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.
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
Taiwanese have donated more than NT$10 million (US$329,946) to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, following an appeal for help by a Yilan-based Italian priest to save his “other homeland.” Catholic Father Giuseppe Didone on Wednesday issued a public letter asking for donations to be made to the fundraising center of Camillian Saint Mary’s Hospital Luodong to purchase emergency provisions, including surgical masks and protective gowns, for medical personnel in Italy. Didone yesterday expressed his gratitude and said that he was touched by the love shown by Taiwanese. While state-funded hospitals in Italy are mostly adequately supplied, many local clinics are suffering from
Taiwanese sports are to return next weekend, with the baseball and soccer leagues starting their new seasons, although there are to be restrictions for spectators and protective measures due to COVID-19. The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season was originally scheduled to begin on March 14, then pushed back to March 28, before settling on next Saturday. “To conform with the government’s mandate limiting crowds at outdoor events, we will strictly limit the total number of people at each league game at fewer than 200,” CPBL secretary-general Feng Shen-hsieng (馮勝賢) said. “This figure will include the players, coaches, team employees, ballpark