Moderate temblor strikes
A moderate earthquake jolted eastern Taiwan yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau said, but no damage or injuries were reported. The magnitude 5.3 quake's epicenter was under the Pacific Ocean, about 33km east of the town of Hsilin, Hualien County, according to the bureau.
Mayor meets group
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) hosted a luncheon yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center for several members of the Committee of 100, a high-profile Chinese-American organization, after he was denied a visa by the Hong Kong authorities to attend a meeting on urban development organized by the group. The mayor had been scheduled to present a speech at the Committee of 100's first "Greater China" Conference that will run from Jan. 12 to 14 in Hong Kong until his visa application was rejected. Because of this, he met in Taipei with 19 members of the Committee, including San Francisco-based Unison International chairman C.B. Sung (沈堅白). During the lunch, Ma expressed regret at not being able to meet them in Hong Kong. Although his planned itinerary in Hong Kong did not include any official activities, the authorities refused to open the door for him, he said. He claimed, however, that the incident has drawn "worldwide media attention." He said there are about 89 press reports, including stories in The Asian Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post, on the incident.
NASA to help with pollution
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is set to hold a seminar today on the application of satellite remote sensing technology in atmospheric pollution control. According to EPA officials, the seminar is a cooperative project between the EPA and the US Environmental Protection Agency and is being coordinated by Tsay Si-chee (蔡錫旗), a senior scientist at NASA. In addition to Tsay, who will be one of the keynote speakers, the participants will also include several other US and Australian scientists, the officials said. The EPA has since last year cooperated with the Central Weather Bureau to monitor air pollution by analyzing data from NASA satellites, and satellite technology is especially helpful in the monitoring of cross-border pollution, they said.
Cabinet to avoid controversy
The Executive Yuan yesterday decided to cancel a special report about rectifying the names of all government agencies to "Taiwan" from its weekly agenda in what was seen as a move to avoid causing controversy in the ruling the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) effort to cooperate with the People First Party (PFP). In a bid to make a distinction between Taiwan and China, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in December pledged to rectify the names of all relevant government agencies to "Taiwan" in two years. Premier Yu Shyi-kun threw his backing behind the proposal and requested agencies concerned present a concrete plan by the end of the month. While the DPP is gearing up efforts hoping to cooperate with the PFP in the legislature and the new Cabinet, the initiative is considered as detrimental to such a possibility. A Cabinet official, however, dismissed the speculation, saying that it does not matter whether the premier hears the report today because it is already the government's policy to change the names of government agencies.