Hello Kitty on gondola cars
The Maokong Gondola has begun a year of Hello Kitty rides, with the cable cars decorated with Hello Kitty images. The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) had signed an agreement with Japanese cartoon character producer Sanrio Co. General manager Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光) said all 145 cars are to be painted and each station decorated. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) is to visit the Taipei Zoo MRT station this morning and take a ride with a group of young children to promote the newly redecorated system.
Bureau seeks agents’ release
National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) on Wednesday said the government has been trying to free two senior intelligence agents kidnapped and held by China for the past seven years. Military Intelligence Bureau colonels Chu Kung-hsun (朱恭訓) and Hsu Chang-kuo (徐章國) were kidnapped in Vietnam and taken to China in 2006. Tsai said the bureau and intelligence bureau established an ad hoc group tasked with rescuing the colonels in May 2009. “Through different channels, either in public or secretly, we have been working hard to seek their release for the past few years,” he said, but declined to give details. The Supreme Court last year upheld the ruling of the Military Supreme Court and sentenced former army general Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲) to life imprisonment for spying for China. Lo, the highest-ranking official ever to be convicted of spying in Taiwan, reportedly started working for China as a spy in 2004. He was suspected of handing over information related to a project giving Taiwanese military access to US intelligence systems.
Women outnumber men
The nation’s female population surpassed that of men for the first time in 100 years at the end of last month, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. As of Nov. 30, there were 11,684,133 women in Taiwan compared with 11,683,187 men, the ministry said. The disparity of 946 in favor of women caused Taiwan’s gender ratio — the number of men per 100 women — to fall below 100 to 99.99 for the first time in a century, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) said. Hsiao said Taiwan’s gender ratio used to exceed 100, as the country had more men than women for decades. Compared with many other countries, Taiwan’s gender ratio is relatively high. In 2011, Taiwan’s gender ratio was 100.6, higher than Norway’s 100.5, South Korea’s 100.4, Mexico’s 94.8, Austria’s 95.1, Japan’s 94.8, France’s 93.9 and Italy’s 93.7, but lower than India’s 107.8, Malaysia’s 106.1 and China’s 105.2.
New base to finish in July
The military has given July next year as a concrete date for the completion of the new Ministry of National Defense headquarters, indicating the end is in sight for work that has been planned since 1997. Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday that defense operations are to be moved to the new complex, located in Taipei’s Dazhi (大直) neighborhood, next year from the current headquarters near the Presidential Office. Development of the 19.5 hectare site, originally set to be completed by 2008, has been plagued by a string of setbacks since construction work began, including the death of the original architect. As of Monday, the complex was about 80 percent complete, the ministry said.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu