French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said that a top ministry official had been sent to Baghdad yesterday to press for the release of two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq. \nBarnier made the announcement at a press conference in Egypt as he issued a solemn appeal for the release of the two men kidnapped by a group demanding the repeal of a French law that bans the Islamic headscarf in state schools. \nHowever, France has vowed it will not bow to the kidnappers' demands, made late Saturday and accompanied by a 48-hour ultimatum, though without a specific death threat against journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. \nChesnot of Radio France and Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper disappeared in Iraq on Aug. 20, the day they were to have left Baghdad for the Shiite holy city of Najaf, then the scene of fierce fighting between US forces and Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. \nIn Paris the foreign ministry said its outgoing secretary-general, Hubert Colin de Verdihre, just named ambassador to Algeria, had arrived in the Iraqi capital to boost the French embassy in the Iraqi capital. \nBarnier said he would be accompanied by a number of other senior officials. \nBarnier hinted that he would also visit other regional capitals but gave no details. He was due to have talks in Cairo with the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Mussa. \n"These two journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, are doing their job in Iraq to explain to the world, describe the reality of the situation and the difficult living conditions of the Iraqi people," Barnier said. \n"These two men of goodwill have always shown their understanding for these people and their fondness for the Arab and Muslim world. I call for their release in the name of principles of humanity and respect for the human being which are at the very heart of the message of Islam and the religious practices of Muslims," Barnier said.
A convenience store clerk in Taoyuan was yesterday allegedly stabbed to death by a customer after asking the customer to wear a mask. The incident occurred a little after 5am at a store on Guangfong Street in Gueishan District (龜山), police said. When the suspect, surnamed Chiang (蔣), 41, entered the store without wearing a mask, the 30-year-old clerk, surnamed Tsai (蔡), asked that he put one on, police said. Chiang exited the store and came back wearing a mask, they said, adding that after paying for his items he took it off and threw it at Tsai before leaving. Chiang returned shortly afterward
SUSPENDED: US President Joe Biden held direct talks with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince after satellite imagery showed suspicious military activity at a Cosco-run port US intelligence agencies found evidence this year of construction work on what they believed was a secret Chinese military facility in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was stopped after Washington’s intervention, according to a report on Friday. The Wall Street Journal reported that satellite imagery of the port of Khalifa had revealed suspicious construction work inside a container terminal built and operated by Cosco Shipping Holdings Ltd (中遠海運控股). The evidence included huge excavations apparently for a multistory building and that the site was covered in an apparent attempt to evade scrutiny. The administration of US President Joe Biden held urgent talks with
‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Taiwan’s envoy said that official wording framing Taiwan-China issues as not about unification or independence counters the narrative Beijing wants Use of the phrase “democratic Taiwan” by Germany’s new coalition government in official document shows that Taiwan-China issues are not about “independence” against “unification,” but about democracy against authoritarianism, Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday. Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens — known as the “traffic light coalition” for their colors — on Wednesday inked a coalition agreement following elections on Sept. 26. The agreement, a blueprint for their governance for the next four years, mentions “Taiwan,” which is unprecedented, showing that the new German government is paying close attention to cross-strait peace and supports Taiwan’s
‘POORLY RUN’: The government is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the Taiwan-Palau air route, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou said Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr on Friday lashed out at China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), saying it has “poisoned” the market by neglecting its air route to the Pacific archipelago and that he plans to initiate talks with Taipei over the matter. Whipps made the remark at a routine news conference at the Presidential Office in Ngerulmud, after being asked to comment on frequent flight cancelations by China Airlines. “I think China Airlines is playing with [the] Palau market. They need to change their behavior, need to be invested and think long-term about the Palau market,” a report by the Palau-based newspaper