Fri, Dec 27, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan quick take

Ties with Russia

Taiwan helps terror victims

The Taiwan-Russia Exchange Association yesterday donated US$16,000 to relatives of those who died during October's Moscow theater siege in what organizers said is a move to enhance bilateral ties. Vladislav Verchenko, representative of the Moscow-Taipei Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission, received the donation yesterday morning in downtown Taipei from Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), Chairman of the Taiwan-Russia Exchange Association. The association is a non-governmental organization set up in late July to boost Taipei-Moscow ties. More than 120 hostages -- as well as all 41 Chechen militants -- were killed when Russian special forces gassed and stormed the theater on Oct. 26. Eight former hostages and relatives of those who died during the siege have begun legal moves to seek a total compensation of US$7.5 million from the city authorities for their emotional suffering in the wake of the siege.

Defense

Air-raid drill set for Tuesday

An air-raid warning drill is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in the Taiwan and offshore Penghu areas to test the country's warning system, Air Force General Headquarters said. As Tuesday's drill is not part of the annual "Wan An" air-defense exercise, only the monotone all-clear siren will be sounded for one and a half minutes, during which pedestrians will not be required to get off the streets and drivers will not need to follow air-raid procedures, the Air Force said. Should a real attack occur during the drill, Air Force officials said, the drill would be suspended immediately and an emergency air-raid siren would be sounded in accordance with required procedures. The emergency air-raid signal is a monotone sound lasting for 15 seconds, followed by two shorter ones, each lasting for five seconds. The pattern is repeated three times with two five-second intervals, the officials said. The Air Force said the exercise is designed to heighten awareness of the threat from "the enemy" and to maintain the public's full preparedness in terms of air defense.

Politics

Ma has plans for airport

Taipei's Sungshan Airport, near the Neihu Science-Technology Park located in the city's northeastern suburb, will be remodeled as a materials-distribution center for northern Taiwan, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday. Ma said he will also seek the support of the central government in designating Sungshan Airport as Taiwan's representative airport once direct air links across the Taiwan Strait are opened. The mayor made the remarks during a ceremony marking the inauguration of the service center of the Neihu Science-Technology Park. The Neihu Science-Technology Park, a "Silicon Valley" in Taipei City with an increasing number of high-technology companies moving in, is expected to become fully operational in 2006.

Emergencies

Toll-free number for all

A toll-free number open to overseas Taiwanese in times of emergency will be institutionalized starting from next year after a successful trial during the past year-and-a-half, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday. Taiwanese travelers in some 18 countries as well as in Hong Kong and Macau can ring up the number available 24 hours a day when unable to reach Taiwan's pertinent overseas representative offices in times of emergency, the ministry said in a press release.

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