Thu, Nov 04, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

CRIME

Stanton meets MOJ boss

American Institute in Taiwan Director William Stanton said yesterday that Taiwan had made good progress in combating human trafficking. Before a closed-door meeting with Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Stanton told reporters that he appreciated the effort Taiwan was making in combatting sex trafficking. He also said the US and Taiwan could reach agreements on a number of judicial issues — including passport security and extradition of fugitives, before adding that he and Tseng were “old friends.” Stanton refused to comment on Taiwan’s execution of several death row prisoners earlier this year or whether the US would extradite white collar criminals such as former Rebar Group chairman Wang You-theng (王又曾), who fled to the US in 2007.

TRAVEL

MOTC launches sign contest

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday invited the public to submit examples of problematic bilingual signs to help improve travel for foreign visitors. People who upload photos of incorrect signs at railway stations, freeway service areas or national scenic areas administrated by the ministry to its Facebook page before the end of January will have the chance to win a Wii or an iPod, each worth more than NT$10,000, the ministry said. Many bilingual traffic signs are incorrect and can confuse visitors or otherwise inconvenience them, ministry officials said, who cited one sign that reads “Beware of missing foot,” instead of simply saying “Unstable footing.”

TRAVEL

Visa plan boosts UK visits

The UK’s inclusion of Taiwan in its visa-exemption scheme from March last year has led to a marked increase in the number of Taiwanese visitors, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. A total of 80,935 Taiwanese visited the UK last year, Department of European Affairs Director-General James Lee (李光章) said. That was a 56 percent increase over the 51,930 who visited in 2008, he said, citing statistics from the UK Border Agency. “The number of short-term visitors rose 107 percent rise from 2008 to 2009, and 150 percent — from 18,655 to 46,720 — if business travelers were differentiated from short-term visitors,” Lee said. Bilateral relations have also become closer since the UK granted visa-free privileges, he said. The number of short-term students heading to the UK also increased, from 1,940 in 2008 to 3,305 last year, he said.

CRIME

Baseball player still held

A Nicaraguan baseball player accused of sexual assault has not been bailed and remains at the Taichung Detention Center, the Taichung District Prosecutors Office said yesterday.

Gustavo Horacio Lopez came to Taiwan with his team for the Intercontinental Cup baseball tournament, which ended on Sunday. He has been accused of sexually assaulting a Taiwanese woman in a hotel on the evening of Oct. 26. He cannot afford the NT$200,000 bail and no one has come forward to pay the bond on his behalf, chief Prosecutor Wu Tso-yan (吳祚延) said. If the investigation is not closed and no one posts bail by the time Lopez’s initial detention period ends in next month, prosecutors could apply to keep Lopez behind bars for another two months.

HEALTH

Some Yogurt drinks fail

More than 10 percent of diluted yogurt drinks sold locally were found to be substandard, according to the Taipei County Public Health Bureau. Results of a test conducted by the bureau showed two of the 15 diluted yogurt drink brands were found to contain far fewer lactobacillus bacteria than the level set by the Department of Health (DOH). One of the two substandard products contained only 7,600 lactobacillus bacterium per gram — an extremely small amount compared with the 1 million lactobacillus bacterium per gram required by the DOH. Vendors throughout the county have been ordered to remove the items from their shelves, bureau officials said. Noting that manufacturers of the substandard products were located in Hsinchu County, the officials said they have informed the Hsinchu County Government of its test results and asked that the producers be ordered to make improvements within an appropriate period.

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