Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

■ Diplomacy
US stands by Taiwan law

The US State Department reiterated on Wednesday that the Taiwan Relations Act remains one of the basic guidelines for US policy on cross-strait ties and that the US will fulfill its obligations towards Taiwan as defined by the law. "It [the Taiwan Relations Act] still applies, and we still intend to live up to our obligations," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said during a daily press briefing, in response to a question on the issue. Speaking of US policy on cross-strait relations during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, John Negroponte, nominee for deputy secretary of state, said the US supports a "one-China" policy and sticks by the three communiques with China but stopped short of mentioning the Taiwan Relations Act. Negroponte said Taiwan's plan to enact a new constitution might conflict with US policy.

■ Transport

Holiday taxi fees to rise

Taxi fees will be increased during the Lunar New Year holiday between Feb. 15 and Feb. 22 in Taipei, the city government's Department of Transportation announced. Passengers will have to pay 20 percent more on metered fares during the day, and a NT$20 evening surcharge between 11pm and 6am, the announcement said. The night fare will be charged according to the time passengers get into the taxi. For example, if a passenger gets into a taxi at 10:50pm, they won't need to pay the surcharge if they complete their journey after 11pm. The measures will apply in Taipei City, Taipei County and Keelung.

■ Health

Pfizer combats fake drugs

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is turning to high-tech packaging to protect two of their most popular drugs from counterfeiting. New packaging for Norvasc will feature a laser sticker depicting a heart that appears to be beating as the packaging is viewed from different angles. The new Viagra packaging will display a logo that is only visible when viewed at a 15 degree tilt in addition to being sealed by two laser stickers. "These measures had been in the works," said Pfizer corporate affairs director Veronica Peng (彭瓊慧) yesterday, "but the fake Norvasc scandal last year definitely added urgency." "This is going to make it very hard for counterfeiters," she said.

■ Travel

Hotel heartbreak alert issued

The Consumer Protection Commission yesterday warned those planning to travel during the coming Lunar New Year holiday about illegal accommodation. There have been several cases recently in which travelers have booked and paid for lodgings online, only to discover that the place doesn't exist, the commission said in a press release. The commission urged those who plan to travel to check accommodation details with the Tourism Bureau at www.taiwan.net.tw or the Net Consumer Association at www.nca.org.tw before booking.

■ Crime

Police uncover marijuana

Police uncovered 22.8kg of compressed marijuana bricks as well as several seeds and 1kg of ketamine in a search of the office of a freight company in Kinmen County yesterday, detaining a 34-year-old suspect surnamed Chen. The police are still trying to track down the head of the drug ring, surnamed Chuang, who they said had smuggled marijuana bricks and ketamine from China into Kinmen several times, with the drugs later being transported to Kaohsiung. Chuang is reportedly in China.

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