Arms hunter Charles Duelfer's report, in concluding Iraq might have resumed weapons-building "after sanctions were removed," left out the crucial fact that the UN Security Council had planned controls over Baghdad for years to come, UN officials say. \nThe council, led by the US, had decreed that inspections and disarmament of Iraq were to be followed by tough, open-ended monitoring. \n"It's been a little disturbing," said Demetrius Perricos, chief UN weapons inspector. "All the arguments say that when sanctions ended, Saddam Hussein would have had a free hand. By the council's own resolutions that wasn't so." \nIn his Oct. 6 report, CIA adviser Duelfer discredited US President George W. Bush's stated rationale for invading Iraq, saying his Iraq Survey Group found no weapons of mass destruction there. But he suggested Iraq might still have posed a threat. \nSaddam "wanted to recreate Iraq's WMD capability -- which was essentially destroyed in 1991 -- after sanctions were removed," the report said, though adding that no such formal plan was uncovered. \nThis Duelfer finding became a new focus for the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney said on Oct. 7, "As soon as the sanctions were lifted, [Saddam] had every intention of going back" to weapons-building. \nAn academic expert on the Iraq inspections regime was among those disputing this, noting that lifting the UN embargo would not have opened that door. "This is not the case under Resolution 687 and later ones," said Yale University's James Sutterlin. \nYears of Security Council resolutions preceding last year's US-British invasion mandated that UN arms monitors would remain in Iraq once Baghdad's WMD programs were shut down -- as Duelfer now acknowledges they were in the 1990s. With unusual powers and the best technology, the monitors in this second stage would "prevent Iraq from developing new capabilities," said a blueprint for the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification program. \nResolutions also stipulated that UN trade sanctions would not be lifted until the monitoring program was in place, and lifted then only for civilian goods. \nThe Security Council, where Washington has a veto, would decide how long to keep monitoring in place. Perricos said it was expected to last years. "You couldn't have disarmament and stop monitoring afterward," he said.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We