Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan quick take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Diplomacy

Liberia appeals for help

The Liberian ambassador has urged the people of Taiwan to extend assistance to his war-ravaged country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. "Ambassador John Cum-mings made an appeal for assistance from Taiwan's private sector during a recent visit to the ministry to express his gratitude for all the help the government has offered to his country," a ministry official said. The government recently sent 10,000 tonnes of rice to the West African country in two shipments. "Cummings said that the Liberian people need more help and that he is hopeful the nation's people and charitable groups can extend a helping hand to his fellow countrymen," the official said. Several local humanitarian relief groups, including the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps, have agreed to offer assistance. Private groups or individuals intending to make donations are welcome to contact the Liberian Embassy in Taipei, the official said.

Transportation

MRT ridership rising

The number of passengers using Taipei's mass rapid transit (MRT) system is on the rise now that the danger of SARS has diminished, an official of the Taipei Transit System Corp said yesterday. He said that because of the panic over SARS, the average daily number of MRT passengers dropped from 936,000 in March to 860,000 in April and 601,000 in May. With the danger of SARS diminishing, the number climbed to 690,000 last month and 800,000 in the first few days of this month. The number rose to 872,000 on Monday, the first working day after Taiwan was removed from the World Health Organiza-tion's list of SARS-affected areas. The official said he expected the number to rise to 930,000 in early September, when students will return to school.

Politics

Businessmen visit Yu

A group of property developers visited Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday to urge the government to step up its efforts to communi-cate with the legislature for the speedy passage of the six economy-related bills, especially the real estate securitization bill (不動產證 券化條例草案). Chao Terng-hsiung (趙藤雄), chairman of the Federation of the Real Estate Development Asso-ciation, ROC, said that it is necessary to enact the law because the more dynamic the real estate market, the better the economy. "With the passage of the real estate securitization law, there'll be more liquidity in the market," Chao said. "I hope both the executive and legislative branches fully support the bill because it's not designed for any particular conglomerate

nor construction company nor to evade taxes." Chao is also the chairman of the

Far East Construction Group.

Customs

Illegal mushrooms seized

Customs officials in Kao-hsiung seized mushrooms and aphrodisiacs yesterday worth more than NT$10 million (US$289,855) that arrived from Hong Kong on

a container ship. The officials said that when

they were screening the vessel's bill of lading, they found that the receiver was

a company with no export, import or sales records. Customs officials decided to open the containers, which were filled with stone materials and furniture as claimed on the bill of lading. A more careful examination of the containers, however, uncovered more than three tonnes of mushrooms and 63 boxes of aphrodisiacs made from ox genitals.

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