Mon, Jan 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Defense

Mobile launchers deployed

The military has begun to deploy mobile launcher trucks installed with fixed-base missiles around the country to counter Chinese weapons trained on the nation, the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times) said yesterday.

The trucks carry locally made Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles -- which are difficult to detect by aerial reconnaissance -- the report said. The Ministry of National Defense declined

to comment on the report. Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) has said that China has at least 600 ballistic missiles facing Taiwan, and the number is likely to rise to 800 before the end of 2006. Last June the Cabinet approved a special budget of NT$610.8 billion (US$18.2 billion) to purchase sophisticated weaponry from Washington over a 15-year period scheduled to start this year. However, the budget has

yet to win the legislature's approval.

■ Transportation

CAL again faulted for crash

An inquiry into a 1999

China Airlines (CAL) crash at Hong Kong's airport has concluded pilot error was

to blame for the accident, a media report said yester-

day. The findings of the

long-running inquiry is with Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) and a court hearing is expected soon, Hong Kong's Sunday Morning Post reported, citing sources close to the inquiry. The probe into the crash of CAL flight CI642 came to the same conclusion as an earlier inquiry by the territory's Civil Aviation Department (CAD). The carrier disputed the earlier inquiry and the Sunday Morning Post report cited sources saying it was likely to seek an unprecedented judicial review of this latest inquiry. Three people died when the MD11 jet on a

flight from Bangkok went into a tailspin after a wing-

tip hit the runway as it

tried to land at Hong Kong's then year-old airport during

a typhoon on Aug. 22, 1999. The airline blamed wind shear for throwing the

plane sideways, but the

CAD inquiry the following November said that pilot Gerrardo Lettich hadn't slowed the plane sufficiently to execute a safe landing.

■ Charity

Fundraising a success

The campaign to raise funds to sponsor 10,000 children affected by the Dec. 26 tsunami in South and Southeast Asia has been a big success, Government Information Office (GIO) Director-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday. "As of Sunday, more than NT$400 million [US$12.5 million] in cash has been raised," Lin said. The GIO launched the fundraising campaign, titled "The Day after Tomorrow, 10,000 Hopes" two weeks ago

with the aim of sponsoring 10,000 tsunami-affected children for one year. The campaign came to a finale

at a party Saturday evening,where many celebrities donated personal effects to be auctioned off to raise money. Lin said the fundraising campaign had come to a successful end, with donations exceeding the original target of

NT$360 million. Lin said

the GIO would join with the news media in forming a trust fund to manage the money and ensure that

the donations are used correctly and wisely. According to the GIO's

plan, Lin said local non-governmental organizations will be commissioned to

plan how to use the funds. The donations would be taken to Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the Lunar New Year holiday, Lin said, adding that formal donation ceremonies will be held in those two countries.

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