Local officials vow boycott
Eighteen pan-blue-governed city and county governments yesterday signed a joint statement supporting the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) proposal to boycott the Central Election Commission's plan to hold the presidential election and UN referendum at the same time. The pan-blue city and county government heads pledged to hand out the ballots for the two votes separately during the March election, adding that they would not follow any central government instructions to hand out the ballots together. The commission will make a final decision tomorrow about whether the election and referendum should be held at the same time. KMT Organization and Development Committee Director Liao Fung-te (廖風德) said the city and county government heads felt that handing out the ballots separately would be simpler for poll staff. "The Local Government Act (地方自治法) grants local governments the authority to handle elections and we will do it our own way," he said.
Radio budget slashed
The government's Radio Taiwan International (RTI) had two-thirds of its budget blocked by pan-blue legislators at the Education and Cultural Committee meeting yesterday. Some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers said they opposed the station's program Taiwan Perspective. KMT Lawmaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) accused RTI of being politically biased and lacking journalistic ethics. RTI president Lin Feng-cheng (林峰正) said the radio station would not survive past next April or May if the legislators slash its budget. He said the station had always maintained high journalistic professionalism and accurately reflected the voice of the people.
Chen calls for budget debate
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who doubles as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), called yesterday for debate with the opposition parties on defense budget cuts. Chen made the appeal at a meeting of the DPP Central Executive Committee after the opposition parties recently slashed the whole research and development budget for the military to develop the country's own advanced weapons. Chen instructed the DPP legislative caucus to endeavor to have the budget reinstated. He said if this does not happen, he will ask for a public debate with the opposition parties on the issue of whether the country needs defense in an effort to give the public a better understanding of who the real defender of Taiwan is and who is on China's side. Noting that Beijing had 200 missiles targeting Taiwan in 2000 when he became president, Chen said the number of missiles has now increased to 988.
STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA";
Medical technique succeeds
Taipei Medical University Hospital recently used a new technique to remove uterine fibroids during a cesarean delivery, the director of the hospital's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department announced yesteday. The excised fibroid weighed 3.8kg, which was bigger and heavier than the baby, who weighed only 2.8kg, said Liu Wei-min (劉偉民). Liu said the patient was diagnosed in March with a uterine fibroid 30 cm long, which at first led him to mistakenly believe the patient was in her 25th week of pregnancy. Liu said after he delivered the baby, he ligated the uterine arteries to prevent massive hemorrhaging and then removed the fibroid. Traditionally, a woman suffering from uterine fibroids during pregnancy, surgery must wait more than six months after the birth for surgery, Liu said.
Fake sports products seized
Police seized 600 pairs of counterfeit sports shoes and 300 sports shirts imported from China and arrested a suspect surnamed Lai in a raid in Taichung County, Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) officials reported yesterday. The officials said they were patrolling the Internet when they came across a Web site selling brand-name sports shoes at one-third of the normal price. They contacted Taichung County police who raided two warehouses full of counterfeit Puma, Adidas and Nike sports shoes. Lai told police he became involved with a counterfeit ring in Guangzhou three years ago. They ran ads on an overseas Web site to evade police detection. He said the counterfeit products were imported at a price of between NT$200 and NT$300 but sold for between NT$1,000 and NT$2,000.
Staff writer, with Agencies";
Tainan City Councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sparked further controversy when he echoed remarks by KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰) that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be executed for an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases. Chen heads the Central Epidemic Command Center. Lu at a question-and-answer session at the Tainan City Council said that a lapse in disease prevention measures at China Airlines, which has led to a cluster infection, could have been controlled. However, as the airline’s pilots were allowed a shortened quarantine period of three days and were placed
SUFFICIENT SUPPLY: Taiwan has an abundance of pandemic-related goods in storage, and protocols have been implemented to ensure that the supply chain is not broken Hordes of customers descended on hypermarkets and supermarkets in Taipei and New Taipei City after the government yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert level for the two municipalities to level 3 until May 28. Earlier in the day, the Central Epidemic Command Center reported 180 new domestically transmitted cases, most of them in Taipei and New Taipei City. Despite the government urging the public to stop hoarding daily necessities, shelves were stripped bare while cashiers were working as fast as they could. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at a news conference on Friday detailed the government’s inventory of masks, medical-grade isopropyl alcohol and protective clothing,
‘STAY CALM’: The nation has more than 800 million masks in stock and can produce up to 40 million a day, while hand sanitizer stocks are also sufficient The nation has an ample supply of masks to meet demand amid concerns over an increase in the number of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday. Taiwan has more than 800 million masks in stock, with daily production of 18.3 million units on average and maximum daily capacity of 40 million units, the ministry said on Facebook. The ministry’s assurance came after Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), on Monday said that the nation has entered the community transmission stage after several new domestic
EYES AND EARS: The navy has commissioned the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to manufacture radars to upgrade the nation’s naval monitoring stations A military enthusiast yesterday posted photographs of Taiwanese F-16 jets taking off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with two refueling aircraft, presumably returning to Taiwan from the US for upgrades. Asked about the matter, the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment. The jets had been part of training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and had briefly landed in Honolulu, where the photographer, Aeros808, had spotted them, a source said. The jets did not land in Guam, which had been done in 1996 when the US Air Force delivered F-16s to Taiwan, the source said, adding that the