Losheng eviction to begin
More than 50 Losheng Sanatorium preservationists gathered in front of the Department of Health (DOH) building yesterday, protesting the eviction of Losheng residents and demanding that Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) listen to their pleas. “No forced eviction, we want dialogue!” shouted the members of the Youth Alliance for Losheng and Losheng Self-help Organization. “[Today] they will force [the residents] out. Why will no one listen to our pleas?” said alliance member Chang Hsin-wen (張馨文). The preservationists’ fight against what they consider human rights violations and the destruction of historic buildings has continued for four years.
Kao defers on Dalai Lama
A visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, would be politically sensitive, and would be left to the country’s security agencies to decide, said Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission Chairman Kao Su-po (高思博). Kao said the commission would welcome his visit, but that security authorities would make an assessment before arriving at a decision. Kao made the remarks after the Dalai Lama, in an interview with the Hong Kong-based weekly Yazhou Zhoukan, said he would like to visit Taiwan again if the chance arises to forge friendly relations with Chinese brothers and sisters and to have exchanges with Buddhist followers. “The commission attaches great importance to the Dalai Lama’s possible visit, given his high profile in the international community,” Kao said. But in view of China’s concerns wherever he goes, “[choosing] the appropriate time for the visit and arranging his meetings with political heavyweights in Taiwan would be an issue that requires careful thought,” Kao said.
Water officials impeached
The Control Yuan yesterday impeached three officials and the former head of the Third River Management Office of the Water Resources Agency Hsu Che-yen (?? on charges of corruption. Prosecutors in Taichung sought a 20-year prison term for Hsu and a 10-year term for Yeh Yi-kuang (葉奕匡), Lin Jong-shao (林榮紹) and Chao Shih-jey (周世杰) for corruption in July, saying that they accepted favors dozens of times from businesspeople who were contracted for dredging constructions on the Dajia River (大甲溪). Control Yuan members Chien Lin Hui-chun (錢林慧君) and Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) said in the impeachment statement that they found the agency negligent in supervising its officials when they were away on business trips.
MOFA warns travelers
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) urged Taiwanese travelers yesterday to take necessary precautions to avoid becoming embroiled in drug-trafficking, a serious crime in many popular Southeast Asian destinations. Victor Yu (于德勝), director-general of MOFA’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs division, issued the warning at a press conference after a report from the Indonesian government said 23 individuals — 13 of them Taiwanese nationals — were caught with drugs at the country’s gateways over the past eight months. Some of the Taiwanese nationals were severely punished, Yu said, while others are still in the trial process. More than 110 Taiwanese nationals are still serving sentences for drug-trafficking and other drug-related crimes in Thailand, Yu said. To avoid being implicated in a drug-trafficking case, Yu said travelers should not carry packages for strangers.