Exporting the English language and methods of learning could soon become one of the UK's top foreign currency earners, with China viewed as the key market, British finance minister Gordon Brown said yesterday. \nIn the past five years, British export earnings through education have almost doubled to more than ?10 billion (US$19 billion) a year, Brown announced during a visit to China. \nThis was already about 1 percent of Britain's entire GDP, and four percent of its exports, and the figures were still growing fast, Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown said. \n"On current trends, by 2020, education could amount for more export earnings [to Britain] than financial services," Brown said in a statement in Beijing. \nBy 2020, education could contribute more than ?50 billion a year to the country's economy, not far short of 2 percent of total GDP. \nMuch of this growth would come through selling perhaps the country's most lucrative birthright -- the English language -- with China a key market thanks to its combination of a huge thirst for English and massive numbers of potential pupils. \nCurrently, more Chinese students learn English than British ones, while an estimated 300 million Chinese already speak the language, said Brown, who left Beijing for Shanghai yesterday. \n"In 20 years' time, the number of English speakers in China is likely to exceed the numbers of speakers of English as a first language in all of the rest of the world," Brown said. \nThis was "a huge opportunity for Britain," the finance minister said, unveiling a series of measures to help the country cash in on the craze for speaking its language. \nAmong these is a plan to "twin" every school and college in England with a parallel education establishment overseas in the next five years, while teaching schemes such as Web sites run by cultural organization the British Council will be expanded. \nFor China, in particular, its students attending British universities will now be able to stay on and work for a year after completing their courses, Brown announced. \nThe deal -- reciprocated for British students in China -- is aimed at helping British universities beat off stiff competition from US and Australian establishments in attracting valuable, fee-paying Chinese students. \nBy 2020, the overseas sales of British educational products such as books and computer packages could be worth ?10 billion a year to the country's economy, Brown predicted. \nThe chancellor flew into Beijing on Monday. Brown, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations' club, also raised the issue of China's policy of fixing its currency, the yuan, at a pegged rate against the dollar. \nHe heads to Shenzhen today before flying home from adjoining Hong Kong.
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
ENFORCING CAUTION: Certain entertainment facilities are to close nationwide to prevent people traveling there from high-risk areas in the north, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert for Taipei and New Taipei City to level 3 in light of surging cases in the two cities. The enhanced disease prevention measures for level 3 are to be implemented until May 28, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a morning news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. With 180 locally transmitted cases confirmed yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the government must take immediate action to protect the public, referring to measures stipulated in the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法). Other counties
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that