What you need to know
Today's biggest stories from around Taiwan.
No more army conscription in Taiwan after 2017
National military conscription in Taiwan will cease at the end of 2017.
Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) confirmed the policy at a hearing of the legislative Foreign and National Defense Committee, CNA reports.
Most Taiwanese men have to serve about one year of military service after high school or college.
“As part of a shift to an all-volunteer force, the Ministry of National Defense decided to stop the compulsory draft in January 2016. The decision, however, has since been changed several times due to lower-than-expected recruitment numbers,” CNA notes.
Fitch picks higher growth for Taiwan in 2017
Global rating agency Fitch has forecast stronger economic growth for Taiwan next year.
In a statement released yesterday, the agency says, “We expect modest real GDP growth of 1.5 percent to 2 percent in 2017-2018, up from an estimated 1 percent in 2016.”
Fitch’s forecast is in line with the expectations of Taiwan's government, which has said the local economy will benefit from a recovery in global demand boosting exports, CNA reports.
Gays also have a right to marriage: Tsai
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has reiterated her support for marriage equality while calling for more discussion and tolerance, the Presidential Office said Saturday.
"Gays also have a right to marriage," Tsai said, according to her spokesman Alex Huang.
"The president hopes there will be less confrontation and less castigation in our society and that there will be more comprehensive legal protection of gay rights," Huang said.
The statement comes in light of more than 200,000 people gathering in front of the Presidential Office on Saturday in support of marriage equality.
Tsai has been slammed by some commentators for failing to give Taiwan a strong direction on marriage equality, despite making the issue part of her campaign platform in the lead up to the January general election.
Southeast Asian languages to be included in elementary school curriculum
Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) announced on Sunday that Southeast Asian languages will become required courses in elementary schools starting in 2018.
Pan said there are currently 260,000 children of new immigrants in Taiwan's primary and secondary schools, according to CNA, and the course aims to give children of new immigrants and Taiwanese students more opportunities.
At an event held by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday, President Tsai Ing-wen also called on the children of new immigrants to learn their mothers' languages and said, "You will become an important force with which Taiwan will go into the international community, into the world," reports CNA.
Temperatures to fall starting Tuesday night
According to weather forecasts, temperatures around Taiwan will start falling Tuesday night and the island might see low temperatures of 13 to 14 degree Celsius on Thursday and Friday.
Forecasts also warn locals to take caution of air pollution conditions worsening due to the cold blast.
Editor: Edward White