Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

SOCIETY

Firefighter dies after coma

A volunteer firefighter died yesterday of injuries sustained in gas pipeline explosions in Greater Kaohsiung on July 31 and Aug. 1, bringing the number of fatalities in the incident to 31. Tao Ting-chou (陶廷舟), a volunteer firefighter for 16 years, died in hospital shortly after midnight, family members and the hospital said. He was 46. Tao suffered burns and severe head and back injuries. He had been in a coma since the blasts. The explosions, caused by a leak from a pipe in a box culvert, killed 30 others and injured 310. They also ripped up roads along several blocks of commercial and residential buildings in Cianjhen District (前鎮). Repairs are expected to take until December. Authorities are still investigating why a section of petrochemical pipeline crosses paths with the culvert and who should be held responsible.

SOCIETY

CYC lowers age cap

Accommodation at youth centers run by the nonprofit China Youth Corps (CYC) is no longer to be available to people aged 40 or over, in line with regulation changes by the Ministry of Education. However, people over the age limit can still use the facilities if they are students, participants in certain public activities or CYC employees or volunteers, the ministry’s Youth Development Administration said. CYC operates 13 youth centers around the nation in scenic areas and tourist destinations. Accommodation was previously available to anyone under 45. The Youth Development Administration said the age adjustment was made to be consistent with the age limit for applicants to the Junior Chamber International Taiwan and candidates for the Outstanding Young Person award.

SOCIETY

Ketamine tops seizures

Ketamine accounted for 66 percent of all illegal narcotics seized last year, making it apparently the most commonly used illicit drug in Taiwan, according to the latest National Audit Office report. Police seized 3,656kg of illegal drugs last year, of which 2,421kg were the class-3 narcotic ketamine, the report said, citing statistics from the Ministry of Justice. The numbers represent significant increases from 2008, when 1,890kg of illegal drugs, including 799.5kg of ketamine, were seized. Ketamine has made up nearly all of the class-3 narcotics seized over the past six years, from 99.9 percent in 2008 to 98.8 percent last year. The number of people convicted of class-3 narcotic offenses soared from 398 in 2008 to 2,629 last year. The number of people who received administrative penalties for using or possessing less than 20 grams of class-3 narcotics tripled from 9,389 people in 2010 to 30,239 people last year, 10 percent of whom were under 18.

POLITICS

Ma speaks to young voters

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that his party would negotiate with the opposition to push forward the long-stalled legislative review of the cross-strait service trade pact when the legislative session begins next month. At a discussion session with young voters, Ma said the Legislative Yuan has been unable to review and endorse the pact signed in June last year because of what he termed obstruction by the Democratic Progressive Party. Ma also rejected arguments that the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) increases dependence on China, saying that the ECFA would open the possibility of signing trade deals with other countries and thus reduce Taiwan’s dependence on China.

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