Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■JUSTICE

Chen questioned on projects

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was questioned at the Taipei Detention Center yesterday by the Investigation Bureau on matters regarding classified diplomatic projects. Lee Ta-chu (李大竹), deputy director of the center where Chen is being detained, said that investigators questioned Chen from about 10am to 1:40pm. Special Investigation Panel prosecutors have investigated corruption allegations related to classified diplomatic projects during Chen’s presidency. However, Chen’s lawyer, Shih Yi-ling (石宜琳), told reporters: “According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, because Chen has already been indicted, investigators cannot reopen the case for investigation.” Chen was accompanied by Shih and another lawyer, Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文龍), during the questioning. Lee declined to comment on details regarding the questioning.

■TRANSPORTATION

Railway to go electric

The railway between Hualien and Taitung counties will be fully electrified by 2013 as part of government efforts to upgrade rail services in eastern Taiwan, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said during an inspection tour of Taitung yesterday. Mao said the railway electrification project would begin later this year. Huang Chung-chieh (黃中杰), chief of the eastern Taiwan division of the Railway Reconstruction Bureau, said that after the 155km railway is electrified, the railway’s speed would increase from 110kph to 130kph, shortening travel time.

■TRANSPORTATION

Freeway links Wufong, Puli

National Freeway No. 6 linking Wufong in Taichung County to Puli in Nantou County was officially opened on Saturday. The 37.6km freeway incorporates high-tech and eco-friendly materials and techniques and will help boost Nantou’s tourism and agriculture, officials said. Nantou is rich in agricultural and tourism resources. One of its major products is Oolong tea and its tourist attractions include Sun Moon Lake and Shitou Forest Recreational Area, two of the country’s most popular scenic areas. The freeway is the first in Taiwan to prioritize the concept of sustainable growth by trying to minimize the impact on the environment along its route. The construction of National Freeway No. 6 started in 2004 and cost NT$37.6 billion (US$1.11 billion).

■ECONOMY

Cabinet proposes cap

The Cabinet last night said that the ceiling on interest rates for credit card and cash cards should be capped at 15.5 percent, based on the maximum 12 percent interest rate for non-collateralized loans set by the central bank plus a floating annual rate currently set at 3.5 percent. The rate cap is higher than the 12.5 percent cap suggested last week by lawmakers. The legislature’s Judicial Committee last Thursday preliminarily approved an amendment to the Civil Code (民法) that would cut the limit on all contracted interest rates from 20 percent to 9 percent above the central bank’s rate for three-month loans without collateral. In response to strong opposition voiced by foreign and domestic banks on the legislature’s move, Vice Premier Paul Chiu (邱正雄) called a meeting of economic officials last night. Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Sean Chen (陳冲) suggested lawmakers stipulate a cap of the interest rate based on Article 41 of the Banking Act (銀行法) and not the Civil Code so as not to affect other kinds of loans in the private lending market.

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