■ EducationSchool celebrates 100 years
The nation's first elementary school for Aboriginals will turn 100 in a few days. A ceremony is scheduled to be held at Tah Pang Elementary School near Alishan in Chiayi County on Thursday to celebrate the 100th birthday of the school established by the Japanese in 1905 to provide education to children of the Taiwanese timber workers who felled high-valued Taiwan teak to be shipped to Japan. Most of the school was destroyed by an earthquake in 1989 and new buildings were added until 1991, according to principal Pu Chung-yung (浦忠勇). The school runs six classes in six elementary school levels for 108 students. More than 90 percent of the students are children of the Tsou tribe, one of the smallest Aboriginal tribes.
Koo's health failing
Wife of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) yesterday confirmed that the 87-year-old Koo's recent health was not in good shape. "I hope God will bless Koo and that he will recover his health soon." said Koo's wife Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲). Fu Chen-chung (符振中), deputy head of the Cheng Hsin Medical Center (振興醫院) where Koo Chen-fu had checked in on Monday, declined to comment when asked about speculation that Koo Chen-fu's health is in grave condition. The SEF stated that Koo Chen-fu remains conscious and aware, and the Koo family is thankful of the public's concerns. Koo Chen-fu has suffered from kidney and cardiovascular problems. He underwent kidney and heart surgery and now only has one kidney.
New center to lead ant fight
A national center for the prevention and eradication of red fire ants will be formally inaugurated today to coordinate efforts to wipe out the insect, according an official from the Council of Agriculture yesterday. The center will be headed by Yang Ping-Shih (楊平世), a professor at National Taiwan University, with help from five univer-sities. Agriculture council Vice Chairman Hu Fu-hsiung(胡富雄) said the center will monitor the spread of the ants, teach farmers how to effectively get rid of them and keep the government informed of the situation. Color codes will be set up to show the seriousness of the ant problem in a particular location -- with red indicating the ants have been discovered but no action has been taken; yellow indicating that ants are currently being exterminated; and green indicating that the ants have been eliminated.
New group to probe waste
Vowing to focus public attention on national spending, a group of academics formed a social group yesterday to examine the causes of government waste. "Mistaken policy is worse than corruption. `White gold' [legitimate national funds] can be even worse than `black gold' [illegally-obtained money]," said People's Alliance for Recovering Stolen National Wealth co-founder and National Central University professor Chu Yun-peng (朱雲鵬) yesterday. While the group, which includes members such as poet and social activist Chan Che (詹澈) and film director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), claims not to be politically affiliated, it has strong connections with anti-administration figures such as independent Legislator Sisy Chen (陳文茜). The group yesterday announced its initial efforts will be on researching ten cases of mishandled government spending, such as losses incurred when the government pulled the plug on plans for a fourth nuclear power plant in 2000.