Typhoon aids escape
High waves whipped up by a typhoon helped 15 Taiwanese fishermen escape from a Philippine port where they had been detained for months for violating territorial boundaries, officials said yesterday. Typhoon Imbudo, which hit the northern Philippine island of Luzon last week, made the sea there so rough that ropes securing the four boats in the port of Aparri snapped just before dawn on Friday, and the vessels were swept out into the open sea, government officials said. The boats and their crews had been detained by the Philippine navy -- one in May this year and three in May last year -- for allegedly fishing illegally in Philippines waters. Some 17 Chinese and Indonesian sailors who had also been detained on the Taiwanese vessels arrived in Tungkang port in southern Taiwan on Saturday with the Taiwanese crews, the officials said.
Sanitation work attracts 234
Due to economic sluggishness, engineers and owners of small- and medium-sized enterprises were among candidates competing for 28 openings offered by the Taipei County Government yesterday in its public sanitation department. Many of the other candidates were college graduates seeking their first jobs. The 234 hopefuls sprinted down a running track carrying heavy sandbags on their backs, trying their utmost to cross the finishing line ahead of their opponents. With each male runner carrying a 40kg sandbag and the women carrying 20kg, the racers competed in a 30m dash competition to prove they were physically qualified to work as street cleaners and garbage collectors. Some runners managed to finish, but many stumbled and fell, either out of nervousness or because the weight was too much for them.
Ambassador leaves Taiwan
Taiwan Ambassador to Liberia Chen Yeo-chio (陳永綽) left for Ivory Coast yesterday after a home consultation visit. Chen said prior to his departure that he and the other embassy staff will return to the strife-torn Liberian capital of Monrovia from Ivory Coast once an interim government has been installed in the West African state. Chen, along with the other embassy staffers, took shelter in Ivory Coast early this month because of escalating violence in Monrovia. He returned to Taipei from Ivory Coast last Monday for his first home consultation since Liberia lapsed into a civil war two months ago. His residence in the outskirts of Monrovia was looted by rebel forces in his absence and during his stay in Taipei.
■ United States
Alliance establishes branch
The Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace established a branch in Austin, Texas on Saturday. Deputy Minister Liao Sheng-hsiung (廖勝雄) of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, Deputy Representative C. H. Lee (李辰雄) of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, and many overseas Chinese leaders attended the inauguration ceremony. The Austin branch of the alliance issued a statement expressing the hope that Taiwan's achievements in promoting democracy will become a catalyst for democratization in China. It said that only when democracy and peace prevail in China can peace and stability be maintained in the Taiwan Strait region on a long term basis.