The Hsuehshan Tunnel may not be opened to traffic at the end of this year as scheduled, Transportation and Communications Minister Lin Ling-san (林陵三) said yesterday.
Lin said that the MOTC is currently dealing with some of the flaws and deficiencies found during a second inspection of the 13-kilometer tunnel, the centerpiece of the 34-kilometer Peiyi Freeway linking Taipei with Yilan.
"The MOTC will not open the Hsuehshan Tunnel until the administration is sure that it is 100 percent safe for traffic," Lin said.
Legislators had criticized the infrastructure that was expected to shorten the distance between the two northern metropolises by 40 minutes, citing speculations that the MOTC was planning to open the tunnel though ventilation and traffic control systems had not yet been fully installed.
Seminar kicks off
A two-day seminar on the theory and practice of pre-school education for children born to foreign mothers began yesterday in Pingtung, southern Taiwan under the sponsorship of the Ministry of the Interior's Children's Bureau.
Bureau Director-General Huang Pi-hsia said that with the number of newborns to foreign mothers increasing in recent years, the country faces the challenge of how to give day care services and provide pre-school education to the children of the so-called "new immigrants," who are mostly from South Asia and China.
Last year, the bureau began a program targeting kids born to foreign mothers, Huang said, explaining that the program aimed at reinforcing Chinese-language skills for the children.
Two brothers executed Monday for homicide helped eight patients with organ donations yesterday which they had agreed to prior to their executions.
Lin Meng-kai and Lin Hsin-hung, who were sentenced to death for murdering one man and critically injuring another four years ago, signed organ donation consent forms prior to their execution at a prison in Kaohsiung County. Their bodies were sent to three medical centers Monday night, where a heart, a liver, four kidneys and two corneas were removed and successfully transplanted into eight patients in operations performed the next day.
First female general
A woman will be among those promoted to the rank of general on January 1, 2006, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
She will be the first major general to be commissioned in a combat capacity. Several other women have been generals, but they were all in non-combat commissions.
Seven soldiers will be promoted to lieutenant general or vice admiral, and 37 to major generals or rear admirals, the ministry said.