More rain, cold coming
The mild weather enjoyed around the country in recent days is likely to give way to rain starting late today and low temperatures tomorrow as a cold front approaches, the Central Weather Bureau said. The cold, damp weather is expected to last into the weekend, although the unpleasant conditions could let up starting mid-Sunday. Temperatures across the island are expected to drop tomorrow, when daytime highs could plummet by between 6oC and 8oC in the north and east. Temperatures could hit 13oC and 19oC in the north, between 16oC and 21oC in the central regions, and between 18oC and 25oC in the south, forecasters said.
Thailand mulls visa waiver
Thailand is hoping to attract Taiwanese travelers by introducing incentives that may include a visa waiver program, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) executive director of East Asia regions Srisuda Wanapinyosak said. According to the TAT, Thailand drew 26.73 million internationals visitors last year, up 19.6 percent from a year ago. Of that number, Taiwanese tourists accounted for 507,616, an increase of 65.48 percent from the previous year. The TAT said it hopes to attract more than 28 million international tourists to Thailand this year, including 510,000 from Taiwan, which will generate an estimated 1.3 trillion baht (US$41 billion) in foreign exchange revenue.
Vatican ties close: ministry
Taiwan maintains a friendly, close relationship with its diplomatic ally the Holy See, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to reports that Pope Francis hopes to develop friendlier ties with China. The ministry’s remarks came in response to reports that quoted the pope as saying in an interview with an Italian newspaper that he exchanged letters with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in March last year, just days after he was elected pope. “We are close to China,” Pope Francis said in the interview with Corriere della Sera, which was published earlier this month, the reports said. The pope said he sent a letter to Xi and that Xi also replied to him. Citing an example of the strong relationship between Taiwan and the Holy See, ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended the pope’s inaugural Mass in St Peter’s Square last year, making him the first Republic of China president to attend a papal inaugural mass in more than 70 years.
Switzerland plans fairs
The Trade Office of Swiss Industries is planning fairs later this month to introduce college students to careers in hospitality management. The event, now in its 19th year, is the only one in the nation focusing exclusively on hospitality schools, the Swiss office said, adding that 12 management schools are participating in the Greater Kaohsiung and Taipei fairs. Among the schools expected at the fair are the Swiss School for Tourism and Hospitality, Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland, the Hotel Institute Montreux, Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and the Glion Institute of Higher Education, the Swiss office said. The admission-free fair is to be held in Kaohsiung on Saturday and in Taipei on Sunday. The Swiss office will hold another event on March 30 in Taipei for Swiss boarding schools and summer camps, in light of the “increasing demand in the past few years” for such services.