often used with pirated copies of the Microsoft Windows operating system, reports a study by the US-based marketing research firm Gartner. Particularly in growth markets in Eastern Europe and Asia, PCs that come preinstalled with Linux are being offered in order to avoid the license fees for Windows, Gartner indicated in an interview. "In 2005, 11 percent of all new PCs in the growth markets will be delivered with Linux; three-quarters of them will end up running on a Windows system," the Gartner study indicated. The Gartner analysts note in their study that the price of hardware for a personal computer has sunk significantly in the last 10 years. \n \n■ Investment \nDirect investing to SE Asia \n \nForeign direct investment (FDI) is on the rebound in Southeast Asia six years after a financial crisis that devastated the region, but politically troubled countries are missing out, a UN report said. Brunei, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all saw higher foreign direct investment to bring the Southeast Asian total to US$107 billion last year compared to US$94 billion in 2002, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said. But while high-growth economies attracted more FDI, countries suffering from political tensions attracted less, it said in a statement released by the UN Development Program country office. It cited as an example the Philippines, where a bloodless popular revolt toppled the democratically elected president Joseph Estrada in 2001 and his successor, Gloria Arroyo, survived a military revolt last year.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Beijing is to ease a ban on foreign airlines starting on Monday next week, changing course one day after the administration of US President Donald Trump demanded that China reopen to US airlines or face curbs on its own carriers flying passengers to the US. Foreign airlines excluded from an earlier pact would be able to operate one commercial passenger flight to China per week, the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration said. It did not name any countries or carriers, but the move opens up a chance for US airlines to return for the first time in four months. While the timing might