President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is willing to engage in dialogue with opposition leaders, the Presidential Office said yesterday, but it declined to comment on former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) medical parole request after New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) urged Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to address the issue.
Amid recent discussions on Chen’s medical state and the grounds for his parole, Yok yesterday expressed opposition to the proposal and slammed Ma and the KMT for failing to address the issue.
“We agree with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) who urged the government to face the issue. Ma and that the KMT should take a stance and make it clear and should explain to the public that the issue is a legal one,” Yok said.
Yok said his party, part of the pan-blue alliance, was opposed to the idea of granting Chen medical parole and expressed concerns that such a move could help Chen evade prison time. He addeed that granting Chen hospital visits under escort would be sufficient.
“The issue has drawn too much attention and there are more important issues we as a nation should focus on. Ma should carry out his campaign promise and hold a meeting with all party leaders to discuss national issues,” he said.
Presidential Office spokesperson Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) yesterday said Ma has always wished to meet with leaders to discuss important state matters and push for rational dialogue on public policy and will continue such efforts.
“The Presidential Office has extended invitations to opposition leaders for a meeting, but has not yet received any positive responses. We will continue these efforts and hopefully a national meeting with party leaders will be held soon,” he said.
In response to the proposed medical parole for Chen, Fan Chiang reiterated that it is under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and that the ministry will make a decision based on professional assessments.
The issue of Chen’s medical parole took a new turn after Hau of the KMT last week called on the Ma administration to address the issue. The ministry on Friday posted on its official Web site information on the circumstances of Chen’s imprisonment.
Hau yesterday said it was more important that the ministry handle Chen’s incarceration in a way that was acceptable to the public and reiterated that the ministry should form a medical team to assess Chen’s physical and mental condition.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung