Record number of birds
A record 866 black-faced spoonbills have been recorded in the southern Tainan area, according to the results of a census carried out yesterday. The number exceeds the 860 recorded on Dec. 25 last year, conservation groups said, noting that a reserve area in Chiku Township provides habitat for the largest cluster of the endangered migratory birds from Siberia, as 70 percent of the total fly into the conservation area for the winter every year. The birds are expected to leave Taiwan early next month as the weather warms up and they return to their nesting grounds.
PHOTO: CHEN YI-MIN, TAIPEI TIMES
China changed status quo
Facing China's relentless criticism of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) proposal to scrap the National Unification Council and guidelines, the Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said that Beijing should be held responsible for changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. As China dramatically boosts its military might against Taiwan and passed the "Anti-Secession" Law in March last year, it must shoulder the responsibility for sabotaging peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and corroding the foundation of cross-strait peace, the council said that in a statement released yesterday afternoon. The statement reiterated that the Republic of China is an independent sovereign state and is not part of China. The 23 million people of Taiwan have the final say on any change to the status quo and Beijing does not have any right to interfere or obstruct Taiwanese people from deciding their own future. The council made the remarks in response to a statement issued by the Chinese Communist Party yesterday. The statement, carried by the official Xinhua news agency, warned that Chen's proposal to scrap guidelines calling for the nation's unification with China is stoking dangerous tension. The statement also said that Chen's actions threaten to "destroy peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region."
BAE to upgrade F-16 radars
BAE Systems of Yonkers, New York, has won a US$9.32 million contract to provide for the hardware and software upgrade of the AN/ALR56M radar-warning receivers to be installed on Taiwan's F-16 jet fighters, the US Department of Defense said on Friday. The deal was struck under the foreign military sales program, the Pentagon said in a news release. The radar-warning receiver upgrade project is scheduled for completion in January 2008.
Ma to visit the US
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is scheduled to visit the US from March 19-27, chief of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles confirmed on Saturday. According to Wei Wu-lien (魏武鍊), director of TECO in Los Angeles, Ma will arrive in Los Angeles on March 19, from where he will immediately transfer to Washington, New York and Boston. Ma is likely to call on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and meet with local overseas Chinese community representatives during his one-night stopover after he returns from the East Coast on March 26 and has visited San Francisco, Wei said.
‘SHADOW PANDEMIC’: A lawmaker said that because the government distributes aid to households instead of individuals, domestic abuse victims are at a disadvantage The Garden of Hope Foundation yesterday called on the government to ease COVID-19 relief requirements, saying that many women and children who live separately from the family members listed on their household registration due to sexual abuse, domestic violence or other reasons might be unable to access relief. From January to March, about 32,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in the nation, up about 5 percent compared with the same period last year, the foundation told a news conference in Taipei, citing Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics. The foundation said that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has observed from
CHANGING LIFESTYLES: Postponed weddings and teleconferencing have led to reduced sales of cakes and lunchboxes made by the sheltered workshops The Taipei City Government yesterday encouraged people to buy from the city’s sheltered workshops, which have suffered significant revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support people with disabilities. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) told a news conference at Taipei City Hall that there are 43 sheltered workshops in the city employing about 600 people with disabilities, the most among the nation’s cities and counties, adding that the workshops provide a safe environment for them to learn job skills and become self-reliant. The Taipei Department of Labor said that as the pandemic has changed many people’s lifestyles, such as staying
Local civic groups yesterday joined in condemning the Chinese government for ignoring Hong Kongers’ pursuit of democracy and freedom, and menacing the territory’s semi-autonomous status by introducing a national security law, as well as using violence to suppress democracy advocates. Hong Kong Outlanders spokeswoman Justine said that China’s National People’s Congress was yesterday bypassing the Hong Kong Legislative Council to pass the national security law in the territory. This proves that “one country, two systems” is a lie, and what Beijing is really after is “one country,” she added. The Hong Kong government is proposing a national anthem bill, which was scheduled to
SHORTCOMING: The nation has signed pacts with other nations that cover either criminal or civil matters, but the issues often overlap, DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu said Lawmakers yesterday urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Justice to sign mutual legal assistance pacts with more nations, as Taiwan has signed such agreements with only six countries. The legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, and the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee held a joint meeting to review the Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters signed by Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) and Nauruan Minister for Finance and Justice David Adeang in Taipei in August last year. The agreement has not come into effect as the government is still reviewing its content,