Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ National defenseArms budget set

The military has budgeted US$14.7 billion to buy submarines, anti-submarine aircraft and PAC-III anti-missile systems from the US, a Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday. "The Ministry of National Defense has budgeted NT$500 billion [US14.7 billion] to buy eight diesel submarines, three PAC-III anti-missile system and dozens of P-3C anti-submarine planes," the newspaper said. The budget has yet to be passed by the legislature. US President George W. Bush approved an arms sale package in 2001 that included the sale of 12 P-3 anti-submarine aircraft, four diesel submarines and four Kidd-class destroyers.

■ Society

Fund to aid blind begins

The Cultural and Educational Foundation for the Blind announced the beginning of a movement to raise funds for walking canes for the blind. The foundation is cooperating with clothing line Baleno to sell T-shirts. Funds from sales will go towards the production of walking sticks and training courses for the visually impaired in the use of their new sensing canes. The foundation hopes to raise at least NT$8.8 million towards 10,000 canes the foundation plans to donate to the blind. "Currently, most visually-impaired people are afraid to go out because pedestrians and drivers often do not realize that they are blind. We hope to promote the use of the globally-recognized canes to encourage the blind to leave their homes and increase public awareness," said Dylan White (白紀齡), foundation director.

■ Crime

Reporters sue troublemakers

The Taipei City Photo Reporters Fellowship today issued a statement yesterday condemning the violence against members of the media during the 410 rally Saturday and calling for swift retribution for the troublemakers through the judicial system. In attacking the reporters, the statement said, the assailants were suppressing the release of the truth and free speech. Over 10 reporters were injured in Saturday's riot. The rally, held by pro-blue camp supporters to demand the establishment of a committee to investigate the pre-election assassination attempt made on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), turned violent late Saturday night as rally members attempted to tear down the barricades blocking them from the presidential office. Afraid that police would be able to use media images to identify mob members, members turned on media representatives. Four reporters and news crew members from local media networks Era News and Eastern Television (ETTV) sustained injuries that needed hospital care.

■ Crime

Attack investigated

Police questioned yesterday five suspects over the killing of a Bangladeshi man working for a Taiwanese firm and the wounding of another local man employed by a South Korean company in the port city of Chittagong. Mohammad Babul Hossain, an accountant working for Taiwanese-owned Fu-Wang Foods Ltd, was shot dead Sunday in Chittagong by gunmen who robbed him of 300,000 taka (US$5,172). In the other attack, Golam Rabbani, managing director of the South Korean Youngone export processing zone, was critically injured when he was shot in the neck and his watch and wallet, containing an unknown amount of cash, were stolen. "We have arrested five suspects who have criminal records in connection with the two incidents," Shafiquddin Ahmed, Chittagong's chief police detective, said.

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