Mon, Dec 25, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

■ Earthquake

Quake jolts east coast

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale struck off the east coast early yesterday morning, with no initial reports of any damage or injuries. According to the Seismology Center of the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the earthquake occurred 8.7km underground at 1:28am, with the epicenter located 41.1km northeast of the Suao earthquake station in Ilan County. The tremor could be felt across northern and central Taiwan, registering an intensity of 3 in Ilan, 2 in central cities and 1 in Taipei, CWB seismologists said. The Suao earthquake station recorded a magnitude 4.9 tremor on Wednesday at the same location at a depth of 8.3km. Another quake of magnitude 5 was recorded on Dec. 14 at a depth of 28.8km underground at almost the same location.

■ Politics

Ma issues campaign support

Days after a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative aides launched a signature drive to recall Keelung Mayor Hsu Tsai-li (許財利), KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) finally offered his support to the campaign. The aides' initiative to recall Hsu, who has been convicted on corruption charges, met opposition from local branch members of the KMT on Saturday when they conducted a signature drive at Keelung Railway Station. In response to concerns about the party's passiveness on the issue, Ma yesterday said the KMT supported the aides and will help to push for the campaign. "The party's stance is firm and clear. We support the aides' campaign for a recall motion, and our position will not change," Ma said yesterday after attending a municipal event in Taipei. KMT Spokesman Huang Yu-cheng (黃玉振) later told a press conference that the party had ordered the KMT's Keelung branch to fully cooperate with the aides' signature campaign, including providing locations for signature collection.

■ Labor

Foreign workers lose out

Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said on Saturday that contracts for foreign laborers working on Kaohsiung's mass rapid transit (MRT) system would not be extended. Lee said that the foreign laborers would be asked to leave after their contracts expire at the end of the year. The nation's top labor official made the remarks while he was inspecting a construction site for the MRT system, to examine whether it was being run according to safety regulations. The Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) filed an application with the CLA late last month to prolong the contracts of more than 700 foreign laborers still working on the system until late next year. A KRTC spokesman said the number of migrant workers on the project had decreased from 1,717 to 774, mainly as a result of a Kaohsiung City Council demand that the KRTC give priority to local laborers.

■ Tourism

Tour routes unveiled

The National Youth Commission yesterday unveiled 20 travel routes designed to help young people further their understanding of the nation. The "Learning Taiwan Through Travel" program will offer students the opportunity to observe the nation and its people, officials said. The routes will be offered during the winter vacation next year and are divided into four categories: Exploring Taiwan's Art and History, Observing Local People's Livelihood, Discovering Taiwan's Ecosystem and Learning About Taiwan's Indigenous People.

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