Dead man's sperm destroyed
Late army Captain Sun Chi-hsiang's (孫吉祥) sperm was destroyed yesterday on the orders of his family, despite Sun's fiance Lee Hsing-yu's (李幸育) pleas for the Department of Health to make an exception and allow her to retrieve some sperm for the purpose of in vitro fertilization. Sun's family decided to have the sperm destroyed because they did not want Sun's children to grow up fatherless or to affect Lee's prospects for future marriage. Sun's family has now returned to Taitung with the destroyed sperm. Lee had requested to keep some of Sun's sperm as a keepsake, but the family denied the request. Sun died on Sept. 7 after being hit by an accelerating armored vehicle.
Prayers shared for breakfast
Religious leaders from various countries shared their blessings, as well as concerns over terrorism, avian flu and cross-strait relations at a "breakfast prayer meeting" in Taipei yesterday. About 100 Christian and Catholic leaders, plus representatives from business and political circles joined the "2005 Taipei 101 Prayer Breakfast" yesterday on the 91st floor of Taipei 101. The event was hosted by the Taipei branch of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and Taipei City Government. The prayer session invited religious leaders from Canada, Korea, Israel and Singapore to share their blessings and concerns regarding major international and domestic issues. The prayer breakfast was part of the city government's efforts to make this year's Christmas events more spiritual and less commercial. For more information, please visit the Department of Information's Web site at: www.doi.tcg.gov.tw.
■ Cross-strait ties
Transport bill moves ahead
The Legislature's Home and Nations Committee yesterday gave preliminary approval to an amendment sponsored by opposition legislators which asks the government to start direct cross-strait transportation within three months. Before the preliminary result is reviewed, all caucuses are allowed to negotiate on the amendment for a maximum of four months. The amendment was jointly proposed by legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party, who say the government has been hesitant to start the direct link service. In his response, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said the government has made it very clear that implementing direct cross-strait transportation is the government's policy and that whether the policy can be carried out is not a unilateral decision that can be made by Taiwan.
Taiwan helps needy Filipinos
The government has donated US$200,000 worth of new clothing to the Philippines as an expression of the Taiwanese people's love and friendship for disadvantaged Filipinos. Taiwan's Representative to the Philippines Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) presented the donation to the acting secretary of the Philippine Social Welfare and Development Department (SWD) in a ceremony held at the SWD office. The brand new clothing, including baby wear, children's wear and adult apparel, was shipped to the Philippines in three containers. All the garments will be distributed to impoverished Philippine families and victims of the recent flooding in six central provinces, Wu said. Noting that Taiwan and the Philippines are neighbors, Wu said the Taiwanese government is more than willing to offer humanitarian aid to needy Filipinos.