Temblor rocks northeast
A magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck off northeast Taiwan yesterday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake hit at 7:16am 307km off Suao (蘇澳) in northeast Taiwan, at a depth of 108km, the USGS said. It was followed by a magnitude 5.0 quake about seven hours later 50km off nearby Keelung City, the Central Weather Bureau said. Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
Playboy to open store
Playboy Enterprises said yesterday it would open its first shop in the country next month following the launch of a local television channel. The Playboy store in Taipei will be a free-standing three-story building occupying 230m2 and will be operated under license by Zino HK Ltd, the company said without providing financial details. It was unclear what products the store would sell, but other similar outlets mainly offer Playboy brand-themed fashion items. The local Playboy TV channel was launched last month through telecoms operator Chunghwa Telecom’s digital platform MOD IPTV. Local media said the company had launched a contest to recruit sales girls for the store, offering a monthly salary of NT$100,000 and free training courses in modeling.
County to promote English
Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) pledged yesterday to help bed and breakfast (B&B) owners and taxi drivers learn to speak English to attract more foreign tourists to the county. Chou said few foreigners visit the county because of the lack of an English-friendly environment. “We should put more effort into building English-friendly tourism, reinforcing an English service certification project and giving B&B owners and taxi drivers the opportunity to learn the language.” The county’s Tourism and Travel Bureau said that aside from encouraging tourism-related staff and businesses to get English service certificates, it was planning to make bilingual signs and publish information brochures and Web sites.
Ma slips up again
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday made another slip-up when he referred to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Danny Philip as a “general manager.” In his welcome speech, Ma said in Mandarin that he wanted to extend his sincere welcome to “General Manager Philip.” Realizing his mistake, the president quickly corrected himself. It was not the first time that Ma had committed a gaffe since assuming the presidency in May 2008. In April last year, Ma referred to Sao Tome and Principe Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Pires Tiny and his wife as coming from Burkina Faso, another Taiwanese ally. In October last year, Ma called the Caribbean a “worthless bean” by mistake, when he mispronounced the first two characters in Mandarin as bale, or guava (芭樂). Bale, or bala in Hoklo or Taiwanese, means something worthless or unimportant. In January this year, Ma said he would visit Costa Rica during his planned trip to Central American allies the following week. Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Costa Rica in June 2007 after the Central American nation switched recognition to China.
Lien picked as APEC envoy
Former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) will attend this year’s economic leaders’ meeting of the APEC forum as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) special envoy, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) announced yesterday. Ma appointed Lien to serve as his APEC envoy for the third consecutive year since Ma’s inauguration in May 2008. This year’s APEC economic leaders’ meeting will be held in Yokohama, Japan, on Nov. 13 and Nov. 14, with the theme of “change and action.” Because of Beijing’s opposition, Taiwan’s presidents have been barred from APEC unofficial leadership summit meetings since the country became a member of the regional grouping in 1991 under the moniker “Chinese Taipei.”
Germany signs holiday deal
Germany became the fifth country to sign a working holiday program with Taiwan when representatives from Germany and Taiwan signed a joint statement on Monday in Taipei. Under the joint statement that took effect immediately, people aged between 18 and 30 from Germany and Taiwan can travel and work in each other’s territory for up to one year. Each side has offered a quota of 200 multiple entry visas in the first year of the program. Taiwan also has working holiday agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada. Last year, more than 12,000 Taiwanese youths took part in the program, with more than 9,000 going to Australia, which has not set a quota for Taiwanese participants. Canada has a quota of 700, up from the original 200 because of the popularity of the program, while Japan has a quota of 2,000.
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said
IDENTITY: The time is right to press on with a referendum, as the nation has heightened visibility and support in the global community, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance said The Taiwan United Nations Alliance yesterday said that it is considering launching a petition for a referendum proposal to have the nation join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” Alliance chairman Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was joined at a news conference in Taipei by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) and leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and civic organizations. They said that it is the right time for a petition because Taiwan’s visibility on the world stage has increased, as it has been praised for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak and for helping other countries by sharing
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under