English festival to open
The 2005 English Living Environment Carnival will open tomorrow at Taipei 101 -- the world's tallest building -- to show what Taiwan has achieved in the past year in making its environment more convenient and friendly to native speakers of English. The three-day annual event, now in its third year, will begin at 2pm with a ceremony on Taipei 101's fifth floor to issue citations to those who have made contributions to improving Taiwan's living environment for English-speaking people. More than 20 government agencies and private organizations, including schools, will have exhibition stalls to display their achievements in responding to the government's call to improve the living environment in Taiwan for English-speaking people. There will also be plays, fashion shows, dances, concerts, lot-drawings, awards for correct answers to questions and free gifts for visitors.
Ninjas to sneak into Taiwan
A group of ninjas from Japan is set to tour Taiwan, according to a report in the Japanese-language Mainichi Shimbun. The ninjas will make a six-day tour of the country, with appearances in Taipei and Kaohsiung, the paper said. The martial artists are from the Iga-ryu Ninja sect, which is from Iga Ueno City, in Mie Prefecture. According to the Mainichi, which named no sources for the information, the tour will start on Jan. 12, and is being organized by a Japanese tourism organization. "After Taiwan, we want to stealthily work our way into South Korea, America and Europe," the newspaper quoted one of the ninjas as saying.
Family doesn't want sperm
Gynecologist Lee Mao-sheng (李茂盛) said on Friday that the family of Army Captain Sun Chi-hsiang (孫吉祥), who died as the result of an accident on Sept. 7, had requested that he destroy the sperm harvested from Sun after his death. Sun's widow Lee Hsing-yu (李幸育) and his parents had originally requested that the Department of Health (DOH) make an exception to allow the newly wed Lee Hsing-yu to legally retrieve some sperm for in-vitro fertilization. The DOH denied the request. Lee Mao-sheng said the reasons stated in the request were that the family did not want Sun's son to be fatherless, that they did not want to adversely affect Lee Hsing-yu's future marital prospects, and that there was a risk the child would have birth defects due to defects in the harvested sperm. Lee Mao-sheng then received a phone call from a distraught Lee Hsing-yu asking for more time for discussions with the Sun family before destroying the sperm. Lee Mao-sheng said he respected the family's wishes, but, he added, "why not wait six months and let Lee [Hsing-yu] regain her balance before making a decision."
■ Cross-strait ties
International role urged
The international community must play a role to prevent China from internalizing the issue of Taiwan and stop it from attacking the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a position paper released recently. The foreign ministry has sent the paper, written in English, to overseas missions. The ministry warned that if the international community accepts China's rhetoric that the Taiwan issue is an internal affair, then it will only encourage Beijing to launch an attack against Taiwan. To avoid this, the UN must send envoys or inspection groups to assess the security in the Taiwan Strait, and regularly report their findings to the UN.