More than 30 UN international staff pulled out of Iraq over the weekend after the UN chief ordered additional staff cutbacks due to security concerns, leaving just 50 foreign employees behind, a UN spokesman said Monday. \nThe number of UN workers in Iraq will continue to fluctuate because "there will be some movements out, and there's going to be occasional movements back in," spokesman Fred Eckhard said at a news briefing. \nThe UN had 300 international staff in Baghdad and another 300 elsewhere in Iraq before a car bomb on Aug. 19 killed 22 people at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan later ordered the number reduced to 42 in Baghdad and 44 in the north. \nAnnan ordered further cutbacks last week following a second bombing, but did not say how many of the remaining staffers would leave. \nIn announcing the latest cutbacks last week, Eckhard said the UN's humanitarian work should be able to continue, with limited international supervision, using the 4,233 Iraqis working for the UN. \nBut Annan has indicated that if security is not improved, he might not be able to allow the return of international staff in the numbers needed to oversee more than the minimum humanitarian needs, and a larger UN role possibly helping with a new Constitution and elections would be out of the question. \nThe UN Staff Union, representing 5,000 staff members worldwide, has called for suspension of UN operations and the withdrawal of all UN staff in Iraq because of the "unacceptable risks." \nOfficials running the UN oil-for-food program say the staff cutbacks have made it difficult for them to get ready for the phasing out of the program by Nov. 21. \nBenon Sevan, who runs the program that gave Iraqis a lifeline when the country was under UN sanctions before Saddam Hussein's ouster, said the UN would meet the deadline and hand over any remaining activities to the US-led coalition despite the staff cutbacks.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang