Fri, Aug 01, 2008 - Page 1 News List

MND backtracks on nighttime drill plan

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday that the annual Wanan (萬安) air raid drill would be rescheduled after protests over plans to hold it at night.

The drill had been set for Tuesday night in nine northern cities and counties from 10:30pm to 11pm. A new date will be announced today after a meeting with local government heads, the ministry said.

“No matter what date the drill is rescheduled for, it will be held during the day,” the ministry said.

The ministry press release came after Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) asked the ministry yesterday to consider holding the drill during the day. Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) quoted Liu as telling a Cabinet meeting that the ministry should plan drills that would not inconvenience people.

Complaints began to flood in to government offices following the announcement of the drill on Tuesday. Many people were unhappy with the lights-out requirement.

Earlier yesterday, ministry spokeswoman Major General Lisa Chi (池玉蘭) said the drill was planned by Cabinet members and local government heads. Whatever was decided would be carried out, but public sentiment would also need to be considered, she said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN

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