The race to appoint the new legislative speaker is heating up as the legislative election campaign picks up speed, with the pan-green candidate, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), lashing out at incumbent Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) over "black gold" politics. \nTwo days ago a local Chinese-language daily printed interviews with Chang and Wang about their outlook for their election campaigns. While Wang attacked Chang's performance as premier during the disputes over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, Chang hinted that Wang, as legislative speaker, had offered protection for "black gold lawmakers." \nChang said that, during the past two legislative terms, the Legislative Yuan has resisted the courts' requests to arrest lawmakers who had broken laws. \nHe added that the legislature even helped certain lawmakers who have been banned from travelling abroad to leave the country during the legislative recess and to avoid arrest. \nBut according to the Legislative Yuan, only one request for the arrest of a lawmaker was received during Wang's term as speaker -- that of independent lawmaker Su Yin-kuei (蘇盈貴). \nThe court's request was delivered to the legislature's Procedure Committee, and the committee resolved to simply ignore the request, the legislature said yesterday. \nFurther, according to the legislature, when a lawmaker who has been banned from international travel wants to make a request to the court or the Ministry of Finance for permission to temporarily leave the country, the lawmaker has to contact the Legislative Yuan's secretariat for help with necessary administrative procedures. The legislative speaker's office is not informed of the request. The request goes no further than a copy being sent to the office of the secretary-general of the Legislative Yuan. \nBut the pan-green camp said yesterday that it was questionable whether the legislative speaker would really know nothing about lawmakers requesting temporary suspension of a travel ban. \n"If the legislative speaker did not approve of the request, will the secretariat be bold enough to approve the request on its own?" DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) asked, citing fugitive former legislator Wu Tze-yuan (伍澤元) as an example. \nWu had asked the legislature to help him with a request for a temporary suspension of his travel ban at the end of 2001, but he never returned. Wu is now believed to be hiding in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the