Stars to take part in telethon to raise funds for Kaohsiung

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) Several local TV channels were scheduled to broadcast a telethon Thursday to raise funds for post-disaster recovery in the wake of the deadly gas blasts in Kaohsiung, with a host of celebrities, athletes and politicians expected to field calls during the event. Celebrities including Taiwanese girl group S.H.E., singers Elva Hsiao, Jam Hsiao and A-Lin will urge the public to donate money to assist with disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in the southern city, the organizers said. Vice President Wu Den-yih, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, as well as several athletes, will also be among the participants, according to the organizers. The five-hour telethon is being jointly organized by The Red Cross Society of the Republic of China and local TV channels such as Chinese Television System, Taiwan Public Television Service and Videoland. It will begin at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on several channels, including the ones involved in the organization of the event. First lady Chow Mei-ching, who had also been scheduled to take part, cancelled her appearance after hurting her back. Kaohsiung suffered a series of propylene-fueled explosions between 11 p.m. and midnight July 31 in the city's Cianjhen and Lingya districts, killing 30 people and injuring over 300. (By Christie Chen)