Spoonbill numbers up
A record 1,081 endangered black-faced spoonbills have been spotted wintering in the Tainan area, local conservation advocacy groups said yesterday. Every year from October to April, black-faced spoonbills fly south to winter in wetlands and lagoons in Tainan City and Tainan County. As part of a global annual census initiated by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, local conservation groups began counting the spoonbills on Saturday and completed the count yesterday. “As of noon on Sunday, 1,081 black-faced spoonbills had been documented, the largest number of sightings since the annual census began a few years ago,” said Lee Ming-hua (李明華), a Tainan County river ranger, who joined volunteers from the Wild Bird Society of Tainan City and the Black-Faced Spoonbill Conservation Association of Tainan County in conducting the survey. The largest group tallied was 728 spoonbills spotted at the Cigu Township (七股) black-faced spoonbill reserve.
Emperor to get exhibit
The National Palace Museum confirmed yesterday that it would hold a joint exhibition with a Chinese museum on Emperor Yongzheng — the fourth ruler of the Qing Dynasty — in Taiwan in October. Director Chou Kung-shin told reporters she would make an “ice-breaking” visit to China’s Palace Museum in Beijing next month and that Zheng Xinmiao (鄭欣淼), director of the Beijing museum, would pay a visit to the Taipei museum in March. Chou said the two sides, making their first contact in 60 years, would discuss the October exhibit. She said the joint exhibit could be held in Taiwan because under the 1992 Statute on Encouraging and Rewarding Cultural and Art Enterprises, the Beijing museum’s exhibits would be protected from seizure or any legal entanglements over ownership. Taiwan’s art and cultural objects could also be displayed in China if a similar statute is passed to grant the same protection, Chou said.
Pitcher Wang awaits child
New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) yesterday confirmed rumors that he would become a father in June. Wang’s wife is expecting a boy. Asked whether his son would be allowed to play baseball when he grows up, Wang said his son could make his own decision. Wang also said that since June is in the middle of the baseball season, the baby would likely be born in the US.
Tsai welcomes ‘witch hunt’
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Saturday that the government’s probe into the role of former financial officials in alleged irregularities in the country’s second wave of financial reform was a witch hunt. Tsai, who helped with the reform as vice premier between 2006 and 2007, made the comment as she emerged from a forum sponsored by Taiwan Thinktank. “If the Executive Yuan wants to engage in a political witch hunt against me, then let’s have a good fight,” she said. Tsai said the financial officials who presided over the reform followed the law. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Lee Sush-der (李述德) refused to comment on whether any laws had been broken in implementing the reforms. Lee said it was up to prosecutors and the Control Yuan to probe the case. Lee and Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Sean Chen told a news conference the previous day that a probe by their staff had raised 16 questions about the reforms.