Kinmen fights vote-buying
The Kinmen District Prosecutors Office inaugurated its new "Investigation Coordination Center" yesterday as it kicked off a campaign against vote-buying in the run-up to the legislative and presidential elections in January and March respectively. A ceremony was held at the office to mark the opening of the new facility intended as a base for efforts to combat vote-buying, with prosecutors tasked to look into any allegations of illegal election activity, said Wu Wen-cheng (吳文政), head prosecutor of the office. Legislative candidacy registration began today. Wu said that the prosecutors' office on Kinmen had so far received more than 20 reports of alleged vote-buying.
Teachers skeptical of policy
A majority of teachers think the nation is not ready for a 12-year compulsory education system, a Taiwan Provincial Education Association survey released yesterday said. More than 60 percent of the teachers polled said the education system was not prepared to extend compulsory education from nine years to 12, while 83 percent of respondents said the government had not taken important steps to facilitate the change. The survey was carried out from June 1 to June 30, with 16,927 elementary and high school school teachers surveyed. Huang Kuang-kuo (黃光國), a psychology professor at National Taiwan University, said the outcome highlighted the faults of the nation's education reforms. Huang said reform aimed at ensuring that all students have access to senior high school and higher education did not help students develop their potential.
Square may be renamed
The Ministry of Education said yesterday that a proposal to rename the square in front of the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall had been submitted to the Council of Cultural Affairs for approval. Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) told lawmakers during a legislative meeting yesterday that the square and the inscription on the front gate of the hall would be changed from dazhong zhizheng (大中至正), meaning justice, to "Liberty Square." Taipei City Cultural Affairs Department Commissioner Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) threatened the ministry with a fine if any part of the hall is removed or renovated. "If they dare do it, we will fine them," she told a press conference. Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮), a ministry official, told the Taipei Times that the proposal had been submitted to the council, but nothing would be changed until the council approves it, adding that the bronze statue of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) would not be removed. "It's too early to say what will happen as we have just submitted the proposal," he said.
Fund to protect farmers
The Council of Agriculture announced yesterday that it plans to create a fund worth NT$2 billion (US$62 million) within three years to set up a quota management system for the poultry industry and stabilize product prices in case of sharp market fluctuations. Officials said the council and local poultry industry have come to an agreement that beginning next year, each side will contribute NT$1 billion to set up the joint fund within three years to tackle imbalances in demand and supply in line with a quota-based management system scheduled to be fully implemented by 2009.