KMT’s Chiang ‘not guilty’
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) was yesterday found not guilty by the Taichung District Court on charges of vote-buying. Taichung prosecutors immediately decided to appeal the case to the Taiwan High Court. Chiang is suspected of paying a Taiping Township (太平) councilor surnamed Lin NT$50,000 (US$1,500) to buy votes for him. Prosecutors seized video footage of Chiang allegedly offering Lin the money and asking him to distribute it, but Lin is not seen accepting the money. The district court’s ruling said that because the video footage did not have sound, the court could not determine the content of the conversation between Chiang and Lin. The ruling also said the court did not know whether the NT$50,00 was money to buy votes or a political donation.
Forecast predicts rain
Most parts of Taiwan will see showers or thundershowers for seven days starting today, as a moist air mass brought by a southwesterly wind moves across the nation, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. CWB meteorologists said that from today until Sunday, all of Taiwan except the south will have rain followed by thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday, including Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu. Southeastern Taiwan will see only showers, the CWB said. Temperatures over the next seven days will vary between 20°C and 27°C in the north, 21°C and 29°C in central regions, 23°C and 31°C in the south and 21°C and 28°C in the east, the weather bureau said. Meteorologists explained that the approaching front does not mean that the annual plum rain season is beginning early this year. They added that plum rain fronts usually occur near the end of this month.
Status quo’ more popular
Nearly 45 percent of the respondents to a recent survey said they favor the maintenance of the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, according to the results of a poll conducted by the Global Views Monthly magazine released yesterday. The results of the poll, conducted between April 15 and April 18, said that some 45 percent of people over 20 favored the notion that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should maintain the political status quo for the time being before any changes are made.” The response marks the highest of its kind in the last five years, the survey said. The poll found that the percentage of respondents who favor eventual unification had dropped to a record low of 8.4 percent. A total of 44.8 percent of the respondents favored upholding the current cross-strait situation. The telephone survey randomly selected adults from around the country. It received 1,003 valid responses.
Alishan rail back in action
The Alishan railway resumed operations yesterday after a two-week suspension for safety checks, the Chiayi Forest District Office said. About 80 tourists took the train as it restarted operations, keen to travel on one of the world’s three narrow-gauge mountain railways. Chiayi Forest District Office chief Yeh Hsien-liang (葉賢良) said he is confident of the train’s safety after the office conducted a full examination of its equipment and training. The office decided to halt services on April 14 following three derailments in the previous two weeks. The Alishan mountain resort area is known for its cherry blossoms, sun rises and its steep railway with numerous hairpin bends. It attracts nearly 900,000 visitors a year.