US delivers minehunters
Two retrofitted coastal minehunters purchased from the US were delivered to Taiwan yesterday, beefing up the country’s naval defense capabilities, the navy said in a statement. The refurbished Osprey-class minehunters were shipped to Greater Kaohsiung after nearly three years of work that included reactivating the ships and training personnel to crew them, the navy said. An official welcoming ceremony will be held on Aug. 10 at the Zuoying (左營) naval base in Greater Kaohsiung, it added. The vessels will improve the navy’s ability to locate and destroy naval mines used in sea blockades, sources familiar with the matter said. The two vessels — the USS Oriole and the USS Falcon — were both decommissioned from US naval service. In early 2010, the US government approved the sale of the two ships to Taiwan. The package included refurbishment, upgrading and other related support and services, at an estimated cost of US$105 million.
World Vision wants cash
World Vision Taiwan said yesterday it hopes to raise NT$20 million (US$671,770) this month in a fundraising campaign to help disadvantaged students in eastern Taiwan with their education expenses. The money will help 1,000 high-school and university students from Taitung and Lanyu (蘭嶼), also known as Orchid Island, to pay their tuition fees, accommodation and transport costs, a senior officer of the Christian charity said. “Resources there are limited and the students really need our help,” the officer said, adding many high school students living in the area often have to suspend their studies to earn money for their families. According to World Vision Taiwan statistics, 21 percent of the school dropouts it has helped say their families were experiencing financial difficulties at the time they dropped out.
Bartender wins accolades
“Flairtending” talent Hsu Po-sheng (許博勝) from Taiwan took top place with his skills and a Spiderman show at the 21st Asia-Pacific Bartender of the Year Cocktail Competition held on Wednesday in Singapore. Beating contestants from 16 other countries, Hsu brought home the ninth consecutive championship for Taiwan in the “flairing” category of the competition. His winning cocktail, “Golden Year,” was a blend of gin, vermouth and citrus. Hsu, who has appeared in a Spiderman costume for eight years, said he practiced for at least six hours a day over the past six months to prepare for the competition. He added that his coach watched the latest Spiderman movie to help him design his show.
ChthoniC wows 200,000
Taiwanese black metal band ChthoniC won cheers from 200,000 music lovers after playing a set at the recently concluded 2012 Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. It was the second time ChthoniC, currently on tour in Europe, had performed at the popular festival, which was held from Friday to Sunday. The last time the band was invited to perform was in 2000. ChthoniC, who played on the White Stage, had Japanese Koto player Shin Ichikawa and renowned Japan-based ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman as their special guests. Before returning home in the middle of this month, the band will perform in Germany, Portugal and England. US post-rock band Explosions in the Sky, French electronic music duo Justice and English rock band Radiohead also performed at the Japanese festival.