Tue, Dec 31, 2002 - Page 2 News List

A turbulent year

2002 may well be a year politician's would rather forget, as governmental difficulties, press intrusion and mass protests made for a tumultuous 12 months

The situation further deteriorated as spring went on, forcing the government to further restrict the supply of water to industrial, agricultural and domestic consumers. Water rationing was imposed in Taoyuan County, 10 townships in Taipei County and Taipei City. Water was cut off to households in these areas in rotation in June and July.

During the water rationing, water-borne diseases caused upset stomachs and diarrhea in some communities in Taipei City and Taipei County as a result of dirty water being sucked into the water system when the water was turned off and on.

The rationing also triggered conflicts between the Cabinet and the Taipei City Government, with the two arguing over the water rights of the Feitsui Reservoir, the only water resource for the Taipei area.

The Cabinet threatened to revoke the Taipei City Government's authority over the Feitsui Reservoir and accused the city government of abusing its rights. The city denied domineering the area's water resources, claiming it shared the Feitsui Reservoir with Taipei County.

The water restrictions were lifted only after Typhoon Rammasun dumped enough water to fill reservoirs at the start of July. -- By Chang Yun-Ping

7.The glitterati feed the media with scandal

There was no shortage of scandals involving the sex lives of celebrities and politicians last year and, as in previous years, they generated headlines for weeks at a time.

Among those to fall victim to the public's apparently endless appetite for titillating gossip were Cheng Chih-lung (鄭志龍), a former Taiwan international basketball player, now a PFP lawmaker, and May Chin (高金素梅), a former actress and independent lawmaker. The two were alleged to be having an affair.

Cheng's wife Lu Tsu-ying (呂祖穎) sought a divorce but Cheng held a press conference with her three days after the allegations surfaced, and apologized to his supporters for the trouble brought by "the matter reported by the media."

Both Cheng and Chin denied the allegations, however. Cheng remains married to Lu and continues to serve as a PFP lawmaker. Chin retained her legislative seat.

During the summer, DPP Lawmaker Cheng Yu-chen (鄭余鎮) and his personal assistant Sophie Wang (王筱蟬) distracted the nation's attention when, after a short and tumultuous affair, they ran off to the US to get married.

Journalists were even happier when Cheng returned three months later, vowing never again to speak to the woman for whom he had earlier said he would gladly give up his legislative post.

In October, Cheng decided to break up with Wang because he said, "Wang has mental problems." He and Wang returned to Taiwan on the same day but on separate flights. It was not the end of the story, however. Wang revealed that she was pregnant with Cheng's child. She suffered a miscarriage in early December.

Cheng retained his position as a lawmaker but quit his DPP membership.

As autumn came around, a local TV personality, TVBS anchorwoman Kelly Hsueh (薛楷莉), fell from grace after being accused of exploiting a wealthy Japanese businessman, later identified as E. Tokuhara (德原榮玉), by making him put nearly NT$1.9 million on his credit card within an hour after they met for the second time in a month in Taipei .

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