Kurt Campbell sworn in
US President Barack Obama’s choice as the top US diplomat for East Asia has begun work at the State Department. Officials said on Tuesday that Kurt Campbell had been sworn in as assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific. Campbell replaces Christopher Hill, who has become Obama’s ambassador to Iraq. Campbell is a specialist on Asia who served former US president Bill Clinton as a top adviser on Asian affairs. Hill became well-known throughout Asia for his efforts to entice North Korea to end its nuclear production. North Korean policy is currently being handled primarily by two other diplomats in the Obama administration: Stephen Bosworth is coordinating policy, while Sung Kim is handling day-to-day dealings with Pyongyang.
Taiwan gets Stinger missiles
The US has released 171 Stinger air-to-air missiles to Taiwan, the online edition of the periodical Defense News reported on Tuesday. The deal, worth US$45.3 million, will see the missiles fitted on new AH-64D Apache attack helicopters released to Taiwan in October, the report said. In addition to the missiles, the military will also receive delivery of 24 captive flight trainers, 68 air-to-air launchers, seven launcher circuit evaluators, two digital launcher test sets, 60 coolant reservoir assemblies, three launcher emulators and spares, the newspaper reported.
Pair of legislators fined
Two lawmakers were punished on Tuesday for defamation in separate Taiwan High Court cases. May Chin (高金素梅), an Aboriginal legislator affiliated with the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, was sentenced to 55 days in jail for calling a local advertiser “a beast in human clothes” in an article published on her blog. The court said Kao Chin should be punished because her blog was linked to many other blogs and her article had done more harm to the victim than if she had issued the insult verbally. However, the court gave her the option of paying a fine in lieu of jail time. Meanwhile, Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), a lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party, was fined NT$6,000 for calling fellow legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) “a mad dog” at a news conference. There is no recourse to appeal in either case.
Games ticket sales at 20%
More than 20 percent of the tickets for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung have been sold, including all the tickets for the opening ceremony, the city’s Tourism Bureau said. Bureau Director Lin Kun-shan (林崑山) said that as of yesterday morning, 79,119 tickets had been sold, leaving nearly 300,000 available. Of those sold, nearly half were for the 11-day sports event’s opening and closing ceremony. To promote ticket sales, the bureau has invited enterprises and civil groups to purchase tickets for their employees and customers, Lin said. A total of 370,000 tickets were available for the World Games, to be held from July 16 through July 26. The organizers said 95 percent of the tickets for boules, lifesaving, orienteering and climbing have been sold. However, fewer than 10 percent of the tickets for events such as roller sports, flying disc, dancesport, beach handball and tchoukball have been sold, Lin said. Prices for the World Games tickets range from NT$75 to NT$900.
Koala dies at Taipei Zoo
A seven-year-old koala bear named Milk Tea died at Taipei Zoo on Tuesday of malignant tumors, the zoo said yesterday. Zoo director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) said the tumors were found in Milk Tea’s left armpit during a regular physical checkup in May, and his health worsened last month. The tumors were caused by a retrovirus that is common among koala bears. A total of five koala bears, including Milk Tea, have died of diseases caused by the retrovirus since the zoo started accepting koala bears from Australia in 1999, he said. Two female koalas — Ligi and Eve, both 11 years old — died of malignant tumors last year. The zoo still has four koalas, one female and three males. The koala retrovirus, which was identified as part of the koala genome in 2000, causes immune deficiency, cancer and eventually death.
Settlement office restored
The restoration project for the former Jinguangfu Settlement Office (金廣福公館) in Beipu Township (北埔), Hsinchu County, has been completed and the office will soon be opened to the public. The building, completed in 1835, was constructed as the seat of a joint venture by Hoklo and Hakka settlers to establish settlements in Hsinchu and Miaoli counties. It has been designated a historic monument for its importance as a witness to Han Chinese settlement in the region, as well as being one of the few joint settlement ventures that brought together Hoklo and Hakka people. It became part of a project to restore the historic center of Beipu that began last year. The Hsinchu County Cultural Affairs Department plans to open the site to the public soon, but the exact date is yet to be announced.
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
Nearly 60 percent of Kaohsiung residents polled said that they would vote to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. A petition to recall the mayor is undergoing a second review and if it is passed, a vote is to be held in the latter half of June. Of those polled, 69.7 percent said that they would participate in a vote, while 56 percent said they would still participate if there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. The data showed that, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic, Han would likely
FALSE INFORMATION: The report quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner are ‘in prison-like conditions’ A BBC report that quotes Britons’ complaints about quarantine conditions they experienced in Taiwan is not true, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, expressing regret over damage done to the nation’s reputation for competent disease-prevention measures. The BBC report published on Wednesday quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner were quarantined on Wednesday last week and are being kept “in prison-like conditions.” “The room is filthy. She has no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes,” the mother was quoted as saying, without naming the location of