Tibet memorial planned
Tibetans and Tibet activists will hold a memorial service for the Dalai Lama’s 45-year-old nephew Jigme Norbu, who was killed in a car accident on Monday during his “Walk for Tibet” campaign in Florida. In the past 19 walks, Jigme had walked more than 12,000km to promote independence for Tibet and raise public awareness on the Tibet issue. Before launching the latest walk in Florida on Monday, Jigme’s last completed campaign was a 400km walk over 13 days from Taipei to Kaohsiung in December. The memorial service — organized by people who accompanied him on the walk in December — will take place on Saturday at 7pm at the Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Rooms 4 and 5 on the 10th Floor, No. 189, Keelung Rd, Sec. 2.
Singers to tout Taiwan
Taiwan has invited Japanese enka singer Sachiko Kobayashi and Jiro Wang (汪東城) of the Taiwanese boy band Fahrenheit to promote regional tourism in Taiwan, a Tourism Bureau official said yesterday. The popular entertainers will tout Taiwan’s tourism throughout the year, said Chiang Ming-ching (江明清), a bureau division chief. Fahrenheit is popular among young girls in South Korea, which is why Wang was selected to serve as a “tourism ambassador” for that country, Chiang said. Citing bureau statistics, Chiang said the number of Japanese tourists reached 1.08 million people last year, representing annual growth of 7 percent, while the number of South Korean tourists grew by 26.8 percent. The bureau expressed hope that the number of visitors from the two countries would further increase this year, he added.
Cold weather leads to losses
The agricultural sector has suffered losses of roughly NT$227.6 million (US$7.7 million) over the past month, with low temperatures brought by cold fronts damaging crops and fish farms in some areas, the Council of Agriculture said. As of yesterday, financial losses from crop damage had reached NT$88.42 million, with a total of 1,257 hectares of agricultural land affected, the council said. The heaviest damage was to high-stem grafted pears, wax apples and Hai-li tangors, the council said. In the fisheries industry, total losses of NT$139.22 million were reported. Penghu County, the worst-hit area in the sector, suffered losses of NT$87.91 million. The council said it has approved plans to subsidize tangor farmers in Hsinchu County and compensate the Penghu fisheries industry with cash and low--interest loans after the affected areas have been inspected.
DPP focusing on elections
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) announced yesterday that it plans to nominate up to 40 seats in the next legislative elections though the use of direct selections rather than party primaries. The 40 seats are included in the DPPs’ definition of “hard-to-win districts,” where party candidates took less than 42.5 percent of the vote during the previous round of elections, party officials said. They added that the method would enable the DPP to better nominate “suitable” candidates, including possibly some who are not currently party members. Four of the seats, spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said, would be allocated to the Taiwan Solidarity Union, with which the DPP has an agreement. Included among the “hard-to-win districts” are 14 in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市), both Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) strongholds.