Bomb found in phone booth
A home-made bomb was found in a public telephone booth in Taipei yesterday with an attached note saying the government should ban rice imports. Police cordoned off the telephone booth on Chunghsiao E Road and removed the bomb, which was powerful enough to kill a person if detonated, officials said. A similar bomb and note were discovered on Nov. 13 at a public toilet in Ta-An Forest Park in Taipei. The note said that rice imports should be banned, and that the government should take care of the people.
Gang arrested in China
Police in China's Fujian province have broken up a criminal gang that placed phone calls to people in Taiwan defrauding them of large amounts of money, state media said yesterday. In a major operation, police officers in Xiamen swept several locations suspected of housing gang members, detaining 73, including 56 Taiwanese nationals, the Beijing Morning Post reported. The gang made money by calling up Taiwanese people at random, telling them they had earned a tax rebate and asking them for their ID card and bank account details, the paper said. They then used the information to arrange transfers to bank accounts controlled by themselves, or to make counterfeit bank cards.
Delegation heads for Belize
Foreign Affairs Minister Eugene Chien (簡又新) yesterday departed for Belize at the head of a delegation that will attend a conference with Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America. A statement issued by Chien's office said he will meet with the foreign ministers of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama at the 11th Conference of Foreign Ministers under the auspices of the Mixed Commission on Cooperation between Taiwan and Central American Countries, which is set for Nov. 25 in Belize City. Chien will also visit Prime Minister Said Musa of Belize before returning on Nov. 29.
■ Cross-strait links
S Korea possible third point
South Korea could also serve as a stopover point for cross-strait charter flights during the Chinese New Year holidays, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday. Okinawa and South Korea are being considered as stopover points. The charter flight model was first adopted this year to facilitate the return of Taiwanese businesspeople based in China and their dependants for the annual festival. According to a preliminary evaluation the proposed cross-strait flights will be operated between Jan. 9 and Feb. 1 next year.
Club temporarily closed
Club V1492, a traveling and reading group sponsored by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has temporarily closed due to the expiration of its lease at its current location, the first floor of the DPP's headquarters on Peiping E Road. The club will be moved to the former location of the Four Seasons restaurant in Jenai Road, Sec 4, and is to resume operations in early January next year. The current site of the club will be turned into a temporary photo exhibition hall sponsored by the DPP's Department of Information and Culture. The club yesterday held a party to mark the temporary closure. Hundreds of club members joined President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at the party. The club gets its name from the year 1492, when Columbus discovered the New World.