Swiss office marks 25 years
Taiwan's democratic development has been amazing, said Hans-Peter Fitze, deputy director of the Trade Office of Swiss Industries, in a press conference yesterday marking the 25th anniversary of the Swiss office in Taipei. Fitze said that approximately 50,000 Taiwanese tourists travel to Switzerland annually and he hoped to see the figure increase. Cultural and commerce exchanges have also increased over the years, he said. To celebrate 25 years of friendship, the Swiss office will hold a concert tomorrow featuring Swiss musician Eliana Burki, who will play the alphorn -- a traditional instrument played by Swiss mountain dwellers -- to modern funk and jazz tunes. The 24-year-old Burki started playing the 3m long instrument at the age of six. She will perform compositions from her own album, as well as some Taiwanese Aboriginal songs. The free event will start at 4pm at the Taipei Museum of Drinking Water.
Hakka opera next weekend
Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe (榮興客家採茶劇團) will present Brave Heart of 1895 (乙未丹心), a new composition based on traditional Hakka opera, in Taipei next Friday to Sunday. Produced in cooperation with the Council for Hakka Affairs, Brave Heart recounts the life of Wu Tang-hsing (吳湯興), a legendary resistance leader during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. It will be shown at the Novel Hall at No. 3-1 Songshou Road. For more information, visit the council's Web site at www.hakka.gov.tw.
Hacking not encouraged
The National Security Bureau (NSB) has never advocated hacking activities nor any other type of attack on computer and Internet systems at home or abroad, the bureau said in a news release on Thursday. The statement was issued in response to a report by the Chinese-language China Times alleging that the NSB, the Ministry of National Defense and the Bureau of Military Intelligence often hack into each other's systems. Dismissing the report, the NSB said that Taiwan is a democratic country under the rule of law and the bureau has always behaved in line with the law. Any attempt to hack into a computer system or to steal classified information is illegal, it said. The NSB also responded to a recent report by the Chinese media accusing Taiwan's military and intelligence agencies of launching Internet attacks and stealing confidential data from China. The NSB said the report was an attempt by the Chinese government to shift attention away from Chinese hackers' attacks on other countries to collect intelligence.
Strawberries top fruity poll
Strawberries beat mangoes to become the nation's No.1 fruit, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday. In a poll to determine the top 10 most popular fruits produced in the country, strawberries garnered approximately 197,000 votes with mangoes a close second with 187,000 votes. The poll ended on Wednesday. Strawberries were said to have been trailing behind mangoes and did not lead the race until three hours before the poll ended. The result was credited to a successful mobilization initiated by the Da Hu Farmers Association. The other eight fruits in the top 10 list were bell fruits, buddha head fruits, pears, lychees, grapes, bananas, watermelons and pineapples.
Weather limits sightseeing
The number of visits to local sightseeing spots and amusement parks dropped to 6.33 million in the first nine months of the year, a 16.32 percent reduction from the same period last year, statistics released by the Tourism Bureau this week show. The drop was attributed to rainy weather triggered by several cold fronts in March and April and four typhoons in August and September, Tourism Bureau officials said. They said the bureau would devise measures to help boost the local tourism industry.