Sending ships not easy
Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) yesterday said that it would be a great challenge for Taiwan to send a warship to protect Taiwanese ships from Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden. As Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the nations along the sea lanes that use the Gulf of Aden and Taiwan’s supply ship is now undergoing regular maintenance, Chen said: “It will be a challenge for the Navy’s vessels to carry out such a mission.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now in discussions with countries such as the US and EU nations about the possibility of cooperating and more than 40 Navy vessels from other countries are ready to help ships in the area if it becomes necessary. As such, Chen yesterday said his ministry would assess whether there was really the need for Taiwan to send warships to the area.
Wang says no US meetings
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday that the delegation that would attend US president-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Tuesday would not meet with US government officials during the trip. Taiwan will have three separate groups of well-wishers. In response to concerns about the tickets to the inauguration ceremony, Wang, who will lead the government delegation, said yesterday that members of all three delegations would have tickets. When asked to comment on the bodyguards assigned by the National Security Bureau to escort former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Wang said the arrangement was made according to the Preferential Treatment to Retired Presidents and Vice Presidents (卸任總統副總統禮遇條例).
Dengue found in Taoyuan
Taoyuan County health authorities yesterday confirmed two cases of dengue fever imported by a Taiwanese traveler and an Indonesian worker. The county government’s health bureau said the first case involved a 36-year-old Taiwanese woman who visited Thailand with her family from Dec. 27 to Jan. 1. The woman developed suspected dengue fever symptoms, including a fever and muscle and joint pain, before being sent to a hospital for treatment on Jan 13. The hospital reported the suspected infection the next day to the county’s health bureau, which confirmed the illness on Jan. 15. The Indonesian worker was found to have dengue fever during a health check when entering Taiwan. He returned to Indonesia on Jan. 14. Taoyuan County health bureau chief Wu Cheng-fang (吳成方) urged the public, particularly travelers returning from Southeast Asian countries, to be alert for the disease if they develop headaches behind the eyes and pain in their joints.
Birds hard to avoid: official
It is difficult for planes to completely avoid the risk of having birds sucked into their engines, a flight safety official said on Friday after a commercial jetliner was crippled by birds in New York. The official said there were midair encounters with birds every year at Taiwan’s 23 military, civilian and military-civilian airports. In 2007, there were an estimated 163 incidents of birds striking aircraft in Taiwan, with 27 aircraft, or 16.56 percent of those hit, suffering damage. Airports in Taiwan usually use nets, laser guns and explosive gas devices to keep birds away.