Last day for vouchers
Today is the last day to spend consumer vouchers. However, statistics show that as of Monday, there were still NT$2 billion (US$60 million) in consumer vouchers that have not been spent or exchanged by shops. The vouchers, distributed starting on Jan. 18, were intended to stimulate the economy. The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) yesterday said a total of NT$83.751 billion in consumer vouchers should have been distributed, and so far, 99.42 percent (NT$83.265 billion) have been distributed. There are still 135,000 people who have not claimed their vouchers, totaling NT$486 million. CEPD statistics showed that as of Monday, NT$81.25 billion in vouchers had been spent by consumers and turned in by shops, which accounts for 97.5 percent of all vouchers distributed. About 30 percent were spent within the first month after distribution, which coincided with the Lunar New Year. Nov. 2 is the deadline for shops to turn in their vouchers for cash. No processing fee will be charged.
Men get life for drugs
The Taipei District Court yesterday sentenced two people to life in prison for dealing and stashing large amounts of prohibited drugs. The two men, surnamed Lai (賴) and Chen (陳), were found with 11kg of amphetamine and 26kg of ketamine. The ruling stated that in February, the two men acquired large amounts of the prohibited drugs from dealers and rented an apartment to store their stash. The court said the two men did not show remorse for their crimes and did not cooperate with investigators in revealing who had sold them the drugs. The two were sentenced to life in prison and stripped of their civil rights. The rulings can be appealed.
Teen severs dad’s hands
Police said yesterday a 17-year-old boy had been arrested for allegedly chopping off his father’s hands to avenge years of physical abuse. They said the boy cut through his father’s wrists with a knife while he was asleep at their home in Miaoli County on Monday. The 37-year-old father, a divorced ironsmith, was in stable condition after doctors reattached his severed hands. Police said the boy admitted to cutting his father’s hands off and showed no remorse. They said the boy told police that his father had beaten him after he refused to get a job while attending school. The boy has been handed over to a juvenile court that will decide whether to file charges.
France to honor ex-minister
The French Institute in Taipei said yesterday it would award former minister of the Department of Health Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) an insignia of the Officer of the Order of the Academic Palms in recognition of his research in the field of genomics and molecular epidemiology. French Representative to Taiwan Patrick Bonneville will present the award to Chen, a member of Academia Sinica, at an award ceremony tomorrow, a press release by the institute said. The French Ministry of Education decreed on Feb. 26 that Chen would receive the top honor for academics because of his academic achievements and his contributions to strengthening scientific and technological exchanges between France and Taiwan, especially when Chen headed Taiwan’s National Science Council, the statement said.