Experts do missile work
The military yesterday denied an accusation by an opposition lawmaker that it had hired contract workers for crucial tasks such as dismantling missiles. All missile disassembly work at the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology under the Armaments Bureau is undertaken by on-staff professional engineers, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement, dismissing the accusation as “totally untrue.” The work involves high technical skills and cannot be done by contract workers, the ministry said. On Thursday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said the ministry had budgeted NT$11.3 billion (US$387.8 million) to hire contract workers next year. He alleged that contract employment has become so common in the military that such workers are assigned to crucial tasks, including missile disassembly.
Ex-fire chief impeached
The Control Yuan yesterday voted 11-to-2 to impeach former National Fire Agency chief Huang Chi-min (黃季敏) over his involvement in procurement irregularities during his tenure from 2002 to 2009. Huang, who retired in October 2009, will be referred to the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission under the Judicial Yuan, which will decide on his punishment, which could include revoking his pension. The decision came three days after Huang was indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on corruption charges. Prosecutors charged Huang with using his position to control agency tenders and line his own pockets with funds that the government had set aside for disaster relief. He is accused of accepting NT$19.24 million (US$661,170) in bribes in nine of the agency’s major procurement projects in exchange for awarding contracts to favored companies, the indictment read.
Wuling Farm limits visits
Wuling Farm (武陵農場), a central Taiwan tourist spot known for its cherry blossoms, has announced travel control measures to prevent traffic jams that had triggered public complaints during the holiday period last year. A maximum of 5,000 people per day will be allowed inside the farm between Feb. 10 and March 5, the farm’s owners said, adding that traffic controls will also be imposed on parts of Provincial Highway No. 9, the main gateway to the park. The farm said the daily quota is to be divided into two categories: 1,800 for overnight tourists and the rest for those on day trips. Day visitors must sign up for a NT$730 travel package in advance, which includes park admission and bus tickets, as they are required to take public transportation to enter and leave the area. Overnight tourists can use their own vehicles, the farm said, but they are advised to arrive at the farm after 10am to avoid traffic congestion.
Education drive starts Jan. 1
World Vision Taiwan and Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) will launch a fundraising initiative on Tuesday to help impoverished children and youngsters pay their school fees. The annual fund raising drive, called “Passing Love On at High Speed for Educational Aid,” has raised about NT$40 million since it started in 2010, World Vision Taiwan said. The money has been used to help more than 11,000 children and young people in Taiwan attend school, the Christian charity said. Donation boxes will be set up at THSR stations, and donation envelopes will be available on the trains from Tuesday to March 2 to encourage passengers to contribute to the effort.