Envoy going to Hollywood
Representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生) has been invited to attend the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday in Hollywood. It is the first time an ambassador-level official from Taiwan has received an invitation for the annual ceremony, said Lee Tai-kuai (李大塊), head of the press division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles. The decision to invite Yuan followed a visit to Taiwan last year by Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for the 47th Golden Horse Awards — the Taiwanese equivalent of the Oscars. Davis was impressed by Taiwan’s booming film industry, Lee said. Also invited are senior film critic Wen Tien-hsiang, a member of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival executive committee, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓), who served as chairman of the Motion Picture and Drama Association, the main organizer of the Asia Pacific Film Festival in Taipei last December.
Tainted seafood rejected
Since the start of the year, four shipments of imported seafood and seafood products have been intercepted and rejected because of high amounts of residual formaldehyde. The organic compound can be added to seafood to keep it fresh. The rejected shipments comprised cuttlefish from Japan that had residual formaldehyde up to 55 parts per million (ppm), and frozen seafood products from Vietnam, the Philippines and China that had 39ppm, 37ppm and 22.9ppm respectively. By law foodstuffs should not contain any formaldehyde. Chiang Shou-shan (江守山), a nephrologist at Shin-Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, said formaldehyde is thought to be linked to certain types of cancer.
Club gears up for tourney
A Taoyuan country club is sparing no expense in preparing for Taiwan’s first LPGA tournament later this year. “We’re ready to stage the best-ever tournament to market Taiwan and to welcome new stars in the sport,” Sunrise Golf and Country Club chairman Hsu Tien-ya (許典雅) said yesterday. Hsu made his comments as LPGA official Jim Haley paid a second visit to the club and praised Hsu’s efforts. Hsu said NT$200 million (US$6.72 million) will be spent on extensive renovations to the club, guest rooms and courses. Haley, who visited the club in October, said he did not take a good look at it last time as he was completing his schedule in a hurry, but nevertheless praised the improvements that have been made. The Taiwan Open will see 80 players competing from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23.
Marriage law changed
The Executive Yuan yesterday passed an amendment to articles 973 and 980 of the Civil Code to bring the minimum ages at which men and women can be engaged and get married into line with each other. The minimum ages for engagement and marriage for men and women were set at 15 and 16 for women, and 17 and 18 for men. The amendment passed yesterday raises the age limit for women to the same as that for men. In a comment, the Ministry of Justice said the reason for the amendment was that the regulations in the Civil Code do not comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Fuel surcharges to rise
Fuel surcharges for air travel are expected to rise next month as political turmoil spreads in the Middle East and North Africa, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said yesterday. The fees, which apply to all departing passengers, have more than doubled over the past two years, reaching NT$670 per passenger for a short-haul flight and NT$1,742 for a long-haul flight this month. In 2009, the surcharges were NT$298 and NT$774 respectively.