Ma to inspect exercise
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will inspect a live-fire joint-forces exercise on Thursday in the south, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday. The inspection is part of Ma’s efforts to show support for the military ahead of this year’s Dragon Boat Festival, Lo said. The drill, to be held at a training base in Pingtung County, will involve the army, air force and navy, the ministry said and will include anti-tank missiles. The opposition accused Ma of neglecting national defense after he missed the start of the Han Kuang exercises in April because he was abroad, and then spent only a few minutes watching another drill.
Lawmakers set up Thai group
The legislature established an association yesterday aimed at promoting friendly interaction with the Thai parliament and boosting exchanges between the two countries. The Taiwan-Thailand Parliamentary Amity Association is chaired by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) serving as honorary chairman. Citing close bilateral exchanges in agriculture, trade, labor, tourism and law enforcement, Chao said he expects the group to further strengthen ties between the two countries. Exchanges in agriculture, labor and the cultural and creative industry are among the areas to be promoted, Chao said.
Cigarette butts pose risk
The 10 billion cigarette butts that are discarded each year in the country are releasing poisonous chemicals into the environment that will not go away easily, the Homemakers United Foundation said yesterday. Foundation representatives said the most common places where discarded cigarette butts end up are drains, flower plots and gutters. Lin Hsiu-chin (林秀琴), a foundation official, said each cigarette butt means that someone has gotten away with littering. She called on the government to crack down on such “poisonous garbage creators” and to install more cigarette butt receptacles in public places. John Tung Foundation director Lin Ching-li (林清麗) said there was an immediate need to tackle the problem, saying more action needs to be taken to create a healthy environment.
Chen Chu leaves for US
Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) left yesterday for Portland for a sister city promotion and will also visit San Francisco to solicit investment during a 13-day trip to the western US and Canada. Chen said she was invited by Portland officials to attend the Portland Rose Festival on Saturday. Kaohsiung will contribute two dragon boat-themed floats to the festival as gifts. The city’s delegation will comprise more than 70 people, including 20 city councillors and students on the Shu-te Home Economics and Commercial High School dragon boat team, she said. Lan Chien-chang (藍健菖), head of the municipality’s Economic Development Bureau, said officials would also visit businesses in San Francisco, including Autodesk, which Lan said is a leader in 3D design software for manufacturing, engineering and entertainment. The city government hopes to interest companies like Autodesk in investing in Kaohsiung. Chen is also scheduled to stop in Vancouver, Canada, before she returns to Taiwan on June 16.