Sat, Apr 21, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ CHARITY
Tzu Chi helps blaze victims

The Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassionate Relief Foundation has twice this month airlifted blankets and other relief goods to the Philippines to help victims of a disastrous fire that occurred in a slum near Manila earlier this month, a Tzu Chi official said yesterday. Tzu Chi airlifted 2,000 blankets to the Philippines last Thursday. Transportation was provided free of charge thanks to the chairman of Philippine Airlines, Lucio Tan, who is a Tzu Chi volunteer, the Tzu Chi official said. Tzu Chi sent another batch of 3,000 blankets and 5,000 packs of first-aid and relief goods to Manila last Saturday, again free of charge thanks to Tan. The fire left more than 3,000 people homeless, Tzu Chi said.

■ ENVIRONMENT

Lights out at schools

Lights at the nation's government offices and at schools were turned off for one hour yesterday to mark Earth Day. At the suggestion of the Cabinet, lights at many government offices and schools were turned off between 12pm and 1pm to save energy and cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. The government issued the "lights out" order for the internationally recognized day in response to a call from 17 Taiwanese civic groups. The groups also urged that lights in the world's tallest building -- the 508m Taipei 101 -- be turned off briefly in a symbolic gesture. Taipei 101's lights will be turned off next month as part of another energy-saving campaign.

■ DEFENSE

Wan-an Exercise in Taitung

The annual Wan-an Exercise will be carried out in Taitung County from 8pm to 8:30pm on May 3. The Wan-an Exercise is an air raid drill that is usually carried out between April and June in different locations around the country. The Ministry of National Defense reminded the public that all vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be suspended during the 30-minute exercise. All indoor and outdoor lights must also be switched off. Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞) will be the convener for the exercise. The exercise will be a good chance for the county government officials to practice and simulate related procedures, she said.

■ POLITICS

TSU criticizes Lee verdict

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus yesterday said the Supreme Court's ruling against former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in a defamation lawsuit was too severe. People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) had filed the lawsuit and the Taipei District Court ruled in November 2005 that Lee should pay Soong NT$10 million (US$300,000) in compensation and run apologies in nine newspapers. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Taiwan High Court's ruling that Lee, seen by TSU members as the party's spiritual leader, should apologize to Soong and compensate him for defamation. The ruling said Lee insinuated in a speech in 2004 that Soong was playing mahjong with friends on April 10, 2004, while his followers fought police after President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election. The Supreme Court ruled Lee should run apologies in three newspapers for a day and pay Soong NT$2 million. "The verdict was severe because Lee did not specify who he was talking about [in his speech]," TSU caucus whip Tseng Tsahn-deng (曾燦燈) said. PFP Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), on the other hand, yesterday lauded the ruling, calling it "belated justice."

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