Envoy to France honored
The Taiwan-France Friendship Group of the French National Assembly conferred a decoration on Taiwanese representative to France Michel Lu (呂慶龍) on Wednesday in recognition of his achievements in strengthening ties between the two countries. Francois Brottes, chairman of the group, said he has worked with Lu for six years and found him to be an outstanding and hard-working individual. Lu was presented with a photograph of the Eiffel Tower to thank him for enhancing ties between the two countries, Brottes said, speaking at a luncheon held by the French National Assembly. He described Lu as “an iconic figure of Taiwan, just like the Eiffel Tower is a French icon.” Lu said he felt grateful to be honored.
New tours to lure Chinese
The Taiwan Strait Tourism Association said yesterday it would work with travel agencies to promote quality tours to help attract more visitors from China. Currently, the tours for Chinese visitors are short, as cheap as possible and of relatively poor quality, said Lee Chia-pin (李嘉斌), director of the association’s Shanghai office. In light of this, the association and six travel agencies launched six different all-inclusive tour packages at a tourism fair in Zhejiang Province on Wednesday, in an effort to improve services in areas such as accommodation, transportation, food and shopping, Lee said. The new tours, aimed at providing a better experience for Chinese travelers in Taiwan, were well received by visitors to the fair, he said. From July 2008, when Taiwan began admitting Chinese tourists, to Dec. 16 this year, the number of visits to Taiwan by Chinese travelers in group tours was more than 4.77 million, the association said.
Sex scandal rocks school
Two high-school students in New Taipei City (新北市) have been suspended for two weeks after it was found that they had allegedly had sex in front of several other students in a classroom, school officials said. The high school said it has launched a probe into the case involving the two 15-year-olds and three other students, and is offering them counseling. The teenage boy and girl reportedly had sex in a classroom on a weekend, while other students watched and took photos and videos, which they then circulated around the school, the officials said. The incident came to the authorities’ attention after a mother saw the photos on a student’s phone and informed the school. A school official said it was difficult to control student behavior on weekends. The school promised to review its management of the campus on days when there are no classes.
KMT backs Yen Kuan-hen
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has announced the nomination of Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆), son of former Non-Partisan Solidarity Union legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), to run in the legislative by-election in the second electoral district of Greater Taichung. Yen Kuan-hen, 35, was an assistant to his father before Yen Ching-piao was found guilty of corruption and was sentenced to three-and-half years in prison last month. Although Yen Ching-piao was an independent, he was deemed close to the KMT and his imprisonment could have an impact on the political makeup of Greater Taichung. The KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday approved Yen Kuan-hen’s nomination. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, told the party to spare no efforts in the campaign.