Leaders bid farewell to Sun
The funeral of former premier Sun Yun-suan (孫運璿) yesterday saw the attendance of most of the country's political leaders, including President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), as well as the heads of opposition parties. Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) officiated at the memorial ceremony, which was held at the Chieshou chapel at Veterans General Hospital in Taipei. Three former premiers -- Lee Huan (李煥), Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) and Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) draped the national flag on Sun's coffin. Sun, known as the major architect of Taiwan's economic and industrial development in the 1980s, died on Feb. 15 at the age of 93. He served as premier from 1978 to 1984. KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), along with his two deputies Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Helen Lin (林澄枝), also draped the KMT party flag over Sun's coffin during the ceremony. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and his deputy Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attended the ceremony.
Chickens to be cooped up
County and city governments nationwide are expected to promulgate a set of new rules aimed at preventing bird flu by March 15, which include requiring poultry farmers to raise chickens indoors between September and April, Council of Agriculture officials said yesterday. The officials said that the September-April period is the season when migratory birds are on the move and that keeping chickens outside will increase the chances of poultry coming into contact with the wild birds -- potential carriers of the bird flu virus.
Shots for hogs to stop
The Council of Agriculture (COA) said it will stop vaccinating hogs on the outlying island of Penghu against foot-and-mouth disease on a trial basis from March 1. If all goes well, shots for hogs on Taiwan proper will be stopped from June, COA officials said. If no fresh cases of the disease are reported after one year of stopping vaccinations, Taiwan will apply to the France-based animal health organization Office Internationale Des Epizooties (OIE) to reinstate Taiwan as a foot-and-mouth disease free country. A major epidemic in March 1997 prompted the government to order a mass slaughter of livestock. In 1999, cattle on the outlying island of Kinmen were found to be infected. No new cases have been reported since February 2001.
Tzu Chi helps Leyte victims
A group of volunteers from the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation arrived yesterday in a disaster-hit area in the south of the Philippine island of Leyte with sufficient relief supplements for the needs of some 500 people, according to the Tzu Chi branch in the Philippine city of Cebu. Rescue efforts restarted on Friday after heavy rain interrupted the work that began after a devastating landslide buried the village of Guinsaugon. So far, Philippine soldiers and rescue personnel from other countries, including the US, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan, have dug out 130 bodies, but there are still over 900 people missing, all of whom are feared dead, the group said.