■ Cross-strait Ties \nUNI plans ferry link \nUNI Airways Corp is planning to start a joint venture later this month with a Xiamen-based ferry company to transport Taiwanese businesspeople traveling between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, according to a company spokesman. The joint venture, to be launched on Feb. 16 under the "small three links" framework, will offer a sea-air round trip ticket for NT$5,200 for travelers between Xiamen and destinations on Taiwan proper via Kinmen, the spokesman said. Passengers will first ferry between Xiamen and Kinmen before flying to on Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan or Chiayi aboard a UNI airplane, he said. \n■ Environment \nDead whale was paralyzed \nA scientist said that a sperm whale that was beached on the western coast last month apparently hit a ship and injured the nerves in its spine before it died, a newspaper reported yesterday. Biologist Wang Chien-ping (王建平) based his theory on an autopsy he has been performing on the 17m-long whale since it was found Jan. 24 off Yunlin County's coast, the newspaper said. Wang, who teaches at National Cheng Kung University, said that the nerves on a section of the whale's spine were severed, the paper reported. The damage apparently paralyzed the mammal, causing it to drift onto the coast, he said. Wang thought that the whale must have been injured in a collision with a large ship about one or two weeks before it was beached, the paper said. An analysis of the skeleton showed that its age was between 50 and 60, he said. \n■ Health \nChen urges blood donations \nPresident Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) urged people yesterday to donate blood to help relieve a serious blood shortage. He made the appeal during a visit to Taipei City's blood donation center. Chen said he had originally intended to donate blood himself. However, his blood was rejected as he had visited Panama -- a malaria-endemic area -- less than a year ago. Chen visited Panama last November and government regulations bar those who have visited a communicable disease-affected area from donating blood within a year of their return. "I feel regret that I cannot donate blood this time around," Chen said, adding that he will instead encourage the Presidential Office staff to donate blood in the hopes of inspiring others to follow suit. Chen said donating blood is both an act of self-interest and of altruism that can help boost social harmony. "Through donating blood, we can help save our own lives, those of our families and those of other people," he said. "Let us be happy blood donors." \n■ Health \nCLA ponders checks \nWith the number of people dying of bird flu virus in Southeast Asia rising, the Council of Labor Affairs may consider preventive measures to prevent foreign workers from bringing in the disease, Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday. Chen said the council may consider adopting preventive measures similar to the ones taken during the height of the outbreaks of SARS last year for workers from Southeast Asian countries that have been identified as avian flu-affected areas by the World Health Organization. Implementation, however, will be worked out after the council communicates with the Department of Health, Chen said.
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
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of