President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) might have to step in to persuade the head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), to stay on in his post if Premier Yu Shyi-kun fails to convince Hau to do so, a top Presidential Office official said yesterday.
\n"We respect the efforts the Cabinet is making to persuade Hau to stay on," said Presidential Office Secretary General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁).
\n"If Hau still insists on leaving, the president will then decide whether to step in," he said.
\nAccording to Chiou, Yu visited Chen yesterday morning to brief him about the matter, among other things.
\n"The issue of a potential successor to Hau was not part of their conversation," Chiou said.
\n"Hau is an excellent administrative officer and the differences between him and the Cabinet can be ironed out in the process of legislation," he said.
\nTo expedite passage of a referendum law, the Cabinet on Wednesday withdrew its draft initiative and referendum bill that it sent to the legislature for review over a year ago and endorsed that of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislative caucus.
\nYu has assigned Cabinet Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) to negotiate with opposition lawmakers to enact a referendum law that strikes a balance between environmental protection and direct democracy.
\nChiou said that Hau tried to telephone Chen to inform him of the matter on Wednesday night. In addition to thanking Chen for trusting him during his two-and-a-half-year stint as the EPA chief, Chiou said, Hau expressed his resolve to leave the Cabinet.
\nCommenting on the disagreements between Hau and Yu, Chiou said that he tends to believe more in professional reviews.
\nThe government, however, has to hold public hearings, debates and discussion before calling a referendum.
\n"I believe the people will make the best decision if given sufficient information about the pros and cons of a contentious issue," Chiou said.
\nCabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday said that Yu is making desperate efforts to persuade Hau to stay on and visited Hau's residence yesterday afternoon.
\n"The premier turned down Hau's resignation late Wednesday night and dispatched an aide to deliver his response to Hau this morning," Lin said.
\n"Media reports about the premier looking for Hau's successor is totally not true," he said, adding that Vice Premier Lin Hsin-i (林信義) had also tried twice to talk Hau out of resigning on Wednesday.
\nCommenting on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, Lin Chia-lung said that the government's stance is clear.
\n"We'll continue to build the partially constructed facility since we've earmarked budgets for next year to continue the job," he said.
\n"However, the reliability of the facility's environmental impact assessment [EIA], completed in the early 1990s, is questionable because it was passed before the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (EIA Act,
PHOTO: LO PEI-TEH, TAIPEI TIMES
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu