■ EarthquakeSEF sends condolences
The Straits Exchange Foundation sent a message to its Chinese counterpart yesterday expressing concern about the aftermath of an earthquake that rocked Xinjiang yesterday. The foundation extended condolences and sympathies for victims of the magnitude-6.8 earthquake, which killed at least 265 people and injured 4,000 others. In its message to the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), the foundation also said the government is willing to offer assistance in post-disaster relief work.
Man says he has explosives
A Taiwanese man, who was arrested after claiming to be carrying explosives aboard an Air Macau flight, will be deported after he was found to be mentally unstable, the Macau government said yesterday. The 29-year-old man was overpowered by flight crew on an Air Macau plane about to depart the territory for Taipei on Sunday night. No one was injured nor were any explosives found in the whole incident. Macau authorities have said the incident was not an attempted hijacking, but that the man had an emotional fit and had argued with crew members before the incident. Media reports said that the Taiwanese man, who was allegedly drunk, was angered after the flight was delayed. Air Macau Flight 612, with 154 passengers and six crew members, had been due to depart Macau International Airport for Taipei at 9:45pm on Sunday. The passengers on the flight boarded another flight for Taipei early Monday.
Locals marry more foreigners
An increasing number of Taipei residents are marrying people from other countries, with more than 4,500 couples tying the knot in 2002, a jump of more than 10 percent over the previous year, Taipei City Government's Bureau of Civil Affairs said yesterday. Among the 4,500 couples, two-thirds of the spouses are from China, Hong Kong or Macau, or about 3,000 couples. Of the other couples, Vietnamese spouses accounted for 44 percent, followed by Indonesian at around 10 percent. In comparison, marriages between Taipei residents and people from China, Hong Kong and Macau increased by 18 percent compared with 2001, while marriages to other foreign spouses increased by 12 percent. In view of the growing number of foreign spouses, the Bureau of Civil Affairs will continue to hold seminars to help them integrate into life in this country. Bureau officials said that the seminars will open between April and July.
Government to give to fund
The government will donate US$75,000 to a trust fund under the Organization of American States (OAS) to help finance young entrepreneurs training program, the ROC representative office in the US said Tuesday. Taiwan Representative to the US Chen Chien-jen (程建人) will donate the fund to the OAS on behalf of the government in a ceremony to be held at the OAS headquarters in Washington tomorrow. Chen will also sign a cooperative agreement with the OAS during the donation ceremony. Under the accord, Taiwan will send experts to assist in carrying out the manpower training program. The Taiwan donation will mainly be used to help enhance leadership and management capabilities of young entrepreneurs of Latin American countries that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Central and South America and the Carribean have been Taiwan's diplomatic stronghold.