AIT chief arriving in August
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) would assume his post late next month, but the exact date would be announced by Washington. Harry Tseng (曾厚仁), director-general of the ministry's Department of North American Affairs, said that before the new US envoy, William Stanton, heads to Taiwan, he would meet local correspondents and media today in Washington. Stanton is expected to give a short on-the-record talk and then answer questions off the record, Tseng said. Tseng also reiterated Taiwan's support for Stanton's appointment. “The foreign ministry welcomes the designation of Stanton, who is very familiar with Asian affairs and is closely following current developments across the Taiwan Strait. We believe that he is the right person for the post,” Tseng said.
Canada holding Taiwan fest
The 20th annual Taiwan Fest in Canada will start on Aug. 25 in Toronto and on Aug. 27 in Vancouver. Called the “New Journey,” the festival will feature different aspects of Taiwanese arts and cultures, ranging from fashion to music, movies, cuisines and the performing arts. Several popular Taiwanese indie bands will play at the two events and participants will also be treated to an exhibition of the latest Taiwanese fashion. A film festival will showcase many recent Taiwanese features, including Cape No. 7 and Blue Brave. For more information, visit www.taiwanfest.ca.
Whale-watching tours drop
The number of whale and dolphin watchers in Hualien is estimated to drop by between 20 percent and 30 percent compared with last year because of the economic downturn, industry workers said. Groups of visitors used to flock to Hualien in summer for cetacean-watching tours, except in bad weather conditions such as typhoons, a worker in the whale-watching business said. But while the number of visitors increased year-on-year early this month, it did not rise after the middle of this month — which is traditionally the peak season. Workers in the industry are worried that the decline could persist for the rest of the year, saying the economic slump seems to have dissuaded people from visiting. A worker said that the number of whales and dolphins observed this year had also dropped, attributing the decline to an effect of damage to the ecosystem.
Murder probe concludes
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office yesterday concluded its investigation into the 1981 death in Taipei of US-based Taiwanese academic Chen Wen-chen (陳文成) believed to be a political murder during the White Terror era, but did not name suspects. Chen's battered body was discovered on July 2, 1981, on the campus of National Taiwan University one day after he was taken away by Taiwan Garrison Command. The office said prosecutors did not have solid evidence to indict Wang Ching-hsu (汪敬煦), the head of the garrison command, Kuo Hsueh-chou (郭學周), its division director, Tsuo Hsiao-han (鄒小韓), and its cadres Wang Wen-bin (王文繽) and Wang Yi-hua (王憶華). Chen, then an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, had returned to Taiwan to visit his family. He was taken from his house by three Garrison Command officers for questioning over his support for the anti-government Formosa Magazine. He was 31.