■ Shooting probeCommittee denied funding
Director of the Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics Hsu Chang-yao (許璋瑤) yesterday said that his office would not agree to allow the investigative committee probing the March 19 assassination attempt to use the Cabinet's Secondary Preparatory Fund to cover its expenses. Hsu said that his office would not allow access to the fund even if the Council of Grand Justices ruled the committee to be valid in terms of of the Constitution. Hsu said he based his decision on uncertainty about where the committee fitted into the government structure, and the fact that the committee does not have an official head or an accounting department to regulate the committee's finances.
Man jumps into lions' pit
An apparently mentally-deranged man jumped into the lions' pit at the Taipei Zoo yesterday to "talk" to the lions. He was rescued with only a minor bite on his foot. Chen Chung-ho (陳中和), 46, leapt into the pit at about 11am and walked toward a pair of sleeping lions, waving his jacket and talking to the big cats. Zoo officials said lions charged at the man twice and one bit his right foot, but the injury was not serious. Zoo visitors alerted security guards, who arrived promptly with veterinarians, who used water cannons to separate the lions from Chen. They fired two anaesthetic shots at the animals, which put them to sleep, allowing Chen to walk free through the gate. Chen was sent to hospital for treatment and psychiatric examination. He had been in the lion's pit for nearly an hour.
Overseas studies promoted
Under a government program to send elite students abroad for advanced study, the first group of such students could be heading overseas to top-notch universities and research institutes early next year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday. Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) said the program will cover students in three major areas -- basic sciences, humanities and social sciences, and key technology fields. Students can receive scholarships of US$30,000 per year. Those studying humanities or social sciences can receive scholarships for three years, while those studying natural sciences are encouraged to apply for scholarships at their schools during the second year of study, he said. Tu said that his ministry, the National Science Council (NSC) and the Council for Economic Planning and Development will jointly put forward NT$450 million (US$13.43 million) for the program. The MOE and the NSC will jointly use two-thirds of the budget to select students for advanced studies overseas, while colleges and the universities will use the remaining one-third to select students for priority subjects.
Drugs disguised as candy
A Vietnamese woman has been arrested for attempting to smuggle a batch of heroin coated with sugar and disguised as candies into Taiwan, police said yesterday. Nguyen Thi Tuyen, 24, who is married to a Taiwanese national residing in Taitung County, was arrested upon arrival at CKS Airport from Ho Chi Minh City late Tuesday night, police said. Hundreds of sugarcoated heroin pills with a total weight of about 410 grams were found in her luggage, police said. Taitung police said they had reacted to a tip-off. The drugs worth more than NT$8 million (US$23,900) were cut into 200 small pieces, wrapped in candy papers and mixed with real chocolates in two jars, they said.