Navy retiring old vessel
The navy plans to retire a vessel that it originally saved from the scrap heap. The dock landing ship Chung Cheng (中正), which was named after former president Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) given name, will be decommissioned early next month and moved to the Kaohsiung naval base before a decision is made about its fate, military officials said. The ship will either be dismantled, as was the first naval vessel that bore the same name, or be used as a target in drills, they added. Chung Cheng was acquired by the navy from a local steel company, which had planned to dismantle it for scrap in 1985, officials said. Formerly the USS Comstock (LSD-19), the ship was built for the US Navy during World War II and first commissioned in 1945. It entered the Taiwanese navy’s service in 1987.
More ETC lanes on the way
More electronic toll collection (ETC) lanes are scheduled to be opened in August in an effort to cope with the increased average ETC usage rate, the National Freeway Bureau said. The new lanes are expected to be added at three toll stations — Sijhih (汐止) in New Taipei City (新北市) and Yangmei (楊梅) and Longtan (龍潭) in Tayouan County — where traffic volume has seen a large increase since a free ETC installation program was launched in the middle of last month, the bureau said. The ETC usage rate has reached 55 percent, the bureau said. According to bureau data, traffic on the northbound side of the Yangmei station has increased by 157 vehicles per hour, while on the southbound side it has increased by 216 vehicles per hour. The northbound side of Longtan station has seen an increase of 101 vehicles per hour, while the southbound side has more than 163 additional vehicles per hour, the data showed.
Quakes hit Hualien County
Ten earthquakes with magnitudes of between 2.9 and 4.2 rattled Hualien County early yesterday. There were no reports of casualties or damage, according to the Central Weather Bureau. The bureau’s Seismology Center said the string of temblors were aftershocks of a magnitude 5.4 earthquake that struck the county at 12:15am on Friday. The quake was followed by more than 20 aftershocks later that day, 10-plus quakes on Sunday afternoon and 10 more aftershocks between 12:08am and 4:43am yesterday, the Seismology Center said. The aftershocks recorded early yesterday were all centered in the county’s Fongbin (豐濱) and Guangfu (光復) townships, at locations between 31.9km and 35.5km southwest of Hualien County Hall. All of yesterday’s quakes occurred at depths of less than 10km and the strongest one was felt at an intensity of five in Fongbin, the center said.
A dance by a Taiwanese choreographer won second place on Sunday in an international competition sponsored by Theatre de la Ville in Paris. Wu Chien-ying’s (吳建瑩) Dancing in Badminton earned him the second prize of 11,000 euros (US$14,000) out of a field of 300 entries from 41 countries. The Danse Elargie competition is now in its second year. The only rules are that each group must have at least three performers and the dance must be at least 10 minutes long. Wu’s piece was inspired by badminton. Wu, 29, studied at National Taiwan University of Arts in Banciao (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市), and at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Beaux-arts in Paris and is now based in the French capital. Another Taiwanese entry, Chang Chien-hao’s (張堅豪) The Next Three, made it into the final 10.