Mon, Aug 15, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Politics
Lee has back problems

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) recently canceled many of his public activities because he has been suffering from a spinal bone spur, which prevents him from standing for long periods of time, Hwang Kun-hu (黃崑虎), the president of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui association said Saturday. Lee was absent yesterday from a Lee Teng-hui School class held in Taoyuan County, for which Lee was scheduled to have been the lecturer. Hwang said that Lee called him on Thursday and revealed his bone spur affliction which has bothered him for weeks. Because of his age of 82, Lee cannot risk surgery to remove the bone spur, so for the time being Lee is undergoing rehabilitation and wearing a magnetic back support, Hwang said.

■ Environment

Rare birds still alive

Collaboration between local government and bird conservationists in the outlying Matsu areas has ensured the survival of rare birds, including the endangered Chinese crested tern. Rob Butler, a research scientist with the Canadian government yesterday observed birds and coastal environment in Matsu under the company of Taiwanes bird conservationist Simon Liao (廖世卿), independent Legislator Yang Chung-jse (楊宗哲), and Chang Show-hwa (張壽華), the chief of the Matsu Construction Bureau. They observed, distantly, about 200 bridled tern, 50 greater crested tern and one Chinese crested tern on or near nearby islets. "We are happy about the survival of such birds, especially after the passage of recent typhoons," Chang said. The Chinese crested tern has always been rare and little known since the discovery of 1863.

■ Diplomacy

Berger arrives for visit

Taiwan yesterday welcomed Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, saying his five-day state visit would help to further cement ties and enhance bilateral cooperation. Berger, who arrived in Taipei Saturday night to attend Sunday's inauguration of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) set up by Taiwan, was honored in a welcoming ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park in Taipei. Top Taiwanese officials, including President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), as well as foreign envoys attended the welcoming ceremony.

■ Environment

Violators fined for bad air

One third of construction sites inspected by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) last month failed to meet criteria that ensure good air quality. Violators have been fined between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million for poor management. Last month, the EPA investigated 15 large construction sites in central Taiwan. Environmental inspectors found that five construction sites had caused serious air pollution involving the spread of suspended particles, or dust. Meanwhile, others caused minor problems regarding air quality. Companies managing such poorly-designed construction sites have been fined between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million. Officials said only three construction sites meet the criteria. The result shows that less than 20 percent of construction sites inspected meet criteria. EPA officials said that common problems leading to the spread of dusts are about uncovered materiel and supplies, the lack of car-washing facilities, poorly-designed routes for trucks, and others.

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