Ma to begin online speech
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will deliver a three minute to five minute speech via online video every Saturday morning starting tomorrow, the Presidential Office announced yesterday. Inspired by former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats and considering the large population of Internet users in Taiwan, Ma decided to launch the video addresses on the Presidential Office Web site, the announcement said. He will speak on a different topic each week, beginning with the subject of two-way Internet communication between himself and the public and an update of his recent activities, the Presidential Office said. The office said Ma is inviting his audience to participate in a forum on the site after watching the presentation. The office said it would consider suggestions for topics on which the president should speak. The power of the Internet and its potential influence could not be underestimated and Ma believed that the government can interact efficiently with the public via this medium, the statement said.
MND sorry for sex footage
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday apologized after footage was broadcast of two male soldiers possibly involved in a sex act while on duty. A cable news channel aired a video showing the soldiers, who were clad in camouflage uniforms, seemingly engaged in oral sex while about 40 others looked on and laughed. “The defense ministry is deeply sorry for the incident, which seriously damages military discipline,” it said in a statement. “We will thoroughly investigate the case and severely punish those involved to enhance discipline ... and prevent similar incidents from happening again.” The military has been plagued by a spate of scandals that observers say have tarnished its image. A recent crackdown has led to the investigation of 114 generals for alleged corruption or paying for promotions. The probe was launched in April after a retired lieutenant general was indicted on charges of bribery, blackmail and leaking secrets.
Quake rattles nation
An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale struck at 6:48pm yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau said. Statistics from the bureau showed that the epicenter of the earthquake was 55.3km southeast of its observation station in Nanao (南澳), Ilan County, with a depth of 5.7km. The highest earthquake intensity was 2, which was recorded in Hualien, Ilan, Nantou, Changhua and Taichung. The bureau said yesterday’s earthquake was the second aftershock of an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale that shook the nation at 2:05am on Tuesday. The first aftershock, measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale, occurred at 4:28am on Tuesday, with the epicenter also located off the east coast.
Park passes assessment
The Erlin Science Park, one of four proposed parks in the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP), will pass an environmental impact assessment and complete infrastructure construction according to schedule, CTSP director-general Yang Wen-ke (楊文科) said. The park, scheduled to be completed in 2013, failed to pass an initial environmental impact assessment carried out in early this month by the Environmental Protection Administration because of problems regarding industrial waste water.