Some 300 Tao aborigines staged a protest yesterday at an interim nuclear repository on Orchid Island to press the government to relocate the radioactive waste from their home as soon as possible. \nThe demonstrators demanded that the government declare that the state-owned Taiwan Power Company's (Taipower) use of the nuclear dump after New Year's Eve is illegal and set a definite time frame for removal of the waste. \nThe demonstrators said that if the government fails to respond to their demand within 15 days, they will launch an even larger protest. They ended their demonstration after planting several taro plants at the site to symbolize their claim to the land. \nThe Tao tribesmen began to converge on the Taipower nuclear dump on Lanyu, located some 42km off Taiwan's southeast coast, early in the morning. While tribal elders wore traditional Tao attire, including silver helmets and long spears, younger Tao people carried posters that read: "Oust nuclear waste! Oppose relocation of residents." \nMore than 200 policemen were mobilized to maintain order. At one point, some demonstrators threw stones at the policemen, but the clash was soon stopped when Tao elders assisted in controlling the situation. \nAt present, 97,672 barrels of low-grade radioactive waste from Taipower's three nuclear power plants are stored at the Lanyu nuclear dump. \nThe Tao demanded that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) honor his campaign promise to relocate the waste during his presidency, which will end May 20, 2004. In recent years, the Tao have staged many large demonstrations to push for prompt removal of the waste. \nThe Cabinet passed a draft bill last month that outlines legal proceedings to ensure professionalism and information transparency when choosing permanent nuclear dump sites for domestic low-grade radioactive waste. The bill is now awaiting approval of the Legislative Yuan. \nPremier Yu Shyi-kun said in mid-December that the government will eventually relocate the nuclear waste, but he added that the government needs to extend the interim land lease with a Tao association until it can find a new location. \nTao tribesmen demanded that certain provisions believed to hinder relocation be revised. Moreover, they are opposed to any extension of the lease contract, which was signed between Taipower and the Tao association in 1982 and will expire by the end of this year. \nThe demonstrators also de-manded that the government form a high-level negotiation team to discuss the relocation issue with their representatives.
PHOTO: LI KUANG-PIN, TAIPEI TIMES
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Chiang was effective in running a cautious campaign to avoid making mistakes, waiting for other candidates to slip up, an analyst said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) stood out among his rivals due to his energy, his die-hard supporters and his relative openness to discuss issues such as same-sex marriage, a political analyst said yesterday. Chiang’s campaign was also aided by his family’s background in politics, which helped him garner greater support in Taipei where there is a large KMT base, said the analyst, who chose to remain anonymous. “Chiang is also not a typical KMT member when it comes to certain issues, such as gay marriage, and his more open stance widened his support base — particularly among young
TOURIST HOTSPOT: The air charter services would drastically cut travel time to the world-renowned beach with its service to Caticlan, instead of Kalibo Royal Air Philippines is to launch next month direct flights between Taiwan and the Philippine city of Caticlan, a closer entry point to tourist hotspot Boracay. The airline will initially offer six charter flights between Dec. 26 and Jan. 15, with the flight frequency increasing to one per day during the Lunar New Year and winter holidays from Jan. 19 to Feb. 8, it announced at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. The charter flight services will drastically cut travel time to Boracay to about two hours and 45 minutes. Before the new route is launched, travelers from Taiwan who