Tue, Apr 01, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Earthquake
Temblor shakes nation

An earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale hit Taiwan yesterday, seismologists said, but there were no reports of casualties or damage. The quake struck at 2:12pm with its epicenter 9.1km northeast of Tsaoshan in southern Chiayi. It originated 6.7km below sea level. Taiwan, frequently rocked by earthquakes, was hit by a powerful quake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale last Sept. 16. A tremor of the same magnitude on March 31 last year killed five people in Taipei. A quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale devastated central Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999, leaving 2,400 people dead and some 100,000 homeless.

■ Health

SARS holds up repatriation

The Ministry of the Interior may consider postponing the repatriation of illegal Chinese immigrants due to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) said yesterday. Yu made the remarks when he was inspecting operations at the Hsinchu detention center for illegal immigrants from China, where 843 female Chinese citizens are staying and awaiting repatriation. According to Lai Hsieh-yi, warden of the detention center, all 843 inmates are unlikely to have SARS since all of them are believed to have come to Taiwan before the SARS outbreak. The latest batch of 19 Chinese women who checked in the center on March 17 had stayed in various police stations islandwide for two to three months prior to their arrival in the center, Lai said.

■ Diplomacy

Tibet links get a boost

The newly inaugurated Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation started its operations yesterday in Hsintien City, Taipei County, in what a high-ranking official dubbed as a key move to augment ties between Taiwan and the Tibet government-in-exile. Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said the foundation is expected to improve ties between Taiwan and the Tibet government-in-exile headed by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. The government regards the foundation as the counterpart of the Tibet Religious Foundation of the Dalai Lama, which has operated in Taipei since 1997 as the representative office of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Chiou said. The foundation chairman Tsegyam described the establishment of the foundation as a further breakthrough in Tibetan-Taiwanese relations.

■ History

Chinese invented jogging

New evidence that suggests jogging was discovered around 4,000 years ago in China has been unearthed at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766BC to 1050BC) are part of the treasure trove collected for over a thousand years by Chinese emperors and royal families and have been stored at the museum since arriving in Taiwan after World War II. The bones had proven resistant to interpretation until recently, when visiting Chinese scholar Pao De-man (跑得漫) found the key to deciphering the meaning of the scratched marks on the bones. According to Pao, the bones prove that jogging was a popular form of exercise for many Chinese noblewomen, long before the Americans reinvented the low-impact sport. Pao said the bones were part of a series of pictogram representations that showed women running, but not toward or away from something -- suggesting the women were simply jogging for pleasure, fun or fitness. An exhibition of the bones will open this morning.

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