Chen comforts losers
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) last night hosted a dinner for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators who failed in their re-election bids in last month's legislative elections. Apologizing for the DPP's failure to obtain a majority in the new legislature, Chen told his guests not to be discouraged by one setback but to learn a lesson from it and move on in a positive spirit. Chen attributed the election results to the party's overly optimistic assessment of the number of seats the pan-green camp could win and overlooking the public's abhorrence of the stand-off between the governing and opposition parties.
Chen's itinerary not set
President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) itinerary for a trip visiting the nation's Pacific allies will be released by the Presidential Office when it is finalized, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday. Lu made the remarks in response to media speculation that Chen is likely to make a stopover in Guam on his way back from the South Pacific later this month. Asked whether Chen would meet US officials there and exchange views on issues of mutual concern, Lu said that it was a practical possibility. A team from the Presidential Office is currently in the South Pacific discussing technical details of Chen's visit. Chen is scheduled to leave Taipei on Jan. 27 to attend the inauguration of the Palauan president, followed by a visit to one or two other allies.
Dutch push projects
A four-member delegation from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) paid a visit to the Tainan County Government yesterday to push for agricultural cooperation. NFIA director Harry van Woerden told Tainan County Deputy Commissioner Yen Tsun-chou (顏純左) that there is ample room for cooperation in agricultural development, such as the development of new floral species and production technologies, particularly orchid cultivation. Noting that the Netherlands sells flowers all over the world, Woerden said the global flower market has a ferocious appetite for new floral species. "Take orchids as an example. There are myriad strains. We can cooperate in new orchid species development," he said. After touring an orchid biotechnological park and several other agricultural processing facilities in the county, Woerden said the NFIA will send its staff to Taiwan in April or May.
Bill passes first hurdle
The Legislative Yuan's Judicial Committee yesterday completed the first reading of a draft law on forensic-medicine personnel. According to the draft, only people from graduate schools of forensic medicine of colleges and universities will be eligible to take the examination for forensic-medicine personnel. The draft stipulates that the examination and the licensing of personnel must be independently determined to distinguish them from physicians. It is hoped that this will ease a shortage of forensic-medicine personnel and upgrade their skills and standards. A forensic-medicine specialist cannot work as a physician, while a physician wishing to specialize in forensic medicine will have to pass the necessary examination, unlike current practice, where there are no restrictions. However, People First Party Legislator Chou Hsi-wei (周錫偉) said that even if the draft was passed into law, it would not attract enough people to the profession.