■ DefenseMinistry monitors sub
The Ministry of National Defense said yesterday that it was monitoring the movements of what is thought to be a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine in Japanese territorial waters. Ministry officials made the announcement in the wake of a report by Agence France Presse that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had expressed regret over the unidentified vessel entering Japan's territorial waters. The submarine was detected in Japanese waters near islands disputed with China about 300km southwest of Okinawa, a southern Japanese island that is home to a major US military base, according to the report. The officials said that they are keeping abreast of the vessel's movements through information swapping. The officials said that, although their preliminary conclusion is that the vessel is on a deep-sea training trip, they will continue to monitor it closely.
Military battles smoking
The Ministry of National Defense is promoting a no-smoking directive in the military to help implement a government no-smoking policy and optimize the public health and environment, a spokesman said yesterday. Spokesman Major General Huang Suey-sheng (黃穗生) told a press conference that under the no-smoking project, smoking will gradually be wiped out from the armed forces, including barracks, military organizations and military academies, eventually making the entire military smoke-free. Lu Li-chun (呂立群), a division director with the ministry's Medical Affairs Bureau, said the ministry will enact regulations on smoking prevention and will establish "smoking prevention committees" in units at various levels. According to Huang, the ministry is also sponsoring classes and workshops to help personnel quit smoking.
In view of the rising number of foreign spouses in Taiwan, World Vision Taiwan's central office is recruiting interpreters of English and various Southeast Asian languages. World Vision officials said that with the number of abused foreign spouses rising steadily, the group needs interpreters who can speak Southeast Asian languages to upgrade the organization's ability to handle domestic violence cases. They will recruit 70 interpreters, including those versed in Indonesian, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese and English, the officials said.
Vanuatu yet to confirm ties
Vanuatu Prime Minister Serge Vohor has yet to convene a Cabinet meeting to confirm the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the South Pacific island nation, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said the Cabinet meeting, originally scheduled for yesterday afternoon, was postponed because Vohor had not returned to Port-Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, due to local elections. But Lu also quoted a spokesman for Vohor as saying that the Cabinet meeting is only a formality, and Cabinet members will not oppose the establishment of diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) and Vohor signed a joint communique in Taipei on Nov. 3 on establishing full diplomatic ties between the two countries. Vanuatu has a population of about 200,000 and will be Taiwan's 27th diplomatic ally.