Anti-bird-flu pills donated
Taiwan sent 600,000 Tamiflu pills to Vietnam to treat people infected with bird flu and to assist in case a bird flu epidemic breaks out, the Lao Dong newspaper reported yesterday. Tamiflu is the commercial name for Oseltamivir, the only treatment proven to be effective against bird flu in humans. Earlier this month the WHO said that the Roche drug company was donating three million treatment courses of Oseltamivir to a reserve stock which the UN agency would use to respond rapidly to an influenza pandemic, where stocks held by national governments were insufficient. Health officials have repeatedly warned that if the disease becomes easily transmissible among humans it could spark a global flu pandemic that could kill millions worldwide.
Ship owner contacts Beijing
A Taiwanese ship owner has flown to China to seek Beijing's help in rescuing 47 international crew on three fishing trawlers seized by Somali rebels, a local Chinese-language newspaper said yesterday. Chuang Chi-yi (莊啟義), owner of the 92-tonne tuna trawler Chungyi No 218, has gone to China to seek help for the release of the hostages, the Liberty Times said. He hopes China's fishing authorities can negotiate with the Somalian rebels because China has diplomatic ties with Somalia. Chungyi No 218 is one of the three Taiwanese tuna trawlers that were seized by Somali rebels at the port of Kismayo on Aug. 16. The three ships had three Taiwanese officers and 44 crew members -- 14 Indonesians, 14 Chinese, 12 Filipinos and four Vietnamese. The Taiwanese officers have called home to say that the rebels are demanding US$500,000 for the release of each ship and its crew. If their demands are not met, they threatened to start killing a hostage a day.
`No' to Shanghai school
An official of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) confirmed a local Chinese language newspaper report that the Ministry of Education has refused to accredit an elementary school in Shanghai for children of Taiwanese working there. MAC spokesman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said that the Shanghai Taiwanese Compatriots School failed to meet the education ministry's requirements for accreditation -- because the principal was too old at 65, its founder applied for accreditation with outdated documents, it failed to present a detailed description of its teaching programs, and it didn't hire enough Taiwanese teachers. Using the term "Taiwanese compatriots" also falls outside the government's regulations. The Chinese-language newspaper quoted Liu Liao-ping (劉遼萍), the school's assistant principal, as saying in Shanghai the previous day that the school's founder was trying to convince Taiwanese authorities that its name carries no political overtones and he is also asking for Chinese permission to replace the word "compatriots" with "businessmen."
Happy to help US
Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that the relevant authorities are assessing whether to dispatch rescue units to Hurricane Katrina-affected areas along the US gulf coast. "As a member of the global community, Taiwan will not shy away from efforts to rescue victims of disasters in other countries," Hsieh said, noting that Taiwan has already donated US$2 million for rescue and relief efforts in Katrina-affected areas.