Bomb hoax grounds flight
A China Airlines flight with 251 passengers on board was delayed by nearly an hour yesterday because of a bomb threat, the country’s largest carrier said. The A330 plane bound for Jakarta was cleared for departure after the Aviation Police Office checked passengers and their luggage and found no explosives, the company said, adding the suspect had specifically mentioned the flight destined for the Indonesian capital. “We followed all the necessary procedures to make sure the plane was safe before departure,” company spokesman Hamilton Liu (劉國芊) said. The plane took off at 2:35pm after a 45-minute delay, Liu added. According to the airline, the suspect used to be a member of its Dynasty Flyer program and had repeatedly made bomb threats to the company over the past few days. The suspect was taken into custody and faces a jail sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to NT$1 million (US$33,700) under the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法), police said.
Lunar eclipse on Monday
Astronomy buffs will be treated to a partial lunar eclipse on Monday, weather permitting, when more than 30 percent of the moon’s surface is expected to be covered, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said yesterday. The eclipse will have started by the time the moon rises at 6:35pm that day, the museum said, adding that the phenomenon in the eastern sky will end by 8:07pm. “Hopefully the partial lunar eclipse will be a consolation for those who missed a total lunar eclipse last year,” museum staff said, referring to December’s eclipse that was covered up by heavy clouds. The next partial lunar eclipse will take place on April 26 next year, the museum said.
Students begin exchanges
Three hundred students will travel to more than 30 countries this summer to promote cultural exchanges and enhance bilateral ties in what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described yesterday as the largest youth ambassador program since it was launched in 2009. The program encourages young people to take part in diplomacy and present different facets of Taiwan to host countries, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Ko (柯森耀) said at a flag presentation ceremony held before their departure. A total of 301 students from 25 universities and colleges nationwide were selected to visit 21 diplomatic allies and 17 other countries without official ties with Taipei, such as Argentina, Brazil, Israel and Germany.
Australian office renamed
The Australian Commerce and Industry Office Taipei (ACIO) has renamed itself the Australian Office Taipei to better reflect its functions, Australian Representative Kevin Magee said on Monday. “In 2012, the time has come to change our name to something that better reflects our work,” Magee was quoted as telling senior government officials and cultural and business leaders in a statement. The ACIO was established in 1981 to serve as Canberra’s de facto representative office in Taiwan. At Monday’s event, calligrapher Ho Chuan-hsin (何傳馨) wrote the five Chinese characters for “Australian Office,” the office said. “When it became time to look for a new symbol and logo for our renamed office, which serves as a bridge between Australia and Taiwan and Australian and Chinese culture, it was natural we thought of featuring calligraphy as the center point and heart of our new image and public face,” Magee said.