Outages on High Speed Rail
About 5,000 passengers were yesterday affected by disruptions on the nation’s bullet train service which were caused by power outages, according to the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. Fifteen trains were delayed for more than five minutes starting at 9:40am, when a power outage forced the company to shut down one of the lines between Hsinchu and Miaoli counties. Trains had to take turns using the remaining line, the company said. Two trains were delayed for more than 30 minutes. The problems were fixed at 10:31am, and normal service resumed. According to the company’s refund policy, passengers who were delayed for more than half an hour but less than an hour can be refunded half the amount of their ticket. Almost 1,000 passengers were eligible for the refunds, the company said.
Speech contest goes global
Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is inviting foreign nationals from around the world to compete in its Mandarin Speech Contest for a top prize of NT$100,000. Registration is open until April 7, RTI said yesterday. The station has hosted the contest annually since 2004. This year is the first time the contest has been extended to those living outside of Taiwan. The competition this year is to take the format of role-playing, using performing arts skills to depict a profession, RTI said. For the first time, the contestants are required to submit a preliminary video audition. Finalists are to then compete in person in Taiwan. According to the Hanguang Education Foundation, a co-organizer of the contest, the 20 finalists are also eligible to enter a poetry recital competition that offers a top prize of NT$30,000.
Jam Hsiao gets hate mail
Taiwanese Mandopop singer Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), who narrowly escaped being splashed with urine and feces in October last year, received a threatening letter on Friday, according to his agency. Enclosed in the letter addressed to Hsiao were mealworms and “ghost money,” paper money burned for the dead, Warner Music Taiwan said. The company reported the case to the police, and the letter was sent to the forensic science center for further investigation. The attack on Hsiao in October last year was far more graphic, when people riding scooters threw feces and urine at the singer’s car, hitting his driver. Four men were charged with intimidation and public insult the following month. Despite the arrests, the suspects are not considered to be behind the harassment campaign that has sparked widespread speculation.
Working holidays in Hungary
Taiwan and Hungary signed a working holiday agreement on Friday that would allow 100 young adults per year from each country to visit and work in the other, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Hungary is the first country in Central Europe and the 10th in the world to have signed a working holiday pact with Taiwan, the ministry said. The nation has similar agreements with four European countries — Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the UK — as well as with Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Under the new deal, citizens aged between 18 and 35 who are proficient in English are eligible to participate in the one-year program, which could help them build friendships while working and traveling, the ministry said.