By Jason Pan / Staff reporterThe Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted two Taipei politicians on corruption charges for allegedly pocketing government funds intended to pay for office assistants. Former New Party Taipei City councilor Chin Li-fang (秦儷舫) allegedly pocketed NT$2.28 million (US$75,205), while independent Taipei City councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥) allegedly pocketed NT$123,842, prosecutors said. According to the indictment, when Chin served as councilor from 2009 to 2014, she claimed her elder sister and a brother-in-law as full-time employees in her councilor office. Chin and Tung were indicted for contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例). Prosecutors alleged that Chin and Tung forged papers and made fraudulent statements to claim payment for people who did not work in their offices and put the money into their own accounts.
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporterStarting today, high-speed rail passengers are to enjoy better mobile phone reception and faster Internet service when trains pass through tunnels in northern Taiwan after telecoms completed installation of more 4G base stations. The project is part of the Executive Yuan’s plan to upgrade the nation’s wireless Internet service, known as iTaiwan, in public places, as well as in public transport systems. Internet service quality for passengers on high-speed trains has over the past few years become the focus of public discussions, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said, adding that the project was a cross-departmental collaboration between the NCC, the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. The Executive Yuan provided public property along the high-speed rail line for the installation of more 4G base stations, while five telecoms were asked to install base stations and other equipment necessary to provide service, the commission said. Increasing the number of 4G base stations was a crucial task, as the 4G network would be used to provide Internet connectivity for Wi-Fi service on the high-speed rail system, Weng said.
Japanese can now visit as long as their passport remains valid during their stay, Bureau of Consular Affairs Deputy Director-General Winston Chung (鍾文正) said. “We believe the new measure will facilitate travel by Japanese to Taiwan.”Japan has allowed Taiwanese to visit Japan with only a valid passport, Chung said, but Taiwan had required Japanese visitors to present a passport with at least three months of validity to enter without a visa. Japan is among the main sources of foreign tourists to Taiwan, with 1,895,702 arrivals last year, according Tourism Bureau statistics. The government is also making efforts to streamline visa procedures for Southeast Asian visitors and hopes to receive reciprocal treatment from their governments, Chung said. Taiwan offers visa-free treatment to citizens of Thailand and Brunei and e-visas to Philippine visitors; it issues multiple-entry visas valid for two years to people from ASEAN nations.
“World War II ended 72 years ago, but peace has been shattered like thin paper. We are on the brink of war,” Lu said. It teaches us that Taiwan’s future could change greatly when there is a war in the area,” Lu said. Meanwhile, Lu reiterated her idea of a referendum to make Taiwan a permanently neutral country. Lu quoted Tsai as saying that there was no “external pressure” holding up the legislation.
By Chiu Hao-tang and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerAfter 21 years of devotion to paper art, Chen Chih-wei’s (陳志韋) work is being exhibited at the Tainan Cultural and Creative Park. He was drawn to paper art after he read a book by Japanese paper artist Ajin in high school, Chen said, adding that he was amazed that paper could be used to create such beautiful work. He did not devote attention to the art until 1996, when he concluded his mandatory military service, Chen said, but he had created his own design company by 2000. Chen has pieces featuring Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) on display at the park. After graduating from high school before his mandatory military service, Chen said he worked as a bouncer at clubs and helped loan sharks collect debts.
Chang ran the successful plantation and is well-known in the international orchid cultivation industry, a source said. Chang obtained interest rates far lower than the average person, as he asked an employee with connections to the local police force to negotiate the loan, the source said. The sourced quoted Chang’s son as saying that he was in talks with banks to set up a debt payment plan. Some who loaned Chang money have expressed concern and their hope that he will make an official statement soon. Sun Yueh-tse (孫岳澤), manager of online vendor Catch Power, in March allegedly fled the nation and went into hiding in Hong Kong after accruing NT$14 billion in debt.
By Sean Lin / Staff reporterFormer president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is due in the Taipei District Court today to be questioned about his involvement in the contracting process for the Taipei Dome build-operate-transfer (BOT) project when he was Taipei mayor. The Taipei City Government in 2004 named Farglory Group and Osaka-based Takenaka Corp as contractors for the project after selective bidding was conducted, saying they were the most qualified applicants. After Takenaka pulled out of the project in September of that year, Farglory continued to negotiate a contract with the city government, and a BOT contract was signed in 2006. The union in 2015 filed suit against Ma and Lee, asking the courts, the SID, the Control Yuan and the Agency Against Corruption to probe possible malpractice during the contracting process. Ma has been accused of giving instructions to sell the former state-run companies at vastly undervalued prices.
AFP, MANILAA total of 150 professional boxers in the Philippines have been banned for falsifying brain scan results aimed at detecting serious head injuries in the sport, regulators said yesterday. We do not want any more boxing deaths,” Philippine Games and Amusements Board chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra told reporters. The ban means one in seven of the nation’s 1,054 professional boxers are not allowed to step on the ring, the sports regulator said. Apart from the boxing deaths, Viernes said the board had also refused to renew the licenses of five other boxers due to brain injuries or fluid build-up. To help cash-strapped boxers and prevent more boxing deaths, Mitra and Ubial said that government hospitals would offer free medical tests to locals applying for professional boxing licenses.
Taiwan’s starters produced a better effort on Monday, with three players scoring in double digits: captain Liu Cheng (17), point guard Chou Yi-hsiang (17) and control guard Chiang Yu-an (16). Lebanon outscored Taiwan 30-17 in the second spell, opening up a 54-37 halftime lead. “Our team battled hard against the hosts and gave a good account for themselves after the 40-point loss to Australia in the previous contest,” Taiwan manager Chou Chun-san said. “It was a surprise announcement, as he thought they had a few days to work out travel arrangements,” Chou told Taiwanese reporters yesterday. “So far it looks like we have to split up and travel from Beirut back to Taiwan in groups,” Chou said.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterThe Environmental Protection Administration yesterday announced that about 100,000 stores would be prohibited from offering free plastic bags next year, but a publishing sector representative said more time is needed for smaller retailers to adapt to the policy. “About 1.5 billion plastic bags will be removed from waste collection annually once the ban goes into effect,” Lai said. While groups representing pharmacies, laundries, bakeries and publishers expressed support for the policy, one representative said the policy might negatively affect small retailers. “Bookstore chains such as Eslite Bookstore and Kingstone Books stopped offering free plastic bags a long time ago, but smaller stores might need more time to deplete their stock,” Publishers Association deputy secretary-general Wang Hung-chieh (王宏傑) said. While first-time violators are not to receive fines, he said he hoped the administration could provide a six-month grace period before the policy is enforced.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterThe Council of Agriculture (COA) has tightened marine fishing regulations in the hope of having the nation removed from a European Commission warning list by October, COA Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday. The commission gave Taiwan a “yellow card” warning in October 2015, citing insufficient efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities, Chen told a news conference in Taipei. “The council was heart-wrenched to see fishermen receive such heavy fines,” Chen said, holding back tears. “The council hopes the nation can be removed from the warning list by October. If a fisherman’s reports are incorrect, so are all official statistics [for the fishing sector],” Chen said, adding that the council can provide help.
The association proposed the petition through the National Development Council’s policy discussion forum on Wednesday. Government agencies are required to make a formal reply to any petition launched on the forum that collects 5,000 signatures in 60 days. As of yesterday, the petition on the uniform change had collected 5,168 signatures, so the defense ministry must make a formal reply by Oct. 15. Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) yesterday said the uniform change had been planned as part of the annual budget, and the ministry might also replace the uniforms of military students in the future. The ministry fully respects the differing opinions and suggestions about uniform and equipment spending, Chen said.
Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe has handed herself over to South African police after allegedly assaulting a woman at a Johannesburg hotel, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said Tuesday. "She is not under arrest, because she cooperates," Mbalula told the broadcaster eNCA. The website identified Mugabe's victim as model Gabriella Engels, 20. Engels told the website she was visiting Mugabe's two sons at a hotel in Johannesburg's upmarket Sandton neighbourhood late Sunday. Grace Mugabe is tipped as one of the likely successors to her husband, 93, who has ruled the southern African country since 1980.
August 15, 2017 12:56 UTC
The phone has been visited by at least 25,000 people since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, people who have come to convey their feelings to departed loved ones "through the wind." Calling it "Kaze no Denwa" (The phone of the wind), Sasaki set up the phone after the death of his cousin. Many people have left messages for their loved ones in the books. People have started to accept the deaths of their loved ones, writing things such as "Please watch over us from heaven." "The telephone is not connected, but people feel like their lost loved ones are there listening on the other end of the line," Sasaki said.
August 15, 2017 11:03 UTC
TEHRAN -- Iran could restart its nuclear programme within hours should the U.S. impose further sanctions on the country, President Hassan Rowhani said Tuesday. The Trump administration slapped fresh sanctions against Iranian entities and officials in July in response to the missile programme. It permits Iran to use nuclear power for civil purposes, but not to build nuclear weapons. Nothing in the nuclear agreement covers the country's missile programme, Tehran has noted, claiming that the missile programme is solely for defence. The U.S. State Department recently certified that Tehran had met the terms of the nuclear deal.
August 15, 2017 10:41 UTC