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AIT complex freed from regulations

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The Executive Yuan recently agreed that the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound in Taipei City’s Neihu District (內湖) would be regarded as a “special building,” exempting the project from some construction-related regulations except for rules concerning environmental issues.

Cases approved in line with the Principles Governing the Ministry of the Interior’s Deliberation of Applications for Special ­Buildings (內政部審議特種建築物申請案處理原則) allow buildings related to national security, or “special use” buildings, to be granted preferential treatment.

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US will not retaliate over beef ban, Jason Yuan says

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Washington will deal with Taiwanese lawmakers’ attempts to block imports of US ground beef and offal sensitively, rather than by refusing requests for arms sales or for the president to make transit stops in the US, Taiwan’s representative to Washington Jason Yuan (袁健生) said on Friday.

On the sidelines of a Republic of China flag-raising ceremony, Yuan said the beef issue would be handled by the US Department of Agriculture, while the other two issues fall within the remit of the US Department of Defense, the US Department of State and the White House.

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Obama imperiling Taiwan: US group

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The head of a prominent business group accused US President Barack Obama of compromising Taiwan’s security to promote US ties with China.

Taiwan is watching “with increased exasperation,” said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council.

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Respected Tibetan lama handed prison sentence in Sichuan

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China has sentenced a respected Tibetan lama to eight-and-a-half years in jail for illegal land occupation and ammunition possession, possibly the first senior Buddhist leader tried on serious charges linked to riots in 2008 in the Tibetan capital, a lawyer said on Thursday.

A court in Sichuan Province, bordering Tibet, convicted Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, who headed a convent in Ganzi, a predominantly Tibetan prefecture in the province, Beijing-based attorney Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) said.

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Premier in U-turn on beef delegation

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The government yesterday called off a plan to send a delegation made up of members of the Executive Yuan to Washington to contain the fallout from the legislature’s move to bar imports of certain US beef products.

Instead, a delegation mainly made up of lawmakers and representatives from non-governmental organizations would head to the US on a fact-finding trip, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said at a press conference yesterday.

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Academics say Ma’s policies lack ‘direction’

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Academics yesterday lashed out at the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government for what they called “a lack of concrete direction” in its policy on cross-strait relations.

At a conference held jointly by the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum think tank and the Chinese Integration Association, a pro-unificaton civic group, association chairman Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) said the government had failed to make clear where the nation is headed under its leadership.

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US beef as an ECFA litmus test

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Defying the executive branch once again, the legislative caucuses of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Tuesday reached a consensus to ban “risky” beef products, including bone-in beef, offal and ground beef, from areas where cases of mad cow disease have been documented in the past 10 years.

This outcome is a stern rebuke for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, which in October said it would relax restrictions on beef imports — but without any political preparation. Not only was there no prior consultation with local health experts, but it was also in blatant defiance of a legislative resolution from 2006 that requires the Department of Health to submit a detailed report to the legislature before lifting bans on US beef.

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Newsflash


Taiwan High Court spokeswoman Wu Wei-ya yesterday explains the court’s decision to convict former president Ma Ying-jeou for leaking classified information, overturning the Taipei District Court’s not guilty verdict.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Taiwan High Court yesterday found former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) guilty of leaking classified information obtained from Special Investigation Division (SID) wiretaps of two top lawmakers in 2013.