CIA document' handed over
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) has turned over an alleged intelligence document to the Criminal Investigation Bureau which she received from independent Legislator Li Ao (李敖), the Presidential Office said yesterday. On Wednesday, Li claimed he had obtained a CIA document suggesting that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had staged his own election-eve assassination attempt last year, hiring two snipers to kill or wound Lu so Chen would get sympathy votes and win re-election. The Presidential Office officials said copies of the document had been forwarded to the task force that investigated the shooting so that its authenticity could be established.
Envoy says Haiti ties strong
Haiti will not cut diplomatic relations with Taipei, Ambassador Yang Cheng-da (楊承達) said on Wednesday. Yang made the remarks after the Washington Times reported that China has been pushing Haiti to sever ties with Taipei in exchange for its vote to extend the mandate for the UN peacekeeping mission in that country. Yang said Haiti's foreign ministry has repeatedly said that the country was unlikely to change its diplomatic policy. He said officials have also confirmed interim President Boniface Alexandre's plan to visit Taiwan next month.
MOFA says visits kosher
The visits of US congressmen at the invitation of the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association (CIECA) were aimed at boosting trade ties,not political lobbying, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday. His remarks followed a report in the Washington-based Capitol Update that from 2000 to last year, a total of 34 members of Congress were treated by CIECA and the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC) to trips to Taiwan. According to the weekly, the two groups failed to abide by a US law that stipulates lobbying groups must register with the US Congress and the Department of Justice. Lu said CIECA is a non-profit group engaged exclusively in strengthening Taiwan's economic links with the rest of the world. He said that its invitations to US lawmakers did not violate the law either in Taiwan or in the US because the visits did not involve any lobbying or political activities. CIECA was called the CNAIC prior to 2002, he said.
■ Cross-strait ties
Hu urges more contact
Contact between China and Taiwan must be increased to reduce suspicions and misunderstanding, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday in Beijing. "Contact is a good thing. It cannot bring negative results," he was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency. He also encouraged Chinese tourists to visit Taichung. "Beijing's people are very friendly and cute," he said. "The people of Taichung are also very cute. I welcome everybody to come to Taichung."
US to help fund drug study
The US will cooperate with Taiwan in studying whether the use of ecstasy damages the human brain, a Department of Health official said yesterday. The US government will provide US$300,000 over two years for the National Bureau of Controlled Drugs and the Tri-Service General Hospital to study the impact of ecstasy on the brain. Fifty ecstasy users will undergo magnetic-resonance imaging exams so that researchers can see if their brain cells have been changed by using the drug.