‘Thriller’ in Changhua
A rice farmer is trying an off-the-wall way to get hungry birds to beat it at harvest time: scarecrows dressed like “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. One scarecrow wears white sequined gloves, a black fedora hat and black brogues, while the other is decked out in a red Thriller jacket and trousers. They are set in the fields in different poses copied from the singer’s signature dance moves. They are the idea of a 30-year old salesman and Jackson fan surnamed Lee (李), who is now making a third one for his father’s farm in Changhua County. “During harvest, my dad would go to the fields every day and chase the birds away,” Lee said. “And I thought, since Michael is good at ‘grabbing his bird,’ I’m inviting him to grab ours.” But not everyone in the family thinks the scarecrow idea is a thriller. “I was yelled at by my grandfather, who said Jackson’s spirit could come and haunt us,” Lee said. “But I think it would be nice if Michael could come over.”
School eyes military dorms
A private university in Taipei is planning to lease and renovate 20 former US military dormitories on Yangmingshan as part of preparations to accommodate students from China. Chinese Culture University president Wu Wann-yih (吳萬益) said the school planned to rent the buildings from the state-run Bank of Taiwan at a cost of NT$50,000 per building per month. Each of the dormitories will be able to house about 20 students after renovation, Wu said, adding that Chinese students would be required to pay the same housing fee — about NT$2,500 per month — as their Taiwanese counterparts. The military dormitories, which were built during the Korean War in the 1950s, have been vacant for years. Local historical preservation groups have urged the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs to preserve them.
Designer Wu returns home
A Taiwan-born fashion designer who rose to global fame last year after US first lady Michelle Obama wore one of his designs to her husband’s inaugural ball returned to Taipei early yesterday. “I’m very excited [to return home],” said Jason Wu (吳季剛), speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Though Wu returned mainly to attend his brother’s wedding, the designer said he would also meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the media to share his experiences as a designer. The one-shouldered gown he designed for Michelle Obama has already become a museum piece. It was donated to the National Museum of American History, joining the museum’s collection of 24 other gowns worn by US first ladies.
Koo calls for Chen’s release
Former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) yesterday said he wanted to see President Ma serve 1,200 days in jail, saying Ma was responsible for former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) continued detention. “Chen’s case is not a legal issue, it is a political issue,” he said, together with other pro-independence advocates and members of Chen’s legal team at a press conference in Taipei. With Chen’s detention nearing its second year, calls for his release have been mounting among supporters. On Saturday, up to 30 pro-independence groups are expected to converge at the Taipei Detention Center to celebrate Chen’s 60th birthday. The groups are expected to continue lobbying for the lifting of Chen’s detention when his current term comes up for review on Oct. 18.
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying:
BILINGUAL ASSISTANCE: The center launched a chat bot that features Chinese and English interfaces to provide foreigners with instant information about the pandemic The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would discuss with other nations the possibility of allowing businesspeople to visit on a case-by-case basis. Asked about loosening border restrictions, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at the daily CECC news briefing that while the center is cautious about opening the nation’s borders, it would aim to diminish obstacles for important trade interactions without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus. Several foreign representatives in Taiwan have expressed an interest in the matter and the center would conduct related negotiations with the help of the