Storm may bring showers
A tropical storm that formed in the west Pacific looks unlikely to affect Taiwan directly as it moves toward the Philippines, but its outer band could bring some rain over the weekend, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. As of 2pm, Tropical Storm Nari was centered about 990km southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), moving west-northwest at a speed of 17kph, the bureau said. The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 90kph, with gusts reaching 118.8kph. Nari is projected to cut through the northern Philippine island of Luzon, but will probably introduce moisture which, combined with seasonal winds from the northeast, could bring showers to northern and northeastern Taiwan over the weekend. The bureau added that another tropical depression was forming near Guam and could develop into a tropical storm over the coming days.
KMT names new spokesman
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) announced yesterday that it has appointed Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中), former spokesman of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) KMT chairman re-election campaign office, as its spokesman. Yang, 42, had been a social activist who was involved in a series of movements regarding labor rights and media reform. He had then worked in several media outlets, including the Chinese-language the Wang Daily and Radio Taiwan International before joining the Ma administration and serving as director of the Executive Yuan’s Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan Joint Service Center and Ma’s re-election office chairman. Yang starts his new job on Monday.
Panda name proves popular
Taipei’s Department of Information and Tourism announced on Wednesday that “Yuan Zai” (圓仔), the nickname of Taipei Zoo’s giant panda cub, is currently the ahead of five other possibilities for its permanent name, with 65 percent of online voters saying she should keep the nickname. The second most popular name as of Tuesday was “Yuan Bao” (圓寶) with 25 percent. “Bao” is Chinese for a gem or a treasure. The name game for the panda, which was born July 6, has attracted 54,000 online votes. Time is ticking on the vote, which is set to end in less than a week. City officials encourage anyone who has not yet voted to do so at http://panda.taipeitravel.net. The official name for the cub will be announced on the Web site on Oct. 26.
The Taiwan High Court ruled on Wednesday to increase the prison sentence for former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男), who was convicted of taking bribes, overturning a previous sentence of seven months to hand down a much harsher eight years. After a second retrial, the High Court cited evidence that Chen accepted NT$6 million (US$204,140 at current exchange rates) in 2002 during his stint at the Presidential Office. Chen was paid bribes by businessman Liang Po-hsun (梁柏薰), who asked for help in getting court cases against him dropped, the court said. Chen’s first conviction in the case of “fraud involving the abuse of official authority” brought a 12-year sentence, but judges in a retrial reduced his prison term to seven months on the lesser charge of simple fraud. Wednesday’s ruling supported the abuse of authority conviction at the first trial, but cut the original sentence to eight years due to 72-year-old Chen’s age. The case can be appealed in the Supreme Court.