■ HealthSARS precautions started
To prevent a possible SARS outbreak during the peak flu season, the Department of Health yesterday raised the SARS alarm from a prepara-tive level to an initial zero level, which means that all passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macao must take their tem-peratures for 10 consecutive days. All incoming passen-gers must also fill out a survey form before arriving in the country, the Center for Disease Control said. If any SARS syndromes -- fever, muscle ache, leth-argy, sore throat -- are identified, a person should report to a hospital. The center also reminded all travelers to China, Hong Kong, and Macau to refrain from eating poultry in those places.
MOTC wants to keep CAL
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三) yesterday said he hoped the govern-ment would remain the major shareholder of China Airlines (CAL), the nation's largest carrier. The state-backed China Aviation Development Foundation, which holds about 71 per-cent of the airline's shares, has been trying to sell part of its stake since 1998. The foundation, which Lin chairs, has proposed a two-stage share-release plan and hopes to conclude the sale by the end of next year. For the first time, however, Lin said he though that "there is a need to have state-own airlines." He said the government needs to be CAL's biggest shareholder. While noting that CAL will continue to sell its shares in order to lower the ratio of shares held by the foundation, Lin said that he hopes the ministry could hold onto enough shares to keep control over CAL so that "there will be one com-pany able to implement the government's aviation policy."
Computer, Web use rising
About 73 percent of people in this country have at least one computer at home and 53 percent of them are Internet surfers, according to the results of a recent government survey. Some 43 percent of the respon-dents said that they knew of an e-government plan being promoted by the administration, while 57 percent said that they had searched for information on Web sites run by govern-ment agencies, with 53 per-cent of them saying that they did so to purchase train tickets. Around 45 percent used the Web to make hospital appointments, while 42 percent used it to file their taxes. The sur-vey of people over the age of 20 was carried out Oct. 26 by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission. There were 1,094 valid questionnaires and the poll had a margin of error of 3 percent.
■ Cross-strait ties
Lee says talks are best
Academia Sinica chief Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) said yesterday that the most direct way to resolve cross-strait problems would be for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Chinese Presi-dent Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) to meet for discussions. Lee made the remark while answering questions during a legislative committee meet-ing about his representing Chen at the APEC summit in Chile on Nov. 20. Lee said he didn't know if he would have an opportunity to contact Hu during the meeting. He said that without careful arrange-ments, it might not be easy to have talks on cross-strait issues, but he hoped that one day there will be an chance for Chen and Hu to talk. Asked if he would be willing to serve as a convener of cross-strait negotiations, Lee said "this is not what I do."