President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) expressed his condolences to the Haitian government as the death toll in the storm-ravaged country passed 700, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. \nThe president, Premier Yu Shyi-kun and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) sent messages of sympathy to their counterparts in Haiti, which is struggling to cope with the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne, ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said. \nThe Haitian government has announced that the nation will mourn the dead for three days and declared Gonaives, the coastal city worst hit by the storm, a disaster zone. \nThe nation's ambassador to Haiti, Hsieh Hsin-ping (謝新平), is trying to assess what is needed for disaster relief and reconstruction. \n"The ministry's Non-Governmental Organization International Affairs Committee will call on the public to donate goods to Haiti," the spokesman said. \nBecause Taiwan has also experienced severe flooding and mudslides in recent weeks, the ministry did not say how much aid it was planning to give Haiti. \n"We'll see how much in donations we can get," Lu said. \nThe ministry will send a Florida-based Taiwanese medical team to Haiti. The Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps also dispatched a team to Gonaives earlier this month, Lu said. \nMark Chen, who is now visiting the US after a trip to ally Grenada, which was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, does not plan to travel to Haiti at the moment. \nMeanwhile, Taiwan's embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, has continued to keep a close eye on the activities of Chinese riot police that arrived in Haiti earlier this month as part of a UN peacekeeping force. \nThe Department of Central and South American Affairs has been on high alert over China's presence in the region.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The central government is offering subsidies to hotels to house people who have been ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday elaborated on the rules for “social distancing” and said that the government is providing subsidies to encourage more hotels to become quarantine hotels. Chen on Tuesday urged the public to practice social distancing by keeping at least 1m apart outdoors and 1.5m apart indoors. If maintaining such distances is not possible due to confined or crowded spaces, then everyone should wear a mask, Chen yesterday told a daily news briefing at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taipei. The center also suggested that people avoid exhibitions, sports events, concerts and other social
STRENGTH IN UNITY: The Executive Yuan respects KMT legislators’ viewpoints, but has no comment on calls for the premier to step down, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of treating the Legislative Yuan with disdain and demanded that he apologize or step down for saying that KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) is unfit for her job. Prior to a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Tuesday, Su was asked by reporters to comment on Chen’s remark on Monday that Taiwan is not a country. “Then she is not qualified to be a lawmaker,” the premier said. Chen made the remark during a question-and-answer session with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), when she asked him about his view
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...