Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Crime

Taiwanese jailed in Vietnam

Five Taiwanese nationals were jailed for between two and nine years on charges of manufacturing and circulating fake credit cards in Vietnam, state media said yesterday. The men, aged between 24 and 33, were found guilty by Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court Friday, Vietnam News Agency said. They had been using 21 forged credit cards and bought goods worth more than 1.5 billion dong (US$95,000) from Jan. 31 until their arrest on Feb. 3 last year, it said.

■ Society

Anti-suicide law urged

Passing a law to help prevent suicide could reduce the number of people in Taiwan who take their own lives, a representative of a non-profit organization said yesterday. The Shepherd Love Association petitioned legislators to immediately pass the act by holding a two-day signature drive in Kaohsiung yesterday. Wu Mei-li (吳美麗), the association's CEO, said while the government has made suicide prevention one of its top priorities by setting up help centers and keeping hotlines open, suicide was ranked the ninth highest cause of death in 2002. "Laws regarding suicide prevention need to be enacted," she said.

■ Infrastructure

Urban renewal discussed

Sixteen experts from various European countries will gather in Taipei April 18 to join a four-day conference to discuss urban development issues, a Ministry of the Interior (MOI) official said yesterday. The 16 invited guests will consist of academics, along with serving and retired officials from France, the UK, Spain, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. The conference is being organized by the non-profit International Network for Urban Development, said Chen Kuang-hsiung (陳光雄), director of the MOI's Construction and Planning Agency. Chen said the experts attending the conference will discuss policy changes in urban renewal, which is one of the areas the government has prioritized. He added that Taiwan's eagerness to amend existing regulations and policies regarding urban development is the reason for hosting the conference. Chen said he expects that more offshore investments can be brought into the country by amending policies and creating a better commercial environment.

■ The Arts

Stone monkey exhibit opens

A stone sculpture exhibition organized by the Chiayi Stone Sculpture Association opened at a cultural park in Chiayi City yesterday. The group presented a stone monkey sculpture to the city-owned park as a gift, while in return it received the city government's promise to provide outdoor space for artistic creations. Chiayi Mayor Chen Li-chen (陳麗貞) said that the southern city has been dedicated to the art of stone sculpture, especially monkey-shaped sculptures, for more than 60 years, and the association played a key role in promoting the city's cultural development. She indicated that the city government is now working to build a stone sculpture park as part of the city's efforts to develop a culture industry with local characters, noting that construction of the planned park is expected to be finished by the end of this year. The city will also initiate a yearly "stone monkey festival" to boost tourism. Chiayi is passed through by the Pachang River, one of major rivers in Taiwan, which produces abundant high-quality stones perfect for sculpting.

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