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December, 31, 2016

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Presidential Office declines to comment on potential meeting with Trump camp
By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Tsai Ing-wen will make transit stops in Houston and San Francisco during her upcoming state visit to four of the nation's diplomatic allies in Central America, the Presidential Office announced Friday.

The announcement, made weeks after Taiwanese media reported that she planned to visit Central America, was seen as the president's effort to make her trip less contentious to Washington and Beijing.

Presidential Office Spokesman Alex Huang said Tsai would make a stopover in Houston en route to Central America and San Francisco on her return trip to Taiwan.

Huang would not say whether the president would meet with representatives of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump during her stopover in the U.S. amid media speculation that such a meeting could take place.

The office had confirmed last week that Tsai would visit Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras between Jan. 7 and Jan. 15 but it had not disclosed the locations of her U.S. transit stops as is typically the case.

Huang previously denied assertions that the delay to the transit stop announcement was due to political "pressure" from mainland China, saying that time was needed to arrange plans.

'Solid ties'

Beijing has repeatedly called on Washington not to let Tsai visit the U.S. during her upcoming trip.

The trip — Tsai's second overseas tour since she took office in May — has been in the spotlight since Sao Tome and Principe severed diplomatic relations with the R.O.C. on Dec. 21, leaving Taiwan with 21 allies.

Local media have speculated that China intended to lure away more of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, as relations between the two sides have been strained since Tsai took office in May.

Media have further suggested that Taiwan's diplomatic ties with Honduras and Nicaragua are on shaky ground ahead of Tsai's scheduled visit.

The Presidential Office and the Foreign Ministry have both asserted that relations with these allies were solid.

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Reform badly needed to save higher education sector
The China Post new staff

When Taiwan was looking to ease the pressure on students scrambling through the narrow gates to higher education some two decades ago, the government took the easy way out by creating more universities. But that was a very bad decision.

It was a short-sighted decision that failed to take dwindling birthrates into consideration. It was a quantitative decision that brushed aside the competence and competitiveness of the newly-created universities and their students.

It did not assess the implications and consequences of a lopsided educational structure that accommodates students' desire to pursue college degrees without addressing society's demand for workers who receive vocational training and enter the job market early.

It was a modern embodiment of the ancient Chinese prejudice that placed literati above everyone else in society.

Many vocational schools and many other junior colleges were then upgraded to universities, so that the total number of openings available in Taiwan's higher education institutions outnumbered available students.

Parents were happy, students were relieved and the government was satisfied with its decision to swing wide open the narrow gates of higher education.

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Up and down in life, together in death
By Jake Coyle, AP

NEW YORK -- Carrie Fisher played a supporting role at her own birth.

In her 2008 memoir, "Wishful Drinking," she described the scene. Doctors were running to see her mother, Debbie Reynolds ("At 24 she looked like a Christmas morning," wrote Fisher). Nurses, meanwhile, were rushing to glimpse her father, the crooner Eddie Fisher.

"So when I arrived I was virtually unattended," wrote Fisher. "And I have been trying to make up for that ever since."

Thus began one of the more complicated, thoroughly documented and ultimately tender mother-daughter relationships in Hollywood, one both strained by celebrity and deepened through fiction. (Fisher's father, who ran off with Elizabeth Taylor, was soon out of the picture.)

As stars from different eras, they could hardly have been more different. Reynolds, the wholesome MGM star of "Singin' in the Rain," was the sunny, all-American icon of the 1950s. Fisher, the "Star Wars" princess who comically rebelled against conventional stardom, was the candid, drug-using symbol of Baby Boomers. Their relationship underwent dramatic swings, much of it chronicled in Fisher's books, and in their big-screen alter-egos: Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) and Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine) in "Postcards From the Edge," the adaptation of Fisher's semi-autobiographical novel.

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Bilingual News
〈2017跨年〉人潮即錢潮 超商雙雄信義區重點門市備戰
The China Post news staff , 記者王莞甯/鉅亨網

根據網路市調,跨年夜民眾最愛外出參與跨年晚會和欣賞煙火秀,人潮就是錢潮,超商雙雄特定門市備貨量大增,統一超 (2912-TW) 表示,7-ELEVEN 針對熱門景點周邊超過 150 家門市進行備戰,相關商品平均增 2-3 背;全家 (5903-TW) 則在信義區周邊店舖增加 10 倍人力。

  統一超指出,7-ELEVEN 掌握全台跨年熱門景點,包括各縣市政府、台北美麗華、南投清境農場、高雄夢時代、高雄義大世界等周邊超過 150 家門市皆備戰,其中,101 周邊含信義區、松山區近 40 家 7-ELEVEN 門市預估將湧入大量人潮。

  因此,針對熱門的跨年商品結構如關東煮、蒸煮玉米、CITY CAFE、御飯糰、三明治、罐裝飲品、包裝零食、巧克力、iseLect 隨手包、保暖隨身用品、口罩、濕紙巾、娛樂用品 (如撲克牌、骰子)、能量飲和保健食品等,相關商品備貨量增加 2-3 倍。

  全家指出,為因應這波人潮,信義區周邊店舖增加 10 倍人力,並增設收銀機、夯番薯機、咖啡機、關東煮機等熟食機台,尤其夯番薯、甜玉米及零食餅乾備貨逾 10 倍,關東煮、水與飲料備貨更多達 20 倍。

  全家說明,去 (2015) 年跨年夜單日,Fami 霜淇淋銷售成長近 7 倍,美式咖啡成長超過 4 倍、關東煮和點心零食成長 2 倍以上,口香糖、糖果也有 3 成以上亮眼表現,推測是跨年結伴效應湧現,帶動相關商品業績成長。

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