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