King to visit two countries
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) will embark on a one-week visit to Japan and Singapore today to promote party diplomacy. The KMT's candidate for Greater Tainan mayor, Kuo Tien-tsai (郭添財), will join King on the Japan segment of the trip from today through Sunday, and the party's mayoral candidate in Greater Kaohsiung, Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), will accompany King on the Singapore leg from Sunday through Tuesday next week. In Tokyo, King said he would meet and deliver an invitation from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki to visit Taiwan. King is also scheduled to meet members of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japan-ROC Dietmen's Council and the deputy governor of Tokyo. King declined to give any details of his Singapore itinerary, saying that it was part of an understanding the KMT reached with the city-state.
US experts inspect complex
Six industrial safety experts from the US arrived in the country on Monday to help probe the causes of two fires that broke out at Formosa Plastics Group's naphtha cracker complex in July. The group from the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, headed by M. Sam Mannan, came at the invitation of the group's management. During their five-day stay, Mannan and his group will also offer suggestions on how to improve safety and efficiency at the petrochemical complex — home to more than 60 petrochemical factories — in Mailiao, Yunlin County. The second fire that broke out at the complex on July 25 triggered major protests by local residents, who demanded compensation for losses on their farms and fish farms caused by the blaze's smoke and pollution. The group offered to pay NT$500 million (US$15.75 million) in compensation, which the protesters eventually accepted.
ICRT upgrades signal
International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), the nation's only all-English radio station, came through loud and clear in the Chiayi region on Monday for the first time in 31 years of broadcasting. ICRT solved the previous problem of weak signals and disruption from unlicensed “underground” stations by installing a new relay station in the area, resulting in clear broadcasts for audiences in the Chiayi area and some parts of Yunlin and Tainan counties. Chiayi Mayor Huang Ming-hui (黃敏惠) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Yi-hsiung (江義雄) had lobbied the Government Information Office and other agencies for years to make the improvement.
Hsu stripped of membership
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday stripped Legislator-at-Large Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) of his party membership after he was found guilty of corruption by the Taiwan High Court on Wednesday last week. Hsu was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison for taking bribes from the National Chinese Herbal Apothecary Association in 1998. He was acquitted by the Taipei District Court in the first trial in January last year. Seven other former and incumbent lawmakers have also been sentenced by the high court. They can still file an appeal with the Supreme Court. The KMT said party regulations stipulate that members who are found guilty in a second trial should be stripped of membership and expelled. The expulsion would cost Hsu the seat he took over from former legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) in October last year.