Woman’s jail term upheld
A woman jailed after she sent an online message asking how to dispose of the body when her four-year-old daughter died has lost the final appeal of her eight-year prison sentence. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision against the woman, surnamed Lee (李), who was found guilty of failing to stop a relative from killing her daughter after months of systematic abuse. The court said Lee took her daughter to stay at the Taipei home of a cousin in 2009 and witnessed her frequent beatings of the girl. The girl died when she was placed in a tiny closet after suffering serious trauma to her neck and spine.
Ma reappoints premier
The Presidential Office confirmed yesterday evening that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had approved the Cabinet’s resignation earlier yesterday and reappointed Sean Chen (陳冲) as premier. Ma praised Chen for his expertise in law and finance, as well as his efforts in implementing government policies, said Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基). Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) will stay on in their posts, while Ma approved the resignation of another deputy secretary-general, Liu Pao-kui (劉寶貴), for personal reasons, he said. Chen led the Cabinet in resigning en masse on Thursday, in line with constitutional practice, ahead of the swearing-in of the president on May 20.
BVI gives visa-free status
Republic of China passport holders can now enter the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on a visa-free scheme, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The privilege went into effect on April 3, according to a recent confirmation of the agreement by the BVI government, said James Lee (李光章), director-general of the ministry’s Department of European Affairs. In January, the ministry announced that the BVI would be the 125th country or region to grant Taiwanese visa-free entry or landing visa privileges, but added the effective date had yet to be confirmed with the BVI government. The visa-free access applies to Taiwanese visiting the country for less than six months on business or for tourism, family and student purposes, he said. The BVI visa-waiver program follows the one adopted by the British government in March 2009. The BVI is the sixth British overseas territory — after Bermuda, Gibraltar, the Turks and Caicos Islands, St Helena and the Falkland Islands — to establish such an agreement with Taiwan.
Sand and salt festival set
A festival featuring sand and salt sculptures will take place in Greater Tainan City next month to showcase the region’s rich natural resources. The festival, which opens on June 2 and runs through July 15, marks the Tourism Bureau’s first attempt to bring together “the two gifts from the ocean” to promote local tourism, bureau officials said. The festival will also feature the largest salt sculpture ever made in Taiwan. The artwork, about 400m2, will be a collaboration between sculptors from Taiwan, Canada, Japan, China and the Netherlands. A total of 15 sand sculptures and 22 salt sculptures will be on display, including cartoon characters, animals from the Chinese zodiac and even sports figures such as NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin (林書豪) and Major League Baseball pitcher Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷).