DPP unveils nominations
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday recommended five delegates to the National Assembly as candidates for the body's executive committee: Senior Presidential Adviser Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), Presidential Adviser Lee Yuan-chen (李元貞), former legislator Chou Ching-yu (周清玉), attorney Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission Chairman Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄). The 11-member executive committee handles meeting procedures. Each political party can nominate a number of members based on the percentage of assembly seats won in the election. The DPP also announced that it would recommend Yeh Chun-jung (葉俊榮), the chairman of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, for the post of assembly secretary-general, DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said.
Taichung fire kills nine
A pre-dawn fire engulfed a plastics factory in Taichung and killed at least nine people, police said yesterday. The victims included two families -- a mother and her 11-year-old daughter and a father and his 10-year-old son. They were sleeping on the second floor of the sheet-metal building when the fire broke out at around 4am. The cause of the fire is not known. "Most people died of suffocation as they tried to escape," a prosecutor at the scene told reporters. The factory owner said he did not know how many people stayed in the building on Monday night as it was open to employees, as well as their relatives and friends.
Former WTO envoy honored
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) conferred the Order of the Brilliant Star on Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), the former representative to the WTO, yesterday at the Presidential Office for his outstanding performance in the post. Chen hailed Yen's efforts in helping to explore foreign trade and international relations during his term of three years and three months as representative to the WTO. Yen said he was proud of his achievements and that Taiwan's delegation had received high praise from other countries as well.
Democracy is a draw
Taiwan's vibrant democracy is one of its major attractions to prospective Chinese tourists, a Hong Kong newspaper reported yesterday. The Wen Hui Po said Chinese on the Internet have shown keen interest in things Taiwan since China announced last week that it will allow its citizens to make sightseeing trips here. According to the paper, 25 percent of the thousands of Internet surfers responding to a recent online poll said the most important reason for a visit to Taiwan is to get a taste of its political atmosphere. Meanwhile, 39 percent said they wanted to visit sightseeing spots such as Alishan and Sun Moon Lake, and 28 percent said they wanted to look into folk culture and customs.
COA repeats warning
Council of Agriculture Chairman Lee Chin-lung (李金龍) yesterday warned against building up an over-reliance on the Chinese market. Lee told a meeting of the Democratic Progressive Party's Central Standing Committee that opening Taiwan's exports to the China market will do little to relieve the imbalance of supply and demand. He said the government should ask for formal negotiations with China on the issue.