Marathon updates available
To provide better service to the participants of the 2008 ING Taipei Marathon today, the Taipei City Government is to present real-time race results to allow spectators to obtain updates via mobile devices. The Taipei City Department of Information Technology said spectators could obtain real-time results for individual runners through laptops, PDAs and cell phones. The system will also actively dispatch updates via SMS to subscribers. A total of 3,100 runners have already registered for this service. Viewers can also watch the marathon via live-streaming video at the Results Finder Web site. LCD screens at MRT Taipei City Hall Station and MRT Taipei Main Station will broadcast the event live. Twenty laptops with wireless broadband connection will be placed at the first floor lobby of City Hall to allow residents to use this new service, the department said. To access the Results Finder, visit the Web site at: http://2008ing.taipei.gov.tw/
Hsuehshan fire burns firs
A forest fire on Hsuehshan (雪山) was put out on Friday afternoon, but not before 4 hectares of firs and arrow bamboo trees burned to the ground. The fire on the 3,886m mountain in northern Taiwan was ignited on Thursday afternoon by a six-member mountain-climbing group that set a fire to alert a rescue helicopter of the exact location of an injured climber, who fractured a bone in a fall near a mountain lodge. While the injured climber, surnamed Wu, was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Chiayi for treatment, the fire quickly spread. Firefighters rushed to the scene, but were hampered by a lack of water and the mountainous terrain. They called on the Ministry of the Interior to send a helicopter to help combat the blaze. The fire was brought under control on Friday at around noon and was fully extinguished by 4:50pm.
China warns Vatican
Relations between China and the Vatican can only improve if the Holy See ditches ties with Taiwan and stops using religion to interfere in China’s domestic affairs, China’s state media quoted a top Chinese official as saying on Friday. China’s 8 million to 12 million Catholics are split between a state-sanctioned Church, and an “underground” one that rejects government control and answers only to Rome. Du Qinglin (杜青林), head of China’s United Front Work Department which deals with religious and ethnic minorities and non-Communists, said it was up to the Vatican to improve relations, China’s official Xinhua news agency said. The Vatican must also sever its ties with Taiwan, he said.
Migrants Day celebrated
Non-immigrants and immigrants celebrated International Migrants Day — which fell on Thursday this year — with traditional dishes, music and dance from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar in an international immigrant exposition organized by the Ministry of the Interior and the National Immigration Agency in Taipei yesterday. Recalling the country’s history, Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) said Taiwan was actually a country of migrants, “I’m the seventh generation since my ancestors migrated to Taiwan [from China] and 160 years ago my ancestors were newcomers here just like you.” Liao said the number of migrants in Taiwan — including those who came through marriage, for work or other reasons — has reached more than 900,000.