Wang cool on meeting Ma
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said he is not interested in meeting Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), at least not at the moment. Wang said Ma sent someone to see him on Wednesday night and asked him whether he would have time to meet. Wang said he has not yet officially responded to Ma's request and is not sure what Ma wants to talk about. "I don't think I'd have time to do it now because things are pretty hectic here at the legislature," Wang said. Wang also dismissed media reports claiming that he had complained to former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) about Ma on Wednesday night during a private dinner party. Wang reportedly told Lien that he has always been well respected by previous KMT chairmen, but he now feels Ma is not offering him proper respect. When asked about his alleged remark, Wang yesterday said Lien indeed has shown him great respect, while Ma had done "ok" in this regard. Ma, when asked by reporters for comments, said yesterday that he has always respected Wang.
Hostages may be released
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said that three Taiwanese fishing vessels and their crews taken hostage by rebels in Somalia a year ago were close to being released, pending a final agreement with the abductors. Director of the ministry's African Affairs Department Lee Chen-hsiung (李辰雄) yesterday said that negotiations with the Somalian rebels were more complicated than expected, but so far the crew members were being treated well. Lee said the negotiations only required a final agreement with the rebels on how much ransom should be paid. The MOFA official said the case had received a lot of international attention, including help from the president of Malawi, who wrote a letter to the Somalian government asking for help on the case, and support from a number of international organizations which had deterred the kidnappers from hurting the abductees.
Union, KMT fail to agree
The dispute between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC) union continued yesterday as the party said the union's demand for a preferential pension package was "unreasonable." CMPC's employees have been protesting since the KMT sold the company and two other media outlets to the China Times Group. The union presented a plea to the party on Wednesday demanding a better pension package. The party yesterday responded to the union's plea in a written statement, and said that its demands are unreasonable.
US appreciates crackdown
The US appreciates Taiwan's efforts in cracking down on counterfeit US banknotes, a US Department of Justice official said yesterday. Suzanne Hayden, an attorney from the US Department of Justice, made the remarks when she and Paul Quick, an agent of the US Secret Service, called on Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林). Hayden said that Quick was stationed in Taiwan by the US to help handle related cases, and that bilateral relations between Taiwan and the US have been based on friendship and cooperation. The focus on cracking down on counterfeit US banknotes is to prevent forged US bills from entering the systems of banking institutions, to avoid triggering international problems.