Photographer wins awards
Taiwanese photographer Tzeng Chin-fa (曾進發) won nine awards, including two golds, at the Moscow International Foto Awards on Monday. Tzeng, from Miaoli County, on Tuesday said that a photograph of his 90-year-old mother using an old sewing machine won a gold award in the people and culture category. The image was part of his series Traditional Cultural Skills In Disappearance, which also features people preparing traditional food, weaving and performing a traditional face-threading treatment. His other gold-winning photo was of a couple, dressed in wedding outfits, standing at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan. Tzeng also won five silver and two bronze awards at the contest. Last year, he won 28 prizes at the awards, the most among Taiwanese competitors.
Passport ranks 31st
Taiwan’s passport ranked 31st on a list of the world’s most “powerful” passports, offering its holders visa-free access to 146 destinations, according to the Henley Passport Index for the third quarter issued on Wednesday. Taiwan moved up one spot from the second quarter, the latest survey by British consulting firm Henley & Partners showed. The index includes 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. The passports were ranked based on the number of destinations to which they give holders visa-free access. Taiwan shared 31st with Mauritius and Saint Lucia. Japan remained No. 1 for the fourth consecutive year, with holders of its passport having access to 193 destinations without a visa, followed by Singapore with access to 192 locations, and South Korea and Germany tied at third with 191, the survey showed.
Fukuhara finalizes divorce
Japanese table tennis star Ai Fukuhara and her Taiwanese husband, table tennis player Chiang Hung-chieh (江宏傑), on Thursday formally announced their divorce, bringing an end to their four-year marriage. In a statement released by their management company, HIM International Music, the pair said they had finalized divorce proceedings and agreed to joint custody of their two children. The high-profile couple, both 32, married in Tokyo in 2016. They have a three-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Fukuhara, a two-time Olympic medal winner, retired from competitive table tennis in 2018 following the birth of her daughter. She was Japan’s top female table tennis player and at one point ranked world No. 4.
Institute signs MOU
The Institute for National Defense and Security Research signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Czech think tank to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on research in security and national defense, it said on Wednesday. The institute, established by the Ministry of National Defense, said in a statement that it signed the MOU on June 30 in a virtual ceremony with the Czech Republic’s European Values Center for Security Policy (EVC). Representatives from the two think tanks who attended the ceremony included institute chief executive Lin Chen-wei (林成蔚) and deputy chief executives Po Hung-hui (柏鴻輝) and Ou Hsi-fu (歐錫富), as well as EVC director Jakub Janda and Richard Kraemer, head of its Taiwan office that is to open in Taipei, the statement said. Janda said that Taiwan and the Czech Republic have common values of democracy, and the EVC would share European perspectives with the institute to deepen bilateral cooperation.
Without completed infrastructure and training, the expedited sale of new F-16s from the US could become a burden rather than a help, a military official said yesterday. Reuters on Thursday last week reported that Washington is looking to accelerate the delivery of 66 new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft in response to what it sees as increasing intimidation by Beijing. Under the terms of the original US$8 billion deal signed in 2019, the US is expected to deliver a single-seater and double-seater for testing next year, then deliver the 66 new aircraft in batches of four or five from 2024 to 2026. The officials
SLIGHTS: Beijing intends to display pro-unification messages and prominently feature Taiwanese volunteers in its propaganda videos, an official said Taiwanese officials are poised to boycott next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, an official with knowledge of the matter said yesterday, citing concerns that China would slight Taiwan during the Games. This year’s Winter Olympics are scheduled to open on Friday next week amid a diplomatic boycott by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, New Zealand, the UK and the US in response to China’s human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang and crackdowns on democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that a Cabinet-appointed task force has determined that Taiwan’s delegation would abstain from the opening and
‘CHINESE STYLE’: Taipei residents do not want smart city efforts based on ‘centralized control, tracking and mass surveillance,’ the campaign’s initiators said Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) yesterday said that her campaign against the Taipeipass (台北通) app has garnered almost 10,000 signatures since Friday, but exposed her to insults and threats by telephone and through social media. It seems to be a “coordinated attack,” as all the messages follow a similar pattern, she said, citing as an example one saying: “We love the Taipeipass. Do not block the smart city plan. Stop interfering with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).” Some people had left disparaging remarks and false information when signing up for the online petition, and there have been attempts to disrupt her
INCREASED COOPERATION: Part of the funding is to be used to further the aims of a Taiwan-US human resources development platform launched in 2015, a source said An increase of ￥100 million (US$878,765) to Japan’s annual foreign affairs budget is for “advancing the Japan-Taiwan relationship,” information published on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site showed. The ministry’s budget for last year was ￥1.7 billion; it was increased to ￥1.8 billion for this year. The ministry wrote that the additional funding was to be used for “cooperating with allies and like-minded countries to safeguard the universal values of the international community.” Regarding Taiwan specifically, the ministry said that it was “responding to an increasingly complex security and economic environment,” and that it aimed to “strengthen diplomacy and cooperation