Visa services resume
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines has resumed visa services following the World Health Organization's decision to lift the Philippines from its list of SARS-affected areas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. But non-Taiwanese visitors departing from the Philippines to Taiwan, including nationals of some 34 countries eligible to visa-free or landing visa arrangements, are still required to apply for a visa before leaving for Taiwan, the ministry said. Upon arrival in Taiwan, foreign nationals are required to follow anti-SARS regulations, including filling in a SARS-related questionnaire, having their temperature checked, the ministry added.
Baby girl under watch
Taichung medical authorities are monitoring an eight-month-old baby girl who is under treatment at a local hospital for SARS-like symptoms, Taichung City Government officials said yesterday. Doctors at Taichung Veterans General Hospital are awaiting the little girl's test results to see if she has the disease. Her case was reported to authorities on Monday. Meanwhile, the Taichung City Government yesterday announced specials measures to prevent the spread of SARS in the city. The measures include establishing temperature-checkpoints on major roads in the city. Staff members in each office of the city government have been divided into two groups working different shifts, in a bid to prevent cross infections in their office building.
US group backs Taiwan
The Council of State Governments (CGS) in the US recently approved two resolutions backing Taiwan's participation at the World Health Organization and its defense efforts against threats from China. The CGS approved the two resolutions last Sunday at its spring meeting, with one supporting Taiwan's observer status at the World Health Assembly and the other one calling for China's removal of its missiles aimed at Taiwan. Copies of the resolutions will be sent to US President George W. Bush and congressmen to heighten the CGS' support for Taiwan. A spokesman for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US thanked the CGS' for its concern for the health rights of the people of Taiwan. The National Association of Secretaries of State also adopted a similar resolution to display its friendship toward Taiwan.
Cabinet seeks spending cap
The ceiling for campaign funds for next year's presidential election will be around NT$400 million (US$11.42 million), Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) said yesterday. Yu made the remarks in a report on a draft amendment of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) in a Legislative Yuan committee meeting. Yu also said that the existing law does not rule out the possibility of two different political parties fielding a joint ticket to run in the presidential election, a point that the draft amendment will also seek to make clear. Yu said that under the draft law, political parties and any candidates must state the sponsors, effective samples, budget sources and margin of error of any polls published on the candidates and elections between the day when election bulletin is promulgated and 10 days prior to polling day.