Premier reassures public
Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) called a press conference yesterday, urging the public to keep their confidence in the economy and saying the government would spare no effort to assist the public in facing the challenges wrought by soaring international oil prices. The press conference was held in the wake of a spate of incidents where some members of the public vented their anger over their economic predicament on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). "In October, the country's exports hit a record-high US$22.69 billion, a 14.4 percent increase compared with September," Chang said, adding that full-year economic growth was expected to reach 4.58 percent this year.
Hakka artists performing
Council for Hakka Affairs Minister Lee Yung-teh (李永得) announced in Taipei yesterday that a series of performances by Hakka artists will be featured at the 2007 A-ha Hakka Arts Festival across the country starting on Saturday and ending on Dec. 29. Lee said that while most other Hakka cultural events feature traditional arts, pop elements in Hakka culture would be the theme of the arts festival. Audiences will be treated to a variety of performances by Hakka pop singers, Hakka rock bands, a piano soloist and a symphony specially composed for the event performed by the National Taiwan Symphony. For more information, visit: www.hakka.gov.tw.
Films on Myanmar featured
A nationwide screening tour of two documentaries -- Burma's Secret War and Total Denial -- showing life in Myanmar under the military junta began yesterday at National Taiwan Normal University. Burma's Secret War was filmed by British journalist Evan Williams, who traveled undercover in Myanmar and recorded ethnic cleansing, forced labor and the clampdown on political opposition in Myanmar's border areas. Total Denial, shot by Ka Hsaw Wa, a Burmese refugee in Thailand who visited his native village in Myanmar, recorded how locals were tortured and put into forced labor camps to work on pipeline projects for oil giants Total and UNOCAL. More screenings will be held at six universities across the country. For a complete list of screening dates, time and locations, check out tasskn.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post.html.
Registration starts on Friday
The Central Election Commission announced yesterday that registration for candidates in January's legislative poll will start on Friday and end on Nov. 20. Candidates are required to complete a registration application form and submit it along with a copy of their household registration record, two black-and-white passport-size photos, personal information such as school records, political agenda, registration record of the campaign office, a party recommendation letter and a national identification card, a commission statement said. Each candidate also has to pay a NT$200,000 (US$6,000) deposit; the deposit will be returned to candidates who receive more than 5 percent of the votes, the commission said. The deposit can be paid cash or by check, but coins are not accepted, as some candidates in the past who have paid their deposit with NT$1 coins, it said.
One ballot unworkable: CEC
Using the same ballot for a proposed referendum and the Jan. 12 legislative elections is practically unworkable under existing laws, Central Election Commission Chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄) said yesterday. Seven Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators visited him yesterday to suggest the commission consider printing the referendum questions on the same ballot for the election. DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said using one ballot would not only save money, but also avoid the controversy over whether the casting of the ballots should be done in one step or two. Chang said using one ballot would be difficult, because voters might not be qualified to vote in the referendum. He said a voter needs to have lived in Taiwan for four months or longer to be eligible to vote in an election, while the residency requirement for voting in a referendum is a minimum of six months. Chang said using on ballot would also pose technical problems in counting because ballot counting is done manually, not electronically.