Taipei encouraging graffiti
Seeking to promote graffiti as a street art form, the Taipei City Government is joining forces with the Taiwan Youth Rights and Welfare Advocacy Alliance to hold a graffiti festival today and tomorrow at the Taipei Cinema Park in Ximending. The festival, which runs from 2pm to 7pm each day, will feature graffiti art, musical performances and a graffiti competition. According to Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs, although graffiti has been seen as a violation of the environment, the department is trying to encourage creativity and plans to set aside more spaces for such artwork. The city government is in the process of opening several spaces at municipal riverside parks for graffiti, and plans to set aside more areas around parks for graffiti artists to showcase their creativity. For more information visit www.youthrights.org.tw
Lintou to host beach festival
This year's Penghu Island International Art Beach Festival will take place from Aug.18 to Aug 26 on Lintou beach, the Penghu County government announced on Thursday. County Commissioner Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) and County Council Speaker Liu Chen Chao-ling (劉陳昭玲) told a press conference that the festival will present a variety of beach activities every day from 5pm for eight consecutive days. They said the county government has invited foreign bands as well as local ensembles to entertain visitors during the festival. The final of a beauty pageant will take place on the 4km long beach with the winner helping the county to promote tourism, they said. A cooking contest will also be held, using locally produced marine and farm produce to create gourmet dishes. An exhibition at the site of the festival will showcase Penghu's agricultural and fishery produce.
With Ghost Month just around the corner, Taipei City Government is seeking to raise environmental awareness by again providing free bags for residents to collect ghost money. Smoke and ashes from the burned money contribute to air pollution, so the city government began to promote collective burning of ghost money in 2000. Residents receive free bags from local borough offices to collect ghost money, and the offices will gather the bags and burn them in a sacrificial oven at the Beitou Incinerator in an attempt to reduce pollution in downtown areas. During a promotional ceremony yesterday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) lauded the environmentally friendly measure and said he expected the program to become a tradition.
Caracas maintains visa ban
Twenty baseball players from three top local youth teams will definitely not be able to attend the World Youth Baseball Championships in Venezuela next week as Venezuelan authorities maintained their refusal to issue visas to the players, chief coach Lin Chao-huang (林朝煌) said yesterday. Lin broke the news to the players yesterday afternoon after being informed by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association. The teams had been scheduled to leave for Venezuela next Tuesday. Under pressure from China, Caracas stopped issuing visas to Taiwanese earlier this year, Lin said. Team captain Liu Shih-hao (劉時豪) told reporters that he was very depressed about the situation, as attending an international match has been his dream since he was in elementary school.
■ ARTS AND CULTURE
Manga artists make strides
Comic creations by six Taiwanese students have entered the final selection stage of the 1st Asian Animation and Comics Contest (AACC) being held in Guiyang City, China's Guizhou Province, a comic association spokesman said yesterday. Huang Chih-yung (黃志湧), director-general of Taiwan's Asia Manga Cultural Association, said the students' creations were selected ahead of 3,000 other submissions from more than 10 countries. The Taiwanese works were selected from those entered in a national contest aimed at identifying the next generation of outstanding comic artists, Huang said. The winners of the AACC competition will be announced at an awards ceremony on Sept. 7 at the Guiyang Grand Theater in Guizhou Province. Winning creations will be exhibited at the Guiyang Art Museum from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9.
Yu Shyi-kun denied a visa
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, who is visiting Manila, has been forced to cancel a planned trip to Thailand after the Thai government denied him a visa, a spokesman for the DPP's southeast Asian chapter in Bangkok said yesterday. Yu was supposed to fly to Thailand today after finishing his visit to the Philippines, the spokesman said. The spokesman said the Thai government's refusal to grant Yu a visa was a result of pressure from Beijing. He condemned China for its "arbitrary and relentless" repression of Taiwan. Yu had planned to meet Taiwanese expatriates living in Thailand, but was forced to cancel the trip after receiving notice from Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs two days before his planned arrival that he would not be granted a visa. The DPP spokesman said China had pressured Thailand on the grounds that Yu is an advocate of Taiwanese independence. Yu could have applied for a landing visa, but deemed such a move "too demeaning."