Tue, Feb 03, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Cross-strait Ties

UNI plans ferry link

UNI 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.

■ Environment

Dead whale was paralyzed

A 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.

■ Health

Chen urges blood donations

President 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."

■ Health

CLA ponders checks

With 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.

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