Chen Yi-hsin pulls out
Former baseball star Chen Yi-hsin (陳義信) yesterday said he was withdrawing from the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) list of nominees for the National Assembly elections. Chen, an Aborigine, was ranked 30th on the list, which would have assured him a seat. But he said he was withdrawing because he wants to pursue his graduate studies and his work at the Jia Chi Fitness Center. Chen had run as a DPP candidate in the 2001 legislative elections in Hualien County and for Taipei City councilor in 2002, but lost both times. The DPP has not found a replacement for Chen yet, DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said yesterday.
DPP raises staff salaries
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is having to lay off workers and cut salaries, but Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) announced that 150 DPP workers will enjoy a raise of about 3 percent after a proposal for reappointment of the party's annual budgets was passed by the party's Central Standing Committee yesterday. This year will be the first time DPP workers will get a raise since the party won the presidency in 2000. Lee said DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) made the decision after he discussed the party's expenses with financial affairs committee director Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘). Lee said the salary hikes will add more than NT$4.7 million to the party's annual budget. "The raise will take effect on April 1," he said. News of the salary increase was greeted with jubilation at party headquarters yesterday.
Tempers flare over Lo song
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers yesterday criticized the Public Television Service for airing a concert last weekend that featured a performance of a song satirizing former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). Referring to Lee by his nickname, the song A-hui raises a dog by popular singer Lo Ta-you (羅大佑) accuses the former leader of hounding President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), with lyrics saying ``A-hui raises a dog that bites.'' Lo, a singer and songwriter known for his acerbic political songs, is close to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The legislators said taxpayers' money should not be spent on ideologically biased shows. The station has apologized, saying it did not mean to discredit Lee and noting that Lo was one of several pop singers featured in a concert aired by the station. "Airing the concert was inapprop-riate," the station said in a statement. "We apologize for tarnishing the reputations of the persons concerned."
Fire disrupts work day
Choking from breathing in thick smoke, a number of people needed to be rushed to hospital for treatment but luckily no one sustained serious injuries from a fire which broke out in the ABC Building located in Xintian's Industrial Parks late yesterday afternoon. Although the fire was soon put out, because of the heavy smoke, as many as 45 staff members who were working in the top floors of the building had to run onto the roof and wait for rescue by helicopter. While the cause of the fire was still under investigation by officials, initial investigation reports suggested that the fire probably originated in an electricity transformer located in the basement of the building.