Temblors rattle Taiwan
Two earthquakes, measuring 5.5 and 4.6 on the Richter scale, rattled Taiwan before dawn yesterday, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, officials said. The epicenter of the stronger earthquake, which struck at 5:05am was about 27km east of Ilan at a depth of 65km, the Central Weather Bureau said in a statement. It could be felt in Taipei. The second quake hit at 6:09am about 5km southeast of Taitung at a depth of 26km, the weather bureau said.
Man jailed in Cambodia
A Taiwanese man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in Cambodia after being convicted of trying to smuggle heroin out of the country, court officials said yesterday. Wang Tien-su, 50, was arrested in February with 200g of heroin hidden in condoms in his shoes as he tried to pass through Phnom Penh International Airport, judge Iv Kim Sry said. He was found guilty on Tuesday and was fined US$12,500, the judge said. At least half a dozen Taiwanese, including a 90-year-old man, have been detained trying to smuggle heroin through the airport in the past year. Although drug arrests have increased, Cambodia is becoming an increasingly popular trafficking point for methamphetamines and heroin, particularly since Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in 2002.
Search for sailors continues
Navy vessels and helicopters continued the search yesterday for 26 sailors missing after a Panama-registered cargo ship sank off the northeastern coast. No additional survivors were found but two unidentified bodies were discovered, an official said. The 16,000-tonne Mezzanine, loaded with iron ore, capsized in rough seas on Tuesday. The 28-year-old vessel departed an Indonesian port last Saturday for the Chinese port of Tianjin. Only one person has been rescued, Herry Marthen Bakarbessy, an Indonesian sailor, who was pulled out of the water by the Coast Guard on Wednesday after floating at sea for about 20 hours, he said. "There were no traces of other missing sailors, but we will continue the rescue effort, with navy vessels searching in the high seas and patrol boats near shore," a Coast Guard official said.
Women campaign for DPP
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters in Taichung City yesterday formed a women's campaign team that will focus on drumming up support for the party ahead of the presidential election. Led by Deputy Presidential Office Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung's (林佳龍) wife, Liao Wan-ju (廖婉如), the team began its campaigning yesterday. Urging women to unite on political issues and speak up for their rights, Liao said women needed to take the March election seriously and turn out in big numbers. Yu Fang-chih (游芳枝), wife of DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), said the DPP attached great importance to women's rights and would continue to fight for gender equality if re-elected to the Presidential Office. Yu said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) recently announced measures for women's rights were nothing new. Ma's policies on women's issues are only a mirror of what the government has been fighting for over the last seven years, Yu said.