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.
COSTLY TECH FAILURE: More than 25,000 files for nearly 8,000 students from 81 schools were lost when system administrators updated a server, the Ministry of Education said The academic records of 7,854 high-school students have been lost due to a hard-drive failure, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. The records were being stored at National Chi Nan University, which was commissioned by the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration to host a computer server of student portfolios that universities could access to evaluate their applications. Under a program introduced in 2019 for high-school students starting that year, students are to create portfolios to be used for university applications, which include their grades, extracurricular activities and other information related to their character and achievements. System administrators discovered that files were missing when rebooting
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time