Swaziland group founded
Lawmakers from Taiwan and African ally Swaziland look forward to closer ties after the establishment of a bilateral parliamentary friendship group yesterday. Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said that the group would look at education in Swaziland and encourage exchanges of young people from the countries. Forty-three Taiwanese lawmakers have said they will participate in the new group. Hung said that Swazi children have a lot of interest in Taiwanese culture. She praised the country for its environment and hospitality. Swazi House of Assembly Deputy Speaker Ester Dlamini hailed the creation of the group as an important step in bilateral diplomacy. Dlamini said Taiwan has helped Swaziland a lot, especially in terms of education and culture, and that many Swazi students are studying in Taiwan.
US representative to visit
US Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is to visit Taiwan this week to learn more about the development of bilateral relations, Taiwan’s foreign and economic policies and its ties with China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan today on a four-day visit to meet with government officials and representatives from the private sector to discuss issues related to Taiwan-US ties, the ministry said. Johnson, who is currently a member on the Science, Space and Technology Committee in the US House of Representatives, is a long-time friend of Taiwan’s, the ministry said. A member of the Taiwan Caucus of the US House of Representatives, she is supportive of the US’ commitment to Taiwan’s security and the idea of a bilateral free-trade agreement, the ministry said.
Four films go to Berlin
Four Taiwanese films are to be screened at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, including Taiwan-based Malaysian director Tsai Ming-liang’s (蔡明亮) new film Journey to the West (西遊). The Taiwanese-French production, starring Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng (李康生) and French actor Denis Lavant, will be shown in the festival’s Panorama program, the Taipei Film Commission said. It is to be joined by Taiwanese director Cho Li’s (卓立) The Rice Bomber (白米炸彈客) and Burmese-Taiwanese director Midi Z’s (趙德胤) Ice Poison (冰毒). The three latter films are to make their world premieres at the festival, which is to run from Feb. 6 to Feb. 16. They are part of a lineup of 36 films from 29 countries that have been selected for the Panorama program, which is designed to provide insights into contemporary world cinema. In addition, Taiwanese director Chen Yu-hsun’s (陳玉勳) comedy Zone Pro Site (總舖師) is to have its European premiere in the festival’s Culinary Cinema program, the commission said. A total of 13 Taiwanese film companies will participate in the European Film Market from Feb. 6 to Feb. 14, it added.
First Dengue case reported
This year’s first case of locally acquired dengue fever has been reported in the Fengshan (鳳山) area in Greater Kaohsiung, the city government’s Department of Health said on Tuesday. The case involves a 52-year-old man who began developing symptoms of high fever and headache, and was transferred to Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital after his condition did not improve following treatment at a local clinic. The patient had visited friends in neighboring Pingtung County and it was not certain whether the man was infected there or in Kaohsiung.