DPP upset by backlog
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus members visited the Control Yuan yesterday to voice concern about the backlog of about 10,000 cases. Caucus whip Jao Yung-ching (趙永清) said that if opposition continues to boycott confirmation of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) choices for Control Yuan members, then pan-blue lawmakers should just amend the Constitution to abolish the Control Yuan altogether. Another DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said that he is afraid that the issue will be dragged out indefinitely if a decision is not reached at cross-party talks set for Friday on whether a special legislative session will be called. The tenure of the last Control Yuan expired on Feb. 1. The DPP caucus has filed a request for a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices over the confirmation delay.
Torrijos happy to see Chen
Panama President Martin Torrijos Espino said on Monday that his government would welcome a visit by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Torrijos denied that his government has ever said it would be "inconvenient" to receive Chen should he wish to visit next month. Torrijos made the remarks following reports that Foreign Minister Sameul Lewis Navarro had said Panama would not have enough time to receive Chen, as the government will be busy preparing to mark the first anniversary of Torrijos' inauguration. Torrijos said Chen's visit should depend on the schedules of the two leaders. Relations between Panama and Taiwan are cordial, Lewis said, adding that Taiwan has been generous toward Panama both in extending donations and providing assistance.
Harassment fears abound
Nearly 80 percent of the respondents to a recent poll fear sexual harassment or violence, a ratio so high that it shows it is a major concern in everyday life here, according to a recently released survey. The poll conducted by the Garden of Hope Foundation shows that as many as 78 percent of the respondents were concerned that they or their families might suffer sexual harassment or violence. Some 76 percent of respondents feel the current punishments for sexual offenders are too light and have no deterrent effect, while 50 percent favor the idea of electronic tracking and living restrictions on such offenders. Around 66 percent said that they believe sexual offenders should not be released on bail without treatment, while a similar percentage agreed that offenders should receive compulsory treatment until any possibility of re-offending is ended. Nearly half of the respondents like the idea of the government publishing data on offenders. The survey was carried out from Feb. 4 to March 7, collecting 2,006 valid questionnaires over the Internet. About 71 percent of the respondents were female.
Free face for Father's Day
A leading plastic surgeon and his colleagues in Kaohsiung will offer their services to 100 fathers who wish to have wrinkles and age marks removed by giving them a "new" face. Dr. Tsao Szu-pin (曹賜斌) is calling on other plastic surgeons to join him in the activity in celebration of Father's Day next Monday. Registration began today, and the first 100 fathers who responded to the offer were to receive the free service. Tsao will appear in the Grand Hi-Lai Hotel on Sunday to meet the 100 selected fathers. He said that an increasing number of men have begun to take advantage of the new technology in plastic surgery.