AIT issues search appeal
An American by name of Fryderyk M. Frontier went missing in late May, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday as it issued an appeal to the public to help locate his whereabouts. Frontier arrived in Taiwan on May 20 and reported to a Hess Language School in Chung-ho the next day. This was the last time he was seen, the AIT statement said. However, on May 22, Frontier called a friend in the US and said he planned to go to a national park for a three-day visit before returning to Taipei, the statement said. He has not been heard from since. "Records show that on May 23 he purchased a train ticket to Pingtung. He had expressed an interest in going hiking and in visiting Kaohsiung," the statement said. Anyone with information about Frontier is encouraged to contact the local police or the AIT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former speaker convicted
PFP Legislator Liu Sung-pan (劉松藩), a former speaker of the Legislative Yuan, was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison and a fine of NT$30 million (US$864,550) because of his alleged role in helping a friend getting an illegal loan from a bank. The Taichung District Court determined in its judgment that Liu provided a front company to a friend and helped him get a loan of NT$1.5 billion from the Taichung Commercial Bank in 1998. Liu took a commission of NT$150 million (US$4.32 million) from the friend in return, according to the court. The case came to light when Liu's friend failed to repay the loan. Liu said through one of his staff that he was surprised by the sentence and would appeal it.
Winning team returns home
A team of students from the department of computer science and industrial engineering of National Taiwan University returned to Taipei yesterday after winning an international computer-software design competition last month in Washington. The team was led by the department chief Feipei Lai (賴飛羆) and was composed of Kuo Mei-chen (郭美辰), Huang Pao-shuan (黃寶萱), Cheng Hsien-ting (鄭先廷) and Lin Puo-yun (林伯均). The team won the top prize given by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) at the 2003 Computer Society International Design Competition after beating more than 300 competitors in about 170 teams from universities around the world. The team's design -- Novel Educative Wireless -- which helps teachers create a small-class digital-learning interaction with students through the use of a Tablet PC wireless system. The device also won the first "multimedia" prize offered by Microsoft Corp.
■ Cross-strait ties
Ferry sent for ill woman
The Mainland Affairs Council allowed a ferry to sail directly from Kinmen to Fujian Province yesterday to retrieve a seriously ill Taiwanese businesswoman. Direct shipping services between Kinmen and Matsu and Xiamen and Mawei were suspended May 18 over SARS concerns. The council resumed direct Kinmen-Xiamen and Matsu-Mawei cargo services late last month, but direct passenger services have not yet been resumed. Based on humanitarian considerations, the council approved an application by the Kinmen County Government to send a ferry to Xiamen to pick up Chen Chin-lien (陳金蓮), who has cervical cancer and requires emergency surgery, as well as her husband and other family members.