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.
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.
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.
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.1 Comment
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.14 Comments
If anybody visits the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Masada in Israel, they will be awed by the story of its fall after a long siege laid by a Roman Legion in A.D. 73. All 960 Jews besieged in their mountain top fortress committed mass suicide, as did hundreds of Japanese women and children who jumped off Saipan's "Banzai Cliff" to death in the sea below before the eyes of awestricken U.S. leathernecks in 1944.
Shih Ming-teh, a former Democratic Progressive Party chairman who led a 2005 march of Redshirts to topple President Chen Shui-bian in vain, ganged up with Su Chi,1 Comment
Earlier this month, Taiwan's Love and Peace Foundation held the third Love and Peace Forum in Taipei, where leading scholars specializing in cross-strait relations from both sides of the Taiwan Strait exchanged views on how to define the political status of Taiwan vis-a-vis the People's Republic of China. There was no conclusion reached, of course. It's an extraordinarily hard nut to crack.
Perhaps, Taiwan is getting the shortest end of the stick in the ongoing anti-China riots in Vietnam. Riots started after China installed a giant oil rig near the disputed Paracel Islands, called Xisha (西沙:West Sand) in Chinese, at the beginning of this month.1 Comment
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. It is one of the three pillars of direct democracy. As such, it tends to be used quite selectively, but referendums have been held quite often, in fact too often, in Taiwan since the Referendum Law took effect at the end of 2003.1 Comment