Sun, Sep 18, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Festivals
Beef noodles on wheels

To compete with street vendors selling coffee or breakfast from their vans, the organizer of the 2005 Beef Noodle Festival adopted the idea of doing business on the move by refitting a van into a vehicle that can serve beef soup. Starting today through Thursday, the van, loaded with four thermos flasks, will put up posters featuring the 2005 Beef Noodle Festival while cruising the thoroughfares of Taipei City, giving away beef soup for free during the day. It will be stationed in the Living Mall and the square in front of the Taipei City Hall after 5pm.

■ Community

Volunteers clean up

Over 70,000 volunteers from 320 organizations around Taiwan, equipped with brooms, tongs and garbage bags, joined the largest "clean up the island" campaign in five years that yesterday simultaneously kicked off at 1,598 spots around the nation. Groups of volunteer workers picked up waste along the Keelung River in Taipei City and sorted it for recycling. A team of around 30 college students in northern Taiwan caught the most attention as all its members roller-skated along the bicycle track along the river at the Pailing Riverbank Park (百齡河濱公園), showing of dazzling skating skills while performing the public service. The campaign was run from Paisha Bay (白沙灣) in Taipei County in the north to Kenting National Park (墾丁國家公園) in the south, Tungying (東引) on the outlying island of Matsu (馬祖) in the west and Lungtung (龍洞) in the east, according to the organizers.

■ Diplomacy

Soong no messenger

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has never asked opposition People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to pass on any messages to Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), a Presidential Office spokesman said over the weekend. James Huang (黃志芳) a Presidential Office deputy secretary-general, made the remarks after James Keith, a US State Department senior adviser, said that Soong met Hu and other Chinese leaders in Beijing on May 12 this year and passed on the message that Chen was willing to engage in dialogue with Beijing, using a flexible formulation about what constitutes "one China." Huang said that he didn't know where the US State Department got its information from and that the State Department has not contacted the Presidential Office regarding the matter. One thing is certain, however, and that is that Chen has never asked Soong to give any messages to the Chinese leadership, Huang said.

■ Politics

No apologies, Hsieh says

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said that a demand by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers that he apologize for errors in the Kaohsiung MRT project is like forcing him to admit something he did not do. An apology should come from the bottom of the heart, Hsieh said. In this case, the premier said that even if he apologizes, it will not mean anything because the responsibility is not his. In addition, the KMT lawmakers accused him of making a variety of wrong decisions during his term as Kaohsiung City mayor, because they watched related TV reports that said Hsieh should take the responsibility for the project's shortcomings. This is just unfair and ridiculous, he said. Meanwhile, the KMT caucus yesterday said that the DPP should take the responsibility for the premier being banned for merely carrying out his administrative briefing.

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