French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said that a top ministry official had been sent to Baghdad yesterday to press for the release of two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq. \nBarnier made the announcement at a press conference in Egypt as he issued a solemn appeal for the release of the two men kidnapped by a group demanding the repeal of a French law that bans the Islamic headscarf in state schools. \nHowever, France has vowed it will not bow to the kidnappers' demands, made late Saturday and accompanied by a 48-hour ultimatum, though without a specific death threat against journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. \nChesnot of Radio France and Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper disappeared in Iraq on Aug. 20, the day they were to have left Baghdad for the Shiite holy city of Najaf, then the scene of fierce fighting between US forces and Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. \nIn Paris the foreign ministry said its outgoing secretary-general, Hubert Colin de Verdihre, just named ambassador to Algeria, had arrived in the Iraqi capital to boost the French embassy in the Iraqi capital. \nBarnier said he would be accompanied by a number of other senior officials. \nBarnier hinted that he would also visit other regional capitals but gave no details. He was due to have talks in Cairo with the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Mussa. \n"These two journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, are doing their job in Iraq to explain to the world, describe the reality of the situation and the difficult living conditions of the Iraqi people," Barnier said. \n"These two men of goodwill have always shown their understanding for these people and their fondness for the Arab and Muslim world. I call for their release in the name of principles of humanity and respect for the human being which are at the very heart of the message of Islam and the religious practices of Muslims," Barnier said.
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
UNDETERRED: The US chip designer’s plan showed that Taiwan remains attractive for investment by global companies despite cross-strait tensions, Wang Mei-hua said US graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp is planning to relocate its Hong Kong-based logistics center to Taiwan, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said on Wednesday. The government had been in discussions with Nvidia regarding tax incentives to facilitate the move since last year, Wang said in an interview with the Central News Agency, adding that the two sides had reached a consensus. Wang did not provide details about the timetable for the move or the planned tax arrangements for Nvidia. The relocation would boost the local economy, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is a major supplier of graphics processing
Kaohsiung police last week busted a money laundering operation suspected of seeking to interfere in tomorrow’s local elections. The operation was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Lee (李), who had received NT$9.5 billion (US$306.18 million) from China over the past six months, Kaohsiung police said yesterday, adding that Lee’s ring is suspected to be part of a larger Chinese effort to interfere in the elections and support pro-China candidates. Officers arrested Lee, 35, and his girlfriend, searched his mansion, and seized the money he had allegedly received from China and three luxury vehicles, police said. The operation was disguised as an online
‘NEWEST’: The company’s Arizona plant is to produce 5-nanometer chips in the initial stage and would later manufacture 3-nanometer chips, Morris Chang said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) yesterday confirmed that the company plans to produce its most advanced 3-nanometer chips in the US as part of the company’s phase 2 plan at its plant in Phoenix, Arizona. The 91-year-old entrepreneur, who has been appointed as Taiwan’s envoy to APEC six times, yesterday morning held a news conference at the Presidential Office Building to discuss his delegation’s accomplishments at this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, which ended on Saturday. He was asked whether TSMC has plans to build advanced chips in the US. “TSMC’s plant in Arizona is