Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Transportation

THSRC tickets in focus

Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Pang Chia-hua (龐家驊) said yesterday the bureau was authorized to regularly examine the performance of ticket sales at high speed rail stations. "This is a build-operate-transfer [BOT] project," Pang said, "and the government is obligated to oversee the financial situation of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp [THSRC] through both the company's quarterly reports and inspections." Pang said that the bureau would examine the company's performance next month and determine whether the ticketing system had improved. Meanwhile, Pang confirmed yesterday that the THSRC had not submitted an application for another inspection on the Taipei-Banciao section, in which the inspectors will personally review six major problems they had identified earlier and determine whether they have been addressed.

■ Society

Eden Foundation sells art

The Eden Social Welfare Foundation held an "Eden Day" yesterday, to enhance the well-being of mentally challenged individuals, saying that said "Eden Days" would now be held regularly. In June, Eden opened a small cafe in Taipei funded by a private enterprise. The cafe provides stable jobs for mentally challenged persons, the foundation said. At yesterday's Eden Day, local artist Liu Hsing-chin (劉興欽) donated 10 of his works for auction to raise funds for Eden. "We hope to hold an Eden Day event every two months to encourage businesses to share their resources with us," said Carol Lu (呂惠萱), the charity's public relations director. The goal of the days is to give businesses and individuals a chance to contribute to the charity's work.

■ Politics

KMT shows faith in Ma

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday that the party believed KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would be found innocent in the "mayoral special fund" case currently being investigated by prosecutors. "Ma has been a man of integrity and has run the Taipei City Government in accordance with laws and regulations. The public should be sure of his innocence," Wu said. Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) suggested that the party enact a regulation to ensure Ma could run in next year's presidential election. Ma was accused of pocketing half of his mayoral "special allowance fund" during his eight years as Taipei mayor from 1998 to last year. KMT regulations state that party members are barred from running in the party's primary election if indicted on charges of corruption.

■ Agriculture

Orchid DNA sequenced

Taiwanese agricultural researchers have completed the DNA sequencing of 56 out of 60 non-hybrid butterfly orchid species worldwide, Council of Agriculture officials said yesterday. The council's Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station has spent three years and some NT$2 million (USD$60,500) on the project. The findings have been published by the science journal Plant Systematics and Evolution and the DNA datasets have also been added to the database at the US National Institute of Health. An associate research fellow at the station explained that each butterfly orchid carries a unique DNA sequence and that even after several generations of hybridization, the extraction of the "descendants" can still be recognized by its genetic expressions. Researchers can use the information to identify an orchid and where it comes from, he added.

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