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In Brief

In Brief

U.S. might sell Taiwan new missile systems
WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress Tuesday about a possible sale to Taiwan of an upgrade to its Patriot missile defense systems valued at nearly US$1 billion.
Even before the announcement, the proposed sale was attacked by China as sending a "wrong signal" to Taiwan.
The Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said the upgrades would involve ground support equipment of three existing fire units so that they can be armed with the most advanced Patriot interceptor missiles.
"The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region," the DSCA said.
Sewerage charge
The Taipei County government is proposing levying sewerage fees of NT$5 per ton on water consumption, following Taipei City's sewerage fee structure, a local official said yesterday.
Under the fee structure, a four-member household with a 20 mm diameter water supply pipe will need to budget about NT$150 to cover monthly sewerage fees, the official said.
The Taipei County government has referred its proposal to levy sewerage charges to the county council for approval. The county government will bring the regulations into practice after one or two years should relevant authorities give their approval.
Crew arrives in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya
A Taiwanese fishing ship that was freed last week by Somali pirates who held it for five months arrived safely in Kenya yesterday, an official said.
The Ching Fong Hwa No. 168 and its 12 crew were seized in May off Somalia in one of the world's most dangerous waterways.
"I understand it has already docked at the harbor. I am on my way there," Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance program said.
The vessel was said to be carrying eight Chinese sailors and four Taiwanese, but Mwangura said there could be more on board.
Fewer suicide deaths
The number of deaths from suicide in the first seven months of this year marked a steep decline over the figure for the same period a year earlier, the Department of Health said yesterday.
According to the DOH, there were 2,179 suicide deaths for the January-July period this year, or 16.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 population. In comparison, 2,652 suicide deaths were registered for the same period in '06, for an average of 20 suicide deaths per 100,000 population. The DOH said that among the 15 leading causes of death in Taiwan, suicide deaths registered the sharpest decline for the period at 18.2 percent.