Major charged with spying
An air force major and a karaoke club owner have been charged with disclosing military secrets to China, prosecutors in Greater Kaohsiung said yesterday. Major Hao Chih-hsiung (郝志雄), who served at the air force base in Pingtung County, and businessman Wan Tsung-lin (萬宗琳) are accused of selling China classified information about Taiwan’s E-2K early warning aircraft. Their alleged contact with China was discovered in June last year during a separate espionage investigation and they were detained in September last year after prosecutors found that the two men had money in their bank accounts from an unknown source, according to the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office’s Kaohsiung Branch. Prosecutors said Hao was paid between NT$300,000 (US$9,899.68) and NT$400,000 for his efforts, prosecutors allege.
Philippines to get relief
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines will deliver about NT$22.38 million (US$738,500) in donations to the Philippine government for relief and reconstruction in the wake of last year’s Typhoon Haiyan at a ceremony later this year, officials said.Last year, public and private donors in Taiwan gave more than NT$300 million in supplies and other aid to the Philippines after the deadly typhoon struck on Nov. 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The amount included a US$200,000 cash donation by the government, the ministry said. In the weeks after the storm ripped through the Philippines, a Taiwanese Navy vessel delivered 530 tonnes of supplies to the neighboring country, while military transport planes delivered 150 tonnes of supplies.
Another ship to aid search
The Chengkung-class navy frigate and two Coast Guard Administration ships that were dispatched to help with the international search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner were scheduled to arrive today in an area of the South China Sea where the Boeing 777-200 possibly went missing. A fourth frigate, a Lafayette-class vessel, was also sent yesterday. All four are expected to operate in the South China Sea for four to five days. Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said Malaysia has agreed to allow the vessels to dock in one of its ports to take on fuel, water and food. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday morning after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.
Nurse accused over picture
A nurse at a hospital in Taitung is being accused of violating a patient’s privacy after reportedly posting photographs of a heart surgery patient on Facebook. In a story published yesterday, the Chinese-language Apple Daily quoted an official from the Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation as condemning the act, which he said demonstrates a lack of empathy and respect for patients’ privacy. Although the photographs were taken down within hours of the controversy erupting, the Taitung branch of Mackay Memorial Hospital said it has instructed the nurse to submit a report on the incident and is considering punishment for her. According to the hospital’s initial investigation, the photographs depicting the patient intubated and covered with bandages were taken by the nurse with a cellphone after a four-hour surgery on Tuesday. The nurse was reported as saying she was only trying to share the joy of the patient’s “rebirth.”
Agency mulls water fee hike
The Water Resources Agency said on Wednesday that it is mulling whether to require industries that use a lot of water to pay higher rates during dry seasons to encourage conservation, as parts of southern Taiwan take measures to tighten water supplies. The agency is planning to draft new laws to double the rates businesses will have to pay for water once they exceed a certain amount, said Wang Yi-feng (王藝峰), an agency section chief. The new regulations are aimed at encouraging investment in water-efficient equipment and will target heavy users before expanding to cover households, Wang said. China charges 10 times the regular water fees to businesses that use a lot of water, Wang said. The agency is hoping to produce the draft this year and get it passed into law in the next two years, Wang said.
Mobile firm sponsors films
Taiwan Mobile Co on Wednesday launched a promotional event on YouTube for three movie shorts sponsored by the carrier in a bid to increase social awareness of disadvantaged people. The operator allocated a budget of NT$350,000 last year for each of the films, which are based on true stories from the First Children’s Development Center, the Formosa Cancer Foundation and the Mennonite Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan Mobile Foundation secretary-general Josephine Juan (阮淑祥) said. Taiwan Mobile will donate NT$1 for every view of the movies on YouTube, up to a maximum of NT$100,000 for each film, she said. “Taiwan’s nonprofit organizations generally lack the ability to produce digital applications,” Juan said. “If we can help them make the first step toward digital applications, their ability to raise funds should be greatly improved.”