Tu Li-ping offered help
Prosecutors have contacted the family of Tu Li-ping (杜麗萍), a suspect in the corruption allegations involving the former first family, who attempted suicide on Saturday night, said Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南), the spokesman for the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office. Chen said yesterday that prosecutors told Tu's family that the judiciary would offer Tu personal protection if needed. Tu, a board member of Yuanta Securities, attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills and inhaling car exhaust fumes one day after she was released by the Taipei District Court on bail of NT$1 million (US$303,303). Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) told a legislative meeting yesterday that she “was sad to hear Tu had attempted suicide, and I hope Tu would appreciate her life more and face the investigation forthrightly.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the constant leaks of investigation information by prosecutors to the media had made Tu's life miserable, leading to her suicide attempt.
NCC orders cable rate cut
The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday ordered eight cable service providers in six counties — Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu — to lower their basic cable TV rates starting on Jan. 1. The six are the only counties that have not set up a committee to regulate cable TV rates and are thus still subject to review by the NCC. The rate cuts of between NT$20 and NT$50 will translate into savings of between NT$240 and NT$600 per year for customers. The Taipei City Government decided on Friday to maintain basic cable TV rates in the city at NT$530 per month, while reducing rates for low-income households from one-third of the regular rate to one-fourth, effective on Jan. 1.
Late service on Dec. 31
The Kaohsiung MRT's operating hours will be extended on Dec. 31 for the convenience of residents taking part in the city's various New Year's Eve celebrations, the city's Transit Bureau and Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) said yesterday. Huang Yi-chung (黃一中), director of the KRTC's Public Affairs Department, said MRT train services would run until 2am instead of the usual 11:30pm. Huang said although there is no MRT station adjacent to the square outside the Dream Mall, where one of the main New Year's Eve activities will be held, shuttle bus services from the site to nearby stations will be available. The city expects about 300,000 people to join the year-end festivities.
Students sickened by 'gas'
More than 20 students at Chaoliao Junior High School in Kaohsiung County were sent to hospital for treatment yesterday morning after a suspected gas leak in the vicinity of the school. Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiao-Kang Hospital, where seven of the female students were sent, said they were treated for nausea and dizziness but were not suffering from any serious ailments. The hospital said the students were put on intravenous drips and placed under observation, adding that their condition was not life threatening. Kuo Hung-chu (郭虹珠), principal of the school located next to the Ta Fa Industrial District, said that shortly after 8am several faculty members and students suddenly noticed a strange gaseous odor similar to that of a pesticide and that soon afterward many students began experiencing tightness in the chest, dizziness and even vomiting.