The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said it has not issued orders forbidding service members to participate in today's march organized by the pan-blue team, but it warned against possible punishment for participation. \nMND spokesman Major General Huang Suei-sheng (黃穗生), answering an inquiry from the Taipei Times, said according to the National Defense Act (國防法), service members should not participate in activities organized by any political party. \nHuang declined, however, to categorically define the March 27 march organized by the pan-blue alliance as a "political activity." \n"There is no need for the Ministry of National Defense [MND] to categorize the march as a political activity. The answer is very clear to the public," Huang said. \n"The MND has not issued orders forbidding service members to take part in the march. But we do warn about the possibility of punishment for participating," he said. \nHuang made the remarks in response to a report by the Apple Daily, which quoted anonymous sources as saying the MND is trying to prevent a possible flood of service members joining the march that is to take place today in Taipei. \nThe Apple Daily said quite a large number of service members were rumored to be planning to join the march. \nA defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is hard to predict how many servicemembers would show up for the march in a private capacity. \n"It is virtually impossible to stop service members from taking to the street with the pan-blue team, as long as they show up in civilian clothes during their holidays," the official said. \n"Servicemembers who have shown interest in the march are mostly lower-ranking officers or non-commissioned officers [NCOs]. We have not heard that any senior officials above the rank of major general have the same plan," he said. \n"The political orientation in the upper levels of the military tips toward the pan-green team, since most of the military leaders owe their current positions to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who promoted not only native Taiwanese generals, but also mainland Chinese," he said. "The lower levels of the military seem to be mostly supporters of the pan-blue team. They have become a source of destabilization in the military." \nThe possible participation of servicemembers in the march has made some people worry about a sudden coup de etat. \nBut chances of such a scenario happening are low, an army officer said. \n"There is no way for these service members to be armed with weapons, which are impossible to carry out of camp without being discovered and stopped," the officer said.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
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Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up