Lien to push for change
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said in Fengshan, Kaohsiung County yesterday that his party will press for the formation of an administration with economic skills and the establishment of a national pension program. Speaking at a tea party organized by the KMT to thank its supporters in the Kaohsiung metropolitan area and Pingtung County, Lien also promised to push the government to invest more resources in education. Citing forecasts made by foreign think tanks before the Dec. 11 legislative elections, Lien said that his party had been expected to lose more than 20 seats but that it actually gained 11 seats thanks to the enthusiasm of KMT supporters. Lien said his party appreciates the supporters' enthusiasm and will faithfully play its role as the leading opposition in the new legislature.
Hijacker tries to fly to Taiwan
A man who tried to hijack a Chinese airliner, threatening to commit suicide if the pilot did not divert the flight to Taiwan, was subdued and the plane landed safely, state media said yesterday. Passengers had thought the man was drunk, but the state Xinhua news agency said it was later determined that he was not. No one was hurt when the man tried to hijack the Xiamen Airlines flight MF8066 bound for coastal Xiamen from the northeastern city of Harbin on Saturday, Xinhua reported on its Web site, www.xinhuanet.com. The plane landed as scheduled in Fujian Province after the man was subdued, it said. China saw a rash of hijackings in the early 1990s, mostly by people demanding to go to Taiwan and air safety was tightened.
Spoonbill numbers hit high
A record number of 842 black-faced spoonbills have arrived in Taiwan to winter, according to a count conducted yesterday by conservationist groups in the various habitats of the endangered migratory birds. The figure surpasses the record of 728 posted last year, the conservationists said. The count was jointly conducted by the Wild Birds Associations of Tainan City and Tainan County, the Black-Faced Spoonbill Conserv-ation Association, and the Black-Faced Spoonbill Family and Wild Birds Association. By region, 587 black-faced spoonbills were counted at the main conservation area in Tainan County, 186 in the Sitsao wetland area in Tainan City, 33 in the areas along the Pachang River bordering the counties of Tainan and Chiayi, 20 in fishery pools north of Chiku village in Tainan County and 16 in the Dinshan area.
Technology use urged
The government should further promote technological assistance to foreign nations, or so-called "technology diplomacy," as a means of breaking China's diplomatic embargo against Taiwan in the international arena, experts said yesterday. The experts suggested in a technology forum organized by the Ketagalan Institute that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs integrate officials assigned by domestic economic, trade and technological agencies to work abroad for further promoting the country's overall diplomacy. Tsan Ting-yi (詹婷怡), a secretary of the Institute for Information Industry, said that Taiwan's experience in developing science-based parks, information industry and technology services can be used in its foreign aid.
Police beating sparks riot
Several people were killed and dozens were injured in a riot triggered when police allegedly beat to death a resident in southern China, newspapers reported yesterday. The reports in Hong Kong's newspapers differed widely. Wen Wei Po said nearly 50,000 people faced off against hundreds of police officers after security forces beat to death a relative of a student injured in a traffic accident following a dispute over compensation. The rioters set fire to four police cars, the report said. The Apple Daily, meanwhile, said about 1,000 people rioted after security officials beat to death a 15-year-old boy for stealing a bicycle. Police fired tear gas at the rioters and at least several locals were killed and 100 were injured, the Apple Daily said, quoting a Da Lang villager. Police and government officials refused to comment.