Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

■ justice

Lu calls for speedy ruling

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday called on the Council of Grand Justices to make a speedy ruling on whether prosecutors had violated the Constitution by questioning President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) over his alleged misuse of the "state affairs fund." Lu said she was not in a position to comment on the Taipei District Court's decision, but hoped the Grand Justices would tackle the case as soon as possible. The Taipei District Court ruled on Friday that they would continue with first lady Wu Shu-jen's (吳淑珍) hearing. She was indicted for corruption and forgery charges in connection with the fund. While the court rejected a request by prosecutors to seize documents concerning the fund Chen claimed to have used for secret diplomacy, it requested the Presidential Office present the documents by Wednesday.

■ society

Crackdown on firecrackers

The National Firefighting Administration yesterday urged the public to report any illegal firecracker factories, saying that informers would receive a reward of up to NT$500,000 (US$15,240). The administration made the appeal after an explosion at a firecracker factory in Miaoli resulted in one death. The administration said they have sent officials to join experts from the Central Police University to investigate the cause of the blast. It has also asked the Miaoli Firefighting Bureau to check the factory's equipment and security management to see if it violated any regulations. Violators face a fine of between NT$300,000 and NT$1.5 million. With the approach of the Lunar New Year firefighting bureaus nationwide have been told to crack down on illegal firecracker factories.

■ foreign affairs

Brunei office to re-open

Taiwan has confirmed it will re-open its representative office in Brunei on March 1 next year, almost a year after closing the facility on March 17 to save on diplomatic resources. In a news release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said that Customs Director-General Yu Shau-wu (俞邵武) has been appointed to head the Brunei office. The ministry said that lukewarm bilateral relations, including few official visits and civilian exchanges between the two countries, prompted the ministry to shut down the liaison office earlier this year. However, the move triggered strong protests from some legislators and Taiwanese expatriates living in Brunei. To promote mutual trade and economic relations, as well as ties with other Southeast Asian countries, the ministry decided to re-open the office.

■ industry

Animal testing lab planned

A Taiwanese clinical pharmacologist working with a leading US pharmaceutical firm is planning to set up a pre-clinical trial animal testing lab in Taiwan to win outsourcing contracts from global pharmaceutical firms. Tsang-Bin Tzeng (曾滄濱), senior director of the Clinical Pharmacology Department of AstraZeneca, headquartered in Delaware, told Taiwanese investment and trade representatives in New York that the time was right for Taiwan to have animal testing labs, as most of the global pharmaceutical firms were outsourcing clinical trial work overseas. Tzeng recently made a trip to Taiwan to visit science and technology parks around the country and the export processing zone in Kaohsiung. He said he was impressed by the facilities as well as government incentives for investors. With a qualified biotechnology work force and management personnel, Taiwan has an advantage in entering the animal testing business, he said.

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