Mon, Jul 19, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Travel

Second crash victim dies

A Taiwanese tourist who was critically injured in a bus crash in China on July 13, died yesterday morning en route from Jilin Province to Hong Kong, a Taipei travel industry source said. The man, identified as Fan Kuo-tang (范國棠), died during an airplane flight of the lung injuries he sustained in the crash. Fan's body is temporarily being kept in Hong Kong. One woman died in the crash and the 10 others in the group were injured. Seven of the injured tourists -- accompanied by their family members who had rushed to China with the assistance of Straits Exchange Foundation -- arrived back in Taiwan yesterday and immediately checked in to hospitals for further treatment. Two others remain hospitalized in Beijing, the Taipei Association of Travel Agents reported. The tourist bus was 19km from a Changbaishan resort when its brakes failed and it crashed into a ditch after hitting a bridge. The tour group left Taipei on July 9 for a 10-day tour of China.

■ Politics

Call to drop outdated labels

A pro-independence group yesterday called for nationwide moves to get rid of the words "provincial" and "Taiwan province" from the people's vocabulary once and for all to "more effectively reflect the truth." The Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan, a group that has been behind the "Call Taiwan, Taiwan" movement, wants immediate moves to be taken nationwide to call the country by its real name -- Taiwan -- rather than anything else, such as the Republic of China or Taiwan province. Alliance executive director Wang Hsien-chi (王獻極) said that "Taiwan province" went out of existence when the National Assembly passed a resolution July 18, 1997 to freeze the operations of the Taiwan Provincial Government. Since "Taiwan province" no longer exists, Wang said, it is ridiculous that people continue to use terms like "provincial," "province-wide," and "around the province." Even some "fundamentalists" from within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have made the same mistakes, Wang said. Wang said his alliance will initiate a nationwide "fault-finding" campaign shortly in the hope that people will remind each others not to use these outdated terms.

■ Health

Mandatory testing urged

The director of the Taoyuan County Government's Department of Health urged the central government yesterday to make HIV testing a mandatory requirement for pregnant women to prevent the spread of AIDS. Lin Hsueh-jung (林雪蓉) said her department began to conduct HIV tests on pregnant women in March. "More than 9,000 pregnant women have so far undergone HIV tests and two of them tested positive. We immediately administered drugs to both of them. After the first delivered her child, we have twice conducted HIV tests on the baby. Fortunately, the child has tested negative. We'll continue conducting similar tests on the baby in the coming four months," Lin said. Taiwan has 200,000 newborns each year. Lin said if the central government makes HIV testing mandatory for pregnant women, it would be very helpful in taking timely precautionary measures to prevent the birth of HIV-infected babies. The Department of Health said it is working on a plan for implementing mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women. According to official records, there have only been 11 cases of mother-to-child HIV transmissions in this country.

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