Taiwan News: Cabinet Touts Bilingual by 2030 Plan, Rejects Public Holidays

Taiwan News: Cabinet Touts Bilingual by 2030 Plan, Rejects Public Holidays
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Premier William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday the Cabinet has mapped out a blueprint for making Taiwan bilingual by 2030 in a bid to enhance the country's international competitiveness.

According to Lai, the National Development Council (NDC) has be asked to compile a blueprint promoting the use of English and will submit the report during a Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

The government has said the policy is aimed at encouraging the study of English and boosting English proficiency to improve the country's competitiveness.

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Premier William Lai says the Cabinet has a roadmap for making Taiwan into a bilingual country.
Read More: CARTOON: English as a Second Language – Hao or Nga'ay?

Lai said he believes English education is the most important task of the policy. He has instructed the Ministry of Education to amend relevant laws and regulations and to submit a draft amendments within the next three months.

The NDC report is expected to call for revisions to the Primary and Junior High School Act, the Senior High School Education Act and the Private School Act.

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The Cabinet is rejecting calls to reinstate seven public holidays that were scrapped in 2016, saying there is no need to do so because of the two-day weekend policy that is in place now.

The statement comes as labor groups are stepping up a campaign to have the holidays reinstated.

Labor rights groups are urging the government to review its public holiday policy - arguing it is ignoring workers rights and that one of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)'s campaign promises when she was running for office was to keep the holidays.

According to Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka, the holidays were abolished as part of amendments to the Labor Standards Act and axing the holidays has ensured that both public and private-sector workers enjoy the same number of days off.

However, labor groups say the government should hold public hearings on the issue and draft new legislation to restore the holidays.

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President Tsai said on her Facebook page that Taiwan has the ability and willingness to help combat climate change.

The statement comes as the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place in Poland this week.

Taiwan was not invited to the convention.

Writing on her Facebook page, Tsai said Taiwan "has the ability and desire to participate in the UN body" and is "seeking to be a global partner in combating climate change and promoting sustainable development."

The president went on to say that Taiwan "attaches great importance to the issue of climate change, and it is willing to work with everyone to combat the challenges."

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Acting Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said his top priority is to initiate reform within the Taiwan Railways Administration.

Speaking after being sworn-in Tuesday, Wang said the railway administration is facing numerous problems and it will undergo major organizational changes sooner rather than later.

Wang said issues include an urgent need to improve maintenance at its facilities and to ensure operational safety in order to regain public trust following October's deadly derailment of a Puyuma express train in Yilan.

Wang was appointed acting transport minister following the resignation of Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) this past weekend.

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The Central Election Commission says two legislative by-elections will now be held on Sunday, Jan. 27 so they don't interfere with university entrance examinations.

The by-elections are for seats vacated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and the Kuomintang (KMT)'s Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), who won Taichung's mayoral election.

Yao's seat is in Taipei's second electoral district while Lu's seat represents Taichung's fifth electoral district.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwan has pushed back the date of upcoming by-elections.

The ballots had originally been slated to be held on Jan. 26. However, the Cabinet had voiced concern about that date, as both the examinations and voting would have been taking place at some schools at the same time.

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The Air Force Command Headquarters has confirmed it has found debris from a Mirage 2000 fighter jet that went missing during a training mission last November.

According to the Air Force, the items include the nose wheel, hydraulic struts and mechanical engine parts.

The parts were retrieved from the ocean floor some 1.3 kilometers from the jet's last reported location.

The Mirage 2000 was from the Hsinchu-based 499th Tactical Fighter Wing and piloted by Captain Ho Tzu-yu (何子雨).

It disappeared from radar on Nov. 7 last year while carrying out a regular nighttime training exercise over waters some 60 nautical miles north of Pengjia Islet.

The Air Force said it has yet to find the flight data recorder.

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Customs officials say they have seized over 3,000 kilograms of meat products brought into Taiwan by passengers arriving from foreign countries between August and November.

The increase in seizures comes as the government is taking action to stop African swine fever entering Taiwan from China, where an outbreak of the virus is continuing to spread.

Lawmakers passed an amendment to the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease last week, increasing fines for smuggling meat products into Taiwan to NT$1 million (US$32,500).

The Taipei Customs Bureau said that amendment shows the government's determination to prevent the importation of meat products, that could contain the virus.

The African swine fever outbreak was first reported in China in August and the latest reports say it has now spread to about 20 provinces.

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President Tsai is paying tribute to late American surgeon Samuel Noordhoff, expressing her thanks for his 40 years of dedicated service in Taiwan.

The retired doctor passed away Monday in the United States at the age of 91.

He was the founder of the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation in Taipei.

Writing on her Facebook page, Tsai said he was instrumental in the development of modern healthcare in Taiwan and will "forever be part our family."

Noordhoff practiced medicine for more than 40 years in Taiwan as a medical missionary and served as president of both the Mackay Memorial and Chang Gung Memorial hospitals.

Noordhoff retired and returned to the U.S. in 1999, but returned to Taiwan every year to provide follow-up care to his patients.

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The Criminal Investigation Bureau says 12 people have been arrested in Taichung on charges of telecom fraud targeting Chinese expats in the United States.

According to the bureau, the suspects were detained following a raid on a property in the city's Daya District.

Law enforcement officers seized laptop computers, mobile phones, bank passbooks and other items related to the investigation during the raid.

Officials say the suspected ringleader of the telecom fraud group is among the 12 people who have been detained.

The group is believed to have conned 30 victims out of NT$90 million (US$2.92 million) since it began operating in May of last year.

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The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) says all of its offices will be closed today to honor the memory of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who died this past weekend.

According to the AIT, the office closures come after President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on all federal offices and employees, as a mark of respect for Bush.

Those who had non-immigrant visa interview appointments scheduled for today will automatically be rescheduled to the same time on Friday. Appointments for American Citizen Services scheduled for today will also be rescheduled to Friday.

The AIT offices will re-open at the usual time tomorrow.

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The locally produced television series "The New World" will soon be broadcast in several other countries, including some of Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) says the move is an effort to expand Taiwan's soft power.

According to the ministry's Department of International Information Services, the television series is currently being dubbed in to Spanish and English in preparation for broadcast in parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the United States.

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Credit: 豆花妹 蔡黃汝 Facebook
'Soft power': The 2015 drama will be aired around the world, including in Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

The drama stars Mini Tsai (蔡黃汝) and Chang Ting-hu (張庭瑚) and is about the reunion of four childhood friends who grew up in the same village but drifted apart over time.

The 2015 drama will be broadcast on 21 networks in 16 countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, the U.S., Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina and Belize.

Read Next: The DPP Should Not Blame LGBT Advocates For Their Election Loss

This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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