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Wed, Jan 19, 2000 - Page 2 News List

OFF THE BEAT

30 firefighters tie the knot

It was a first for firefighters. Chen Hung-yi (陳弘毅), chairman of the National Fire Administration, presided over a group wedding ceremony for 15 couples in the firefighting profession. The newlyweds came from 12 counties across the country, Chen said. The ceremony was held at a posh hotel in Taipei.

Sponsored by the Fire Fighting Foundation, the group wedding was witnessed by several leading politicians and legislators.

Each couple received a gift of NT$20,000 from the foundation and a coupon for a one-night stay at the hotel.

Let's just hope there aren't any fires to put out that night.

Hospital reports miraculous recovery

A patient has regained consciousness after having been in a coma for half a year, according to the medical staff at the Genesis Foundation (創世基金會), who released the good news yesterday.

Last July, a man known as Ah-fu (阿富), a 45-year-old plasterer, fainted suddenly at a construction site where he was working. After two operations, he sank into a permanent coma.

But on Dec. 2, a nurse noticed noticed that his eyes seemed to regain their sparkle, and that his paralyzed body was able to move slightly, prompting doctors to begin a course of physical therapy. A month later, Ah-fu greets people with an eye expression and can even eat and drink by himself. Doctors and nurses at the hospital wish him a speedy recovery.

PLO ties in the making?

Taiwan plans to send an envoy to the Palestinian autonomous areas in May to explore the possibility of launching ties, according to a recent report in The Journalist magazine.

Chiu Hung-dah, Taiwan's ambassador without portfolio, has obtained approval for the Middle East trip from Taiwan Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen (程建人), the magazine reported.

"Taiwan has no contacts with Palestine. Chiu's trip is to pave the way so that once a Palestine state is founded, Taiwan can open a representative office there," the article said.

Chiu's task is seen by political observers as difficult since the Palestinians have forged solid ties with China, which recognized them as a state in 1988 and opened a representative office in the Gaza Strip in 1997. In addition, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat has visited China 12 times.

According to The Journalist, Chiu will also visit Israel, Egypt and Tunisia during his Middle East trip.

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