Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 3 News List

NCC picks approved, but tobacco measure stalls

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Tseng Tsahn-deng yesterday laughs at both the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party, saying that the two failed to reach an agreement on the draft amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Control Act due to their own vested interests.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

The list of 13 candidates for the National Communications Committee (NCC) was approved by the legislature yesterday and will now proceed to a second review, bringing the new media regulation body one step closer to operations.

"If the second review and approval of this list is completed, the final decision will be made on Jan. 12," said Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

When the list of 13 candidates is approved, it will be submitted to the Cabinet. The premier will then officially hire them and the NCC will start work.

The 13 candidates were chosen last month. Six were endorsed by the Chinese Nationalist Party, two each by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People First Party and the Cabinet and one by the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

Among these 13 candidates, Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津), who was endorsed by the DPP, refused to be nominated because he did not want to participate in the organization at the behest of a political party.

Although Lu refused to be nominated, his candidacy will be reviewed and considered anyway.

Meanwhile, proposed amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Control Act (菸害防制法) were again put up for cross-party negotiation. Under the amendments, smoking would be banned in offices and public indoor spaces where there are more than three people present. A number of restrictions would also be placed on smoking outdoors, such as on school grounds.

The amendments were originally scheduled to be reviewed yesterday, but as of press time, no lawmakers would confirm whether they would pass before the end of this legislative session.

"The act will be discussed and rescheduled on Monday. Then we will know whether it will be decided before the end of the session or not," said Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Chen Chin-ting (陳進丁).

An amendment to the Fishing Port Act (漁港法) passed a third reading in the legislature yesterday, paving the way for the authorities to subject foreign vessels to fines for unauthorized entry into or berthing in Taiwanese fishing ports.

The amendment, when signed into law by the president, would allow local authorities to impose fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 (US$937 and US$4,685) on the captains and crews of foreign vessels for illegally entering or berthing in Taiwanese fishing ports.

In addition to fines, such vessels will be ordered to leave before a certain deadline.

Failure to do so will result in fines of between NT$12,000 and NT$60,000 per day for the captain and crew.

The amendment prohibits anyone from discharging toxic materials and wastewater into fishing ports. It also bans the capture of marine animals and the planting and harvesting of marine plants within fishing ports.

Violators will be subject to fines of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.

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