■ Politics Lawmaker convicted of libel \n \nThe Taipei District Court yesterday found People First Party (PFP) Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) guilty of libeling a government official and sentenced him to 30 days detention or a fine of NT$27,000. In March, Fu called then Government Information Office director general Arthur Iap (葉國興) "a dog unleashed by [President] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to bite people." He made the remark in a press conference as he criticized Iap over a translation error in a Central News Agency's report which implicated PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) in the Lafayette frigate scandal. The court ruled that, since Fu made the statement in the PFP's press conference room in the legislature, he was not protected by legislators' immunity of speech privilege. Fu said he will appeal the verdict. \n \n■ Education \nBook drive launched \n \nBenQ Corp and China Airlines, along with other local companies, are sponsoring a drive to collect English-language children's books for schools in remote areas. They are urging expatriates and Taiwanese to donate books before Dec. 31. Books can be sent to the offices of the United Daily News at 555 Chunghsiao E. Road or branches of the Taipei Fifi Bookstore in Taipei, Yilan, Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung. \n \n■ Crime \nPolice crack `rape pill' ring \n \nPolice raided an apartment in a high-rise building in Kaohsiung on Wednesday night, seizing 18kg of Ketamine and arresting five individuals. A police officer said that, according to preliminary investigations, two of the suspects manufactured Ketamine, a sedative drug known as "rape pills," in the apartment for two of the other suspects to sell in pubs. The materials they used to manufacture the drug were allegedly supplied by the fifth suspect. The officer said evidence shows that the suspects have sold an unknown quantity of the drug. \n \n■ Education \nVocational schools backed \n \nPresident Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) promised yesterday that his administration will not phase out vocational high schools. He said students should have a wider range of options in the nation's diversified and pluralistic society. Chen made the remarks at the opening of a two-day national conference in Taichung for the heads of vocational high schools. Chen said the government will devote more energy and resources to develop vocational education facilities instead of abolishing them. The government should build a good environment in which children and youth should be provided with more options and channels to develop their interests, potential and dispositions, he said. \n \n■ Language \nChen urges diversity \n \nPresident Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that the establishment of official languages should be based on the respect for differences among ethnic groups and cultures, and should transcend stereotypes and political ideologies. He made the remarks in an essay on his Web site on the beauty and diversity of Taiwan's languages. Chen said he speaks Hakka and Aboriginal languages on occasion and even though he is far from fluent, it helps to "bridge the gap between him and his audiences." He said there are 29 languages spoken in Taiwan, including Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin, Hakka and more than a dozen Aboriginal languages.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb