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.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among