Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Weather

Torrential rain warning

The Central Weather Bureau continued to issue warnings yesterday of possible torrential rains for the country's east, south and center. Meteorologists said that a low pressure system, which had massed near the South China Sea over the past two days, has disintegrated into scattered cloud systems, with some of them beginning to affect this country. The bureau warned that the incoming cloud systems are bringing torrential rains which may in turn trigger landslides or mudslides. Forecasters

also said that Typhoon Namtheun, which is sweeping towards Japan, will definitely not affect this country. Temperatures have been high in recent days, and they are expected to remain high over the

next several days, meteor-ologists said. Highs of 35?C are forecast for the north, while highs of 33?C and 31?C are forecast for the center and south, respectively.

■ Military

Live-fire drills on Kinmen

The Kinmen Defense Command conducted a live-fire shooting drill in a coastal area of northeastern Kinmen early yesterday morning to test the defensive capabilities of its artillery force. At around 5:30am, 15 105cm howitzers fired a series of live-ammunition rounds into the air over Kinmen's northeast coast over the course of an hour. Cha Tai-chuan (查台傳), commander-in-chief of the Kinmen Defense Command, said the live-fire drill was part of an annual exercise and had nothing to do with ongoing large-scale military exercises that China has been conducting off its southern coast on Dongshan Island. The Kinmen Defense Command dispatched a fleet of Hailung (Sea Dragon) speedboats to evacuate adjacent areas in advance of the live-fire drill. Cha discounted media reports saying that the howitzers were firing at China, saying that the guns were in fact aimed at a high angle and at short range. He said that the targets being fired at were more than 10km distant from China.

■ Society

More singles, less growth

The country's rate of population growth is slowing and the number of unmarried people as a percentage of the population is increasing, according to a report released by the Population Affairs Administration yesterday. The annual rate of population growth between 2000 and last year was 8.34 percent, 5.79 percent, 5.14 percent and 3.72 percent in each successive year, the report said. The number of unmarried females between the ages of 30 and 44 increased by 1.190 times between 2000 and last year, while the number of unmarried males increased by 1.078 times. According to the administration, factors contributing to the increase in single people include personalities and economics. Also, more people are looking for overseas brides, the report said.

■ Education

Special programs approved

The Cabinet yesterday approved several measures to help children from mixed marriages with their schooling. The Ministry of Education launched a NT$4.61 million after-class schoolwork guidance program last fall for children who have one foreign parent. The Cabinet yesterday gave the go-ahead for the ministry to earmark a total of NT$165 million to continue the program for the next four years. The Cabinet also agreed to put children from multicultural marriages on the priority list for public kindergartens or nursery schools.

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