PFP to contend for post
The People First Party (PFP) announced for the first time yesterday that it would contend for a deputy legislative speaker post. The announcement cast a shadow on the previous belief that both the legislative and deputy legislative speakers will remain Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members. PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said that caucus members would act uniformly in the speakership race, and that the caucus would cooperate with parties and figures supporting the ROC and opposing independence. The decision was made after PFP chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) returned to Taiwan yesterday and met party lawmakers, according to some reports. So far, three PFP lawmakers, Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧), Chou Hsi-wei(周錫瑋) and Lee Ching-hua (李慶華), are interested in the deputy speakership, reports said.
■ Aid Efforts
Doctors to go to Sri Lanka
A medical group in Taiwan will leave for Sri Lanka today, one of the countries hardest hit by the catastrophic tsunamis on Sunday, to provide medical service. Liu Chi-chun (劉啟群), president of Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps, said the group will assess the damage and if needed, will arrange more groups to go there. Taiwan Root has been to Sri Lanka three times for medical assistance, and it last returned from the country in late November. This time it will travel to Batticaloa and Pottubil in southern Sri Lanka. The tsunamis has taken a heavy toll on the nation, with a jail in Galle City being flattened by the tidal waves and half of the inmates drowned. Liu said that the group will carry with them related medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, and that medical services will focus on surgical assistance and the prevention of infectious diseases.
Record set at airport
The number of arrivals, departures and transit visits for the year at Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) International Airport reached a record high of 20 million yesterday, according to airport officials. Lee Tung-yang (李東洋), a Taiwanese passenger returning from a business trip, became the 20 millionth passenger for the year and was mobbed by reporters in the arrivals hall. He was awarded free flight tickets worth NT$100,000 (US$3,107.52) and tax-free gifts at an awards presentation ceremony held by the airport authorities, as were the two passengers immediately before and after him. After the inauguration of the airport in 1979, the number of arrivals and departures for the year was only 4.04 million.
Man `slept' with corpse
A man killed his friend two years ago and has been sleeping beside the corpse since then, television channel CTI reported yesterday. The man, identified only as Chiu, killed his friend with an iron bar during a quarrel when they were drinking at Chiu's home, CTI said. Chiu then wrapped the corpse up in a quilt, tied up the bundle with ropes and left it on his bed. "When the body decomposed and gave out a bad smell, Chiu placed camphor balls and sprayed disinfectant in his bedroom to suppress the bad odor," a policeman from Yungkang Police Station in Tainan County told CTI. "Chiu said he kept the body in his house because he believed this was a good way to reduce his bad karma, but we think he has mental problems," the policeman added. Police arrested Chiu after a neighbor saw the corpse on the bed and alerted police.