Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Health
Flu vaccinations expanded

The Department of Health will expand targets for a government-funded flu vaccination program in light of the low vaccination rate this year, officials said yesterday. Starting tomorrow, the targets will be further expanded to cover all children up to three years old, adults aged 60 or over, people suffering from severe injuries or diseases, international airline crew members, hospital volunteer workers, community pharmacists, medical lab workers and school nurses, department officials said.

■ Environment

Kinmen bay to get facelift

The Executive Yuan has directed the Water Resources Agency under the Ministry of Economic Affairs to clean up the Gouyu Bay area of Kinmen, after the military stopped handling waste ammunition there earlier this year. The project is part of government efforts to respond to calls from New Party Legislator Wu Cheng-dian (吳成典) and Kinmen residents to improve the bay's landscape, better manage the environment and protect the island's beach ecology. The beautification project will integrate the resources and expertise of different agencies and aims to create a better coastal environment that is favorable to leisure development on the offshore island, said an official. The agency mapped out a plan for the improvement project after the Ministry of National Defense called a halt to its practice of exploding waste ammunition in the bay on Aug. 3.

■ Health

Illegal pesticides rife

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) claimed yesterday that the market is swamped with contraband pesticides and urged law enforcement agencies to step up their crackdown on the chemicals in order to safeguard public health. Lai made the remarks at a news conference, where he displayed 20 kinds of contraband pesticide he had purchased in the past three days to highlight that they are readily available and that law enforcement is lax in this regard. Tsao Tien-min (曹天民), president of an association on sustainable crop management, noted that annual pesticide consumption totals around NT$5 billion (US$151.51 million) in Taiwan and estimated that one-third of that amount was contraband.

■ Politics

Recall motion set for Friday

The third recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will be put to a vote on Friday, the legislature's Procedure Committee decided yesterday. The pan-blue camp initiated the third recall after first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and three presidential aides were indicted on corruption in connection with Chen's handling of his "state affairs fund." The legislature will have a two-day conference to review the third recall, even though Chen has refused to submit a written rebuttal once again. Pan-blue lawmakers ignored a call by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) to withdraw the latest motion. Tsai said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was embroiled in a similar scandal over the handling of his mayoral allowance fund. Meanwhile, a number of long-stalled bills, including the supplemental budget for partial funding of the purchase of three US major weapons, were again blocked from being put onto the legislative agenda.

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