Wu Shih-tsai found guilty
The Taiwan High Court found Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材), one of two key suspects in the Papua New Guinea diplomatic fraud scandal, guilty yesterday of falsifying bank statements and lying to the police about being threatened by a gunman. Wu and Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖), the other main suspect, were commissioned in August 2006 to act as intermediaries in efforts to forge diplomatic ties with Papua New Guinea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to wire US$29.8 million to a bank account in Singapore that the two men had opened. The funds were to be transferred to the Papua New Guinea government once a diplomatic communique was signed. After efforts to forge ties collapsed in December 2006, the ministry asked for the money back but Chin allegedly refused to return the funds. Wu faces 28 months behind bars on forgery and defamation charges. Chin remains a fugitive.
SIP reshuffle imminent
The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP) is facing a possible reshuffle, with spokesperson Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) and a few others facing replacement after completing two-year terms. Officials have confirmed that prosecutors Shen Ming-lun (沈明倫), Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮) and Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠) would be replaced in about two weeks. On Feb. 11 the Control Yuan asked the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office to remove Chu and Wu from all cases involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of having violated the Prosecutors Code (檢察官守則) by having “private contact with Chen during the process of the investigation.” Chen Yun-nan said yesterday that he was willing to leave: “I have not performed well in this position and should let someone else take over … I have completed my two years in office.” Speculation is rife that Eric Chen (陳瑞仁), the prosecutor who indicted former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), will return to the SIP in the reshuffle. He did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday.
IOC veteran laid to rest
Henry Hsu (徐亨), a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who passed away last month aged 98, was laid to rest yesterday at a service attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), IOC member Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) and 1968 Olympic bronze medalist Chi Cheng (紀政). Hsu’s coffin was draped with the national flag, the flag of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the IOC flag. Hsu was an IOC member from 1970 to 1988.
NCC asked to delay Web site
Lawmakers on the Transportation Committee asked the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday to postpone the launch of a Web site that would allow the public to check cellphone base station locations. KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said people would feel uncomfortable if they saw a base station near their house, regardless of the lack of evidence that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the stations are harmful. KMT Legislator Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said that even though the NCC removes 100 licensed base stations a year, he still gets protests from the public about the stations. Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) asked Chunghwa Telecom to end long-distance domestic fees because it was now cheaper to call China than some cities in Taiwan.
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