Sat, Nov 19, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Politics
Reform bill passes reading

The long-discussed Cabinet downsizing will come into force Jan. 1, next year, in line with a package of amendments to the existing law governing the Executive Yuan's structure that passed the first reading in the legislature on Thursday. After lengthy discussions, the legislature's legal, interior and budget committees finally completed the first reading of the Executive Yuan Organic Law (行政院組織法) revision bill at a joint meeting on Thursday evening, but certain provisions are still pending further cross-party consultations. According to the tentatively approved bill, the number of the Executive Yuan units will be cut from the current 36 to either 20 or 21. At the moment, Executive Yuan subordinate agencies are either named ministries, commissions or councils. In the future, there will be only ministries and commissions.

■ Military

Chinese hack attack foiled

The Ministry of National Defense categorically denied a media report yesterday that a Chinese "cyber army" had recently successfully hacked into the computer network of a warfare nerve center. Ministry spokesman Liu Chih-chian (劉志堅) said in a regular press briefing that Chinese hackers had tried to intrude into the computer system of the Hengshan Command located near Taipei City via a peripheral ministry unit. However, the attempt was blocked in time on a firewall node by information technology officers on duty, Liu said, adding that no military intelligence was stolen or tampered with. Liu said the ministry regrets that the media made such a sensational report without checking their source, adding that it has launched a protest against this kind of media practice. Meanwhile, Liu said the military maintained one of the most secure computer systems in the world.

■ Society

Fundraising to help Lee

A group of Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers announced yesterday that they will launch a NT$10-per-person fundraising drive in support of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who has been told by the court to pay NT$10 million (US$300,000) in compensation for defaming People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜). Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) said the caucus decided to start the campaign because a lot of the party's supporters have expressed their desire to donate money to support Lee. The Taipei District Court ruled on Wednesday that Lee should compensate Soong financially and publish an apology on the front pages of nine Chinese-language newspapers for three consecutive days for defamatory remarks he made last year. Lee insinuated that Soong was playing mahjong when supporters of the opposition "pan-blue alliance" were holding a demonstration in front of the Presidential Office to protest last year's presidential election.

■ Transportation

Bus Web site offers English

The Taipei City Transportation Department is introducing a trial English version of its online bus route search system today. According to the department, the search system, which previously only had a Chinese version, includes information such as bus routes, schedules and bus stop locations. The department said it welcomed feedback from the public on the new service. The original Web site currently has an average of 20,000 hits per day. In order to provide a better and more professional service, the department will set up a brand new Web site which will integrate information from both the Chinese and English language versions. The trial version can be accessed at www.taipeibus.taipei.gov.tw.

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