Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Politics

Lien tour starts today

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien

Chan (連戰) will start a nationwide post-election "thanksgiving" journey today, with Keelung as the first stop. Lien will be accompanied by KMT Vice Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and party Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) on his visit to Keelung, where they will meet with grassroots

KMT cadres and elected representatives in the city, KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said. Tsai added that Ma will brief KMT cadres on a plan to merge with the People First Party (PFP) and that Lin will deliver a report on the findings of the judicial recount of the 13 million ballots cast in the March 20 president election and scrutiny by pro-KMT attorneys of voter rosters.

■ Crime

More betel nuts seized

Customs officials yesterday seized a large batch of betel nuts that had been smuggled from Thailand, the third such batch uncovered by airport authorities in the past two weeks. The seized betel nuts, weighing a total of 3,584kg and packed in 128 cases, had been shipped to CKS International Airport a day earlier. Customs officials said the labels on the cases had been changed after their arrival at the airport warehouse, indicating that local accomplices had probably been involved in the operation. Since this is the off-season for betel-nut harvesting in this country and the Council of Agriculture has banned imports of the product, there has been a sharp increase in the retail prices of betel nuts recently. Customs officials said they suspect that local smuggling rings have colluded with airport staff to change the labels of Thai betel nuts to facilitate the smuggling of the nuts.

■ Weather

New typhoon forms

The Central Weather Bureau said yesterday that it is closely watching a newly-formed typhoon located in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands. Typhoon Chanthu is not likely to hit Taiwan judging from its current course, meteorologists said. Chanthu -- the fifth typhoon reported in the Asia-Pacific area this year -- was centered about 1,200km south-southwest of Hengchun at 8am yesterday, moving in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 19kph. The typhoon, which has a radius of 100km and is packing winds of up to 65kph near its center, is forecast to move toward the Indochina Peninsula over the following 48 hours if its current course remains unchanged, meteorologists watching the storm's development predicted.

■ Sports

Paragliding event set

The World Paragliding Championship will begin on July 17 in Taitung in conjunction with a series of other aerial activities, Taitung County Government officials said yesterday. The paragliding competition, which will be held in the heights of Luyeh village and in mountainous areas of Yungkang village, is expected to attract paragliders from the US, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, the Middle East, Germany and France. As some translators will

be needed during the competition, the county government's tourism office said it would welcome applications from people aged over 20 who can communicate effectively in German, French, Spanish, Japanese and Korean.

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