Prodigy wins entry to NTU
A 15-year-old prodigy was admitted into National Taiwan University's (NTU) electrical engineering department yesterday, making her the youngest freshman in the country this year. Tsai Pei-chen (蔡佩真) graduated from the Taipei First Girls' High School but will not turn 16 until next Thursday. She has skipped grades twice since the age of 10, said her father, Tsai Yen-hsin (蔡彥欣), an assistant professor at the Technology and Science Institute of Northern Taiwan. He said Pei-chen has been interested in math, nature and physics since she was very young and that she has a photographic memory. He said his daughter had been excused from math classes because she was so far ahead of her classmates, which gave her additional time to spend in the library or to take online classes provided by the university.
Reservoir project on time
Approximately 25 percent of the Hushan Reservoir in Yunlin County has been completed as of last month, Council for Economic Planning and Development officials said on Tuesday, estimating that the entire project will be finished by 2014. The NT$20.5 billion (US$621 million) project is part of the government's efforts to resolve a land sinkage problem in the county, the officials said. The majority of the county's land is subsiding, a problem resulting from residents pumping too much ground water for use in irrigation and aquaculture, the officials said. More than 100 million tonnes of ground water is pumped out annually, they said, warning that water in some areas of the county has been found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals, including arsenic and nitrate nitrogen. The sinkage needs to be curbed as it poses a safety threat to the Yunlin station of the high speed railway, which is still under construction, the officials said.
Hsieh to visit Singapore
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) will travel to Singapore on Saturday to discuss his "Six Stars Plan," his campaign office said yesterday. The plan includes development of local business, improvement of social welfare and medical systems as well as promoting cultural and educational development. On his way to the DPP's Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday, Hsieh told reporters he believed it was necessary for him to visit Southeast Asian countries after his trip to the US last month. He said he hopes to help these nations understand his ideals, the opinions of Taiwanese and Taiwan's situation in the world. Details of the three-day trip are still being planned, his office said. Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun is scheduled to leave for the Philippines today.
Accused rapist's bond raised
Bond was raised from US$2 million to US$15 million on Tuesday for a Taiwan-born man in Ohio accused of using chloroform to knock out his friends' teenage daughters and rape them. Prosecutors argued that the bond for Wu Chien-tai (吳建泰), a 50-year-old software designer, should be set higher because he was well-traveled and wealthy. "That is to protect the community and in the interest of justice," Judge William Mallory said of the higher bond. Defense attorney James Kolenich said Wu could not afford the previous bond. Wu has pleaded not guilty to 17 charges including rape, aggravated burglary and felony assault.
Legislative aides cry foul
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lai Shin-yuan's (賴幸媛) seven aides resigned en masse last Saturday, accusing their employer of mistreatment. They issued a statement saying that one of the aides suffered a pay cut of NT$15,000 because Lai told her that she was in "dire" financial straits. Lai told the aide to keep mum about the cut, with the promise that she would restore the aide's wages at a later date, the statement said. However, Lai did not keep her word, as the aides found that Lai had given the legislative budget earmarked for legislative aides to her friends, the statement alleged. The statement also said that a close friend of Lai allegedly slapped an aide in the face in the legislative office for no apparent reason. Lai is currently abroad.
E71 case was imported
A two-year-old girl developed serious complications triggered by enterovirus type 71 (E71) soon after returning from China late last month, making her the country's first imported case of a severe enterovirus infection, a Center for Disease Control official said on Tuesday. The girl had been traveling in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, with her parents and four-year-old brother and returned to Taiwan on July 26, Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hao (周志浩) said. On July 27, the boy displayed signs of hand-foot-and-mouth syndrome -- indicative of a mild enterovirus infection. The following day the girl came down with high fever, muscle twitching, a rapid heartbeat and sleepiness. Chou said the children were recovering well and that the girl had been transferred from an intensive care unit to an ordinary ward.
Police have detained a Taoyuan couple suspected of over the past two months colluding with human trafficking rings and employment scammers in Southeast Asia to send nearly 100 Taiwanese jobseekers to Cambodia. At a media briefing in Taipei yesterday, the Criminal Investigation Bureau presented items seized from the couple, including alleged victims’ passports, forged COVID-19 vaccination records, mobile phones, bank documents, checks and cash. The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and his girlfriend, surnamed Tsan (詹), were taken into custody last month, after police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport stopped four jobseekers from boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, said Dustin Lee (李泱輯),
BILINGUAL PLAN: The 17 educators were recruited under a program that seeks to empower Taiwanese, the envoy to the Philippines said The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines on Thursday hosted a send-off event for the first group of English-language teachers from the country who were recruited for a Ministry of Education-initiated program to advance bilingual education in Taiwan. The 14 teachers and three teaching assistants are part of the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, which aims to help find English-language instructors for Taiwan’s public elementary and junior-high schools, the office said. Seventy-seven teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan in the coming school year, office data showed. Among the first group is 57-year-old
TRICKED INTO MOVING: Local governments in China do not offer any help, and Taiwanese there must compete with Chinese in an unfamiliar setting, a researcher said Beijing’s incentives for Taiwanese businesspeople to invest in China are only intended to lure them across the Taiwan Strait, after which they receive no real support, an expert said on Sunday. Over the past few years, Beijing has been offering a number of incentives that “benefit Taiwanese in name, while benefiting China in reality,” a cross-strait affairs expert said on condition of anonymity. Strategies such as the “31 incentives” are intended to lure Taiwanese talent, capital and technology to help address China’s economic issues while also furthering its “united front” efforts, they said. Local governments in China do not offer much practical
‘ORDINARY PEOPLE’: A man watching Taiwanese military drills said that there would be nothing anyone could do if the situation escalates in the Taiwan Strait Many people in Taiwan look upon China’s military exercises over the past week with calm resignation, doubting that war is imminent and if anything, feeling pride in their nation’s determination to defend itself. After a visit to Taiwan last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has sent ships and aircraft across an unofficial buffer between Taiwan and China’s coast and missiles over Taipei and into waters surrounding the nation since Thursday last week. However, Rosa Chang, proudly watching her son take part in Taiwanese military exercises that included dozens of howitzers firing shells into the Taiwan Strait off