■ Cross-Strait Ties \nLien supporters banned \nShanghai yesterday banned a meeting of Taiwanese backers of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), saying no Taiwanese political groups were permitted to hold activities in China. City government spokeswoman Jiao Yang (焦揚) said Chinese law obligated Shanghai not to permit the Feb. 21 rally and banquet by Taiwanese businesspeople who support Lien. Chinese law "does not permit Taiwanese groups of a political nature to register and therefore, [they] cannot hold activities, such as that mentioned," Jiao told reporters. The ban could frustrate the business lobby's efforts to offer a more flattering image of China's communist leaders. Promoters of the Shanghai rally, scheduled for a ritzy hotel in the city's Pudong financial district, had said they hoped to organize a mass migration of voters back to Taiwan for the March 20 election. \n■ Politics \nGroup wants explanations \nThe Alliance of Fairness and Justice, or the pan-purple Alliance, yesterday urged the two presidential candidates to explain clearly during the TV debates about their financial policies. The alliance demanded the both camps explain how they would reform the tax system, balance national finances, raise money for their platforms and establish an annuity system. The alliance criticized the pan-green camp for not following through on its proposals made during the 2000 election, including the kickoff of an annuity system and the establishment of reasonable care-giving services. It also criticized the pan-blue camp for drawing up various policies without talking about raising taxes or mapping out a plan to raise the funds to carry out its policies. \n■ Travel \nTaichung charters set \nMaiden charter flights from the new international airport in Taichung are slated for early next month, according to Chiang Shao-chi (姜紹基), secretary-general of the Taichung Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is in charge of arranging the charter flights. Chiang said that China Airlines and Far East Air Transport Corp have organized three charter flights to Tokyo, Puget Island and Palau on March 5 from the airport. According to Chiang, public response to the special flights has been warm, as the number of applicants has exceeded the 360 seats available. He said the passengers would be chosen through a drawing in the middle of this month. The airport, which is in its first phase of construction, will only handle outbound charter flights initially. The second phase of its expansion is slated to be completed by 2009. \n■ Water \nTaipei lifts restrictions \nThanks to abundant rainfall over the weekend, the Taipei City Government suspended second-phase water restrictions in the greater Taipei area yesterday. A city spokesman said the restrictions in areas that rely on the Taipei Water Depart-ment for water would be suspended immediately. "The decision was made based on the fact that the water level at the Feitsui Reservoir has rebounded to 160 meters," he said, adding that water supply for household consumption will not be a problem until May when the north will enter its "plum rains" monsoon season. The second-phase restrictions on large-volume water consumers went into effect in five northern cities and counties last Friday. The restrictions remain in place in Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County.
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’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
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