Budget to be raised
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that the nation would increase its defense budget to make possible major weapons purchases. While receiving a delegation from the US-based National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Tsai expressed gratitude for the US government’s decision in June to approve the sale of about US$1.42 billion in weapons to Taiwan. The move shows that the US government supports the Taiwan Relations Act, which governs US-Taiwan ties, Tsai said. To bolster the nation’s security, she said that Taiwan would increase its defense budget to fund major weapons acquisitions from the US. Taiwan has continuously reformed its military and strengthened its national defenses, Tsai said. Last week, the air force retired its S-2T marine patrol aircraft fleet and upgraded its marine patrol capabilities with the Lockheed P-3C aircraft, she said.
Yushan turns white
Despite the easing of a continental cold air mass affecting Taiwan, the nation’s highest mountain early yesterday saw more snowfall after receiving this winter’s first snow cover on Wednesday, the Central Weather Bureau said. It started snowing on 3,952m Yushan at 12:30am and the precipitation continued until 2am, resulting in an accumulation of 2cm of snow, bureau forecaster Li Meng-hsuan (李孟軒) said. A stronger cold air mass from southern China would arrive today, dropping temperatures to as low as 13°C in the north, 14°C in the center and 15°C to 16°C in the south, Li said.
Police officer loses case
The Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday again ruled against a police officer who filed a gender equality lawsuit against his unit after it punished him for having long hair. The court said in a statement that it in October ruled against officer Yeh Chi-yuan (葉繼元) of the Second Special Police Corps on the basis that observance of the dress code is important to upholding the integrity of the police. As such, different requirements based on gender do not violate gender equality laws. The October ruling addressed 17 written warnings and a “C” grade evaluation that Yeh received on his performance evaluation in 2015. In its latest ruling, the court found no procedural or factual errors in the Second Special Police Corps’ 2014 review of Yeh, which resulted in 36 warnings and a “C” grade for his annual evaluation that year. He was repeatedly issued warnings for having long hair, which for male police officers violates the dress code, the court said, adding that it rejected Yeh’s claims, including that the police violated gender equality laws.
Ministry to review act
Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that the Ministry of Labor would conduct a comprehensive review of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) before further amendments are passed or a new labor law is enacted to “update the legislation for the modern age.” The Labor Standards Act is based on the Factory Act (工廠法) and designed to regulate assembly line work, making it inadequate for modern work conditions, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) quoted Lai as saying during a Cabinet meeting. The Labor Standards Act should be adapted to the demands of the global knowledge economy and to make it easier to deal with the changes it brings, Hsu quoted Lai as saying.