Boao Forum quiet about Wu
Boao Forum for Asia organizers yesterday declined to confirm whether vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) had registered to attend the economic conference in April. The only confirmed applicant is Fredrick Chien (錢復), a retired diplomat who headed Taipei’s delegation to the forum last year in his capacity as top adviser to the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation, the organizers said. Wu registered last week to attend the forum in his capacity as an adviser to the foundation. The forum organizers declined to say how many people have registered. Sources said Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), widely tipped to become Chinese premier in a leadership transition later this year, could attend the Boao Forum, and arrangements could be made for Wu and Li to meet.
Closer ties needed: ARATS
In the face of gloomy prospects for the global economy, Taiwan and China should cooperate more closely, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Executive Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) said yesterday. Zheng made the remarks in Greater Tainan, while visiting local farms and farmers’ associations. Agricultural exchanges are important, Zheng said, adding that he planned to find ways to enhance cooperation between the sides by meeting with locals in southern townships during his trip. Zheng arrived in Greater Kaohsiung on Saturday and visited Pingtung before arriving in Tainan. While meeting milkfish breeders in Tainan’s Syuejia District (學甲) on Monday night, Zheng said China would continue importing fish from about 100 local breeders, who supplied China with 1,800 tonnes of milkfish last year.
French to honor comics
A French comics officially festival announced that for the first time it will establish an award for Taiwanese comics this year. Serge Ripoll, chairman of the Chambery Comics Festival, confirmed the new award after announcing at last year’s festival that the award would be created to attract Taiwanese artists on a regular basis. Under the competition rules, comics published between Jan. 1 last year and April 30 will be eligible. If a work by a Taiwanese artists was not been published in French, they can still be eligible by adding a brief introduction in French.
Restaurant proposals down
Fewer men have chosen to drop down to one knee and pop “the question” at hotel restaurants on Valentine’s Day this year, a number of five-star hotels in Taipei reported yesterday. Only two men were scheduled for marriage proposals yesterday at the Grand Hyatt, compared with four successful proposals recorded last year, the hotel’s Taipei branch reported. The Regent Hotel reported only one scheduled marriage proposal last night, while not a single marriage proposal was scheduled at the Palais de Chine Hotel. Meanwhile, motels across the country were reporting high accommodation rates. The 168 Hotel Group said many of its hotels reported that at least 20 rooms had been booked in the morning, in contrast to about two rooms during the off season. The Hotel Holiday Garden in Greater Kaohsiung recorded a Valentine’s Day occupancy rate two times higher than usual. In addition, Google Taiwan reported a 70 percent hike last week in searches related to friends and companions.