Sat, Feb 25, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Crime

Chiu Yi sentenced

The Kaohsiung District Court yesterday sentenced an opposition lawmaker to 18 months in prison for his involvement in riots after the 2004 presidential elections. The court found that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) had climbed on a truck which rammed a courthouse gate in the city during widespread protests against the narrow election victory of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Chiu said he was trying to restrain overly zealous protesters, who claimed that Chen had staged a pre-election shooting to secure his win. Subsequent court hearings rejected the accusations against Chen. Chiu was not in court for yesterday's verdict, and it was not immediately known whether he would file an appeal.

■ Society

Flower festival begins

The Yangmingshan Flower Festival began yesterday, with vast groves of blossoming cherry and apricot trees, azaleas and camellias likely to draw a large number of people this weekend. In addition to enjoying the colorful festival during the day, this year the public will be able to appreciate the beauty of the flowers at night as well, as several areas of Yangmingshan National Park will be lit up. To reduce the problem of traffic jams, visitors are strongly advised to use public transport to reach the park. For more information on traffic controls and bus routes for the festival, visit the Taipei City Government's Web site at english.taipei.gov.tw/dot/index.jsp.

■ Entertainment

Did Jay dodge service?

Pop sensation Jay Chou (周杰倫) is being investigated on suspicion of faking a spinal ailment to avoid serving compulsory military service, a prosecutor said yesterday. In response to a court subpoena, Chou's attorney submitted a report last month to explain the pop heartthrob's health condition, prosecutor Wu Tsung-liang (吳宗樑) said. "He made some clarifications in the report, and we will determine whether they are reliable or not," Lin said. Chou's agent at Alfa Music was not immediately available for comment.

■ Politics

No KMT cash for 228 victims

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday acknowledged the party's political responsibility for the 228 Incident, but disagreed that it should compensate victims. "Although the KMT was the then-ruling party, it was not directly involved in the event ... The decision to send troops to suppress the riot was made by the government," Ma said yesterday after attending an exhibition at the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum in his capacity as Taipei mayor. The exhibition features documents and photographs of riots taking place in southern Taiwan in 1947.

■ Transportation

ETC decision overturned

Taiwan's High Court yesterday ruled that the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau had made the wrong decision when it evaluated Far East Electronic Toll Collection Co as "the most appropriate applicant" for the freeway electronic toll-collection (ETC) system, and revoked the decision. According to a news release from the court, the judgement said that the bureau's evaluation "violated the principles of quality and was not in the public interest" and therefore should be revoked. If the bureau loses the case on appeal, this would throw into doubt who should be in charge of the ETC system.

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