President backs 'Monga'
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged people who have watched pirated copies of the nation's latest box-office hit Monga (艋舺) to watch the film again in movie theaters as a way of supporting locally produced movies. Ma made the call in his latest weekly online journal. “Rejecting piracy is supporting locally produced films, “ he said. Pirated copies of Cape No. 7 (海角七號) — one of the nation’s best-selling films — hit the market three months after its release in June 2008, and the same problem has beset Monga less than four weeks after its release, Ma wrote. This rampant copyright infringement has not only dealt a blow to the creativity and confidence of local filmmakers, but also hindered the Taiwanese film industry from making progress, he said. Innovation is the way for Taiwan to grow stronger and what it fears the most is intellectual property theft, he said, adding that he had instructed the Cabinet to reinforce measures to crack down on piracy.
Passport rush hits 28,000
The Bureau of Consular Affairs received more than 28,000 applications for new passports on Friday, the last day before charges for a new passport were raised by NT$400 to NT$1,600, the Bureau of Consular Affairs said yesterday. Bureau Director-General Lo Yu-chung (羅由中) said it was the highest figure ever in terms of new passport applications. The adjusted charge for a regular e-passport with a 10-year period of validity will take effect tomorrow. The government began to issue e-passports on Dec. 29, 2008, becoming the 60th country to issue this type of passport, which boasts increased anti-fraud and security features. As of Dec. 31, about 1 million e-passports had been issued, with another 250,000 issued so far this year, Lo said. The e-passport, also called a chip passport, has a small contactless integrated circuit embedded in the back cover.
Airport expansion delayed
The expansion of Taipei Songshan Airport to accommodate more international flights may not be ready by October, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said on Friday. Mao said Songshan Airport had operated as a domestic airport for decades and needed to be expanded to accommodate international passengers. The airport’s management had concluded agreements to open international routes that will connect the city airport to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport and Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport, he said. Although Songshan Airport has limited capacity, it can become a “small but efficient” airport after the expansion of Terminal One for international flights is completed, he said.
Online database launched
The Academia Historica’s Taiwan Historica and National Chengchi University recently launched an online database digitalizing gazettes issued by the Taiwan governor-general’s office during the Japanese colonial era. Taiwan Historica director Lin Chin-tien (林金田) said the database would provide a wealth of resources for studies on Taiwan’s administrative, judicial and military systems during that era as the databank includes more than 60,000 scanned images of the gazettes and more than 50,000 entries related to the historical documents. The database is expected to collect about 65,000 images and 150,000 data entries by next year, Lin said. Users of the databank can browse the data by year or search for information by date or keywords, he said. The database is available at: http://db2.lib.nccu.edu.tw/view.