MAC chairmen appointed
The new vice chairmen of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) have been appointed, all from within the ranks of the council, an official of the MAC said yesterday. Liu Teh-hsun (劉德勳), an incumbent MAC vice chairman, was tapped to serve as the top vice chairman, the official said. Chang Liang-jen (張良任), director of the council’s Department of Policy Planning, and Fu Don-cheng (傅棟成), director of the Department of Economic Affairs, were named as the other two vice chairmen, according to the official. The appointments were made by MAC chairwoman-designate Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛), who opted for internal promotions in consideration of a need to maintain a stable operation, the official said. Lai will assume office today after incoming president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is inaugurated.
Disinfection drive conducted
An islandwide disinfection drive was conducted yesterday in Lanyu (蘭嶼), also known as Orchid Island, following the report of a fatal case of suspected enterovirus. The Health Bureau under the Taitung County Government offered help to all public offices and households in Lanyu, which is located off the coast of Taitung County, to facilitate disinfection following the death on Sunday of a 15-month-old baby girl who had shown symptoms of enterovirus. The baby showed symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease on Thursday and was admitted into the Lanyu Public Health Office on Friday after developing a fever. The child was ferried to Taitung County and checked into the local Mackay Memorial Hospital on Sunday after she fell unconscious and suffered plummeting blood pressure. She died at the hospital on Sunday afternoon.
Last tourist group to return
The last group of Taiwanese tourists who were stuck in Sichuan Province after the earthquake is scheduled to return this evening, the Taiwan Travel Agent Association (TAA) said yesterday. TAA chairman Yao Ta-kuang (姚大光) said they have arranged for the group to board the a charter flight offered by Mandarin Airlines (華信航空), which will also carry a Red Cross Society rescue team. The group, consisting of 14 tourists, was supposed to return from Chengdu yesterday evening. However, the remaining three tourists were not picked up until yesterday afternoon. The group has decided that they wanted to come home together. Meanwhile, the Tourism Bureau met with the travel agencies yesterday and both sides agreed that travel agencies must not charge customers additional expenses for changing their travel itineraries due to force majeure.
COA promises shortage aid
The Council of Agriculture (COA) promised yesterday to help deal with the nation’s fertilizer shortage so that farmers’ harvests would not be negatively affected. You Sheng-feng (游勝鋒), deputy director general of the COA’s Agriculture and Food Agency, said the council will coordinate with Taiwan Fertilizer Co, the country’s largest fertilizer producer, and other private companies to supply fertilizer on a steady basis. You said that Taiwan Fertilizer and other local companies have supplied 14 percent more fertilizer to the local market this year compared to the same time period last year. But with commodity prices rising, farmers may be “buying an additional one or two” bags of fertilizer, anticipating that fertilizer prices could still rise in the near future.