More Japan budget flights
Japanese low-cost carrier Vanilla Air is to become the 13th budget airline serving Taiwan when it launches flights between Taiwan and Japan on Dec. 22. Previously known as AirAsia Japan, when it was jointly owned by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and AirAsia, Vanilla Air was recapitalized in June and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of ANA. The airline is to initially operate a daily round-trip flight between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Narita Airport in Tokyo, but expects to increase its services to Taiwan in January, according to a plan it submitted to Taiwan’s aviation regulator. The carrier is to rejoin a crowded budget airline market that has grown to 12 participants since Singapore-based Jetstar Asia first launched a Taipei route in 2004.
Official moves to Indonesia
Taiwan’s representative to Israel, Chang Liang-jen (張良任), is to be transferred to Indonesia to serve as the head of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Both positions are de facto ambassadorships, but the title of ambassador is used only internally because of a lack of diplomatic ties with the host countries. The ministry praised Chang, who has been posted in Israel since January 2010, for promoting bilateral relations. He has overseen five agreements between the two countries covering visa exemption, aviation, youth exchange, and cooperation in water resources, and on small and medium-sized businesses. Chang has previously served as representative to Hong Kong, vice minister of the Mainland Affairs Council and deputy defense minister.
Gambian cadets to end term
Gambian cadets studying at local military academies have not been ordered to leave Taiwan immediately after the two countries cut diplomatic ties recently, but is to instead be allowed to stay until the end of the current semester, the Ministry of National Defense said. “They are expected to depart for home before the end of the year,” said Ko Wen-an (柯文安), a senior official at the ministry’s Office of Deputy Chief of General Staff for Intelligence, of the 26 Gambian cadets. Ko added that three Taiwanese intelligence instructors stationed in the Gambia to help train the West African state’s personnel are scheduled to return early next month. The military mission is collaborating with Taiwan’s embassy in handling personnel withdrawal, Chen said, adding that some military equipment and supplies is to be shipped back to Taiwan.
Jimmy going to Mexico
Jimmy Liao (幾米), one of Taiwan’s most famous illustrators, is to be featured at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico, as Taiwan joins the fair for the first time this year. Liao is scheduled to hold an autograph session next Saturday and talk about his creations on Dec. 2 at the fair, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation said. He has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, becoming the first Taiwanese illustrator to be nominated for the prize. Seventeen books by Liao are currently available in Spanish. A Taiwan pavilion, using a design based on Liao’s work as its main visual, is to also be set up to showcase more than 400 children’s books, comics, other illustrated publications, e-books and e-reading devices, the foundation said. The fair runs from next Saturday to Dec. 8.