Sun, Nov 02, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

■ POLITICS

Ma to hold new meetings

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will meet one Cabinet member each week starting next week to review their progress in implementing his more than 400 campaign promises, officials said yesterday. Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), head of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, which is in charge of scheduling the meetings, said the arrangement will facilitate direct discussion between the president and Cabinet members and avoid possible communication gaps. The first of the meetings, set for next Wednesday, will be with Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), who will brief the president on the planned enactment of sunshine laws and a law that would criminalize the possession of unaccounted wealth by public officials, Jiang said. The media has speculated that the meetings represent an attempt by Ma to involve himself in the alleged money-laundering case involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), an allegation rebutted by Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), who said there was no way the president would discuss “individual judicial cases” during the meeting.

■ CRIME

Pastor sentenced for rape

A pastor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping 13 girls and women in his congregation over the course of more than two years, according to a report yesterday. Tang Tai-shen (唐台生), 58, sexually abused the women, the youngest of whom was aged only 14, under the pretext of offering them sex counseling and videotaped the crimes, the Chinese-language Apple Daily said. He was also ordered by the court to undergo therapy for three years, the report said. Eight female staffers, including Tang’s daughter-in-law, who were in charge of recruiting followers to his self-styled church, also received jail terms of between 12 months and seven and a half years for molesting the women, it said. The pastor was arrested last year and has been detained ever since. In 1999, Tang, then a pastor in the “China Holiness Church,” was convicted of molesting a female follower and was sentenced to three years and two months in prison. He was released in 2005 after serving the full jail term.

■ HEALTH

Group approves plan

The anti-smoking group John Tung Foundation approves of the Cabinet’s plan to increase taxes on cigarettes and expand non-smoking areas in public spaces, but says more must be done to reduce smoking, especially among youngsters. Lin Ching-li (林清麗), the foundation’s tobacco hazard prevention section chief, on Friday praised the draft amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act passed by the Cabinet on Thursday to increase the health and welfare surcharge on cigarettes to NT$20 per pack from the existing NT$10.

■ AGRICULTURE

China reaches milestone

China imported more than 1,005 tonnes of fruit from Taiwan through Xiamen Port this year as of Thursday, surpassing the 1,000-tonne mark for a year for the first time ever, the Xiamen Quarantine Office said on Friday. According to a China News Services report seen in Taipei, the office’s tallies showed that 141 shipments of Taiwan fruit entered China via Xiamen port in the first 10 months of the year, 1.6 times the number of shipments over the same period last year, and the shipments were valued at US$971,000, up more than 25 percent year on year. Taiwan was the No. 1 source of China’s fruit imports through Xiamen port, according to the office’s statistics.

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