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.