■ Diplomacy Singapore ties strong: MND \n \nMinister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) yesterday expressed the hope that military cooperation between Taiwan and Singapore will continue despite a recent diplomatic row. Taiwan has for years helped Singapore train its soldiers under the "Starlight Project." Although Lee declined to comment on the row triggered by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山), he said he hopes "Singapore will not be influenced" in future cooperation regarding the "Starlight Project." Chen on Monday called Singapore a nation "no bigger than a piece of snot" and criticized the authorities of the city-state of "holding China's balls" after Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo (楊榮文) had spoken out against campaigns seeking membership for Taiwan at the UN. "Holding another's testicles" is a euphemism in Taiwan meaning to curry favor with someone. \n \n■ Health \nHepatitis carriers defended \n \nIn an effort to protect hepatitis B carriers' right to work, Taipei City's Bureau of Health will fine the Civil Aeronautics Administration if the agency fails to lift a measure that prohibits the hiring of hepatitis B virus carriers. The administration is recruiting 137 firefighters for the country's airports. Over 600 applicants are scheduled to take written and physical tests in the middle of this month. However, those applicants diagnosed with hepatitis B during a health check will be disqualified. "Hepatitis B is transmitted only through blood transfusion and sexual contact," said Shih Wen-yi (施文儀), deputy director-general of the Center for Disease Control. "Hepatitis B virus carriers pose no danger in a working environment." According to Article 12 of the Communicable Disease Prevention Law (傳染病 防治法), the bureau can fine the administration up to NT$150,000 if it fails to cancel the regulation within 15 days. \n \n■ Society \n`English corner' set up \n \nThe group Core & Corner yesterday introduced a new way of English learning by holding topical meetings at coffee shops, restaurants and corporate cafeterias. The program, known as English corner, aims to bring people together to practice their English by meeting with native English speakers. Taiwanese nationals who speak fluent English as well as those who wish to perfect their English-speaking skills are encouraged to join in. Practice sessions will be broken down by topics such as wine-tasting, gourmet cooking and scuba diving. \n \n■ Diplomacy \nGambians start classes \n \nTaiwan is helping the Gambia train specialists in crude oil exploration and other areas of the petroleum industry by offering university courses to 25 Gambian citizens. A ceremony marking the beginning of the first semester of the Gambian Petroleum Class at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology's department of materials and resources engineering was held on campus yesterday. Addressing the ceremony, Chang Pei-chi (張北齊), director-general of the foreign ministry's African Affairs Department, said that the Gambian government attaches great importance to the students receiving an education in Taiwan. Gambian Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy met with the students at a reception prior to their recent departure for Taiwan, Chang said. Ministry officials said the students were in a scholarship program set up last month to promote international exchanges.
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical
The US’ inclusion of Taiwan in its Indo-Pacific Strategy is geared toward weakening Beijing’s influence in Southeast Asia, as well as providing a Blue Dot Network to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a senior Executive Yuan member said yesterday. Taiwan and the US would be seeking further collaboration on infrastructure construction and energy, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The US and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding on the Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure, Finance and Market Cooperation on Sept. 17, which would see the Ministry of Finance and the US Department of the Treasury establishing respective task