Cable car breaks down again
The Maokong Cable Car system was shut down for almost an hour and a half after a circuit board malfunctioned at the Taipei Zoo Station yesterday afternoon. The incident renewed safety concerns because the system had been closed on Monday for weekly maintenance. Yesterday's malfunction occurred about 3pm -- after a thundershower caused a temporary shut down at 1:05pm. The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) said its engineers were trying to determine if the storm and circuit board malfunction were connected. Service resumed at 4:30pm after workers replaced the circuit board. In response to questions about the system's safety, TRTC division chief Huang Chiang-chang (黃建昌) said Monday's maintenance work did not cover the circuit board. "We can't check everything in one day, but we are confident about the system's stability after a few weeks of regular checkups," Huang said. Meanwhile, a survey released by the Taipei City Government revealed that just 14 percent of residents were satisfied with the operation of the cable car system.
Chen to visit Honduras
Simon Ko (柯森耀), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Central and South American Affairs, said yesterday that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will visit allies in Central America later this month and attend a summit in Honduras on Aug. 20. Ko said the ministry had sent out invitations to the presidents of Taiwan's seven allies in the region to the summit. Ko said that Chen does not plan to visit Suriname, which is reportedly keen to improve diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but that a stop in new ally St. Lucia was still being mulled.
IWGA chief arrives
Ron Froehlich, president of the International World Games Association (IWGA), arrived at Kaohsiung to attend preparatory meetings for the 2009 World Games yesterday. Kaohsiung City Government officials said that Froehlich was scheduled to help unveil a countdown signboard for the world games with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) today. Chen said the construction of the main stadium was on schedule and that the city government had asked contractors for the Kaohsiung Arena to make up for the delays in their building schedule. She said her appeal of the annulment of last December's mayoral election result will not influence the city's preparation for the games because the city is bound by an agreement with the IWGA.
Food price index stable
The food price index did not rise noticeably in the first half of the year in comparison with price indexes in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the US, a report released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) on Monday showed. The report showed that average price index for food from January to June dropped about 1 percent compared with the previous year's index. The drop has been attributed mainly to the falling prices of fruits and vegetables, which dropped 10.5 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. The DGBAS said that price buoyancy in other countries was largely due to rising prices on the international market. The price index showed a rise of 0.5 percent for grain products, 1.6 percent for diary products and 3.1 percent for edible oils, which are relatively low compared to increases in other countries, the DGBAS report said.