PFP says merger possible
The People First Party (PFP) does not exclude the possibility of merging with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) , PFP spokesman Huang Yi-chiao (黃義交) said yesterday. The PFP does not rule out any possibility, so long as any decisions are made with the consent of the PFP members and supporters, Huang said. Huang made the remarks in response to reporters' questions about how the PFP would react to KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) remarks on Sunday that he has long thought that a two-party system, although not ideal, is the best system for Taiwan. Lien also said that when the terms of the KMT chairman and the PFP chairman expire will be an opportune time for the two parties to merge and become one of the two major parties alongside the Democratic Progressive Party.
■ Legislative Yuan
Recess starts Friday
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced yesterday that the legislature will recess from Friday until after the March 20 presidential election. Wang made the announcement after an initial agreement reached between the ruling and opposition parties' caucuses in the legislature. Based upon the agreement, an additional floor meeting will be called on Thursday to deliberate 11 priority bills, including the political donations bill, Wang said. He added that the legislature will give top priority to screening a proposal for halving the number of legislative seats and other motions concerning constitutional amendments after the election. He said the Independent Legislators Alliance caucus was reluctant to sign the agreement, so the negotiation procedure has yet to be completed.
■ Pigeon racing
At least 5,000 birds killed
At least 5,000 pigeons were killed when their cages fell of a cargo boat on the way to the start of an illegal race off the coast. About 30,000 birds were due to take part in the third of a seven-leg race with about NT$100 million of illegal bets staked on the result. Gambling is allowed only on the state-run lottery, although the authorities often turn a blind eye to pigeon racing, which is hugely popular. The accident happened as chains holding the bird cages became loose on one of the two boats taking the birds into the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, newspaper and television reports said. "I have taken part in pigeon races for 20 years but such an accident has never happened before," Tsai Jui-bin (蔡瑞賓), an official of a pigeon association in Chiayi County, was quoted as saying by a local newspaper. The race was cancelled.
Two delegations arrive
A five-member delegation from El Salvador's Legislative Assembly, led by Legislator Efren Arnoldo Bernal Chevez, arrived yesterday for a five-day goodwill visit , according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs official. During their stay, the delegation will call at the Legislative Yuan, the International and Development Fund, the Central Election Commission and the Government Information Office. They will also tour several economic and cultural establishments. Meanwhile, Dr. Jorg-Dietrich Hoppe, chairman of the German Federal Doctors Association and Director of International Affairs Otmar Kloiber arrived in Taipei yesterday for a five-day visit.