Hualien mayor indicted
Hualien City Mayor Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔) and former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Tang Bi-a (唐碧娥) were indicted on charges of corruption yesterday, with prosecutors seeking an 18-year prison sentence for Tsai and 10 years for Tang. Hualien Chief Prosecutor Huang Yi-chun (黃怡君) said that Tsai and Tang had been indicted for their alleged involvement in a bribery case related to the construction of the city’s sports park. Huang said prosecutors had evidence showing that Tsai had asked the construction company for a NT$990,000 (US$32,300) commission, and that Tsai eventually received NT$200,000. Another 14 government officials and employees of the construction company were also indicted in addition to Tsai and Tang. Tsai said that he would organize a press conference on Monday to respond to his indictment.
Pineapple farming in focus
A special exhibition on the history of pineapple cultivation in Taiwan opened yesterday at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung, focusing on the fruit’s evolution from its original strain over 300 years ago to today’s many hybrid varieties. The exhibition, which will run through Aug. 31, features pineapple plants similar to the one brought to Taiwan from China during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (康熙) (1662-1722) in the Qing dynasty. Tsai Wu-hsiung (蔡武雄), director of the Chiayi branch of the state-run Agricultural Research Institute, said it is probably the earliest strain introduced to Taiwan. While it is no longer commercially viable to grow, the institute felt it was worthwhile to preserve the seed source, Tsai said.
Kids see moms more: study
Fathers only spend half as much time with their small children as mothers do, a survey released yesterday showed. The Bureau of Health Promotion said that mothers who don’t work or work fewer hours tend to spend almost all their time with young children. But fathers, whether they work or not, spend much less time with their children. Whether the fathers live in urban or rural areas makes no difference, the study showed. The results were drawn from a survey of those caring for six-month-olds in 21,648 households between July 2005 and July 2006 and of those caring for 18-month-olds in 20,559 households between July 2006 and July last year. Mothers spent an average of 47 hours with six-month-old babies per week, and 49 hours with 18-month-old children, while fathers spent 24 hours a week with six-month-olds and 26 hours with 18-month-olds.
Tourists stuck in Cambodia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday around 500 Taiwanese tourists were stuck in Cambodia as Angkor Airways Corp, a Phnom Penh based airline, had temporarily suspended services to Taiwan. The ministry said arrangements had been made put the tourists up in local hotels with the help of Cambodia-based Taiwanese businessmen. The Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Tourism Bureau will cooperate with Taiwanese airlines to bring the tourists home within the next two or three days. The news came after the Taipei office of Angkor Airways made an announcement yesterday afternoon that the airline had encountered financial problems. As a result, Angkor Airways said it would temporarily suspend Angkor-Taipei flights, effective today [Saturday].