Shooting stars set to impress
The Leonid meteor shower — a much anticipated event which greatly impressed many in 2001 — is expected to peak this week with ideal observation conditions, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said. The Leonid meteors, which will peak at 5.30pm on Saturday, are expected to fall at a rate of 20 shooting stars per hour, while a new moon is not likely to interfere with the viewing, museum officials said. Visibility of the meteors will increase around midnight, when the moon will begin to descend, the museum said. The shooting stars — debris from the parent comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle — were made famous by the spectacular light show they provided in 2001 when people gathered along mountaintops to witness thousands of meteors falling each hour. The next Leonid meteor show with such a large number of meteor will occur in about 2032, the museum said.
Rainfall likely in mid-week
Daily highs are likely to remain slightly above 20oC in northern and northeastern Taiwan until tomorrow, due to seasonal winds from the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Chances of rain will also increase in those areas, where clear to cloudy skies with daily high temperatures of 30oC recorded over several days last week, the bureau said. According to forecasts, temperatures are set to remain between 21oC and 29oC until Tuesday next week. Beginning on Wednesday, warmer temperatures are expected across the nation with the approach of another cold front on Friday.
Conference to analyze China
Taiwan will host an international conference today and tomorrow to analyze the ongoing power transition in China — looking in particular at how it might affect policy-making in Beijing. At the conference — co-hosted by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the Institute for National Policy Research — experts from Taiwan and other countries such as the US, Australia, Singapore and Thailand are to examine the decisions made at the ongoing Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th Party Congress and what they mean. The conference will also discuss the characteristics of China’s new leadership and possible directions in Taipei-Beijing relations, the organizers said. At the one-week congress in China that opened on Thursday last week, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) is expected to hand over leadership of the CCP to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Charity calls for Sandy gifts
The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation — one of the largest charities in the nation — has launched a fund-raising drive across the US to help victims of superstorm Sandy, which recently ravaged parts of the US East Coast. The charity’s US branch called for donations via phone, Internet or in person at its stations at supermarkets across the country. It also set up disaster relief centers in New York and New Jersey, two of the hardest-hit areas, to coordinate relief efforts such as the distribution of blankets, food and daily necessities. As part of Tzu Chi’s relief efforts, members of the organization in areas of New York with large Chinese populations have offered cooked meals to affected residents, it said, adding that in New Jersey, Tzu Chi members traveled around the state, visiting residents and distributing relief supplies to about 4,000 households in the four most heavily affected areas of Keansburg, Little Ferry, South Toms River and Atlantic City.