Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ DIPLOMACY

MOFA asserts Taiping claim

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reaffirmed the nation's sovereignty over Taiping Island in the South China Sea in response to Vietnam's opposition to an ongoing road expansion project on the island. MOFA made the comment in a press release on Tuesday after its Vietnamese counterpart issued a statement on Nov. 15 saying Taiwan had infringed Vietnam's sovereignty with the road expansion project on the island. The Ministry of National Defense is expanding the main road on Taiping, the biggest islet of the Spratly Islands, to approximately 1,150m in length and 30m in width. The expanded road will also serve as an emergency runway.

■ HEALTH

Lyme disease reported

The nation has recorded its first case of Lyme disease since the illness was declared a nationally notifiable infectious disease last month, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) official said yesterday. The case involves a 22-year-old American teacher of English who is said to have been infected during a trip back home between April and May, CDC Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said. The man recently sought medical treatment at a local hospital, which reported his case to health authorities, Shih said, adding that the man was receiving antibiotic treatment. Shih said that every year, the US records more than 10,000 cases of Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to the joints, heart and the nervous system, Shih said.

■ POLITICS

Lai to Chiu: Go see a shrink

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator William Lai (賴清德) yesterday told Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) to see a psychiatrist, after Chiu accused Lai of inspecting his cell. "I really do not understand why the KMT would nominate such a man as a legislative candidate," Lai said when approached for comments about Chiu's accusation. "He needs to see a shrink, not run for reelection." Lai admitted he had been to the Kaohsiung Second Prison to visit a friend. "I can't remember when, but I did visit the prison when Chiu was behind bars. But I was visiting a friend, not him," Lai said. "I believe the security footage will prove that I am not lying." Prison officials confirmed Lai's story, saying he was nowhere near Chiu's cell. Kaohsiung Second Prison vice warden Lu Tung-yuan (陸東原) said the cell which Lai visited was quite far from Chiu's. Only guards are allowed to visit a prisoner in his cell. Guards must also take off their shoes before they enter a cell, which unlike what Chiu said, makes it impossible to leave shoeprints.

■ POLITICS

Ma woos China, Japan

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday he would work to ease tensions with China while keeping friendly ties with Japan if he is elected next year. Speaking at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, Ma said: "I will resume negotiations with the mainland." Ma said he would use his three-day visit to Japan to end speculation that he was anti-Japanese. "I'm not anti-Japanese, not pro-Japanese. But I'm trying to understand the Japanese," Ma said. Ma said he supported "forward-looking visions" with Japan and greater economic ties.

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