Police seize 4,354 firearms
Police seized a total of 4,354 contraband guns last year, up a whopping 64.74 percent from the number uncovered in 2003, according to official tallies released yesterday. Of the seizures, 2,687 were homemade or modified pistols and the remainder were manufactured rifles or handguns. Among last year's seizures, 276 were high-power rifles, up from 108 in 2001. Over the past four years, CIB officials said the number of seized illegal firearms has continued to rise, indicating that the gun smuggling issue has become more serious. As the Cabinet has made crime-fighting a top priority, the officials said police forces around the nation will step up a crackdown on firearms smuggling to prevent the issue from further worsening.
NTU fails to choose finalists
National Taiwan University (NTU) failed to choose its final presidential candidates yesterday. Another primary will be held soon to select the two final candidates, according to NTU president Chen Wei-Jao (陳維昭). A total of 319 representatives from administration, academia and alumni groups voted at the administrative meeting held by the university yesterday to decide on two final candidates from the six presidential hopefuls. The Ministry of Education will choose a new president for the university from between two candidates, who must get more than 160 votes from a total of 309 possible. Only Engineering college Dean Yang Yeong-bin (楊永斌), however, earned more than 50 percent of the votes and qualified to be a finalist in yesterday's election. Yang received 201 votes, followed by professor Lee Si-chen (李嗣涔), of the Department of Electrical Engineering, who received 153 votes. Politics professor Bau Tzong-ho (包宗和), chemistry professor Shie Ming-peng (彭旭明), NTU vice president Wu Ching-hsiung (吳靜雄) and atmospheric sciences professor Chen Tai-jen (陳泰然) also failed to attract more than 50 percent of the vote. Chen announced that the university will take another day to vote again to choose one candidate from among the five who failed to attract more than 50 percent of the vote yesterday. The university held its first presidential election in 1993, in which Chen was elected by the election committee. According to the university's regulations, each president can be re-elected twice, and serve for three four-year terms.
China criticized by experts
Academics from around the world criticized China Saturday for the enactment of its "Anti-Secession" Law, saying that it will escalate tension in the region. The scholars made the criticism at a seminar held by the Canadian Association for the Studies of International Development to discuss issues relating to "Taiwan and the International Community: Between NGOs, Development Agencies and the United Nations." It was presided over by Scott Simon, an associate professor from Ottawa University. Stephane Corcuff, a professor from Leon University in France, who served previously as a press officer at the French Institute in Taipei and has long studied Taiwan, said that both China and the international community have dealt with Taiwan unfairly and that peace should be established on the basis of fairness and justice. In the conclusion, almost all the participants agreed that China and Taiwan should engage in peaceful dialogue to reduce tension in the Taiwan Strait.