Wu undergoes surgery
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) underwent artery stent placement surgery yesterday morning at Taipei Veterans General Hospital because of coronary heart disease. The surgery was successful and the chairman is to be discharged from hospital today, the KMT said. His condition was discovered during a regular health checkup on Wednesday after Wu presided over the party’s central standing committee. Wu said in a telephone interview with TVBS yesterday that the surgery took less than an hour and that his condition would not affect his work.
Airport volume drops
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport ranked No. 14 in passenger traffic volume among the 138 international airports in the Asia Pacific region last year, down from No. 13 in 2006, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. The country ranked No. 6 in freight traffic volume, the same as in 2006. Meanwhile, the airport saw its global ranking in freight traffic volume fall from No. 13 to No. 15 last year. Regarding the growth percentage in freight traffic volume among the top 20 international airports in the world last year, Taiwan Taoyuan Airport had dropped 5.5 percent. Ministry statistics from January to August this year showed that Taichung International Airport registered the strongest growth in passenger traffic volume, with a 45.8 percent increase over the previous year.
Visa waivers granted
Starting on Wednesday, Polish and Slovak nationals can enter the country for 30 days without a visa. The waiver will also extend to Hungarian nationals starting next month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Anne Hung (洪慧珠), head of the ministry’s Department of European Affairs, said the move extended Taiwan’s goodwill toward EU countries in the hope the EU would reciprocate. Taiwan offers the 30-days visa-waiver privilege to 33 countries, including 22 in the EU group.
Layoffs at ‘China Times’
As part of a corporate reorganization project, the China Times Group (中時集團) said yesterday it would lay off all 10 reporters at its online news.chinatimes.com news outlet and some of its 40 editors, Central News Agency (CNA) reported yesterday. In addition, the group will merge China Times online — an independent entity under the group — with Info Times, an Internet-based news service provider within the group, next month. China Times online was launched in 1998, making the Chinese-language China Times the first print media in Taiwan to publish its news content on the Internet.
Chen case widens
Prosecutors yesterday added Tsai Ming-chieh (蔡銘杰) and Tsai Ming-che (蔡銘哲) to the list of defendants in the investigation into former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) alleged money-laundering. Tsai Ming-chieh and Tsai Ming-che are brothers of Tsai Mei-li (蔡美利), a former classmate of former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍). The three Tsais and their spouses were summoned by the Special Investigation Panel yesterday for questioning for their alleged role in the case. After six hours of interrogation, the prosecutors filed a request to detain Tsai Ming-che.
Judge delays verdict
Taipei District Court Judge Huang Cheng-hui (黃程暉) yesterday postponed his ruling in the trial of Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材), a key suspect in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) diplomatic fraud scandal, and called for additional hearings. “We decided to hold back the process for the verdict and organize more hearings for the case,” Huang said in court, adding that former minister of foreign affairs James Huang (黃志芳) would be summoned again for the hearing at 10am on Monday. Wu and his partner, Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖), who were commissioned by the ministry in 2006 to help broker a deal for the establishment of diplomatic ties with PNG, allegedly embezzled the US$29.8 million intended as aid for the Pacific country. While Ching remains on the run, Wu, taken into custody by prosecutors on May 6, was indicted on Sept. 5 on charges of forging a bank statement and making a false report to the police that he had been threatened by an unidentified gunman.