■ HealthCDC warns on dysentery
Health officials reported yesterday that 16 Taiwanese travelers returning from Southeast Asia had bacterial dysentery in the past month, and the government urged tourists to be more alert about the illness. The Center for Disease Control said 10 of the patients had visited Indonesia, three Thailand and three China. During the first 10 months of the year, the center reported a total of 74 cases of bacterial dysentery, which can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Most of the cases originated in Southeast Asia, the center said.
Slimmers get pork prizes
The Taichung County Government has come up with a unique way to help people lose weight -- by giving winners of a weight loss campaign the same amount of pork as the flab they shed. The county government yesterday hailed the success of its first two-month slimming course, in which 385 people have lost a total of 1,078kg. Seven top winners received pork for having shed up to 10kg of weight. "The course was free of charge. The participants met for two hours each week to do aerobics and to learn how to control their calorie intake," an official said. Taichung officials will launch the second pork-for-lost-weight slimming course as soon as enough participants have signed up, she said.
TSU seeks new flag design
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday announced a competition to solicit suggestions about a design for a new national flag and a new date for the national day. The party said it expects to find new national symbols that have been selected by all the nation's people and which could truly represent the "spirit of Taiwan." The deadline for entries is Nov. 25 and five selections in each category will be announced on Dec 1. The category winners will be awarded NT$50,000 each. An Internet vote will be held from Dec. 2 until Feb.20 next year and the final winners will be awarded NT$500,000 each. For more information, visit the TSU's Web site at www.tsu.org.tw.
Envoy was almost recalled
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) said that the ministry had considered calling back the nation's representative to the US David Lee (李大維) in protest after US Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement that Taiwan was not a sovereign nation. However, Chen said that after obtaining further information on Powell's statement through diplomatic channels, the ministry decided the remarks had been a mistake on Powell's part and that it would not call Lee back. Chen said that Powell's remarks were still "a big surprise" and "a big shock" to the ministry, and the ministry would reflect on and review the unexpected situation.
Yu explains new constitution
Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that the new constitution in 2006 would be created following the regulations in the existing Constitution, and creating a new constitution via referendum would not be possible before this regulation is written into the Constitution. Yu elaborated on the new constitution when questioned by independent lawmaker Sisy Chen (陳文茜) yesterday. Yu said that it did not matter whether the new constitution would be a brand new one or an amended version of the existing Constitution, because only after the right to make a new constitution via referendum has been written into the Constitution can it be amended via referendum.