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The Education Ministry's latest bid to extend National Health Insurance (NHI) cover to students from mainland China has failed as a result of strong objections from opposition lawmakers.
Of the 420,000 unemployed people in Taiwan, 207,000 received job offers this year, but 51.7 percent declined offers due to their "inadequate compensation," according to data released by the Cabinet's Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計處) yesterday.
President Ma Ying-jeou and the two major candidates in the upcoming presidential election condemned the series of terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13. "We stand side by side with the French people in condemning the violence and hoping that order will be restored as soon as possible," Ma said in a statement.
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Taiwan got what it has long wished for when U.S. President Barack Obama named it as one of Washington's counter-terrorism partners in the region at a press conference before leaving Kuala Lumpur after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) East Asia summit.
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Following the Paris terror attack, there has been some discussion in the local media about whether Taiwan is capable of foiling or handling terrorism. One expert (incidentally President Ma Ying-jeou's nephew) who has served in the U.S. military's special forces claims that judging from the developments of last year's Sunflower Movement -- where student protesters burst police blockades and then occupied the parliament for weeks -- Taiwan is not ready to handle terror attacks.
Some groups in Taipei have had some odd views recently. They criticized the government for being afraid of speaking out on the issue of Taiping Island, also called Itu Aba in the Philippines, which they claimed the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has degraded as a rock.
The people of Taiwan have almost forgotten President Chen Shui-bian, who is now on medical parole and out of prison, where he has to serve the rest of his 20-year sentence for corruption and graft, as well as money laundering. To awaken their memories, his son Chih-chung has posted on his Facebook homepage a picture showing the disgraced former president posing with Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je.
On Sunday, retired National Taiwan University professor Hua Chang-yi's (華昌宜) piece in the United Daily News was published, inviting readers to speculate on what would have happened if communist Mao Zedong had decided to inherit the name the "Republic of China" (中華民國) and not insisted on rejecting it and claiming a new state when he established the People's Republic of China (中華人民共和國) in 1949.
Whoever becomes president next year will be faced with the major task of improving Taiwan's economy. But it will not be enough for him (or more likely her) to come up with only short-term fixes to boost exports or domestic purchases; the country needs a new direction for long-term economic development.
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In an experiment to save the higher education sector, the Ministry of Education has set out to help Taiwan's worst-performing universities transform into non-profit organizations such as welfare centers for the elderly.
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