Cruise coming to Taiwan
US actor Tom Cruise is scheduled to make a two-day visit to Taipei beginning on April 5 to promote his latest movie, a local film distributor said yesterday. Cruise will only attend the local premiere of the sci-fi action movie Oblivion during his third visit to Taiwan and is not scheduled to give any press conferences or interviews, the company said. Oblivion, directed by Joseph Kosinski, was shot in digital 4K resolution in the US and Iceland. It tells the story of a drone repairman stationed on Earth who rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft, an event that prompts him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands. Cruise, 50, has been nominated for three best actor Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globes.
Pair held in Sydney
Two Taiwanese men were recently arrested in Australia for alleged drug smuggling upon their arrival at Sydney Airport, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday. The men, who arrived from Thailand, are still being detained, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs deputy director-general James Chou (周穎華) said. An official from Taiwan’s representative office in Sydney has met with the men and has offered to help them hire lawyers, Chou said. A joint press statement released on March 14 by the Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service announced the arrests and said the men had appeared in Sydney Central Local Court that day, charged with smuggling approximately 4kg of methamphetamine into the country concealed in shipments of handbags.
Donation made to refugees
The government on Tuesday donated US$100,000 in humanitarian aid to Saharan refugees in North Africa. The campaign was co-initiated by European Parliament members Ivo Vajgl and Pino Arlacchi, who are working with the Spanish non-governmental organization Mundubat to reduce malnutrition among the refugees. Catherine Libert, humanitarian aid desk officer for Libya, Algeria and Iraq for the European Commission, described Taiwan’s action as encouraging, especially at a time when some European nations are reducing their donations to African refugees because of the European financial crisis. Mohamed Sidati, the European representative of the Sahrawi national liberation movement, the Polisario Front, expressed his appreciation to the people of Taiwan for their assistance. Representative to the EU Tung Kuo-yu (董國猷) said Taiwan is always ready to reach out to those in need.
Termites cause blackout
A March 13 power outage on Kinmen was caused by termites, according to Taiwan Power Co (Tai-power). Lee Hsi-chung (李錫忠), the head of Taipower’s Kinmen Branch, said during a briefing on Tuesday that the insects had damaged underground cables in the area. The damage caused a widespread three-hour power outage. Because of Kinmen’s humid climate, termites are rampant in old, rotten trees all over the island and they have caused power outages there several times. The most recent one was the largest to date, affecting residents of the entire island, Lee said. Taipower will strengthen inspections of underground cables by increasing checks from once to twice per year in an effort to minimize the effects of termite damage, he said.