Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 3 News List



■ Conservation

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.

■ Politics

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."

■ Defense

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.

■ Politics

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.

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