Fri, Mar 18, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Crime
Sex offenders to be tagged

The government will order "high risk" sex offenders to wear electronic tags on their release from jail in a bid to reduce sex crimes, justice officials said yesterday. Under the revised Sexual Violation Prevention Law (性侵害防治法), "high risk" sex criminals, such as serial rapists and those who had attempted to escape from prison, would be required to wear the electronic bracelets upon their release, said an official at the Department of Rehabilitation and Social Protection. Police would be mobilized if they were detected wandering in restricted areas or during their curfew hours. "We hope the new measure will help reduce sex crimes and better protect women's welfare," the official said. The official declined to say how many people would be subject to the new rule, which takes effect on Aug. 5, but local media estimated the number at several hundred.

■ Health

QC program set to begin

In a bid to improve medical service, a hospital quality-control (QC) program will be launched next month to stop hospitals from turning away patients or limiting the number of out-patients, officials said yesterday. "The new version of the Hospital Excellence Plan will be introduced in April. The program will strike a balance between patients' right to medical care and the quality of medical services," Department of Health Minister Hou Sheng-mou (侯勝茂) said at the Legislative Yuan yesterday. Last year, the Bureau of National Health Insurance held a six-month-long trial run of the plan, in which hospitals that met several quality standards got a higher rate of co-payment from the bureau. However, many hospitals ended up turning away people in order to meet the criteria. "We didn't name the new program the Hospital Excellence Plan, because some hospitals' blunders last year created a bad impression. But the spirit to enhance the quality of medical services remains unchanged," bureau president Liu Chien-hsiang (劉見祥) said.

■ Politics

Chiu to enter Taichung race

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) plans to announce his resignation on Monday so that he can throw his hat into the ring for the election for commissioner in his native Taichung County. A member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chiu was elected a legislator from his hometown in 1999 and retained the position until last May, when he was named to the council post. Chiu is one of several top officials planning to leave their posts in the central government to run for local government jobs.

■ Education

Cellphone classes planned

Telephone companies are expected to start providing English lessons over cellphones in a bid to tap into the young student market, researchers said yesterday. The companies may start using the phones to teach users English vocabulary, reading and pronunciation as early as next month, the Institute for Information Industry said. The service will use colored, animated images as well as sound, said institute researcher Wang Pai-pin, who developed the system and sold it to the phone companies. Charges for the service will start at about NT$200 a month, Wang said. Phone companies have had little success so far tapping the children's market despite aggressive promotions and price cuts. "Parents are reluctant to buy cellphones for their children for fear they could hinder their studies," Wang said.

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