Andy back for election
The actor known as Andy (安迪) and his wife came back to Taiwan on Sunday night and reported to the Tainan District Prosecutors' Office yesterday afternoon. They had to answer Tainan prosecutors' questions regarding a sex drugs and VCD case in which a number of suspects, who are now in custody, had attempted to blackmail the actor by threatening to release a VCD allegedly containing scenes of Andy using drugs and engaging in sex acts. Before he began his meeting with prosecutors, Andy told reporters that he came back to show his patriotism by voting instead of facing the judicial process of the case. However, he will cooperate with law enforcement officers to help them clarify all the questions they may have. The interrogation was still ongoing as of press time yesterday.
Hundreds of reporters arrive
More than 700 foreign journalists are expected to cover the presidential election and referendum, according to the Government Information Office (GIO). The 1996 election saw a record number of 710 foreign journalists from 29 countries covering the nation's first direct presidential poll. Statistics made available by the GIO yesterday showed that in addition to 100 foreign correspondents stationed in Taiwan, more than 600 foreign journalists are expected to fly in to cover the election. They include 53 reporters from six countries in the Americas, 59 from 14 European countries and 102 from 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The GIO also expects about 30 academics from overseas universities and think tanks. It said that it will arrange for them to visit the campaign headquarters of the two political camps, Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Central Election Commission.
TVBS to air exit poll
TVBS will hold the first nation-wide exit poll for Saturday's election, officials of the cable TV company said yesterday. TVBS said it planned to screen the results of a poll of at least 16,500 people at 4:01pm on Saturday, one minute after polling stations are closed. TVBS poll center director Wang Yeh-diing said the margin of error for the poll was expected to be less than 1 percent, but the station might withhold the results if they appeared inaccurate. An estimated 16.5 million people are eligible to vote. More than 80 percent of voters turned out for the 2000 election.
Scholarships to be expanded
In a bid to upgrade the nation's competitive edge in technology, the Cabinet yesterday approved increasing the annual quota of students studying on government funds from the current 235 to 1,000 by 2008. "We're thinking of raising the number to 755 next year, 820 by 2006, 910 by 2007 and ultimately 1,000 by 2008," Minister without Portfolio Tsai Ching-yen (蔡清彥) said. Among the 755 slots for next year, Tsai said that 500 will go to undergraduates and master's degree holders wishing to pursue a doctoral degree overseas. The expansion in the program is estimated to cost the government NT$415 million (US$12.58 million) annually. One-hundred-twenty out of the 755 places will go to doctoral candidates wishing to conduct studies abroad for between seven and 12 months. The annual quota for that category currently is 92. While no ceiling will be set for doctorate degree holders wishing to conduct studies overseas, Tsai said that the Cabinet hopes to send 30 qualified candidates to study abroad next year.