New Yorkers are shaking their heads in disbelief over a confrontation between firefighters and police -- the "bravest" versus the "finest," and all heroes of Sept. 11. \nFriday's clash ended with two black eyes and 12 firefighters arrested, but prosecutors Saturday dropped felony charges of assaulting police officers and released two detainees. \nMeanwhile, both police and firefighters pointed fingers at City Hall for a controversial decision to hand over control of the disaster site to city construction authorities. \nThe New York police and fire departments have been staunch comrades-in-arms in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center's twin towers, and the confrontation between uniformed services, with some firefighters being taken away in handcuffs, left witnesses gasping. \nThe conflict underscored the frustrations of the efforts to retrieve bodies, body parts, or any remnant of a life among the nearly 5,000 lost in the ruins of the twin towers. \nThe intact body of a firefighter, one of 347 who died saving lives in the stricken World Trade Center that day, was pulled out of the rubble as recently as Wednesday. \nHis body, wrapped in a US flag, was returned to his widow for a proper burial. \nHis comrades -- dozens at a time -- have been searching at the site, known as "Ground Zero," for human remains, working alongside a removal crew using cranes and bulldozers, carting off up to 10,000 tonnes of debris each day to a landfill on Staten Island called Fresh Kills. \nBut the city decided to curb the recovery efforts citing safety concerns, and the firefighters took their anger Friday to "Ground Zero." They wound up confronting their police comrades in a clash that left five police injured and 12 firefighters arrested. \nNew York tabloids Saturday headlined: "Bravest vs. Finest" and "Ground Zero Fury." \n"I felt embarrassed actually. We've looked to them as leaders. We've put a crown of nobility on them. ... To see our bravest and finest at each other, it's very difficult to accept," said Larry Smith, a city resident. \n"We don't want to find remains at the Fresh Kills," where some body parts have in fact been found, Peter Gorman of the United Firefighters Association said Friday. \nThe UFA estimates more than 265 firefighters remain lost in the rubble. \nThe police, who also lost comrades in the tragedy, naturally feel the same way. A police officer told local television: "At the next rally, police will be there too. We're not allowing our heroes, their heroes and the people of New York City carted off to the dump." \nBut Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stood by the decision to cut back recovery operations to what the UFA called a "skeleton crew." \n"We were given very, very strong advice several weeks ago that this site is a disaster waiting to happen," he said, and he rejected allegations that financial considerations were behind the decision to curb the recovery operation, which has cost the city millions of dollars in overtime pay. \nFirefighters' union representatives said they regretted that police officers were injured but claimed that they were not looking for confrontation, and that police had provoked the clashes. \nThe number of search and recovery workers at the site will be reduced to 75 -- 25 each from the firefighting, police and port authority police services.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient
A Taiwanese bird protection group yesterday said that it has been kicked out of BirdLife International — a global conservation partnership — after it refused to sign a statement saying it would never advocate independence. The Taipei-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation said that BirdLife International last week voted to remove it, ending a partnership that had been in place since 1996. Over the past 20 years, the federation has changed its English name three times to satisfy BirdLife International, and recently the international group demanded that it change its Chinese name and sign a statement that it is “formally committing to not