Digital TV switchover begins
The National Communications Commission began its nationwide switchover to digital television yesterday by shutting down analogue television signals in Greater Taichung’s Dajia District (大甲). National Communications Commission Chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅) announced that Dajia, known for housing one of the oldest Matsu (Goddess of the Sea) temples in the nation, had become the first district in the country to completely switch to digital TV. A ceremony was held at Greater Taichung City Hall to mark the landmark switchover, as well as the beginning of the larger nationwide analogue-to-digital conversion. According to the commission, all analogue television signals will be turned off by June 30 next year, ushering in a new era of digital TV. Su said TV users in Dajia would now be able to watch television shows on 16 high-definition channels free of charge.
Japanese survivors arrive
A group of victims from Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami arrived in Taiwan yesterday at the invitation of a program designed to help them recover. The program, which runs from the end of this month until mid-November, provides free round-trip airfare and accommodation to 1,000 quake victims for a two-week stay in Taiwan, Tourism Bureau officials said. The group of visitors, the first of a series, will also receive free EasyCards for use on public transport, tickets to the National Place Museum and a one-day trip to areas in central Taiwan struck by the 921 Earthquake. Meanwhile, a delegation led by Toshio Yoshimura, secretary-general of the Democratic Party in Fukuoka Prefecture, also arrived in Taiwan yesterday.
Sex crime database released
The Judicial Yuan yesterday introduced a database on sexual crime sentences in a hope that it can serve as a reference for judges when they sentence sex offenders. Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Ching-fang (林錦芳) told a press conference yesterday that the system could also help to reduce discrepancies between sex crime verdicts. The database contains more than 5,000 sexual crime rulings handed out from 2007 to last year, Lin said. The move came in the wake of criticism of the nation’s judges, after individuals convicted of sexually abusing children received what were widely considered to be excessively light sentences.
Government to seal wells
The government will spend about US$1.8 billion to seal nearly 1,000 wells over the next 10 years to save the high-speed rail system, which has been threatened by subsidence, an official at the Public Construction Commission said yesterday. The project would significantly reduce the rate of subsidence along a stretch of the rail in central Taiwan because of excessive ground water drainage, the official said. The 345km system using Japanese bullet-train technology is billed as one of the nation’s largest privately funded transport projects, with an estimated cost of US$15 billion. However, Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp incurred about US$2 billion in losses, or roughly two-thirds of its capitalization, three years after the system went into operation in 2007. Last year, the company secured new funding of US$12 billion as part of efforts to pay off earlier loans.
No case against Su Chih-fen
The Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said it had decided not to indict Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) amid allegations she had embezzled public funds designated for a local religious festival. Wu Wei-chih (吳威志), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the Yunlin County commissioner election in 2009, filed a lawsuit against Su during the campaign. Wu said Su, as the head of the Yunlin County Government, had spent NT$60 million (US$2 million) to hold the “2008 Good God Festival” (好神節) and alleged that she used this as an opportunity to solicit NT$50 million from Formosa Petrochemical Corp, which has a plant in the county’s Mailiao Township (麥寮). Wu alleged that Su pocketed some of the money through a local cultural foundation. The district prosecutors’ office closed the case yesterday, citing insufficient evidence.
More Taiwanese visit Europe
The number of Taiwanese visitors to Europe jumped 33 percent year-on-year from March to May this year, spurred by the EU’s visa exemption program, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The number of Taiwanese visitors to Europe is expected to further surge this summer, the high season for travel, a ministry official said. The visa waiver, which took effect on Jan. 11, allowed Taiwanese nationals visa-free entry into a total of 35 countries and territories in Europe and was later expanded to include 11 overseas French territories and three Balkan countries, the official said. The visa-free measure has also helped to expand exchanges between Taiwan and Europe and strengthen bilateral ties, he said. For example, 44 groups of political and economic officials from Europe visited Taiwan in the first half of this year, up 66 percent from the same period the previous
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s