Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Diplomacy
Yu to visit Washington today

Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun is scheduled to arrive in Washington today for a three-day visit. During his stay in the US capital, Yu will visit the Taiwanese mission and meet US officials and think tank members. Yu will have dinner with Taiwanese expatriates on Friday night before going back to New York on Saturday. He is set to depart for Taipei on Sunday. Yu is currently in New York. He will travel to Washington by train after attending his son's commencement at Columbia University today.

■ Politics

Chen, DPP elite to hold talks

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is slated to meet senior legislators from various factions in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) today to discuss major policy issues in the wake of the National Assembly elections, a DPP lawmaker said yesterday. According to Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅), Chen has invited 20 senior DPP lawmakers, some of whom are leading figures of major DPP factions, to a tea party at the Taipei Guest House near the Presidential Office this afternoon. To the best of his understanding, Lee said, Chen will brief lawmakers from various DPP factions, including the New Tide faction and the Justice Alliance, on domestic political development and the government's major policy goals following Saturday's National Assembly elections. Before the election, some senior DPP lawmakers criticized Chen's allegedly wavering attitude toward the controversial visits to rival China by two opposition leaders -- Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

■ Environment

EPA still fighting fire ants

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is keeping up its pest control and prevention efforts to eradicate red fire ants, nearly two years after the pest was first detected in Taiwan. A series of seminars are scheduled to be held at environmental protection departments around the nation this month, an EPA official said on yesterday. The official said that the public should be reminded of the dangers of the imported pest. The fire ants, native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, were first spotted in increasing numbers in the Taoyuan and Chiayi areas in September 2003. Farmers consider the ants a nuisance because of their painful sting. The fire ants become aggressive when their hills are disturbed. Although they do not endanger crops, their bite is extremely painful and can even be fatal for the small number of people who are allergic to it. The official reminded people that they should never try to touch or disturb anthills if they discover the invader species in or around their home, and that they should immediately call 0800-095-590 for assistance.

■ Society

Mortuaries go online

The Taipei Mortuary Services Office will from June accept applications from bereaved families to broadcast memorial services for their loved ones online, officials said yesterday. The office has installed cameras at the Chingyang Hall of its Second Funeral Parlor to facilitate the broadcasts, according to the officials. Simultaneous viewing by 30 to 50 Internet users will be allowed and the viewers will also be able to leave messages on-line to mourn the dead, they said. As an alternative, the bereaved families can hire professional cameramen and apply for temporary Internet hosting for the broadcast, they said.

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