Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Trade

Evergreen chief in Panama

Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso met with Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) at the presidential office in Panama City yesterday. Chang is the founder and chairman of the Evergreen Group, which maintains one of the world's largest container fleets and has the nation's second largest airline. Saying that it is normal for Chang to visit Panama as he has business operations there, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) yesterday said he was not clear whether Chang's visit to Panama also shouldered a political mission. Moscoso and Chang e exchanged views on a wide range of subjects and on Panama's investment climate in particular, according to a press release by the Presidential Office. Moscoso expressed her appreciation to Chang for Evergreen's investments in Panama.

■ Population

Planners mull gray society

The nation's top economic planning agency will hold a seminar to formulate new population policies early next month, and is inviting scholars and social groups to give their views. The August 5 seminar by the Council for Economic Plan-ning and Development (CEPD) will discuss birth rates dropping to new lows and the population graying. CEPD officials said the seminar's themes will include the impact of immigrants, the changing population structure's effects on educational development and the labor force, and how to plan for economic security and justice. The birth rate has dropped to 1.2 percent, well below the 2 percent widely considered necessary to sustain current population levels.

■ Defense

Chen praises relief help

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) lauded the armed forces yesterday for their assistance in post-disaster relief and rehabilitation after Tropical Storm Mindulle. Chen commended the military for its role in post-disaster relief operations while addressing a joint graduation ceremony of the five military academies. Post-disaster relief and rehabilitation should be a basic task of a modern armed forces, he said. The military has so far dispatched more than 60,000 troops to take part in relief and rehabilitation operations. Chen also stressed the importance of delinking the military from politics, saying it a key element of his military reform plan. Chen said the armed forces should fight for the nation's survival and development and for the safety and well-being of the people.

■ Attractions

Taitung fest starts Aug. 1

The Austronesian Cultural Festival in Taitung County will begin Aug. 1, organizers said yesterday. Taitung County Magistrate Hsu Ching-yuan (徐慶元) issued an invitation at a news conference held jointly with the Tourism Bureau to invite the public to visit the annual festival. The Austronesian Cultural Festival is one of 12 major folk festivals promoted by the bureau in conjunction with local authorities in an effort to share the nation's natural and cultural resources. Hsu praised the festival as a major attraction in Taitung County and described the series of cultural activities featuring Aboriginal tribes, as well as a wide variety of other activities such as whitewater rafting and paragliding. In additional to activities featuring local flavors and features, 13 foreign groups from India, Indonesia, Japan, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand will also perform during the festival.

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