■ Aid given to Israeli group
Taiwan Representative to Israel Ting Gan-cheng (丁干城) on Friday donated US$10,000 to Sparrow, an Israeli environmental group. Ting said that although Taiwan was excluded from international environmental organizations, the nation had since 1996 sponsored 110 international nature conservation organizations. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) proposed a world environmental organization earlier this year with the aim of protecting the environment, Ting said. He said Taiwan also needed friends around the world to help it take part in the international efforts to help the environment and that he was happy to donate the money to Sparrow on behalf of the government. Sparrow was founded in 2005 and its members are mostly pilots who are concerned about the environment. They volunteer to fly over Israeli nature conservation parks to monitor poaching, illegal dumping of waste and the destruction of crucial sea turtle habitat.
Penghu gets help on waste
The Kaohsiung City Government has agreed to help the Penghu County Government deal with its garbage problem by handling as much as 60 tonnes of its garbage. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) offered the help during a visit by Penghu County Commissioner Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) on Friday. Wang told Chen that landfill sites in Penghu were filled to capacity. The central government's refusal to allow Penghu County to build an incinerator for fear it might pollute the island chain's environment means that the county is unable to deal with its waste problem on its own. Chen said the Kaohsiung City Government was willing to help Penghu preserve its status as an unspoilt part of Taiwan. The garbage will be transported from Penghu by ship and burned in Kaohsiung's incinerator, at a cost of NT$730 per tonne.
Chen denies Chang threat
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday denied a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News claiming that Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) had threatened to resign should the Cabinet not be allowed to adjust gasoline prices in accordance with the floating pricing mechanism. The Cabinet's insistence on increasing oil prices in accordance with the mechanism has attracted the concern of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who is in favor of government intervention on oil prices. Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said yesterday that the news report was "groundless."
Events mark anniversary
The Straits Exchange Foundation will organize a series of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of cross-strait exchanges. The activities include the screening of a documentary chronicling the 20-year history of cross-strait exchanges -- produced through a collaboration between the foundation and the Public Television Service -- said Michael You (游盈隆), secretary-general and vice chairman of the foundation. The foundation will also hold a two-day symposium at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, starting on Dec. 7, and later publish the papers and symposium minutes, You said. The foundation hopes to create an opportunity to learn and exchange ideas concerning its policies on cross-strait exchanges, he said.