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Sixty-nine years ago from last Friday, I heard Emperor Hirohito's gyokuon hoso (玉音放送), or broadcast, in jade voice. He started to tell all his subjects “Despite the best that has been done by everyone ...” which I understood, and continued to drone on for quite some time. There were only a handful of people in Taiwan who heard the broadcast, although there had been a notice on it on the previous day.
2014/8/18
On August 1, Japan named 158 islands that had not been named previously as part of efforts to reinforce its claims. Among them were five tiny uninhabited islets in what are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan but the Diaoyus in China and the Tiaoyutais in Taiwan. Both Taiwan and China have a better substantiated claim on the archipelago.
2014/8/11
One of the worst air crashes in Taiwan's civil aviation history occurred on July 23 near Magong Airport on the outlying island of Penghu or the Pescadores. Altogether 48 people aboard TransAsia Airways Flight 222, including the crew of four, were killed, when the ATR72 turboprop liner crashed into houses in Xixi Village by the side of the runway. The black boxes were found, and authorities are trying to find out how the accident happened.
2014/8/4
Tsai Ing-wen, chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is very good at borrowing technical terms to create a bunch of gobbledygook to suit her political purposes. A latest borrowing is “natural ingredients.”
2014/7/28
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Many battles have been fought in the 365-square-kilometer Gaza Strip in Palestine where 1.9 million Arab people now live. Another battle, between Hamas and Israel, is under way. Israel launched a ground operation last Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities.
2014/7/21
A new caliphate was born on June 29, 90 years after the last one. The Ottoman Empire was overthrown by Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern Republic of Turkey in 1924. A major development in Arabic jihadist history, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) declared the reestablishment of the caliphate with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph of the Islamic State. Baghdadi now wishes to be known as Caliph Ibrahim.
2014/7/14
Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of the country's pacifist postwar constitution that will allow the military to help defend allies and others “in a close relationship” with Japan under what is known as “collective self-defense.” The shift is needed as Japan alleges the People's Republic of China is planning to invade the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Diaoyutai in Taiwan, which both claim them.
2014/7/7
A brief “rectification of names” row took place not long ago between the Tokyo National Museum and the Taipei National Palace Museum over the exhibit of the latter's treasured antiquities at the former.
2014/6/30
The dust has settled in the house of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over who is going to run for mayor of Taipei at the end of November against Sean Lien, the eldest son of honorary Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan. The opposition party dropped its own nominee Pasuya Yao, a freshman legislator, to let Ko Wen-je, chairman of the Department of Traumatology at the Taiwan University Hospital, run as an independent for the hastily created Pan-Green union against the KMT.
2014/6/23
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The Taiwan Competitiveness Forum and the Apollo Survey and Research Company published its jointly conducted poll on the national identification of the people of Taiwan again last Thursday. The quarterly survey asked four main questions. Samples were asked whether they are Taiwanese and also Chinese, could be Taiwanese but also be Chinese, are Taiwanese though they don't deny they are also Chinese, or are Taiwanese and not Chinese.
2014/6/16
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