Landslide halts trains
Rail services between Luye Township (鹿野鄉) in Taitung County and Taitung City were canceled after the track north of Shanli Station was covered by a landslide that caused a train to derail yesterday afternoon. No passengers were hurt, and transportation was temporarily being handled by the Diing Dong Bus company. The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA,) estimated that rail services would resume at 6pm yesterday evening. TRA said the landslide was probably the result of the recent heavy rain which may have loosened the soil in the area.
Wong to visit Washington
Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠), chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs will make a two-day trip to Washington next week and is scheduled to visit the US Library of Congress, the National Museum of Natural History and several museums affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, a Taiwanese official posted in the US capital said on Saturday. Stanley Kao (高碩泰), the deputy representative to the US, made the announcement while meeting Taiwanese reporters based in Washington. Kao said the representative office will arrange two activities for Wong during her first visit to Washington since assuming her post earlier this year. In addition to Washington, Wong will also visit other cities in the US and Canada, Kao said.
EPA issues caution
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) cautioned against the burning of environmentally harmful ghost money and incense yesterday. Officials reiterated that it is illegal to burn ghost money and incense outdoors and said violators will be fined from NT$5,000 to NT$100,000. EPA officials said that when ghost money is burned, hazardous pollutants are released into the atmosphere. EPA officials also quoted research published by the Consumers' Foundation as indicating that burning incense is equally harmful. So far, authorities in 15 cities and counties around the country have offered to burn ghost money and incense together for worshippers in closed-off area to reduce pollution, EPA officials said.
Workshop opens today
Two think tanks from Taiwan and China are sponsoring an academic workshop on cross-strait economic development that is set to open in Taipei today, an academic source said yesterday. More than 20 research papers are expected to be presented and discussed during the one-day workshop organized by the Chunghua Institute for Economic Research (CIER) and the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a CIER source said. The CASS delegation, led by Li Yang, director of the CASS Institute of Finance and Banking, will include 20 academics and researchers from the Institute of Finance and Banking, the Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics, and the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics, as well as other institutes in other areas, the CIER official said. Throughout the workshop, Taiwanese researchers are expected to gain a better understanding of the problems that China faces in the process of economic development and transformation and to offer suggestions as references or reminders, the CIER official said.