New GIO minister named
Philip Yang (楊永明), a professor in National Taiwan University’s Department of Political Science, will succeed Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) as minister of the Government Information Office (GIO). The handover ceremony is scheduled to take place on Monday, a statement released by the GIO said. Yang resigned as senior advisor to the National Security Council in May last year, a position he had held since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) assumed office in May 2008. Chiang tendered his resignation to Premier Wu Den-yih last week as he prepares to run for a seat in the Legislative Yuan. Chiang was among the list of 40 nominees announced by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for next year’s legislative elections.
Caribbean comes to NTU
A cultural extravaganza featuring the music, cuisine and heritage of the countries of the Caribbean is set to take place today. The event, in its second year and dubbed “Caribbean Callaloo,” has been organized by students from eight Caribbean countries who are studying in Taiwan — Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines — and is supported by students from Latin America and Africa. The audience will be treated to a wide range of performances during the 90 minute program, which will start at 7:30pm at the GIS Convention Center at National Taiwan University, the organizer said. The co-host of the event, Kim Douglas, from Dominica, is pursuing a master’s degree at Soochow University.
More Indian students sought
Minister of Education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基) said yesterday he plans to discuss a proposal to boost the number of Indian academics studying for advanced degrees in Taiwan. Wu is currently leading a 62-member delegation to India, and arrived in New Delhi on Thursday. He said similar agreements with other countries could serve as a model. For instance, university lecturers from Vietnam and Thailand who do not hold a masters or doctoral degree can gain one in Taiwan and financial aid is also available. Wu said he wanted to turn the nation into a Southeast Asian education powerhouse during his term as education minister. With the birthrate falling, Wu hopes to encourage more overseas Taiwanese, foreign and Chinese students to study locally and thereby take up university places that would otherwise go empty.
Pineapple exports increase
Exports of pineapples from Pingtung County— the country’s major pineapple producing area — are on the upswing. Green Land Farmers Association chairman Kuo Chih-wei (郭智偉) said. Pingtung County exported 390 tonnes of fresh pineapples to Japan last year, a figure that is expected to nearly double to 725 tonnes this year, he said, adding that the Japan-bound shipments were not interrupted by Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Exports to China, another major export outlet, are forecast to top 180 tonnes this year, with 145 tonnes already delivered, Kuo said. Pineapple farmers in Pingtung have a backlog of orders through next year, he added. Export prices average about NT$50 a kilogram, about the same as the domestic price, the Pingtung County Agriculture Department deputy director Yao Chih-wang (姚志旺) said.