Sat, Jan 19, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ POLITICS

Six vie for deputy speaker

Four Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators registered with the party as candidates for deputy legislative speaker yesterday, bringing the total number of hopefuls to six. KMT legislators John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛), Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) sent their applications yesterday, while KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) registered with the party on Thursday. KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), who has promised to select the candidate via a democratic mechanism, will meet the interested candidates this afternoon to discuss the selection.

■ TOURISM

No change on visas: Canada

Canada welcomes Taiwanese tourists with open arms but has no plans to change its visa policy for Taiwanese nationals, the Canadian Trade Office in Taiwan (CTOT) said on Thursday. Taiwan has called on Canada to provide visa-free treatment for Taiwanese nationals, saying that Canada should follow Japan's example, which lifted all visa requirements for Taiwanese tourists on March 11 last year. A local newspaper reported that Canada had decided against waiving visa requirements because of security concerns, worrying that some Chinese would enter Canada illegally using counterfeit Taiwanese passports. CTOT officials declined to comment on the news report, saying only that Taiwanese tourists are welcome in Canada as long as they follow the standard visa application procedures.

■ HEALTH

Banned chemicals found

One of 240 randomly tested vegetable samples contained residues of chemicals that are banned by the WHO for agricultural purposes, Hsieh Ting-hung (謝定宏), deputy director of the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis, said yesterday. The banned chemicals are dicrotophos and fipronil, which are used to exterminate insect parasites on leafy vegetables, he said. The residual level for dicrotophos was recorded at 0.23ppm, exceeding the suggested acceptable daily intake (ADI) set by Japanese food authorities at 0.000066 mg/kg body weight per day, while the residual level for fipronil was 0.2ppm, surpassing the suggested ADI set by experts on pesticide residues in food and the environment at 0.0002 mg/kg body weight per day. Excessive levels of dicrotophos might cause people to lose their balance, while a high intake of fipronil might lead to liver poisoning and thyrotoxicosis, Hsieh said.

■ CONSTRUCTION

Southern metropolis planned

The Ministry of the Interior yesterday introduced a plan to forge a southern metropolitan area through the development of five major southern cities and counties. The plan aims to capitalize on the region's dual advantages -- its unique culture and marine industry -- to promote development in the area, an official with the ministry's Construction and Planning Agency said. Designed by the nonprofit Institute for Physical Planning and Information, the plan listed 10 major areas of investment needed to create the envisioned new metropolitan area. They include renovating the area's seaports and airports, strengthening the network linking industry and academia, and promoting better water resources management. Officials responsible for construction projects in the five cities and counties featured in the plan took part in the seminar yesterday.

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