Chai asks David Lee to quit
Taiwan's representative to Washington David Lee (李大維) should be replaced for failing to dissipate US concerns over President Chen Shui-bian's statement about getting rid of Taiwan's National Unification Council, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said yesterday in Chiayi. Speaking at a news conference, Chai claimed that Lee had failed to do his duty by not taking any action to calm Washington fears after US officials expressed alarm at Chen's statement, and for failing to solicit their support for Chen's proposal. Instead of explaining Chen's stance to US officials, congressmen and opinion leaders, Chai said, Lee kept silent after a State Department official said they were not consulted in advance and were therefore surprised by Chen's Jan. 29 statement.
Sun's condition improves
Former Premier Sun Yun-suan (孫運璿), hospitalized since Jan. 30, showed some improvement in his condition yesterday but was still in critical condition, according to doctors at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei. The 93-year-old senior adviser to the president has been receiving treatment for an acute myocardial infraction with heart and lung complications. Sun's blood pressure, heartbeat, temperature and blood oxygen levels remained within normal ranges, although he was still on an artificial respirator. The doctors said Sun's condition was stable and that he was conscious and able to communicate by blinking. Sun was premier from 1978 to 1984.
Quake commission closes
The 921 Earthquake Post-Disaster Recovery Commission headquartered in the central county of Nantou closed operations on Saturday after completing nearly all major reconstruction projects. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪), chief executive of the recovery commission, removed the commission's signboard in a ceremony held at the commission's office in Chunghsing New Village (中興新村), Nantou County, the region that bore the brunt of the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that devastated central and northern Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999. Addressing the ceremony, Su said that thanks to the concerted efforts of the general public and the private sector over the past six years, post-disaster relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work has come to a smooth end. The recovery commission was established in June, 2000 shortly after the Democratic Progressive Party took power.
`Dog doctors' help kids
A Taiwan dog club is renting out "dog doctors" to handicapped kids and mental patients to help them regain self-confidence and the ability to interact with society, a local newspaper said yesterday. The club in Linkou has trained six golden retrievers and two border collies to rent out to handicapped kids and patients suffering from various mental disorders, the United Evening News said. The dogs are rented out free of charge. Their owner, Bao Ge (or Brother Bao), rents out his dogs to people all over Taiwan for up to a week, the report said. Bao Ge said he began raising dogs ten years ago and knows that dogs can help heal mental trauma, so he launched the "Dog Doctor for Rent" service. Last year he rented out his golden retrievers to a group of handicapped kids who had a fear of going to school. After renting the "dog doctors" for two months, the condition of the children improved sufficiently enough for them to return to school.