Jacqueline Liu returns
Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍), former director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, returned to Taiwan early yesterday after pleading guilty in a US federal court late last month over labor fraud. Liu was greeted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. A large number of immigration and police officers were mobilized to maintain order. Liu, 64, told reporters that she felt great to return home and promised to cooperate with investigations by the ministry and the US into the case. Liu was arrested at her office in Kansas City on Nov. 10 on charges of mistreating two Filipina housekeepers and was sentenced at a court on Jan. 27 to time already served and ordered to pay US$80,044 in restitution to the two Filipinas.
New chief justice tapped
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday announced the appointment of Yang Ting-chang (楊鼎章) as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court and said he expected Yang to continue carrying out judicial reform. “Some judges have called for more transparency in assigning cases to judges ... The new Supreme Court chief justice agrees with such a reform,” Ma said at the Presidential Office. Yang Ting-chang, currently president of the High Court, will take over when Yang Jen-shou (楊仁壽) steps down as chief justice tomorrow. Ma met Yang Ting-chang on Tuesday night, accompanied by Judicial Yuan President Rai Hau-min (賴浩敏), who proposed the nomination. Ma said the chief justice should not only be a role model for all judges, but also be able to take into consideration public concerns and social values when making judgements.
Mercury set to drop
Temperatures are forecast to plummet across the nation starting late today after a strong cold air mass moves in from China, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Although the mercury has hit highs approaching 30°C in some areas in recent days, the bureau warned that the unseasonably warm temperatures would soon give way to cold and humid weather. Daytime temperatures are expected to drop by 4°C to 6°C across the nation today during the day and then plunge to about 12°C in the north at night following the arrival of the cold front. The cold spell is likely to last until Saturday, when the lows could hover around 10°C in the north, but its effects would still be felt into Sunday, the bureau said.
Ministry probes crime ring
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking into a report that claimed the existence of a large-scale Taiwanese prostitution operation in Guam, ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) said yesterday. The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported yesterday that US authorities had found many Taiwanese women working as prostitutes in the US-held territory. In an effort to curb the illegal behavior, the US Department of Homeland Security has asked Taiwan’s Investigation Bureau and National Police Agency to regulate Taiwanese tourists visiting Guam, the report said. Taiwanese do not need visas to visit Guam if they are traveling on a direct round-trip flight with a stay of less than 45 days, American Institute in Taiwan spokesman Christopher Kavanagh said. Asked if the situation would hurt Taiwan’s candidacy for the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Kavanagh said: “Taiwan was nominated for the VWP because it satisfied the requirements incumbent on it for nomination.”