Another typhoon building
A tropical low pressure system near the Philippines is expected to become a typhoon within the next 24 hours, and its outer rim could start to affect Taiwan from Saturday at the earliest, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) reported yesterday. The tropical storm system will be named Typhoon Khanun if it continues to strengthen in force to become the 15th typhoon in the Pacific this year, CWB meteorologists said. They forecast normal hot summer weather for today and tomorrow, adding that rainy weather is expected from Saturday, particularly over northern and northeastern parts of the country, as the storm system moves closer.
Hunt still on for top noodles
Taipei is holding its first beef noodle festival to select the city's top 30 beef noodle restaurants and encourage people to eat more beef noodles. Since the Taipei Beef Noodle Festival kicked off on Aug. 14, 140,000 Taiwanese have browsed the festival's Web site and nearly 20,000 have cast a vote for their favorite beef noodle shop, the organizer said on yesterday. "Comments keep pouring in as many people are still combing Taipei's alleys to find the best beef noodle shop," an official from the Taipei City Government told reporters. The Taipei Beef Noodle Festival ends on Sept. 24 with a Beef Noodle Carnival. There will be no prize for the top 30 restaurants, but they will be invited to set up stalls at a Taipei square to serve a bowl of hot beef noodles to participants.
Paal gets poor review
A recent performance review of Douglas Paal, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), was fairly negative, a Chinese-language daily reported yesterday. Although Paal had conveyed US policies to Taiwan's government and officials, according to the US State Department review he was unable to provide the US government with a thorough understanding of Taiwan's current situation, the newspaper said. The review said that under Paal, differing opinions were not heard by top officials, causing morale at AIT to decline, the daily said. According to the review, Paal is seen as stubborn and unwilling to listen to differing opinions. The newspaper said the evaluation was conducted by the State Department last month through questionnaires and interviews. The daily, citing an unnamed State Department source, said that the evaluation was largely negative. The newspaper said that its source speculated that Paal may be replaced sooner than planned because of the evaluation.
■ Hurricane Katrina
DOH sends medical aid
The Department of Health (DOH) is preparing to speed batches of medical supplies to the US to help Hurricane Katrina victims in three southern states, a spokesman for the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) quoted DOH Minister Hou Sheng-mou (侯勝茂) as saying during a regular Executive Yuan meeting that the DOH is preparing a shipment that will be enough for 10,000 patients for three months. Hou said that US officials have acknowledged the DOH action and have decided to accept the materials, Cho said. He said the DOH has also offered to dispatch doctors and nurses to help with medical relief work in flood-ravaged areas. However, he said, the US has said that only medical professionals who are US certified will be accepted. The DOH is recruiting personnel and will send the team as soon as it is assembled, he said.