Tue, Jul 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Diplomacy

Choir performs at Vatican

A children's choir from Kaohsiung was scheduled to sing at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City yesterday, the first time that Taiwanese children will have sung at the church, one of the most prestigious in the Roman Catholic religion. The choir will sing together with Lu Yi-hui, a Taiwan-born vocalist based in Italy. Lu and the choir sang at a church that offers Chinese-language services in Rome on Sunday. The choir arrived in Rome early on Saturday on the first leg of of a performance tour that will also take it to France for a series of festivals. During its stay in France, the choir will also hold a Taiwanese folk-song concert.

■ Defense

New cadets start training

Some 1,500 new cadets of the military academies and institutes reported to the Chinese Military Academy in Fengshan, Kaohsiung County, yesterday to commence their eight-week enlistment training period. After the eight week training program, the cadets -- including two exchange students from El Salvador and 143 women -- will go to their respective schools. Army Commander-in-Chief General Chu Kai-sheng (朱凱生) officiated at a ceremony at the Chinese Military Academy marking the start of the training program. Chu welcomed the new recruits and exhorted them to present themselves as "strong, awe-inspiring new soldiers within three days" and to begin to cultivate their own "Whampoa Spirit" -- featuring sacrifice, consolidation, responsibility, courage and belief as well as trust.

■ Travel

Death compensation offered

The Macoto Tours travel agency apologized yesterday for the deaths of two Taiwanese during a trip to China, promising the families of each victim up to NT$2 million in liability insurance. Fan Kuo-tang (范國棠), 44, died of lung failure during a flight back to Taiwan on Sunday, despite initially being diagnosed with minor injuries to the arm and leg. Fan's family complained that they had only authorized his flight based on the doctor's diagnosis. Macoto Tours representative Tseng Tsai-hua (曾材樺) explained that the condition of all the injured tourists was verified by doctors before they were allowed to travel and family authorization was also sought. Eleven Taiwanese tourists were injured last week when their bus' brakes failed, causing the bus to crash into a ditch after hitting a bridge. The other fatality was killed in the crash.

■ Society

Spouses get summer camp

In an effort to help foreign spouses adapt to life in Taiwan, the Keelung City Government in northern Taiwan has launched a summer camp to serve this end, a city government spokesman said yesterday. The camp, which started July 15 and will run until Aug. 27, offers classes in languages, culture, human relations, medical care, cuisine, psychiatric assistance and immigration rules for foreign husbands and wives of Keelung citizens, the spokesman said. Currently, there are more than 5,500 foreign spouses living in Keelung City, more than 4,000 of whom come from China, municipal statistics show. Cultural differences are usually the biggest hurdle between foreign spouses and their Taiwanese families and locals should treat their foreign relatives with greater compassion and care, a Keelung City Government official said.

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