Contraband cigarettes found
More than 100 cartons of Japanese and British cigarettes were found floating at sea off the coastline of Pingtung County yesterday morning. A coastal patrol team discovered the cigarettes near the coastline between Linbian and Hsiko at 10am but did not find any suspects after searching the fishing boats in the area. The cigarettes, worth about NT$2.5 million (US$72,000), were probably dropped by a fishing boat for other smugglers to pick up. An investigation is underway.
Fast to be held in Taichung
An annual "30-hour fast," designed to give participants the experience of feeling hunger and prompt them to make generous donations to help the needy, will be launched Aug. 9 in Taichung, sponsors of the event announced yesterday. Chuan Kuo-cheng (全國成), director of the regional office of World Vision Taiwan (WVT) said that this year's fast is expected to attract 4,000 participants, each of whom will donate NT$1,000 (US$27.7) or NT$500 to help victims of war and famine. The theme of this year's fast -- the 14th of its kind since 1989 -- is "halve your consumption and make generous donations," Chuan said. He called on the public to take part in the fast to help those who are on the brink of death. WVT, one of nation's major charity organizations, sponsors other relief and medical aid activities in many countries around the world.
Yu announces conference
Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that the Ministry of Education is scheduled to call a national education conference in September to address issues resulting from various education-reform programs implemented over the past decade. Yu made the remarks after more than 100 local academics presented a petition on Sunday demanding that the government reverse reforms that they claimed have lowered the quality of high-school graduates. Yu said all civic groups and members of the public are welcome to present opinions and options regarding education reforms for discussion at the planned conference. Yu said now is the time to review the reforms and make adjustments in tune with the changing environment, to cater to the needs of students. He said some of the reform programs have helped resolve problems, although some other operations have been flawed.
Council invites Japanese
Taichung County Council Speaker Chang Ching-tang (張清堂) invited his counterpart from Japan's Hyogo Prefecture yesterday to organize a mission to visit the county in October. Chang said that he decided to extend his invitation in recognition of the Japan-Taiwan Councilors Association's recent donation to the Taichung County Council to help the battle against SARS. The association donated ?500,000 (US$4,200) to the council in late June, Chang said. Pointing out that the council has long maintained close relations with the Japan-Taiwan Councilors Association, with the two sides exchanging frequent visits, Chang said the association is expected to send a mission to attend an inauguration ceremony for a dormitory at Chien Min Primary School, rebuilt with donations made by the association. He also disclosed that a group of Taichung councilors is scheduled to visit Hyogo Prefecture late this year or early next year.