Mon, Dec 22, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Religion

Buddhist master in Canada

Zen Buddhist Master Sheng Yen (聖嚴) of Taiwan delivered a lecture on Buddha's teachings in Vancouver on Saturday entitled "A Peaceful Mind is the Source of all Peace." In his first speech in Canada in eight years, Yen said that peace is fortune, that peace derives from the heart and that if one seeks peace, one must first examine the thoughts circulating in one's mind. Talking about a recent journey he made to the Middle East, Yen said that prior to the journey many people warned him against going there, on the grounds that it would be unsafe to travel in an area rife with military conflicts. He said he had no fear because his mind was at peace. He said it had been his honor to share Buddha's teachings with people and policy-makers in the Middle East at a time when peace is keenly needed worldwide. More than 2,300 people, Chinese as well as foreigners, attended Yen's Vancouver speech. He was in Israel and Palestine from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15 in an effort to help put an end to conflict in the area by means of spiritual enlightenment.

■ Earthquakes

Tremor shakes southeast

An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale jolted the country yesterday, but there were no reports of damage or casualties, seismologists said. The tremor struck at 1:16pm with its epicenter 11.6km northwest of Taitung, the Seismology Center said. The quake, originating 10.8km underground, followed a 6.6-Richter scale earthquake on Dec. 10, which was the most powerful to hit the nation this year but caused only minor damage and injuries in the south.

■ Animals

Tiger bites zookeeper

An employee of the Taipei Zoo was bitten by a tiger yesterday afternoon when he was cleaning an outdoor animal-display area. Yang Tsung-hsian (楊崇賢), vice president of the zoo, said the employee was bitten in the leg. He was sent to a hospital for treatment. The biggest zoo in the country, Taipei Zoo has more than 2,300 animals and 310 different species. There are eight outdoor display areas and several indoor display areas. The man was bitten in the Asian Tropical Rainforests Animal Area. In the Education Center of the zoo there are special houses displaying nocturnal animals, koalas, penguins, insects and other animals.

■ Human Rights

Chen wants to help disabled

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that promotion of the rights of the disabled is one of the government's goals. Chen said that the government is striving to establish a "fair and just" welfare state and that it will adopt a "pragmatic and creative" approach to promote the welfare of and services for the disabled. He noted that as of the end of September, around 810,000 people in Taiwan are registered as disabled, or around 3.73 percent of the population. This, he said, highlights the fact that their basic needs should be addressed and their rights better protected. He noted that the government has appropriated a budget of NT$24.99 billion (US$73.5 million) this year to take care of the disabled. In addition, he said that in order to better provide for the disabled in low- and middle-income families, the monthly subsidies will be raised by NT$1,000 to between NT$3,000 and NT$7,000 starting Jan. 1.

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