American commits suicide
Chiayi City police yesterday ruled out homicide as the cause of death of a 67-year-old US national, concluding that the man had hanged himself at his home a day earlier. The man, identified as Terry Edward Gibbs, was found dead at his home by his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon. Police said his body was discovered hanging by a rope tied to a stair handrail in the living room. Police determined that Gibbs had been suffering from chronic heart and kidney disease and had recently been diagnosed with pneumonia. Edward's deteriorating health led him to commit suicide, the police report said.
■ SEISMIC ACTIVITY
Earthquake rocks Taiwan
An earthquake measuring 6 on the Richter scale rattled the nation at 9:40pm last night. The Central Weather Bureau said the epicenter of the quake was located to the east of the bureau's seismological station in Hsilin (西林), Hualien, at a depth of 29.6km. The earthquake measured 4 in Hualien, 2 in Taipei, 2 in Taichung and 1 in Tainan. As of press time, no significant damage or casualties had been reported. This was the second significant earthquake to hit Taiwan this year. The first, a 6.2, took place on Jan. 25 and was centered east of Taitung County's Chenggong Township (成功).
Ex-president releases book
Former Bulgarian president Zhelyu Zhelev will release a Chinese-language edition of his book Fascism tomorrow in Taipei. In a press conference to be held at the Taipei International Shangri-La Hotel to introduce the book, Zhelev will also give a speech comparing fascism and communism. Invitated by the Taiwan Democracy Foundation, Zhelev arrived in Taipei yesterday on a five-day visit. During his stay, he will meet President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), president of the foundation.
Dengue cases on the rise
Eleven cases of imported dengue fever have been reported in Taipei this year, a city official said yesterday. Lin Pi-fen (林碧芬), of the Taipei City Government's Bureau of Health, said all the cases originated in Southeast Asian countries and warned that there has been an increase in dengue fever outbreaks over the past few years, which she attributed to global warming. In Vietnam, 29,000 dengue fever cases have been reported since the beginning of the year, with 21,000 cases and 17 deaths in Thailand, Lin said. Both outbreaks registered a year-on-year growth of 30 percent, Lin said. In Taiwan, the number of indigenous dengue fever cases this year is at 60, with 53 reported in Tainan City, five in Tainan County and two in Kaohsiung City. The total number is much higher than the 28 cases in the same period last year, Lin said, adding that no indigenous cases have been reported in Taipei City this year.
Kinmen troops cut further
Taiwan will further reduce the number of troops guarding Kinmen as a way to ease tensions in the Taiwan Strait, Defense Minister Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) said yesterday. He said the Ministry of National Defense had made an assessment of the situation between Taiwan and China before deciding to trim the force stationed on Kinmen. He declined to elaborate. There are currently fewer than 10,000 troops on Kinmen.