The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended its supervision of foreign aid yesterday, dismissing media allegations of improper use of funds in Panama and Paraguay. \nForeign aid was granted only after careful evaluation and under certain conditions, ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said. \n"Reports relating to this matter were published in their local newspaper ABC Color, which failed to identify a source. Nor did it provide adequate proof," Lu said. \nHe said that under such conditions, it would be "inconvenient" for him to comment. \nMedia outlets in Paraguay reported on Tuesday that US$100 million in credit granted by Taiwan to former president Luis Gonzalez Macchi's administration to help local financial institutions had disappeared. \n"So far, we do not know what happened to the money. We are investigating," central bank chief Gabriel Gonzalez told reporters after meeting with Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte. \nGonzalez Macchi was in power from 1999 to last year, during which time Taiwan gave Paraguay US$400 million, of which US$100 million is unaccounted for, the central bank president said. Just before leaving office in August last year, Gonzalez Macchi signed a decree saying that the executive branch had canceled its debt to the central bank for the sum in question, and that any questions were an "internal problem" at the central bank. \nLu defended the ministry's lending practices yesterday, stressing that the loans had been made in 1999 "on a commercial basis between our banks and Paraguay." \nHe said that Paraguay had taken loans from two local banks, China Trust and the International Com-mercial Bank of China, as public bonds totaling US$400 million. \nIn addition, following Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen's (陳唐山) disclosure in May that the ministry was considering a US$125 million loan to Paraguay, Lu denied that reports of corruption in Paraguay would impact on the issuance of similar loans in the future. \nLu said it would be premature to comment on the matter as loans depended on various considerations, including Taiwan's financial capability and the results of bipartisan negotiations. \nThe money from Taiwan was supposed to bolster Paraguay's financial system. Gonzalez Macchi is being investigated in three corruption cases and has already been accused of embezzling state funds. \n"There is a process of careful negotiation between both parties before donation plans are agreed to. In addition, funds are not transferred as a lump sum. They are remitted over a period of time," Lu told the Taipei Times. \n"The government is not so stupid as to give money without careful evaluation and without stipulations as to the conditions and procedures for the provision of foreign aid," Lu said. \nHe responded in a similar manner to accusations of irregularities found during an investigation into aid to Panama. \n"With regard to plans for cooperation and aid to Panama, it is all conducted within the limits of Taiwan's capabilities. In addition, aid proposals must clear the Legislative Yuan and are therefore under the supervision of the legislature. It also comes under the supervision of processes tied to the legislative budget," Lu said. \nA team of auditors appointed by Panamanian President Martin Torrijos uncovered a series of irregularities involving donations by Taiwan to the previous government. \nThe Comptroller's Office said on Tuesday that it was investigating the donations in view of possible corrupt acts by government officials. An audit of Panama's government books conducted since Torrijos took office on Sept. 1 found irregularities in the way US$45 million donated by Taiwan was handled by the Southern Sea Foundation, an organization created by the government to promote social programs. \nFormer health minister Fernando Gracia headed the foundation, which he declared had completed its tasks and used all its funds just two days before former president Mireya Moscoso ended her term. But bank officials confirmed that US$10 million from the foundation was used to open four investment accounts and a savings account at Panabank. The officials did not say whose name was on the accounts. \nTaiwan's ambassador to Panama, David Hu (胡正堯), said Taiwan does not donate to individuals, only to governments for use in civic, cultural or scientific projects. \nSome of the funds donated by Taiwan were used to build a maternity ward at a hospital and a child-ren's museum called the Toucan Museum. But after visiting the Toucan facility, new first lady Vivian Fernandez said it was unsuitable to be used as a museum. She complained of a lack of funds left to her office, and an investigation was launched into Ruby Moscoso, sister of former president Mireya Moscoso, who served as first lady in the previous administration. \nOn Monday, police seized a truck carrying valuable paintings, furniture and documents belonging to Ruby Moscoso. Through her lawyers, the former first lady said the cargo seized was personal items and household goods, not objects taken from government offices.
‘UNAFRAID’: Most Taiwanese do not seem to be aware of the danger of war and might be unprepared, a KMT legislator said of the poll by an affiliated foundation Nearly 60 percent of Taiwanese believe that a war between Taiwan and China is “unlikely” or “impossible,” a survey released yesterday by the National Policy Foundation showed. The survey asked participants if they thought there was a possibility of war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait based on recent developments, said the foundation, which is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). While 42.5 percent of respondents thought it was “unlikely” and 17.1 percent believed it was “impossible,” 5.1 percent said it was “very likely” and 17.2 percent said it was “fairly possible,” the survey showed. Another 18.2 percent gave
The Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office on Monday indicted a Chinese sea captain over his alleged involvement in the killing of four pirates at sea in 2012, while serving as the captain of a Taiwanese fishing vessel. The suspect, identified by the media as 43-year-old Wang Fengyu (汪峰裕), was charged with homicide and breaches of the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), the indictment read. Wang asked two Pakistani mercenaries that he hired as acting captain of the Kaohsiung-registered Ping Shin No. 101 to fire on and kill four suspected Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean off the Somalian coast on Sept. 29,
UPGRADE: The system is more efficient than others, which typically involve longer procedures that can produce pseudo-positive or pseudo-negative results The National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center yesterday unveiled an infrared wax physisorption kinetics imaging system, which it said efficiently detects 10 types of cancer. Through scanning tissue section samples, the imaging system can detect colon, breast, stomach, oral, ovarian, cervical, prostate and skin cancer, as well as neuroendocrine tumors and glioblastoma, center associate research fellow Lee Yao-chang (李耀昌) told a news conference in Taipei. The system uses paraffin and beeswax with organic solutions as developers for its infrared imaging device, which can mark abnormal polysaccharides on the surface of cancer cells in six to 15 minutes, while the wax is absorbed by
China is trying to convince Taiwanese that an authoritarian system is preferable to democracy, the Information Operations Research Group (IORG) said at a conference yesterday. China has been employing Taiwanese sympathetic to its “united front” tactics to help spread disinformation about democracy and Taiwanese society through social media, television programs, YouTube and by other means, the group said at the conference to promote public awareness of China’s cognitive warfare campaign. In the group’s latest report, it highlighted eight disinformation discussions that its researchers listed under three main topics: flu viruses in the US are deadlier than COVID-19; US troop movements caused the