Prosecutor feels pressure
Prosecutor Chang Hsi-huai (張熙懷) will not attend tomorrow's hearing in the presidential "state affairs fund" case, the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office said yesterday. Chang has been under fire from Democratic Progressive Party legislators over his alleged pro-China sentiment. They have accused him of visiting China, abusing his position by reserving a special seat for a Chinese academic at a hearing in another case and being unqualified to read court evidence about secret diplomatic missions. Staff at Chang's office claimed that accusations have left him depressed. They said he suddenly began shouting on Tuesday evening and that his wife was asked to take him home. The prosecutors office said that Chang would take a few days off, and that after a rest he would attend the trial.
Former minister out on bail
Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪), a former minister of transportation and communications, was released on bail late on Tuesday night after being arrested on suspicion of taking US$20,000 in bribes from businessmen. "Although Kuo denied receiving the money, officials from Nan Ren Hu told prosecutors that they had given Kuo US$20,000 in a package of tea in July," Taipei District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) said. Lin said Kuo was released on NT$600,000 bail. Nan Ren Hu chairman Lee Ching-po (李清波), a former national policy adviser, told prosecutors that he gave Kuo the money because he and Kuo are friends and Kuo's child was going to the US to attend school. He said the money had nothing to do with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' tender process for a Taipei Railway Station construction project.
License plates get new look
New vehicle license plates will no longer show where the plate was issued, eliminating all Chinese characters from the plates, the Directorate General of Highways said yesterday. Currently, the location is printed above the license plate number. Many drivers have questioned the necessity of printing the Chinese characters of the Taiwan Province (台灣省), on the plates since the Taiwan Provincial Government was downsized in 1998. The agency stressed that old license plates do have to be replaced.
■ Cross-strait ties
Ma reiterates `five dos'
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday reiterated his "five dos" for cross-strait policy, promising to make Taiwan a responsible stakeholder in Asia by maintaining stable cross-strait relations. "We will maintain the status quo... we will not seek unification now," Ma told a symposium at National Chengchi University's Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies. The "five dos" are: To resume negotiations based on the so-called "1992 consensus;" to reach a peace accord; to facilitate economic exchanges with the aim of establishing a common market; to work with China to boost Taiwan's presence in international bodies.
Trucks get tunnel OK
The Directorate General of Highways said yesterday that it would allow large-size trucks weighing 21 tonnes or more to use the Baguashan (八卦山) Tunnel starting next month. The 5km-long tunnel stretches from Changhua County to Nantou County and about 12,000 vehicles use it every day. As of September, 17,029 drivers licensed to operate large-size vehicles had completed training on driving inside long tunnels.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by