Lee rebuts Chen comment
Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) rebutted an accusation by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) that Lee was involved in money laundering. Lee was responding to remarks by Chen that the Special Investigation Panel of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office was investigating an NT$1.6 billion (US$49 million) money laundering case that involved Lee. “I welcome any investigation, and please make it quick,” Lee told reporters, adding that Chen’s statement was false, but that he “would not bother to argue with Chen.” Lee went on to say that if Chen hoped to get a milder penalty for allegedly laundering money by saying Lee had done the same thing, “he would only make himself a laughing stock.”
Ministry promotes hotline
The Ministry of the Interior yesterday encouraged people facing unexpected financial difficulties and other problems as a result of the ailing economy to call the “1957 national welfare hotline” for help. The central government, in collaboration with local governments, set up the hotline in November 2006 to help people with financial problems. The hotline offers access to legal counseling and other services. So far this year, an average of 1,000 to 1,990 calls per month were made to the hotline, the ministry said. Many people have overcome their difficulties with the help of the hotline, the ministry said.
Man overdoses in taxi
A taxi driver drove passengers around for a day with a dead friend sitting in the front seat, TVBS reported on Saturday. TVBS said the taxi driver, identified only as Wang, picked up a friend, Kuo Chun-chieh (郭俊賢), in Changhua County at about 10pm on Wednesday. Kuo, 35, was drunk and asked Wang to drive him to Lugang (鹿港) to see a friend. At the friend’s home, Kuo picked up a parcel, got back into the taxi, and asked Wang to drive him to Taichung City. Sitting in the front seat beside the driver, Kuo reportedly injected himself in the arm with a drug and passed out. TVBS said that Wang, believing Kuo was “asleep,” drove the taxi home and left Kuo inside. The next morning, seeing that Kuo had not stirred, Wang reportedly drove his taxi around and picked up several passengers during the day with Kuo slumped in the front seat, believing he was still sleeping. It was not until about 10pm on Thursday that Wang reportedly realized that Kuo was dead and drove to a police station. An autopsy showed on Friday that Kuo had died of a drug overdose. However, police said they found it difficult to believe that Wang did not realize earlier that Kuo had died.
Cables sustain damage
Breaks in three submarine cables under the Mediterranean Sea, possibly caused by a ship’s anchor, have disrupted Internet and international telephone services in parts of the Middle East and as far as Taiwan, officials said on Saturday. A ship carrying a submarine repair robot was on its way to the site between Sicily and Tunisia on Saturday, with work expected to take until the end of the year, a spokesman for ship owner and telecom operator France Telecom said. The cables, owned by various consortiums, were damaged on Friday. “There are two theories: either the anchor of a ship, which could have displaced them ... or an earthquake. We think it’s the first theory,” spokesman Louis-Michel Aymard said. The damage to the SEA-ME-WE3, SEA-ME-WE4 and FLAG cables caused varying degrees of disruption from Zambia to India and Taiwan.