The global toll from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) climbed above 500 dead and 7,000 infected yesterday as China described its crisis as "grim" and announced that 120 bureaucrats had been fired or punished for mishandling or even concealing cases of the disease. \nIn one province, Communist Party members have been told to revive the ancient custom of bowing instead of shaking hands to prevent disease transmission. \n"The current SARS situation is still grim, and the economic impact is more pronounced each day," the official Xinhua News Agency said in its report of a Chinese Cabinet meeting that ordered measures to protect exports and investments. \nLi Kui-wai, an economist at the City University of Hong Kong, predicted China's gross domestic product could fall by 1 percent to 2 percent due to SARS. \nIn Moscow, Russian officials ordered airlines to suspend reservations on flights to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan because of SARS and to be prepared to cancel all flights. \nChina announced five more SARS fatalities and Hong Kong four, raising the global number of deaths to at least 507 yesterday. \nSARS has killed 208 people in Hong Kong and 224 in China -- half in Beijing. \nIn Hong Kong a 100-year-old woman was among the new victims. One of the Chinese victims was from Shanghai -- the first reported SARS fatality in the nation's most populous city. \nSo far, SARS has mostly been an urban disease. But authorities fear it might spread into the countryside, where the majority of China's 1.3 billion people live amid a shortage of doctors and hospitals unable to cope with epidemics. \nWHO investigators were due yesterday to go to Hebei, a province bordering Beijing and where there has been a marked surge in cases. \nA new unidentified pneumonia has appeared in the jungles of Cambodia. An outbreak has been controlled, but seven people have died. Doctors say they are baffled by it, just like they were initially by SARS. \nSARS first surfaced as a mystery illness in southern China last November, when it was described only as an atypical pneumonia. \nThe new illness has SARS-like symptoms including fever, coughing and breathing problems, but sufferers also have diarrhea and maintain normal white blood cell counts. \nSARS has taken the lives of many health professionals. Doctors and nurses working in SARS wards across Asia are being hailed as heroes who put their own lives at risk to save others.
The Central Weather Bureau could issue a sea alert for Super Typhoon Mawar, as it is forecast to turn north and come closest to Taiwan from Tuesday to Wednesday next week. Mawar was downgraded from a super typhoon to a typhoon after sweeping across Guam on Wednesday night, knocking down trees and leaving much of the US territory without power. Many residents of Guam yesterday remained without power and utilities after Mawar tore through the remote US Pacific territory the previous night, ripping roofs off homes, flipping vehicles and shredding trees. There were no immediate reports of deaths and injuries, but the
ADJUSTMENTS: Over the next five years, every year except 2026 would have only one makeup workday to compensate for national holidays, the government said The Executive Yuan (EY) yesterday announced the official workday calendar for next year, which includes one makeup day and four holidays with more than three days off. It also announced new standards for makeup days in the event of consecutive holidays. The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration cited the importance of the Lunar New Year and Tomb Sweeping holidays to the public as its reason to mandate flexible off-days. The 115 total off-days dovetail with dates that international financial markets are closed, minimizing the effects of state holidays on stock and currency exchange trading, it said. Over the next five years, only the calendar for
Police on Sunday said they are on alert after the China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) invited an alleged top leader of a Japanese criminal organization to visit Taiwan. The party and a branch of the Hongmen society reportedly invited Joji Uezu from the Kyokuryu-kai, the only yakuza group in Okinawa designated by Japanese police, to visit Taiwan along with six other people. Members of Taiwan’s Bamboo Union (竹聯幫) have reportedly participated in events hosted by the Kyokuryu-kai as early as 2015. The Okinawa Times in 2018 reported that Chang Wei (張瑋), son of former Bamboo Union leader and CUPP founder Chang An-le (張安樂),
INVASION UNPOPULAR: Chinese would likely accept their government having a softer stance toward cross-strait relations, one of the coauthors of the article said Interest among the Chinese public in the issue of China’s unification with Taiwan is low, researchers said, citing the results of a poll. An article titled “Assessing Public Support for (Non-)Peaceful Unification with Taiwan: Evidence from a Nationwide Survey in China,” published in the Journal of Contemporary China on May 14, showed that only 55 percent of those surveyed in China would support the use of military force to achieve unification with Taiwan. In the survey, which polled 1,824 people on the question of how they would like to see the issue of Taiwan’s unification with China resolved, “only one out of