Taipei hopes to pay respects
The government hopes to send officials to South Africa to attend the state funeral or memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died at age 95 on Thursday last week. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that it has conveyed its wishes to South Africa, though officials said they are uncertain if Taiwan will receive an invitation to the memorial events due to the absence of diplomatic ties between the countries.
Koo starts Taipei campaign
Lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) yesterday unveiled his campaign theme for Taipei’s mayoral election: “GOOD TAIPEI+,” with eight of the 22 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei city councilors attending the press conference to show their support. Koo is trying to win a four-way race and secure the party’s nomination for the election, which will be held in December next year. Koo appears to have won the support of the former New Tide faction, the DPP’s most powerful faction, as four of the eight councilors belonged to the group. Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chang (李建昌) said the group has decided to throw its support behind the lawyer. That means Koo should have no problem winning the support of more than half of the DPP Taipei councilors, which would benefit his chances in the primary. The lawyer’s biggest challenge remains the more popular independent aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who has been leading all pan-green camp aspirants in support and is deliberating whether to join the DPP.
GM labeling to be tightened
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said that it plans to tighten its regulations on the compulsory labeling of food products containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients, adopting the standards used by the EU. Compulsory labeling will apply to food products with GM ingredients accounting for at least 0.9 percent of their weight, FDA Deputy Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said. The current minimum level, based on the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法), is 5 percent, but “we will follow the EU standard” and will notify the public of the planned change by the end of the month, she said. After the notification process, public opinion will be sought and academics and other experts will discuss the plan, according to an FDA official responsible for public affairs, implying that the change may not be implemented soon.
Swazi campaign launched
The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families yesterday launched a campaign that it hopes will recruit 500 sponsors to provide material aid for impoverished children in the southern African country of Swaziland. The social welfare organization said that each sponsor will be responsible for a NT$700 donation each month to provide basic day-to-day necessities for the children. Sixty-three percent of Swaziland’s 1.4 million people live below the poverty line, the group said. Low-income individuals in outlying areas live on less than US$1 a day. One in every four adults in Swaziland is infected with HIV, and many children acquire it from their HIV-infected mothers during pregnancy. Only half of Swazi children make it to age two, with one-third of them dying before their first birthday. Survivors are often abandoned or suffer from developmental delays, the organization added.