■ Society \nWeather blamed for crime \nSocial order was generally good during the Lunar New Year holiday, statistics released yesterday by the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) showed. Bureau officials said that during the six-day period, there were 81 major criminal cases reported, down 22 from 103 cases the previous year. There were 51 rob-beries and 16 burglary cases. There were also 11 man-slaughter cases, up nine cases from last year's holi-day, police said. They attributed the rise to the coldest holiday period in 11 years, so that when friends and relatives gathered they often lost control of them-selves under the influence of alcohol. The number of cases of rape and major burglaries were both fewer than 10, police reported. \n■ Society \nWhale's penis arouses envy \nScores of men have visited Tainan's Sutsao Wild Life Reservation Area where professors, students and volunteers were working on the corpse of a male whale, because they were curious about the whale's genitalia. The whale's penis measures 1.6m in length and it looks like a thick water pipe. More than 100 Tainan City resi-dents, mostly men, have reportedly gone to see the corpse to "experience" the size of its penis. The 60-tonne whale was found dead on the seashore of Yunlin County on Sunday. The county government sent the corpse to the National Cheng Kung University, whose biology professors wanted to preserve it as a specimen. \n■ Health \nNTUH prohibits bribes \nNational Taiwan University Hospital has set issued a code of conduct to regulate the widespread practice of giving red envelopes to doctors to ensure optimal health care. According to the new code, the first of its kind in the nation, hospital staff and workers are prohibited from accepting any red envelopes containing cash, gift certificates, or securities. However, gifts valued under NT$2,000 can be accepted. Doctors are also barred from encouraging patients to donate red envelopes to specific foundations. Hos-pital workers in charge of purchasing medical supplies are also prohibited from accepting bribes from medi-cal and pharmaceutical companies. Taiwan Health Care Reform Foundation chairwoman Chang Li-yun (張苙雲) yesterday said that while she supported the hospital's efforts, patients would have to stop giving red envelopes for the policy to be successful. The money in red envelopes given to doctors can reportedly amount to as much as NT$60,000 to NT$80,000 for organ-transplant operations. \n■ Politics \nYu pledges clean vote \nPremier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that his admin-istration will brook no violence or corruption in the March 20 presidential election. During the weekly Cabinet meeting, Yu said the fierce competition has given rise to allegations of vote-buying. In order to prevent the country from plunging again into the grip of "black gold" politics, Yu urged law-enforcement agencies to go all-out to maintain a clean, fair and just election. He said anyone found buying votes will be prosecuted regard-less of rank, status or political affiliation. Yu said the Ministry of Justice has opened a hotline (0800-024099) for tips on election irregularities. Police officers have also been asked to give special attention to prevent election-fixing, Yu said. The police department estimated that police officers will have to go on 100,000 election-related missions before March 20.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said