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US officials promise arms for Taiwan

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The US aims to expand its involvement in East Asia amid concerns that China may use its growing military clout to coerce its neighbors or move against Taiwan, US military officials told Congress on Wednesday.

The officials also promised to provide Taiwan with weapons to protect itself from a possible Chinese attack, despite Beijing’s warning that such sales are meddling and could lead to conflict.

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Taiwan ‘free,’ but civil liberties at risk: report

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Taiwan has maintained its status as one of the world’s freest countries, but its score for civil liberties was downgraded over flaws in protection of the rights of criminal defendants, Freedom House said in a report released on Tuesday.

While Taiwan’s overall rating in the Freedom in the World 2010 report was the same as last year, its score for political rights advanced from grade 2 to grade 1 because of an increased crackdown on corruption.

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Google threatens to quit China

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Internet giant Google Inc on Tuesday made a shock threat to quit China, the world’s biggest Internet market by number of users, after hackers accessed human rights activists’ e-mail accounts.

“These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered — combined with attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the Web — have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China,” Google chief legal officer David Drummond said in a statement.

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PRC surprises with early increase in bank reserve ratio

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China yesterday raised the proportion of deposits that banks must hold in reserve in the clearest sign yet that it has started to tighten monetary policy with its economy roaring back to the brink of overheating.

The 0.5 percentage point increase in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) will take effect on Monday and will apply to all banks apart from rural credit cooperatives, the People’s Bank of China said on its Web site.

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Smell of burning causes evacuation of Taipei MRT train

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Around 250 passengers aboard a northbound train on Taipei’s Wenshan-Neihu MRT line were evacuated yesterday after staff at Nanjing East Road station detected a burning odor coming from cars.

The incident occurred at 8:29am when the train was at Nanjing East Road station.

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Central bank wants investment curbs

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The central bank is pushing for curbs to be imposed on the amount of Chinese capital that can be placed in local stocks, hoping to stem the inflow of speculative funds, an official said yesterday.

The Financial Supervisory Commission, which has the authority to set limits on Chinese funds, has been approached by central bank officials eager to keep controls tight, said Lu Ting-chieh (盧廷劼), the commission’s chief secretary.

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Official asks for probe of Control Yuan members

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A former Yilan County official yesterday asked prosecutors to investigate three Control Yuan members who allegedly covered up for officials involved in the Yuanta I Pin Building (一品苑) case.

Lin Chin-kun (林錦坤), a former Yilan County Yuanshan Village (員山) representative, mailed a request to the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP) requesting an investigation into whether Control Yuan members Ma Yi-kung (馬以工), Chen Yung-hsiang (陳永祥) and Lin Chu-liang (林鉅鋃) handled the case inappropriately.

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Newsflash

Three more cases of measles have been confirmed in Taiwan, bringing the total to 11 since the beginning of this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Friday.

The three new cases include a woman in her 20s who came in contact with a measles patient living in northern Taiwan, which was confirmed as an imported case from Vietnam on Jan. 16, as well as two imported cases: a man in his 30s from Haiphong, Vietnam, and a seven-year-old girl from Manila, the agency said in a statement.