Sun, Oct 30, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Diplomacy
Team heads to Honduras

After a month-long search for three representatives to be sent to Honduras to inspect projects in the region, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) yesterday announced that Kung Kuo-wei (宮國威), a teacher familiar with Latin American affairs, Lin Shih-yin (林詩音), an employee at Taiwan Fertilization Co and Wu Chia-yin (吳佳音), a media representative, had been chosen out of 149 applicants. The group, headed by author Wu Dan-ru (吳淡如), left on a 10-day trip to Honduras yesterday. ICDF secretary-general Chen Cheng-chung (陳正忠) said that this marked the first time for a civic group to assess an ICDF project. Chen hoped that through the group's trip, the public would understand the importance of development assistance abroad.

■ Health

Officials warn on smuggling

Quarantine officials warned the public yesterday not to smuggle animals and plants from China into Taiwan and urged people to refuse to purchase a product if its origin cannot be determined, as reinforced measures were taken to prevent infectious diseases from being brought into the country. The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the Council of Agriculture recently killed 20 dogs smuggled from China in an effort to prevent rabies from entering Taiwan, bureau officials said. Rabies is endemic in China but Taiwan is rabies-free. According to bureau statistics, a total of 96 dogs smuggled from China had been seized up to the end of this month. The bureau also called on people to inform officials of animal and plant smuggling activity by calling a telephone hot line at 0800-039-131.

■ Tourism

Official proposes exchange

Chinese National Tourism Administration Director Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉) yesterday proposed that Taipei's National Palace Museum enhance its exchanges with Beijing's Palace Museum to attract more Chinese tourists. Shao, who arrived in Taiwan the day earlier as the head of a 66-member delegation, made the proposal during a visit to the National Palace Museum, where a wealth of precious Chinese antiquities are displayed. Shao later visited Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the holiday flower market in Taipei, located under the Chienkuo overpass. Shao was invited by the Taiwan Visitors Association to visit Taiwan in his capacity as president of the Chinese National Travel Association. Beijing announced earlier this year that it will allow more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan and it is widely believed that Shao's visit is aimed at paving the way for this policy.

■ Infrastructure

Train tests to 300kph

A test train on the high-speed railway achieved 300kph, the highest test speed so far, over a distance of around 25km yesterday, the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) announced in a press release yesterday. The test took place on the Kueijen (歸仁) village section of the railway in Tainan County. THSRC officials said the tests are done mainly to check the trains' acceleration and braking systems, and their integration with the track, machinery and electronics system. When the new 345km railway is inaugurated, a trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung will take less than 90 minutes. The high-speed railway will form the backbone of western Taiwan's transport network and will connect eight metropolitan areas between the nation's two largest cities.

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