Chen, Ma attend memorial
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou separately attended a memorial service for Chen Da-gu (陳大姑), the spiritual leader of the I-kuan Tao, in Nantou County yesterday. Chen Hong-zhen (陳鴻珍), better known as Chen Da-gu, (meaning unmarried woman in classical Chinese), died on Jan. 6 at the age of 86. The spiritual movement she led -- which incorporates Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist beliefs -- was only recognized as a religion by the Taiwanese government in 1987 and . Informal surveys show that the movement, which calls itself the authentic form of Chinese spirituality, has some 2 million to 3 million followers in Taiwan.
Green Web site planned
A Ministry of Transportation and Communication official said yesterday there are plans to launch a Web site this year to promote green modes of transport that improve energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The official said that the Institute of Transportation has mapped out a green transport strategy that includes a range of initiatives to improve traffic order, decrease the number of vehicles on the road, reduce people's reliance on vehicles for commuting, promote walking and cycling and give priority to the construction of facilities for non-motor vehicle transportation.
Another cold front looming
The Central Weather Bureau forecast yesterday a roller coaster weather pattern for the next four days, with temperatures rising to a high of 25oC in most parts of the nation today before dipping again a day later as a result of another cold front. Meteorologists forecast that most parts would see temperatures varying between 17oC and 25oC today, although regions in the north, northeast and east should remain cloudy with a slight chance of showers. The warmer weather could create pockets of fog along the western corridor and on Kinmen, and drivers should take precautions, forecasters said. They said the warmer weather would not last long because another cold front would approach tomorrow and bring more wet and cold weather, especially in northern and eastern Taiwan.
Importers visit Nicaragua
A group of Taiwanese coffee importers visited Nicaragua last week, hoping that improved relations and a bilateral free trade agreement that makes coffee imports tax exempt would create new commercial opportunities. During their three-day visit between Wednesday and Friday, members of the delegation -- comprised of five coffee importers and led by TAITRA Chairman Hsu Chih-jen (�?�) -- met with Jose Barcenas, president of the Nicaraguan Association of Special Coffees. They were briefed by the association on Nicaragua's coffee industry, including the quality of its coffee, export trade and plantation management. After sampling various types of coffee, they met with Nicaraguan exporters for one-on-one talks. In an interview with daily El Nuevo Diario, Hsu said he hoped Taiwan's coffee importers would take advantage of coffee's duty-free status under the Taiwan-Nicaragua free trade agreement that took effect on Jan. 1 and introduce Nicaragua's Arabica coffee to the Taiwanese market. In the first 11 months of last year, of the nation's US$27.26 million in total coffee bean imports, only US$210,737 came from Nicaragua, government data showed.