Foreign spouses honored
An exposition on the lifelong learning achievements of foreign spouses will be held in Kaohsiung on Sunday, with the aim of displaying the pluralistic society of a Taiwan rich in different cultures, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) announced yesterday. Noting that one out of every seven or eight children born here are the offspring of parents in intercultural marriages, Tu said Taiwan has to face the issue squarely. Education aims to allow foreign spouses to join Taiwanese society, which in turn helps them educate their children, he said. With a view to creating a more pluralistic society, Tu said, the Executive Yuan and his ministry don't want the foreign spouses to "become thoroughly Taiwanese" by giving up their own cultures. Tu added that he hopes these spouses from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries will be proud of their own cultures and that Taiwanese people will try to understand these cultures better.
Name change applauded
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) expressed delight yesterday to seeing the World Medical Association's (WMA's) recent approval of Taiwan's request for a membership name change from "Chinese Medical Association Taipei" to "Taiwan Medical Association." While receiving visiting WMA Chairman Yank Coble, Jr. and Vice Chairman Dr. Tai Joon-moon at the Presidential Office yesterday, Chen expressed gratitude for their assistance in the country's successful bid to have the name changed at a WMA general assembly held in Tokyo last month. Chen also told Coble of Taiwan's desire to join the World Health Organization (WHO), a continuing attempt of which the WMA has been supportive since 2001, that has always failed due to China's opposition.
With the approach of the Dec. 11 legislative elections, Taiwanese expatriates in Los Angeles are returning to Taiwan to lend support to their favored candidates. As voters in the legislative elections have to reside in a constituency for six consecutive months to be eligible to vote in the elections, most of the expatriates are unlikely to be able to take part in the voting. For this reason, the numbers returning are relatively smaller than those who returned for the March 20 presidential elections. As of Tuesday, more than 1,000 expatriates had registered to take part in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while supporters of the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party, People First Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union have decided that they will provide assistance based on the needs of the individual candidates.
EU group strengthens ties
Several parliamentarians from the EU have decided collectively to work to strengthen ties with Taiwan, according to a statement the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released last night. The statement announced the successful completion of the inaugural and first annual summit of the Marco Polo Club, an organization consisting of 26 pro-Taiwan lawmakers from 25 EU member nations. The club said in a statement that Taiwan deserved to be accorded the opportunity to participate in international organizations. It pointed in particular to the nation's bid for observer status in the WHO. The club also urged ban on weapons sales to China be retained.