Man gets 1,502 years in jail
Chang Ching-wang (張清旺) of Greater Kaohsiung was yesterday sentenced to 1,502 years in prison by the Kaohsiung District Court for sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s two daughters over an extended period of time. The district court said Chang would serve a 20-year prison term in accordance with the law. Chang can still appeal the ruling with the Kaohsiung branch of the Taiwan High Court. The district court said Chang lived with his girlfriend and her two teenage daughters. Between May 2009 and July last year, Chang raped her older daughter 97 times when the mother was not at home, the court said. Between April 2010 and July last year, Chang sexually assaulted, but did not rape, his girlfriend’s younger daughter 296 times, the court said.
Reverse mortgage mulled
The reverse mortgage system will be instituted in November on a trial basis, Vice Minister of the Interior Tseng Chung-ming (曾中明) said yesterday. Single senior citizens aged 65 or older who live in Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung or Greater Kaohsiung, own property but have no heirs, and are precluded from receiving social welfare subsidies because of the high value of their property, can apply to participate in the system. The government will provide funding to Land Bank of Taiwan for the trial and authorize it to grant monthly payments to the participants in the program for a maximum of 30 years. Under a reverse mortgage system, a homeowner can borrow money — in this case in the form of monthly payments — against the value of his or her home. No repayment of the mortgage (principal or interest) is required until the borrower dies or the home is sold.
Fewer workers furloughed
The number of furloughed workers has dropped by 32 percent over the past two weeks, the Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday. The council said 39 companies reported 3,960 employees on leave without pay at the end of last month, compared with 61 companies reporting 5,804 employees furloughed as of the middle of the month, Department of Labor Standards chief Chen Hui-ling (陳慧玲) said. Statistics on the number of furloughed workers are released on the first and 16th of every month.
Teachers lament lights
A teachers’ group called attention yesterday to an emerging trend in which schools are switching off lights at certain times during the school day to cut back on energy costs — at the expense of students. National Federation of Teachers Unions secretary-general Wu Chung-tai (吳忠泰) said many elementary and junior high schools in cash-strapped counties and cities are making every possible effort to save energy in anticipation of electricity rate hikes, including switching off lights during morning self-study sessions, recess and lunch hours. This is forcing students to study, write and eat lunch in the dark, which can harm their vision and affect their reading habits, Wu said. He urged the central government to provide financial support to local governments to help them replace existing light bulbs with energy-saving alternatives, such as LED bulbs and T5 fluorescent bulbs, over the next three years. Wu estimated that it would cost NT$4 billion (US$135.67 million) if all elementary and junior high schools were to shift to LED lighting, but added that it would cost only NT$1 billion to change to T5 fluorescent lighting.