For 13 years, mountaineer Helmut Simon had basked in the glory of his unique encounter with history. \nIn 1991, the 67-year-old German discovered Otzi the Iceman, the perfectly preserved body of a Neolithic hunter, emerging from the Similaun glacier, 3,200m up the Austrian Alps. Wherever he went in his beloved Alps, Simon wore a badge identifying himself as "Discoverer of Otzi." \nBut earlier this month, Simon's body was found in a stream in these same mountains. \nOn Oct. 15, the pensioner departed alone from the village of Bad Hofgastein, near Salzburg, up the 2,134m Gamskarkogel peak. His wife, Erika, who usually walked with him, did not go. Foul weather should have deterred the experienced climber, who did not even take a tent with him. \nHalf a meter of snow fell in the three days following his disappearance. Last Monday, Simon's wife returned to Nuremberg and rescuers gave up their search. \nSimon and his wife had made the journey to Bolzano to visit Otzi several times a year. While scientists learned about Neolithic man by examining Otzi, Simon developed an affection for the 5,300-year-old and came to call the iceman his "brother." \n"Being a discoverer is like being the author of an important invention," said Simon's Italian lawyer, Armin Weis. "It becomes your identity." Simon died just weeks before his lawyers were due to launch a case for him to receive a US$250,000 reward from Italian authorities for his discovery. \nRumors in the villages around the Austro-Italian border suggested Simon may have walked deliberately to his death. Other locals fear Otzi -- like Tutankhamen -- claimed Simon's life in revenge for disturbing the mummy's peace. \nThe body of the iceman is under renewed scrutiny this time by experts seeking to prove its value in cash rather than archeological terms. \nThe iceman is one of the best and oldest preserved human bodies because of an extraordinary combination of events. After apparently falling into a crevasse and dying of hypothermia, the neolithic hunter was quickly covered by snow which preserved his body intact. \nIt appears that Simon found him at the precise moment the body emerged from the \nmelting glacier and before it decomposed. \nUnder Italian law, Simon was entitled to receive up to 25 per cent of the value of his find. Since he was only recognized as the official finder of the mummy last year, legal proceedings will begin on Nov. 5 to determine the size of the reward. \nThe Otzi mummy, kept in Bolzano's south Tyrol museum of archaeology, has made about US$2 million per year for northern Italian authorities since 1998. \nSimon turned down an offer from Italian authorities of US$50,000. His lawyers claim his family's reward should be four times as much.
With around 10,000 descendants packing the ancestral shrine every Tomb Sweeping Day, the Yeh family’s grand affair made a bid for the Guiness Book of World Records in 2016. They won’t be coming even close on Saturday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 30 people will be attending and conducting the rituals. “We hope that our ancestors don’t take offense,” branch association head Yeh Lun-tsai (葉倫在) tells the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times). Tomb Sweeping Day activities can potentially aggravate the spread of the virus as large groups congregate in cemeteries and columbariums at the same
In terms of life expectancy for its citizens, in recent decades Taiwan has caught up with and overtaken a number of Western countries. According to the most recent edition of the CIA’s World Factbook, Taiwanese now live longer than Americans, Czechs and Poles. Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may shake up the rankings. Taiwan’s single-payer healthcare system, set up in 1995, is one reason why people here can stay healthy for a long time. Before the postwar Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime introduced the piecemeal health-insurance schemes (covering government employees, farmers, and others) that preceded the universal system, sick people
Nowhere are the effects of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) postwar Sinification campaign more visible than in the toponymic revisions that the regime undertook after assuming power. Taipei’s streets were renamed after Chinese cities or quintessentially Chinese values, and with the kind of self-aggrandizing flourish to which the party was partial, the process even referenced itself, Guangfu (光復) — which translates as “retrocession” — becoming a mainstay of urban nomenclature. Above all, the KMT’s top brass was memorialized: the given names of Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) — Zhongshan (中山) and Zhongzheng (中正) — were conferred on locations
April 6 to April 12 Han Chinese settlers from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou were such fierce rivals that simple activities such as buying supplies for festivals would often result in armed violence. It’s said that this was especially severe just before Tomb Sweeping Festival, and to prevent bloodshed Qing Dynasty officials ordered them to conduct their rituals on different days. This is not unlike the government urging people to visit their ancestors’ graves on days other than yesterday’s official Tomb Sweeping Day, also known as the Qingming Festival, to curb the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Chinese Nationalist Party