Kurt Campbell sworn in
US President Barack Obama’s choice as the top US diplomat for East Asia has begun work at the State Department. Officials said on Tuesday that Kurt Campbell had been sworn in as assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific. Campbell replaces Christopher Hill, who has become Obama’s ambassador to Iraq. Campbell is a specialist on Asia who served former US president Bill Clinton as a top adviser on Asian affairs. Hill became well-known throughout Asia for his efforts to entice North Korea to end its nuclear production. North Korean policy is currently being handled primarily by two other diplomats in the Obama administration: Stephen Bosworth is coordinating policy, while Sung Kim is handling day-to-day dealings with Pyongyang.
Taiwan gets Stinger missiles
The US has released 171 Stinger air-to-air missiles to Taiwan, the online edition of the periodical Defense News reported on Tuesday. The deal, worth US$45.3 million, will see the missiles fitted on new AH-64D Apache attack helicopters released to Taiwan in October, the report said. In addition to the missiles, the military will also receive delivery of 24 captive flight trainers, 68 air-to-air launchers, seven launcher circuit evaluators, two digital launcher test sets, 60 coolant reservoir assemblies, three launcher emulators and spares, the newspaper reported.
Pair of legislators fined
Two lawmakers were punished on Tuesday for defamation in separate Taiwan High Court cases. May Chin (高金素梅), an Aboriginal legislator affiliated with the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, was sentenced to 55 days in jail for calling a local advertiser “a beast in human clothes” in an article published on her blog. The court said Kao Chin should be punished because her blog was linked to many other blogs and her article had done more harm to the victim than if she had issued the insult verbally. However, the court gave her the option of paying a fine in lieu of jail time. Meanwhile, Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), a lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party, was fined NT$6,000 for calling fellow legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) “a mad dog” at a news conference. There is no recourse to appeal in either case.
Games ticket sales at 20%
More than 20 percent of the tickets for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung have been sold, including all the tickets for the opening ceremony, the city’s Tourism Bureau said. Bureau Director Lin Kun-shan (林崑山) said that as of yesterday morning, 79,119 tickets had been sold, leaving nearly 300,000 available. Of those sold, nearly half were for the 11-day sports event’s opening and closing ceremony. To promote ticket sales, the bureau has invited enterprises and civil groups to purchase tickets for their employees and customers, Lin said. A total of 370,000 tickets were available for the World Games, to be held from July 16 through July 26. The organizers said 95 percent of the tickets for boules, lifesaving, orienteering and climbing have been sold. However, fewer than 10 percent of the tickets for events such as roller sports, flying disc, dancesport, beach handball and tchoukball have been sold, Lin said. Prices for the World Games tickets range from NT$75 to NT$900.
Koala dies at Taipei Zoo
A seven-year-old koala bear named Milk Tea died at Taipei Zoo on Tuesday of malignant tumors, the zoo said yesterday. Zoo director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) said the tumors were found in Milk Tea’s left armpit during a regular physical checkup in May, and his health worsened last month. The tumors were caused by a retrovirus that is common among koala bears. A total of five koala bears, including Milk Tea, have died of diseases caused by the retrovirus since the zoo started accepting koala bears from Australia in 1999, he said. Two female koalas — Ligi and Eve, both 11 years old — died of malignant tumors last year. The zoo still has four koalas, one female and three males. The koala retrovirus, which was identified as part of the koala genome in 2000, causes immune deficiency, cancer and eventually death.
Settlement office restored
The restoration project for the former Jinguangfu Settlement Office (金廣福公館) in Beipu Township (北埔), Hsinchu County, has been completed and the office will soon be opened to the public. The building, completed in 1835, was constructed as the seat of a joint venture by Hoklo and Hakka settlers to establish settlements in Hsinchu and Miaoli counties. It has been designated a historic monument for its importance as a witness to Han Chinese settlement in the region, as well as being one of the few joint settlement ventures that brought together Hoklo and Hakka people. It became part of a project to restore the historic center of Beipu that began last year. The Hsinchu County Cultural Affairs Department plans to open the site to the public soon, but the exact date is yet to be announced.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan