Bus crash kills three
A tour bus went off a road as it was heading toward Alishan (阿里山) and crashed into an electricity pole yesterday, killing three people and injuring 26. Four of the injured were in a serious condition and rushed to two hospitals in nearby Chiayi City with the other injured passengers. The three dead had no vital signs when they were sent to the hospital, police said. The bus was one of seven vehicles taking a tour group of emergency rescue volunteers and their families from Puzih City (朴子), Chiayi County, to an Aboriginal cultural park on Alishan. The cause of the accident is under investigation, police said.
Academy to open in LA
The first academy aimed at promoting Taiwanese culture will open in Los Angeles next spring, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) said on Saturday. Kung Chung-cheng (龔中誠), -director-general of the office in Los Angeles, said that preparations, including course planning and hiring teachers, have largely been completed. The planned courses will cover calligraphy, glove puppetry, Taiwanese tea culture and language training. A crucial feature of the academy will be the teaching of traditional Chinese characters, in contrast with the simplified version used in China and taught in Confucius Institutes set up by Beijing worldwide. The Taiwan Academy would be easily differentiated from the Chinese institutes because they would focus more on promoting culture and introduce customs and cultural traits that are distinctive to Taiwan, the office said. Language training will also be available to complement the academy’s cultural component, it said.
Soochow marathon held
Japanese runners yesterday won the men’s and women’s titles at this year’s Soochow International Ultra-Marathon and successfully defended their titles in the 24-hour race. Ryochi Sekiya, 43, ran a total of 268.1km in 24 hours to win the men’s division in the Taipei competition for the sixth time. Mami Kudo outran all of her competitors to win the women’s division with a distance of 239.3km, well short of her world record of 254.425km set last year. France’s Anne-Celile Fontaine finished second. Taiwan’s Luo Wei-ming (羅蔚銘) and 51-year-old Huang Yen-ling (黃堰鈴) took third place in the men’s and women’s divisions respectively, with distances of 229.2km and 204.4km. Luo said the ultramarathon, which began at 9am on Saturday, was particularly difficult because there were no breaks and running through the night interrupted his sleep cycle. Huang, who participated in the Taitung Super Triathon in October, said the ultra-marathon was more challenging because runners were easily bored circling the same track around the clock. The event, which took place on the 400m track at Soochow University’s Waishuangxi campus, was held for the 10th time. Thirty runners from around the world participated in the event. To track the runners’ laps and distances run, the university invested more than NT$1 million (US$33,000) on a chip-timing system to increase accuracy. Tied to the runners’ legs, the chips automatically sent the data to a computer, which could then be seen in real time on the official Web site.