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Tue, Feb 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

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Taiwan Quick Take


■ Foreign affairs
Legislators leave for India

A group of legislators left for India yesterday on a week-long visit to promote economic ties and to see if the labor-intensive country can replace China as a favorite investment location for Taiwanese businesspeople. "We hope to get a better understanding of the economic and political situations of India during our visit," group leader Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hou Shui-sheng (侯水盛) said before the group's departure. He said the primary aim of the trip is to promote Taiwan-Indian cooperation in various fields. The government hopes that India, with its cheap labor and high level of economic development, will attract Taiwanese investment away from China. The Taiwan-India Cooperation Council was established on Saturday, with DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun serving as council head.

■ Environment

Schools exposed to radiation

A total of 144 elementary and junior-high schools are exposed to dangerous electromagnetic fields, according to yesterday's Chinese-language the China Times. The paper quoted a survey conducted by a professor of public health at Fu Jen Catholic University, under the commission of the Ministry of Education, as warning that the health of more than 18,000 students could be threatened by the electromagnetic fields. Judged by the locations of the schools, the survey found that 95 elementary schools and 49 junior-high schools have part of their campus within 20m of high-voltage power lines or within a 50m radius of a substation.

■ Foreign Affairs

MOFA lauds US appointment

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday welcomed the US government's appointment of Stephen Young, a career diplomat with experience in Taiwan and China affairs, as its new representative in Taipei. Washington announced on Friday that Young, a former US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and currently a member of the Policy Planning Staff under the State Department, will be the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office. Young, who joined the US foreign service in 1980, is expected to arrive in Taipei next month to assume his post, replacing Douglas Paal, who returned to the US last month after completing a three-and-a-half-year term in Taiwan. Foreign Ministry officials said they believe that after Young assumes his Taipei post, he will fully reflect the Bush administration's policy toward Taiwan and will help bolster bilateral substantive relations between Taiwan and the US. AIT is the quasi-official US liaison office authorized to handle relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties. Young lived in Kaohsiung between 1963 and 1965 as the child of a US military officer stationed there.

■ Health

Tipoff rewards boosted

The maximum reward for reporting smuggled animals or plants will be raised from NT$3.5 million (US$108,700) to NT$5 million in a bid to safeguard the nation against avian influenza, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine announced yesterday. Bureau officials said that in view of the spread of avian flu around the world, they have increased the rewards. Those who report smuggled animals or plants that are later found to be carriers of the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus, the foot-and-mouth disease virus or rabies will receive a reward worth 10 times the value of the smuggled animals or plants.

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