Wed, Jun 10, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

■POLITICS

Toupee-taker sentenced

Huang Yung-tien (黃永田), 50, who tore the toupee off Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) last year, was sentenced to five months in jail for depriving Chiu of his freedom to “look good,” Taipei District Court spokesman said yesterday. “The judge thought Chiu Yi had the freedom to wear what he wanted, and Chiu felt the hairpiece made him look better,” spokesman Huang Chun-ming (黃俊明) said. “The judge thinks that to remove it intentionally was to take away that right.” Chiu lost his toupee, revealing a mostly bald head, when he went to file a complaint against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in December. Huang Yung-tien, the leader of a pro-Chen group, called the sentence excessive, local media said. “I wasn’t careful,” he was quoted saying. “Does carelessness warrant such severity?” The sentence can be converted to a fine.

■DIPLOMACY

AIT ground-breaking all set

Construction on a new office complex for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) will begin on June 22, AIT spokesman Thomas Hodges said on Monday. He said the US State Department approved a US$176 million budget for the project last October. AIT Director Stephen Young will preside over the ceremony on June 22, Hodges said. Completion of the first phase of the project, on a 6.5-hectare site that has been leased for 99 years from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, is expected to take about two years. The first phase of the project will include clearing and grading the site as well as building a perimeter security system, vehicular and pedestrian access control facilities, recreational facilities, guards’ quarters, maintenance buildings and a parking area. The second phase will include the construction of the new office facility and will take another two-and-a-half years.

■SOCIETY

Population increases slightly

Ministry of Interior statistics show the nation’s population reached 23,063,027 at the end of last month, an increase of 74,599 or 0.325 percent from last year. Kinmen and ­Penghu recorded the highest annual population growth rates at 6.086 percent and 2.291 percent respectively, the statistics showed. Lienchiang County saw the biggest drop in population, 1.798 percent, followed by Taipei City at 0.492 percent. The number of males in Taiwan was 11,626,940, while the female population was 11,436,087. The number of registered households was 7.706 million, up by 1.91 percent, or 144,780 households, from last year’s figure, the ministry’s report showed. Taipei County had the highest number of registered households at 1.35 million, or 17.54 percent of the national total. Taipei City and Taoyuan County ranked second and third respectively, accounting for 12.47 percent and 8.34 percent respectively.

■EDUCATION

Free lunches in the works

Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) said yesterday a comprehensive free lunch program for elementary and junior high school students could be in place by September next year at the earliest. “It should be possible” for the comprehensive program to begin by that time, he told a teaching presentation in an e-class at Shengkeng Elementary School in Taipei County. An estimated NT$5.9 billion (US$179.4 million) will be required to fund the free lunch program in the first semester and around NT$17.7 billion will be needed for the full 2010 academic year, Cheng said.

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