The US government raised its terror alert to the second highest level on Sunday and warned Americans there was a high risk militants might launch attacks around the holidays in the US that could be bigger than those of Sept. 11, 2001. \nHomeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said threat indicators are "perhaps greater now than at any point" since the 2001 attacks and promised that all federal departments and agencies would increase their defenses against what he called "al-Qaeda's continued desire to carry out attacks against our homeland." \nThe warning came despite White House assurances that many of al-Qaeda's operations had been disrupted and that the occupation of Iraq was making the world safer. \nRidge said al-Qaeda might try to use aircraft in new attacks -- as Osama bin Laden's global network of militants did to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon more than two years ago, killing nearly 3,000 people. \nUS officials attributed the warning to "credible sources," and ordered the color-coded alert system raised to orange -- denoting "a high risk" of terrorist attacks -- from yellow, which the Department of Homeland Security defines as "a significant" or "elevated" risk of terrorist attacks. \nIt is the fifth time that the orange alert has been activated since the system was instituted in March last year. \n"The information we have indicates that extremists abroad are anticipating near-term attacks that they believe will either rival or exceed the attacks that occurred in New York and the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania," said Ridge, who met early on Sunday with President George W. Bush's homeland security advisers. \nAt a hastily arranged news conference, Ridge said security would be beefed up at the nation's airports and more agents would be deployed along its borders. Coast Guard air and sea patrols will also increase to protect the nation's critical ports and shipping lanes. \n"We will not broadcast our plans to the terrorists. But extensive and considerable protections have been or soon will be in place all across the country," Ridge said. \nUS officials singled out New York and Washington as possibly the highest-profile targets. \nThe new warning comes one week after the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, which gave Bush a pre-election year boost in the polls. Bush has portrayed the occupation of Iraq as a front in the war on terrorism. \nBut Democrats complain the government has not done enough to boost security in the US. \n"Homeland security is not nearly what it ought to be," Rep. Dick Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat seeking his party's presidential nomination, told Fox News Sunday. \nThe alert announcement came amid the year-end holiday travel rush. In the past, the administration has been wary of spooking travelers and setting back the nation's economic recovery and Ridge sought to reassure anxious Americans preparing for the holidays. \n"If you've got travel plans, travel," he said. David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said he thought the announcement came too late to prompt a spate of cancellations. \nRidge's decision had an immediate effect across the nation. \nIn New York, which has been continuously on orange alert, police patrols were being increased and deployed, the officials said, to cover bridges, tunnels, landmarks and "signature buildings" such as the New York Stock Exchange. "We're not letting our guard down," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. \nChicago said it had asked federal authorities to change flight paths over downtown Chicago for the duration of the alert. \nExperts have said the top alert -- red -- on the five-level scale would be declared only if an attack on US soil were imminent or underway. \nRidge cited a "substantial increase in the volume of threat related intelligence reports" suggesting the possibility of attacks within the US around the "holiday season and beyond" -- referring to Christmas, the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah and New Year's Day. \nDue to the raised threat level, the State Department repeated a worldwide caution warning of a potential threat to Americans overseas. \nOn Friday, al-Jazeera television broadcast a purported audio tape by bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, saying al-Qaeda would target Americans everywhere, including the US.
‘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
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted