Hailstorm hammers Miaoli
People in Miaoli County had a chance to see an extreme hailstorm on Thursday evening. The hailstorm, which was accompanied by lightning, thunder and sudden heavy rain, lasted less than one minute at 6:12pm. The size of the hailstones that fell ranged from 0.5cm to 1.5cm, according to surveillance images taken at a local police station. People described the hailstorm as “unbelievable” and a number of people said they had seen nothing like it. No damage or injuries were reported. Earlier in the day, the Central Weather Bureau issued the first ever hailstorm warning for the nation.
Bjork to perform in Taiwan
Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork will perform for the first time in Taiwan on Aug. 10 in Taipei. Bjork, known for her unique style of music and voice, has been hailed by National Geographic magazine as Iceland’s most notable export. Bjork released her first songs at the age of 12 and spent time in her early career with several alternative groups, including indie rock band The Sugarcubes. The avant-garde musician has maintained a relatively low profile, having kept commercial promotion to a minimum during her career. The 47-year-old Reykjavik native thrilled global audiences with her performance at the opening of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Her Taiwan concert will be held at Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall. Ticket sales begin on Wednesday.
Fishing boat captain indicted
The captain of a Taiwanese fishing boat was indicted yesterday on charges of killing 15 Chinese crew members aboard his ship 14 years ago, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office said. Kung Tai-an (龔泰安), captain of the Chin Ching No. 12, allegedly shot 12 Chinese crewmen in anger over their refusal to obey orders. Three others jumped overboard to avoid being shot and their bodies were never found. The Kaohsiung-registered fishing boat was operating in the Indian Ocean with a crew of 24 — 18 Chinese, four Taiwanese and two Filipinos — at the time of the incident in February 1999. When the boat docked in Mauritius, Kung was arrested and was later sentenced by a Mauritian court to 20 years in prison for the murder of the Chinese crew members. Kung was released on parole in November last year and repatriated to Taiwan. Upon arrival in Taiwan, he was arrested and has now been charged again with the murder of the Chinese crew members.
Rain adds to reservoirs
Although the long-awaited spring rains finally arrived on Thursday, the volume was hardly enough to refill the country’s reservoirs, the Water Resources Agency said yesterday. Heavy showers started at 7pm and the downpour lasted for about an hour, then petered out to a steady drizzle at the Shihmen Reservoir in northern Taiwan, the agency said. As of 10am yesterday, accumulated rainfall at the reservoir was 23mm and it had collected 3 million tonnes of water, the equivalent of 2.5 days’ supply to the Taoyuan area, it said. In southern Taiwan, the accumulated rainfall in the catchment areas of the Tsengwen Reservoir was 6.8mm, but the water level in the reservoir was still low, it said. Taoyuan County and New Taipei City’s (新北市) Linkou District (林口) as well as Greater Kaohsiung are in the first phase of water conservation, which means reduced night-time water pressure to consumers between 11pm and 5am every day.