Mon, Feb 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Education

Policy issues discussed

The National Teacher's Association (全國教師會) and three other educational groups will today discuss educational policy issues with representatives of the two presidential candidates, the Democratic Progressive Party's Legislator Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) and Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱). The debate focusing on the topics of educational reform and new policies between the two presidential candidates will be held on Sunday, Feb.29.

■ Economy

Re-election to give boost

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election would boost the country's economy, Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), president of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, said yesterday. In an interview with CNA, the economic adviser to Chen said the country's economy has been in a strong upturn from the beginning this year and is expected to grow by 5.27 percent if the government's NT$500 billion (US$15.06 billion) budget for the 10 new major construction projects is approved by the Legislative Yuan later this year. The growth rate will further expand should Chen win another four years in office, because Chen will keep his current policy unchanged and keep the momentum for growth uninterrupted, Wu said. A new government would inevitably re-examine the current policy and such a situation would be unfavorable to the current upward trends, Wu said.

■ Infrastructure

Jen Lien Bridge opened

The Jen Lien Bridge (仁連橋) across a steep valley of Mt. Tuli in the southern county of Chiayi was inaugurated and officially opened to public traffic yesterday, marking the 306th bridge that the renowned Chiayi Philanthropy Group has built around Taiwan. Volunteers of the Chiayi Philanthropy Group (CPG) -- founded by philanthropist Ho Ming-teh (何明德) -- spent three months and about NT$1.8 million (US$55,900) to build the 35m steel-wire bridge connecting the Chuchi rural township and Mt. Tuli, a scenic attraction but hard to reach without a bridge. According to Liu Ning-ching (劉寧欽), an abbot of a temple in Chuchi, the bridge was built in three months and is 2.5m wide. The single arch cable bridge has been overwhelmingly welcomed by mountain climbers who would otherwise walk nearly 10 hours to reach Mt. Dooli.

■ Election

Chen urges people to vote

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged his countrymen to be sure to vote in the country's first national referendum on March 20, saying that not doing so would be tantamount to handing a victory to mainland China. Speaking to a group of his supporters in Taipei City, the president called on the people to show their resentment towards Beijing's military threat against Taiwan, claiming that the number of Beijing's missiles targeting Taiwan increases at the rate of one every six days. He criticized his only rival in the presidential race, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), as "selfish" by branding the referendum illegal and vowing in Saturday's presidential debate that he would not participate in the referendum voting. Chen said Lien has set a bad example for the country by taking the law into his own hands and determining on his own that the referendum is illegal.

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