■ Mongolians offered training
Fifteen Mongolian businesspeople will arrive later this month for a two-week training course under the joint auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), ministry sources reported yesterday. The 15 Mongolians, all owners or executive managers of small or medium-sized enterprises, will be in Taipei from Nov. 24 to Dec. 6 to receive training sponsored by the International Cooperation and Develop-ment Fund, according to Lin Chin-chung (林進忠), deputy director of the ministry's Department of West Asian Affairs. They will attend lectures on business and financial management, creativity, as well as research and development.
■ Cross-strait ties
TSU protests compensation
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus is opposed to the plan to provide compensation to the families of drowned illegal Chinese immigrants, saying that there is no need to do so. On Tuesday, the Taichung High Administrative Court ruled that the Miaoli Prosecutor's Office should provide compensation to the families of eight Chinese women who were thrown overboard by smugglers off Tunghsiao, Miaoli, in August last year, after a coast guard cutter approached the smugglers' boat. Noting that illegal immigrants are given good treatment in detention centers if they are caught, TSU whip Huang Chung-yuan (黃宗源) said providing such compensation was tantamount to encouraging illegal immigration.
Tremor rocks northeast
An earthquake measuring 6 on the Richter scale shook the northeast yesterday causing buildings to sway in Taipei, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, officials said. It was the third strong tremor this week. A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck late on Monday, followed by a 5.5 tremor on Wednesday. The epicenter of yesterday's quake, which struck at 10:16am, was about 47km southeast of Ilan County, at a depth of 14km, the Central Weather Bureau said.
Pluralistic society promoted
The Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) yesterday enlisted foreign representative offices to help ensure that a pluralistic culture can take root in this country. Tu made the appeal when he met with more than a score of representatives from foreign missions at a seminar on the establishment of a pluralistic culture society. The minister noted that Taiwan was originally a pluralistic society, but Chinese influence since the Qing dynasty created a "single culture mentality."
Ex-Indian minister in town
Former Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes sees cross-strait disputes basically as political issues that need to be solved through dialogue. He said India has no role to play in this process. Fernandes, who arrived in Taipei yesterday for a three-day visit, said that any discussion of military cooperation between India and Taiwan is "not on the agenda," dispelling Beijing's fears that his visit will lead to some sort of strategic cooperation between Taipei and New Dehli. Although Fernandes stepped down from his Cabinet post in May, he remains the leader of the Janta Dal (United) Party. He is in Taipei to attend the India-Japan-Taiwan Trialogue Conference organized by Taiwan Thinktank which is to be held today.