Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ENVIRONMENT

EPA urges online worship

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday urged the public to stop burning incense sticks and ritual money to honor the dead and opt instead for online worshipping to better protect the environment. The call came ahead of Monday’s Tomb Sweeping Festival. The practice not only worsens air pollution but could also cause fires, the EPA said. “We can now choose to pay homage to our ancestors in a modern and environmentally friendly way by worshipping online or donating the money meant for the offerings to charities,” it said in a statement. Environmental agencies have also offered to collect the paper money from households and temples to burn in state incinerators that can treat the exhaust.

■ TOURISM

Taiwanese look to heavens

Eight Taiwanese have applied to take part in a space journey at a cost of US$200,000 per person, according to Royal China Express, the Taiwan agent for Virgin Galactic, a space tourism operator affiliated with billionaire Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group. Virgin Galactic has collected fares from more than 330 aspiring amateur astronauts who are willing to spend big money to experience about six minutes of suborbital spaceflight, the local travel agency said. Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spaceship SpaceShipOne will be airlifted into the skies for its maiden flight at the end of this year after receiving approval from NASA, it said. The eight Taiwanese aspiring space travelers include a surgeon, engineers at the Hsinchu Science-Based Industrial Park, businessmen, and a couple operating a jewelry business, the travel agency said.

■ ARTS

Yo-Yo Ma prepares project

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (馬友友) has prepared a “Taichung Project” for his visit to Taiwan later this month that will include an outdoor concert for local music lovers to see “how a cello talks with stars in the sky,” Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday. “It is a music project especially for Taichung City,” Hu said as he and organizers announced the concert featuring Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, scheduled for April 24. In addition to the concert, the visit will include two seminars at which Ma will speak with local musicians. One will be aimed at young people between 12 and 18 years old, the organizers said. Hu said he expects the Taichung Project to “trigger a musical fever” in the city. Ma’s Taichung concert will be the only open-air performance of three he will give in Taiwan as part of his “Silk Road Project.” The other two concerts will be held at the National Concert Hall in Taipei on April 22 and at the Jhihde Hall in Kaohsiung City on April 25, the organizers said.

■ EDUCATION

Card goes multi-purpose

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) issued to students in Taiwan has now become a multi-purpose card, an official of a cultural and education foundation said. The card, which was previously used mainly by students intending to travel abroad to obtain cheaper flights and other savings, can now be used as a student ID, an Easy Card for travel on public transport travel and an I-cash card, for making small purchases. “Five schools in Taiwan have so far signed up to use the ISIC,” said James Tsai, director of the Kang Wen Culture and Education Foundation, adding that more schools plan to adopt the cards. The ISIC is issued by the ISIC Association and is the only internationally accepted proof of full-time student status.

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