Mercury dips nationwide
A strong cold air mass coming in from China sent the mercury plunging to about 10oC in the north of the country late yesterday. Temperatures nationwide are likely to drop this weekend, but the cold spell will affect mainly areas north of Chiayi County, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. In New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tamsui District (淡水), the temperature had fallen to 11.7oC yesterday morning, the bureau reported. With seasonal winds strengthening, heavy rains are also expected in northeastern regions of the country, the bureau added. The cold spell could last until Monday, after which temperatures are likely to rise again, it said.
Sean Chen plans sleepover
Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said yesterday he plans to stay over night with factory owners this weekend, as part of efforts to understand more about the challenges and difficulties faced by local businesses. Describing small and medium-sized businesses as the backbone of the nation’s economy, Chen said entrepreneurs’ voices need to be heard, so spending a night with them will facilitate bilateral communication. Listing industries related to environmental protection as his priority, he said he intended to use more weekends to call on companies and institutions nationwide. Chen’s tour is in line with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policy of encouraging his ministers to travel to the countryside and interact with people in different regions. Sincerity is important in such an undertaking, Chen said, adding that he did not want to disrupt the day-to-day lives of the people he visits. “I am willing to bring bedding with me, so the host family doesn’t have to buy any for me,” he said.
Prosecutors file lawsuits
Greater Kaohsiung prosecutors yesterday filed two separate lawsuits to revoke the election of two Aboriginal Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators after it was alleged a family member and campaign aides were involved in vote-buying. The wife of KMT Legislator Chien Tung-ming (簡東明) was released on bail of NT$200,000 (US$6,700) by prosecutors. They also seized NT$4.2 million in cash that was suspected of being used to buy votes. According to prosecutors, Chien denied the money was for vote buying. Meanwhile, a KMT local branch official in Taoyuan District (桃源), Greater Kaohsiung, was detained by Greater Kaohsiung judges on suspicion of conducting vote-buying for KMT Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉). Several of Kung’s campaign officials were also under investigation for alleged vote buying, prosecutors said, adding that they suspected Kung was behind the act.
Woman dies in bus crash
A tour bus rolled in eastern Taiwan yesterday, killing one Chinese national and injuring 33 others, according to the Hualien County Fire Department. The tour bus carrying a total of 34 people — 32 tourists from Beijing, a local tour guide and the bus driver — hit the hillside because of poor weather conditions and rolled at about 6:20pm. The Chinese woman died of cardiac arrest, according to officials from the department, adding that nine passengers were seriously injured, while the rest suffered minor injuries. The 45-year-old bus driver suffered minor injuries, the officials added. The tour bus was heading north when the accident took place at the 43km mark of Provincial Highway No. 11, which connects Hualien County and Taitung County.