Prosecutors slam report
The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) yesterday complained about unsubstantiated reports in the press about the case against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). “I told reporters last month that there is no evidence to prove that former president Chen Shui-bian had taken any cash by aircraft during his visits to Taiwan’s allies. I do not understand why such a story was still published today,” SIP spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) said. Chen made the remarks in response to a Chinese-language China Times report yesterday that said “the SIP discovered sufficient evidence” to prove that the former president had transported US$5 million, originally from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Palau on board a China Airlines’ plane during a trip in 2006. “Since the beginning of the investigation, we have not discovered any evidence to prove that allegation and we have not told any reporter that we have,” Chen Yun-nan said.
WWII graves located
Taiwan’s representative office in Papua New Guinea has located graves that it believes to be those of Republic of China (ROC) soldiers who died in World War II while they were enslaved by the Japanese army on the Pacific island, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Lee Tsung-fen (李宗芬), deputy-head of the ministry’s Department of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, said that local Chinese compatriots said the graves at Rabaul were first discovered by an Australian pilot. It is thought that more than 1,600 ROC soldiers were captured by the Japanese and sent to Papua New Guinea camp during the war. Many of the soldiers reportedly either died in the camp or on the way to it. Lee yesterday said the Ministry of National Defense would send officials to the island to ascertain the identities of those in the graves, adding that the ministry would decide whether to transport the remains back to Taiwan after consulting with the relatives of the men.
Canadian to begin walk
Canadian Jean Beliveau, who is in the eighth year of his 12-year walk around the world to promote “peace and non-violence to the profit of the children of the world,” arrived in Taiwan on Sunday. The 53-year-old Beliveau will begin his walk from the northern tip of the nation to the south on Saturday and will be accompanied by Lin Ming-te (林明德), who has walked around the nation five times to promote environmental protection. Beliveau said yesterday at a press conference that while he doesn’t claim to have changed the world, he hopes to inject the brief thought of world peace in people he meets. The pair said they welcome anyone who wishes to join their 570km walk through Taiwan.
Chen, Lu film opens today
A film about the election-eve gun attack on former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) will debut this week, when it is expected to reignite debate about the controversial 2004 shooting incident. The Hong Kong action movie Ballistic uses a fictional plot to revisit the March 19 assassination attempt, when Chen and Lu were shot and slightly injured during a campaign rally in Taichung. “The director thought this incident was really one of a kind, with a very dramatic element,” film producer Lin Shun-kuo said. “But it’s only an approximation of the incident, not totally consistent with what happened.
Panda house opens Jan. 26
The panda house at the Taipei Zoo will open to the public on the first day of the Lunar New Year, Jan. 26, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. City government spokesman Yang Hsiao-tung (羊曉東) said the 30-day quarantine period for the two giant pandas would end on Jan. 23. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) will officiate at the inauguration of the panda house on Jan. 24, after which the zoo is scheduled to close on Jan. 25 for Lunar New Year’s Eve, Yang said.
Airport system down again
The immigration computer system at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport broke down again yesterday at around 6:40pm, National Immigration Agency director-general Hsieh Li-gong (謝立功) told the Taipei Times by telephone, adding that the breakdown only lasted about 20 minutes and did not cause any major problems. Yesterday’s was the third time the system broke down this month.
Flood center being built
The Water Resources Agency said yesterday that construction of a flood prevention command center in central Taiwan, equipped with a flood warning system, would be completed by the end of October. Officials in charge of river management said the flood warning system would allow staff at the command center to monitor water levels on the Dali River and the six tributaries that run through the Taichung basin, covering both Taichung City and Taichung County. The project was part of the central government’s three-stage flood control plan for the Dali River basin, which began in 2004 with a budget of NT$5.7 billion (US$171.97 million), officials said.
While the antiparasitic drug ivermectin is being touted as a treatment for COVID-19 in many parts of the world, Taiwanese experts on Monday warned against regular use of the drug in COVID-19 treatment, citing a lack of solid evidence. “Following an experts’ meeting, we do not recommend regular use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 due to the lack of enough evidence,” said Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), convener of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) expert advisory panel. A report in the American Journal of Therapeutics said that meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients had found large,
CLASSES HALTED: Cram schools have had to return tuition fees due to mandatory closures and might need to lay off half of their staff because of a lack of revenue The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the education sector, with some cram schools and tutoring centers saying they might soon be unable to pay their instructors due to the extension of a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. The heightened alert level means schools must remain closed, so cram schools and tutoring centers have had to return tuition fees, one cram school said. June is normally the peak season for recruiting new students at cram schools and tutoring centers, but this year many such schools might need to lay off half of their staff due to a lack of
‘LOW PROBABILITY’: China still ‘has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability’ to seize Taiwan militarily, US General Mark Milley said The US’ top general on Thursday downplayed concern that China would attempt a military takeover of Taiwan in the near term, saying Beijing does not have the capability to do so. While there has been rising concern in Taiwan and among US lawmakers about Chinese military activity near Taiwan, such as flying jets in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), US military officials said that such moves are not overly concerning. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told lawmakers that while Taiwan was still a core national interest of China, “there’s little intent right now, or motivation,
The Canadian House of Commons on Thursday unanimously passed the first reading of a proposal to create a legal framework for efforts to strengthen relations with Taiwan. The Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act was introduced by Canadian Member of Parliament Michael Cooper, who said that not having a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan has complicated interactions between the two nations. Taiwan is one of Canada’s largest trading partners, and the two share strong people-to-people links and common values, he said. Taiwan “is a vibrant economy and one of the world’s top 20 economies. It is time Canada’s relations with Taiwan reflect