A Libyan government official confirmed yesterday that a preliminary deal has been reached to pay US$2.7 billion to relatives of those killed in the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. \nLawyers representing the American families whose relatives were among the 270 people killed when Flight 103 exploded, announced Tuesday in the US that the Libyan government has offered to pay US$10 million per family to be disbursed as the US takes clearly defined steps toward ending its attempts to isolate Libya. \nThe Libyan government has not officially commented on the announcement, which has yet to be mentioned in any media in the North African nation. \nHowever, the government official confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity, calling it a "preliminary agreement." He would not discuss details. \nThe official said a "political meeting" would be held June 6 in London that will include US and Libyan government officials. He said those attending would include William Burns, a senior US State Department official, British Foreign Office minister Ben Bradshaw and Libya's ambassador to London, Mohammed Abdul Quasim al-Zwai. \nThe State Department has not been involved in the negotiations. A senior department official expressed doubt that the Bush administration would approve the arrangement. \nBurns was en route to Cairo yesterday for meetings on the Mideast peace process and could not immediately be contacted. \nThe official said the Libyan team involved in negotiating the deal has no official status -- an attempt to indicate the Libyan government wasn't involved. \nHowever, other Libyan officials have said privately in the past that the same people identified yesterday as participants in the upcoming London meeting, plus Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Kousa, had met earlier this year in London to discuss such a financial settlement. \nThe British government and British relatives of those killed in the bombing reacted cautiously to the offer. \n"There are so many ifs and buts about it. It doesn't change anything for us. I just stand and watch," Lisa Mosey said after the proposed agreement put the price of her daughter Helga's life at US$10 million. \nDavid Ben-Aryeah, confidential adviser to British victims, agreed: "Let's wait and see. A deal is not a deal until it is submitted in writing, payment is received and the check cleared. Talk is cheap -- actions speak louder than words." \nBritain's Foreign Office was also guarded. "We shall study the details of the Libyan offer and seek the views of the Lockerbie families, their lawyers and the United States," said a spokesman. \n"We shall be unable to determine whether Libya has met the requirements until we know the families' formal response to the offer and have studied Libya's full and final response to all the demands of the UN resolutions," the British Foreign Office spokesman said. \nHe added that Britain and the US would hold trilateral discussions soon with Libya and would urge it to resolve all the outstanding issues as soon as possible.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters