Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Trade

US beef imports may resume

Taiwan is expected to announce in about a month the results of its inspections, that if positive would allow US beef back into the local market following the suspension of imports in 2003 after the discovery of a case of mad cow disease, an official with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Sunday. Taiwan suspended beef imports from the US in December 2003 due to safety concerns over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, after the discovery in the US state of Washington of a single BSE-infected cow. According to the USDA official, who asked not to be identified, Taiwanese health and agriculture officials have traveled to the US to conduct on-site inspections of the implementation of safeguards against mad cow disease. Taiwanese officials have completed the reviews necessary for resuming the beef trade, the USDA official said, adding that officials from the American Institute in Taiwan have also been contacting relevant officials in an effort to speed up the paperwork necessary for the approval.

■ Earthquakes

Tawu shaken by temblor

An earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale rocked the southeast of the nation yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The quake hit at 6:10pm, with an epicenter 11km northeast of Tawu, a coastal village in southern Taitung County. The temblor was reported to have had a depth of 12km.

■ Charity

Tzu Chi helps Sri Lankans

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation has begun to distribute relief supplies to thousands of tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, members of the charity, based in Hualien County, said yesterday. The operation, which began last Saturday, was Tzu Chi's first effort to help the South Asian country. Tzi Chi members from the US, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and local volunteers helped distribute rice, sugar, cooking oil and powdered milk, according to the foundation. The supplies should cover the needs of 1,490 households, or 5,788 people, it said. Meanwhile, textile companies presented a joint donation for tsunami victims in a ceremony yesterday in Taipei, presided over by Taiwan Textile Federation chairman Ho Chun (何鈞). The federation said textile companies and associated organizations donated over NT$2 million, as well as surgical masks, clothing and tents to aid the tsunami and earthquake victims.

■ Diplomacy

Lu eyes Latin America

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday she will survey potential sites for the establishment of a "Taiwan Park" during a visit she is scheduled to make to Latin America next month. Lu said the site for the industrial park, which will be 200 to 500 hectares, will be selected from among the Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Latin America. She made the remarks while making an inspection tour of the Institute for Information Industry with the Presidential Office's technology advisory committee. According to Lu, the park will bring together traditional, agricultural and technological industries, and the government hopes it will bring results and become a major showcase for Taiwan within three years. Lu said Taiwan will be able to enter the vast Spanish-speaking market with the support of its strong information technology and manufacturing capability if the project is successful.

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