Fri, Apr 27, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ CRIME

Seized drugs burned

The Bureau of Investigation yesterday burned 265kg of drugs seized by law-enforcement personnel over the past year as a prelude to this year's National Anti-Drug Conference scheduled for June 3. Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) presided over a public ceremony at the incineration. The bureau said the drugs included 242kg of heroin, 21kg of marijuana, 691g of morphine and 1,175g of cocaine. It was the largest stash of drugs the bureau had destroyed since 1993, when it opened an office to store and manage narcotics evidence. Drug disposals have been conducted annually to coincide with the anti-drug conference, the bureau said. Bureau analysis on drug offenses shows that the amount of ketamine recovered in the past two years has grown two-fold, while marijuana has gained in popularity among office workers and people in show business.

■ ARTS

Pianist honored in Austria

A talented Taiwanese musician was honored by Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna, Austria, for her achievements in music last Friday. Tsao Hsin-wen (曹馨文), a pianist born and raised in Taiwan, has lived in Austria since she was 17 to pursue her studies at a Vienna conservatory. She was awarded the Theodor-Koerner Award, named after a former Austrian president, which honors individuals for outstanding achievements in various fields including music, arts and sciences, according to documents released for the award ceremony. Tsao's achievements include participation in music events worldwide and winning awards in Sweden, Austria, Italy and Hungary. "It's rare for a Taiwanese person to receive the award," Tsao said, adding that she was the only Taiwanese among this year's recipients. "The award isn't just an honor for me; More significantly, it's an honor for my homeland, Taiwan."

■ CONSTRUCTION

Cabinet approves spending

The Cabinet has approved a public construction budget of NT$131.5 billion (US$4 billion) for next year, a 2.5 percent increase, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday. The construction budget is part of overall spending for next year that will be forwarded to the legislature for approval in the second half of this year. The Cabinet last August approved the budget for this year with projected spending of NT$1.66 trillion and income of NT$1.51 trillion. This year's budget is still under review by the legislature.

■ ENVIRONMENT

Clear sky days decreasing

Air monitoring data has shown that in a period of about 100 winter days when northeast monsoons prevail in Taiwan, the number of clear sky days has decreased over the past three years, an official of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) revealed earlier this week. Chang Shun-chin (張順欽), who is in charge of pollution monitoring, said there were only 46 days with clean air to breathe during the monsoon season this winter, which lasted 111 days. By comparison, there were 59 "clean days" during last year's monsoon season, which lasted 116 days, while 77 clean days were recorded in the season before that, which lasted 112 days, Chang said. He attributed the situation to pollution by particulate matter carried by monsoon winds to Taiwan from China and Southeast Asia. The pollution coming from overseas was found to be worst in the Taipei area, he added.

■ SOCIETY

Group organizes `Spank Out'

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