Thu, Oct 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Travel
CAL says pilot wasn't drunk

China Airlines spokesman Joseph Wu (武志厚) yesterday clarified reports that one of the company's pilots was stopped from flying last Thursday because his blood-alcohol level exceeded the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) limit for pilots. According to Wu, different methods of reporting the same blood-alcohol content had led to a misunderstanding. He said that the captain's breath test result was 0.087 percent, the equivalent of 0.017 percent in Taiwan. He said the FAA's limit for pilots is 0.2 percent, or 0.040 percent by the standards used in this country. "The pilot's blood-alcohol content was actually far below the limit," Wu said. Wire agency reports said FAA rules prohibit pilots from flying with blood alcohol content above 0.040 percent. The reports also quoted FAA spokeswoman Joette Storm as saying the pilot was carrying an opened alcoholic-beverage bottle in his carry-on luggage. The pilot was to fly an Airbus A340 from Anchorage, Alaska, to New York last Thursday, but Wu indicated that the airlines replaced him to avoid a delay. However, a reliable source contradicted Wu, stating that there had been no changes in the flight crew last Thursday.

■ Health

Officials praise WHO

The government yesterday hailed the World Health Organization (WHO) for revising the nation's death toll from SARS to 37 from the previously listed 180, saying it would help the epidemic be better understood by the world. The WHO made the adjustment on Sept. 26 after ruling that 143 of the fatalities on the initial list had not in fact died from the disease. "After all the handling of the epidemic should be done in a scientific way, and the revision would lead us closer to reality and therefore help reinforce our preparations for the challenges ahead," Center for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said. The result came after the center, in accordance with WHO standards, reclassified data regarding the patients suspected of being infected with SARS. "What we have done was given credit by WHO," Shih said. The government had previously reported that 71 people died from SARS.

■ Transport

Stored-value tickets halted

Taipei City's Bureau of Transportation said that it had stopped accepting stored-value bus tickets as of yesterday. The tickets are replaced by the Easy Card and coins. Stored-value ticket machines, nicknamed "green babies," will be removed. People who still have stored-value bus tickets can ask for a refund at 30 MRT stations and 10 branches of the Taipei Bus Administration before Sept. 30 next year. A bureau official said the machines broke down easily, a major complaint of passengers.

■ Aid groups

Kid's charity changes name

Taiwan District of Kiwanis International, the local branch of the international organization committed to promoting child welfare, yesterday welcomed its new president and celebrated Kiwanis International's decision to change the title of the local chapter. The local group, formerly called the Republic of China district, received a letter from the organization's headquarters on Sept. 8 agreeing to the name change. The branch wanted the change because people often mistook it for a chapter from China. The aid the Taiwanese branch delivered was often mistaken as help from China, the branch said. "We do not want to be mistaken anymore," said a branch spokesman.

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