Chien pressed on name
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) said yesterday changing the name of the country to "Republic of Taiwan" would not help the nation's bid to join the UN. "With China enjoying veto power on the UN Security Council, Taiwan cannot be expected to be allowed to join the UN under any designation," Chien said. The minister made the remarks while fielding questions at the Legislative Yuan. During the meeting, KMT Legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) grilled Chien for his views on former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) recent appeals for Taiwan to scrap its current title and enact a new constitution to signify its separate identity from China. Kwan asked whether Taiwan would be able to secure UN membership and win recognition from major foreign countries should it rename itself "Taiwan" or "Republic of Taiwan." Chien initially declined to answer Kwan on the grounds that he is the minister of foreign affairs and not in a position to comment on Lee's remarks. Pressed by opposition lawmakers, however, he said that the ROC could not obtain UN membership even if it changed its designation.
Tzu Chi to aid Iraq refugees
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation (慈濟功德會) is preparing to dispatch a shipment of relief goods to the Middle East in a bid to help the refugees from the US-led war in Iraq, a foundation spokesman said yesterday. Tzu Chi sent 300 gas masks to Jordan via express delivery that day to meet the needs of medical personnel and personnel responsible for coping with a possible influx of refugees from the fighting in Iraq as the military campaign to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein entered its second day, the spokesman said. The Tzu Chi relief goods that are expected to be delivered to Jordan from the end of this month will include a further 200 gas masks, 15,000 blankets, medicine and canned foods, the spokesman said. The canned food will be sourced entirely in Taiwan and is expected to arrive in Jordan in early April, while the medicine has already been purchased in Jordan and is being prepared for distribution, the spokesman said.
Scientology gets recognition
The central government has recognized Scientology as a religion, the Church of Scientology said on Thursday. "At this time of world peril, our recognition in Taiwan reflects a country where diversity is celebrated rather than politicized," said Reverend Heber Jentzsch, president of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International, adding that Taiwan is the 100th government to acknowledge Scientology as a religion.
Hotels report cancellations
With heightened alert around the world following the outbreak of the war, five-star hotels in Taipei reported cancellations of around 10 percent. The US-led Iraq war, coupled with the scare over severe acute respiratory syndrome, has dealt a blow to the domestic tourism market, especially as the specter of terrorist activities has made some Western tourists delay trips. The hotels reported that most of the cancellations over the past few days have been made by residents from the US and Europe. The hotels said most travelers are delaying their trips rather than cancelling them altogether.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37