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  Dalai Lama to meet retired Cardinal in Taiwan
 
KAOHSIUNG (TAIWAN), AUGUST 31 (UCAN) -- The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, will meet with Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, retired bishop of Kaohsiung, during his August 30 to September 3 trip to Taiwan.

The two religious leaders are scheduled to have an open dialogue session on the morning of September 2, according to a government press release. This will be the only meeting the Dalai Lama will have with a religious figure.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is visiting Taiwan at the invitation of seven counties and cities in the south of the country, which are mostly ruled by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

On the second day of his visit, the Dalai Lama will visit people affected by flooding as a result of Typhoon Morakot, which swept southern Taiwan August 8, causing 475 deaths, according to reports. A total of 87 people are missing.

The Dalai Lama will deliver a public lecture and will pray for flood victims on the second day.

A planned meeting with international press on the first day has been canceled.

In a separate incident, prior to the arrival of the Dalai Lama, eight major religious groups in Taiwan jointly held a prayer service to pray for the flood victims on August 30. They included the Buddhist Association and the Taoist Association of Kaohsiung county, and the Catholic and Protestant Churches.

The Dalai Lama has visited the territory twice, once in 1997 and again in 2001. He had said in December that he wanted to visit Taiwan again but President Ma Ying-jeou replied through the media that the time was not ripe for such a visit.

Some observers believe that Ma's government approved this visit to divert attention from criticism of his slow response to the havoc wreaked by Typhoon Morakot.
 
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