Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

Staff writer, with Agencies

■ THSRC to add more trains

The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) will increase the number of southbound and northbound daily train runs to 113 next month, with more than 50 trains in each direction every day, THSRC executive director Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) said yesterday. He said that a train will depart every 10 minutes during rush hours and that they will offer open-seat tickets to serve more passengers. The prices of open-seat tickets have not been determined but it was unlikely they would be substantially discounted, he said. THSRC has also started to map out plans for the phone booking system, but it probably would not be ready before the end of this year. THSRC also plans to begin selling light meals priced at under NT$100, excluding beverages. Lunch boxes are also being considered, he said.

■ CRIME

Punishment a write-off

Tainan prosecutors asked a man to write Buddhism's Heart Sutra (般若波羅密心經) 100 times in return for dropping the charges against him. The man, surnamed Lin (林), was indicted for selling pornographic pictures and comic books over the Internet. Police officers contacted Lin through the Internet and asked for 15 comic books. Lin was arrested on Sept. 15 in Jenteh Township (仁德), Tainan County, when he delivering the comics. Tainan Prosecutor Chang Wan-ning (張婉寧) decided to ask him to "do something" in return for suspension of his charges since this was his first offense. So she asked him to copy out the Heart Sutra 100 times within three months. If Lin fails to finish his task or asks other people to help him, the suspended charges will be reinstated, officials said.

■ POLITICS

DPP and TSU negotiate

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) met Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) to discuss how to prevent their parties from hurting each other's chances in January's legislative elections. Huang dismissed speculation that the DPP would allocate a legislator-at-large seat to a female TSU legislator, saying such rumors only vilified his party's reputation. "The TSU is an independent party and therefore it is not an issue whether it will merge with the DPP," he said. Huang said he and Cho had discussed how to cooperate in eight constituencies and would talk again before Friday. The two men met after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) met Huang on Oct. 18. Chen and Huan agreed to negotiate cooperative efforts for the legislative elections as soon as possible.

■ EDUCATION

Survey shows stress rising

Junior high school students in Taipei suffer more serious stress than senior-high students, a survey released yesterday by the Taipei City Department of Health showed. The survey was conducted earlier this month among 543 students at a junior-high school and 1,060 students at a senior-high school. Both schools have test-oriented curriculums. The survey found that 30 percent of junior-high respondents described themselves as suffering from serious stress, while 28 percent of senior-high respondents reported serious stress. The two figures were both higher than the 20 percent of working people who claim to suffer from serious stress, said Kao Wei-chun (高偉君), the department official responsible for medical care and health management.

■CLA launches new program

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) recently launched a program to help young people find jobs amid high unemployment rates among new graduates. Many young people cannot find jobs after they graduate, council Chairman Lu Tien-lin (盧天麟) said, adding that the youth unemployment rate is 11.6 percent, three times the overall unemployment rate. A council survey found that 60 percent to 70 percent of young people said that they had trouble finding their first job, Lu said. The survey also found that up to 40 percent of companies polled have shut out first-time job seekers. The council has allocated NT$250 million (US$7.6 million) for the job-training program. People under the age of 29, with a bachelor's or master's degree are eligible. Participants will receive a monthly subsidy of NT$12,096, he said.

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