Rapid-transit lines planned
The government plans to build five more rapid mass-transit lines, a Chinese-language newspaper said yesterday. According to the paper, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications plans to budget NT$300 billion (US$8.8 billion) for the five lines along a high-speed railway. The five lines will be built in Hsinchu, Tainan and Taipei counties, will link CKS International Airport with Taipei City and will extend the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit Line to Pingtung County. The paper did not say when construction of the five lines would begin, but the north-south high-speed railway is to start operating in 2005.
■ Legislative Yuan
DPP sets its priorities
It is urgent for the legislature to ratify the draft bills on economic and financial reform, while a referendum law can be postponed until the next legislative session which begins in September, Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), DPP legislative caucus whip, said yesterday. While the KMT and PFP caucuses have secured the signatures of 69 lawmakers to hold an extra session in July to discuss the referendum law, the DPP is struggling to initiate an extra session for the ratification of six draft bills on economic and financial reform. An extra session may be held either upon the request of the president or upon a joint proposal by at least one-fourth of all legislators.
■ Cross-strait ties
Chang pushes cargo flights
Taiwan's opposition parties said yesterday they would join forces to push for the cross-Taiwan Strait chartered cargo flights, banned under the no-direct-contact policy toward China. "We plan to get the necessary support in the legislature for our plan to launch the cross-strait cargo flights in October," said KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴). Chang, who yesterday obtained support from his party and the PFP for the proposal, said under his plan the chartered cargo flight would not stop at a third port, but the cargo planes would merely fly through the zone of a third country before reaching their destinations, he said. Chang said flying through a third area should skirt the government ban on no direct flights, and save time and money for the operators.
Denmark eyes visa change
Denmark wants to press the EU to change its visa policy for Taiwan to allow President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and other officials to visit Europe privately, Danish daily Berlingske Tidende reported yesterday. Danish visa regulations were introduced for Taiwan in 1988 because the EU does not recognize it as an independent state. As a result, officials are unable to visit Europe, either for political or private visits. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller told Berlingske Tidende that he wanted to press the EU to change the regulation because things have changed between China and Taiwan since 1988.
Hsieh off to US
Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was scheduled to leave for New York and Baltimore yesterday afternoon for a brief visit. An official of the Kaohsiung government said Hsieh will study the city-development projects of the two American harbor cities during the visit, because he wants to build Kaohsiung into a modern harbor city. Hsieh is particularly interested in the development of Baltimore's Inner City, which was developed into a major tourist attraction in the 1970s. Hsieh is scheduled to return home on July 8.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
TIME FOR CHANGE: Most of those at a public hearing organized by the DPP’s Chung Chia-pin also agreed that the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan should be abolished Taiwan needs a new constitution, as the current one was adopted in Nanjing in 1946, when the Republic of China (ROC) represented all of China, while the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan should be abolished, legal experts and academics said yesterday during a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Chang Kun-sheng (張錕盛), a law professor and secretary-general of the Taiwan Administrative Law Association, said that it is time to draft a new constitution. The ROC Constitution was adopted during a National Constituent Assembly meeting in Nanjing shortly after World War II and before the Chinese Civil War had fully erupted,
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among