Ma meets congresswoman
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) met US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, yesterday at the Presidential Office and described good Taiwan-US relations as something Taiwanese were looking forward to seeing. Since assuming office, Ma said, he has done his best to “rebuild” mutual trust between Taiwan and the US, adding that ties have rapidly improved despite minor incidents such as the dispute surrounding restrictions on US beef imports. Ma expressed his appreciation to Sanchez, a member of the Committee on Armed Services in the House of Representatives, for US approval of two military sales to Taiwan over the past two years, which he said underscored the friendship between Taiwanese and Americans. Ma also called for strengthened security cooperation between the two sides and a resumption of two-way talks over a long-delayed trade and investment framework agreement. He also urged the US to grant visa-waiver privileges to Taiwan.
Group marks Parkinson’s Day
A group of about 300 people with Parkinson’s disease went on an outing in Nantou County yesterday to mark World Parkinson’s Day. The participants, some of whom are confined to a wheelchair, gathered at Chung Hsing New Village for a walk despite their challenged mobility, while others went cycling. Tseng Kuo-hsiu (曾國修), a 47-year-old who has suffered from the disease for 19 years, said he began cycling as a form of exercise two years ago. Cycling is a well-suited exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease because it helps strengthen muscles as well as increasing physical strength and willpower, he said.
Water mostly sufficient
Taiwan Water Corp (Taiwater) said yesterday that aside from the Kaohsiung area, the country’s water reserves were sufficient to meet demand until the end of June. Hu Nan-jer (胡南澤), vice president of Taiwater, said that although water in major reservoirs in northern and central parts of the country had reached normal levels, the south continued to face shortages. He said the company had undertaken measures to increase supplies in the Kaohsiung area, such as drilling new wells, tapping more underground water sources and deepening and dredging reservoirs. If drought conditions persist in the south, contingency measures would be put in place under the supervision of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, he said.
Changhua farmers protest
Oyster farmers protested in Taipei yesterday against industrial facilities near their farms, which they said have seriously threatened their operations. Lin Lien-tsung (林連宗), secretary-general of the Fangyuan Anti-Pollution Association in Changhua County, said an investigative report by Ted Smith, founder of the US’ Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, found that the wastewater released by panel makers in Changhua was highly poisonous. The 1,000 hectare oyster farms in Yungxing (永興), Wanggong (王功) and Hanbao (漢寶) townships will be highly polluted and even disappear in several years if wastewater from the Central Taiwan Science Park continues to be released into the sea through the townships, Lin said. The farmers also called on the government to immediately call off several industrial development projects in the coastal area, including the Guoguang petrochemical complex, the FPG naphtha cracker in Yunlin and the Central Taiwan Science Park’s sub-projects.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up