Sun, Jul 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Culture
Shaolin monks `regret' ban

China's Shaolin monks were barred from visiting Taiwan to give kung fu lessons since the event did not meet cross-strait "professional exchange" rules, organizers said yesterday. "We deeply regret the government's rejection of our application for 45 Shaolin monks to teach martial arts to the general public in Taiwan," said a spokesman for Taiwan's Chinese Shaolin Association. The association had arranged for the monks to offer kung fu lessons free-of-charge in separate groups at 23 locations across the nation, including orphanages and Aboriginal villages. The Mainland Affairs Council on Thursday rejected the association's application on the grounds of "serious violation of the rules." "Cross-strait programs have to meet the criteria of `professional exchanges' but this event doesn't," the council's vice chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said. According to the council, Shaolin monks should limit their "exchanges" to martial arts professionals only, not the general public, and the monks should act as one group during their stay in Taiwan.

■ Airlines

Worker strike halts flights

Disruption of Air New Zealand flights to and from Taiwan and other international destinations will continue until tomorrow despite the settlement of an industrial dispute with flight attendants, the airline said. Stoppages since last Monday by international flight attendants have forced the cancellation of 85 flights -- including nearly one third of Air New Zealand's long haul services -- disrupting travel for 15,000 passengers. Talks during the week between the airline and the attendants' union over pay and conditions ended successfully Friday. But it was too late to restore flights cancelled for today and tomorrow, said Air New Zealand's general manager for international services, Ed Sims. A total of 29 flights have been cancelled for today and tomorrow. Services to Asia have been worst affected by the strike, including flights to and from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

■ Fisheries

Government urges respect

Fishing authorities are asking local fishermen to respect the government and abide by the temporary fishing demarcation line as the government gears up for talks with Tokyo July 29 over recent fishery disputes. Authorities are also asking Japan via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to restrain its patrol boats from interrupting Taiwanese fishing vessels in waters where there is an overlap of Taiwanese and Japanese economic zones. Taiwan and Japan should try to create and maintain a friendly and peaceful atmosphere for the negotiations, they said. The officials, underscored the government's position that it will not compromise on its sovereignty claim over the Diaoyutais (釣魚台) -- a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea located around 120 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. Taiwan and Japan's conflicting sovereignty claim over the islands has been at the center of fishing disputes for years.

■ Athletics

NPA plans police games bid

The National Police Administration (NPA) outlined its plan to win a bid to host the World Police and Fire Games, including seeking the support of international law-enforcement organizations, NPA officers said. Describing the event as "the Olympics for police and firefighters," an NPA officer said many countries want to host the event. The Australian city of Adelaide has been designated to host the games in 2007. Taiwan began participating in the games in 1999.

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