Chinese gets extended stay
The Mainland Affairs Council agreed yesterday to extend the period of stay for a Chinese national who requested political asylum in Taiwan two days ago. During a news conference on Monday, Wu Yalin (吳亞林), who arrived in Taiwan with a group of Chinese tourists on Dec. 27, asked the government to grant him asylum. Wu said he was wanted by Chinese authorities for his alleged role in the distribution of a Falun Gong book titled Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party (九評共產黨). Council officials said the council had granted Wu "a longer period" of stay on special humanitarian considerations. As to his request for political asylum, they said no decision would be made until all government agencies involved in the matter had met.
MOFA praises Solomons
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement yesterday to congratulate the Solomon Islands for its peaceful transfer of power, saying that Taiwan would continue to work with the new government under the principles of reciprocity and mutual benefit. The statement said relations between Taipei and Honiara were expected to remain steady as Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua has been friendly toward Taiwan, while his deputy, Fred Fono, and his foreign affairs and trade minister, William Haomae, have been on good terms with Taipei. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) telephoned Sikua on Thursday to congratulate him on his victory. The ministry said Taiwan would cooperate with Australia and New Zealand to support political and economic development and social stability in the Solomon Islands.
Tainan tackles idling cars
Tainan City became the nation's first city on Tuesday to ban idling vehicles, threatening fines of as much as NT$2,000 for drivers leaving their engine running for more than three minutes when their vehicle is not in use. The anti-idling policy includes fines of NT$500 for motorcycles, NT$1,000 for small automobiles and NT$2,000 for large automobiles. Drivers who try to evade, interfere with or refuse inspections will face a fine ranging from NT$500 to NT$2,000. Inspectors said that Tainan residents were mostly aware of the policy, but drivers from other cities and counties visiting the city seemed unaware that they had to shut down their engine when making a stop lasting more than three minutes.
COA wants more trees
The Council of Agriculture said yesterday that it would promote a tree-planting campaign to help increase the ratio of green land. Council Chairman Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) made the announcement at a year-end news conference and expressed the hope that each person in the country would plant at least one tree during his or her lifetime. Su said that if 10 million people answered the call within five years, the amount of green land could increase by 20,000 hectares, bringing the green land coverage ratio up 0.5 percent to reach 59.09 percent. The tree-planting campaign was seen as a symbol of people's commitment to the earth and the development of a relationship with the land, he said. Su said the council would coordinate with the National Property Administration and Taiwan Sugar Co, as well as with local governments, for land contributions for the project.
Party organizer questioned
A police officer confirmed yesterday that the organizer of a New Year's Eve party at which male dancers in police uniform stripped on stage had been summoned for questioning over the incident. The officer, from the Xinyi precinct of the Taipei Police Department, said civilians who don police uniforms in public might be committing the crime of wearing official ranks and emblems, which is punishable with a fine of up to NT$500, according to the Criminal Code (刑法). The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his office has asked Jason Tang (唐志中), organizer of the party, to report to the branch for questioning. Videotapes allegedly taken at the party show six male dancers wearing police uniforms dancing with scantily clad female dancers and removing their clothes down to a G-string.
Lotto winner gives NT$26m
A lottery jackpot winner in Taichung City has become the biggest donor in the country's lottery history after donating NT$26 million (US$801,500) to two charitable organizations. Taiwan Lottery Co, a subsidiary of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co, said the anonymous winner, a 23-year-old office worker, bought 10 sets of numbers on Dec. 18 from a lottery store in Taichung and hit a jackpot of NT$320 million. The lucky man asked Taiwan Lottery president Joy Huang (黃瓊儀) to donate NT$25 million to the "Light Up the Fire of Life" fundraising campaign and NT$1 million to the Children Charity Association on his behalf. He also asked Huang to give NT$60,000 to the owner of the lottery stand that sold him the winning ticket.
A Keelung high school on Saturday night apologized for using a picture containing a Chinese flag on the cover of the senior yearbook, adding that it has recalled the books and pledged to provide students new ones before graduation on Thursday. Of 309 Affiliated Keelung Maritime Senior High School of National Taiwan Ocean University graduates, 248 had purchased the yearbook. Some students said that the printer committed an outrageous error in including the picture, while others said that nobody would notice such a small flag on the cover. Other students said that they cared more about the photographs of classmates and what was
GOING INTERNATIONAL: Rakuten Girls squad leader Ula Shen said she was surprised that baseball fans outside of Taiwan not only knew of them, but also knew their names Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics on Saturday hosted its first Taiwanese Heritage Day event at the Oakland Coliseum with a performance by Taiwanese cheerleading squad the Rakuten Girls and a video message from Vice President William Lai (賴清德). The Rakuten Girls, who are the cheerleaders for the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys, performed in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, followed by a prerecorded address by Lai about Taiwan’s baseball culture and democratic spirit. Taiwanese pitcher Sha Tzu-chen (沙子宸), who was signed by the Athletics earlier this year, was also present. Mizuki Lin (林襄), considered a “baseball cheerleading goddess” by Taiwanese
WAY OF THE RUKAI: ‘Values deemed worthy often exist amid discomfort, so when people go against the flow, nature becomes entwined with our lives,’ a student said “Run, don’t walk” after your dreams, Nvidia cofounder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) told National Taiwan University (NTU) graduates yesterday, as several major universities held in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food, or you are running from becoming food. Oftentimes, you can’t tell which. Either way, run,” he said. Huang was one of several tech executives addressing graduating students at Taiwanese universities. National Chengchi University held two ceremonies, with alumnus Patrick Pan (潘先國), who is head of Taiwan
A 14-legged giant isopod is the highlight of a new dish at a ramen restaurant in Taipei and it has people lining up — both for pictures and for a bite from this bowl of noodles. Since “The Ramen Boy” launched the limited-edition noodle bowl on Monday last week, declaring in a social media post that it had “finally got this dream ingredient,” more than 100 people have joined a waiting list to dine at the restaurant. “It is so attractive because of its appearance — it looks very cute,” said the 37-year-old owner of the restaurant, who wanted to be