What you need to know
Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.
The Ministry of Justice said it plans to issue a draft bill governing same-sex marriage before March of next year.
Ministry officials say the bill will be in accordance with the results of the Nov. 24 referendum, in which voters backed an anti-same sex marriage ballot calling for it not to covered under the Civil Code.
Lawmakers have until May 24 next year to vote on a same-sex marriage bill.
Constitutional Interpretation No. 748, which was made on May 24 last year, states that the Civil Code's definition of marriage as "the legal union between a man and a woman" is in violation of the rights of all citizens under the Constitution.
According to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), if lawmakers fail to take action on the Constitutional Interpretation by May 24, same-sex couples will automatically be able to register their marriages at local household registration offices if they have two witnesses.
Several of Taiwan's overseas representative offices are changing the names on their Facebook pages to include the word "Taiwan."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said the move is aimed at raising their international profiles.
The ministry has been encouraging its overseas offices to make better use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to interact with young people around the world.
Officials say 54 of Taiwan's over 100 representative offices have now established a Facebook presence.
However, the representative offices, which are de facto but not de jure embassies, have been using the name Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, with the addition of the name of the country or city where they are based.
The foreign ministry said that resulted in some confusion, because the titles did not make it clear that they are representative offices.
Two Chinese nationals who applied for political asylum here in Taiwan during a transit stop in September remain at Taoyuan International Airport, where they have now been 71 days.
The Mainland Affairs Council said Yan Bojun and Liu Xinglian have have applied for short-term entry permits and are seeking asylum in Taiwan on grounds of political persecution in China.
According to the council, the men have been unable to enter Taiwan because they have been unable to provide evidence to support their claims.
Officials said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now been asked to check whether the two Chinese nationals have made previous requests for asylum in a third country.
Yan and Liu arrived at the Taoyuan airport on Sep. 27 on a flight from Thailand and were scheduled to continue onward to Beijing, but did not get on the outbound flight.
Both men hold refugee certificates issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Kaohsiung mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) is inviting former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to attend his Dec. 25 inauguration ceremony.
According to Han's office, the invitation is being extended to Chen because he is a former head of state and a resident of Kaohsiung.
The office spokeswoman also described Chen as a "an old colleague of Han at the Legislative Yuan" and said additional police will be deployed to ensure his safety if the former president accepts the invitation.
The statement comes after Chen recalled being physically assaulted by Han in the Legislative Yuan two decades ago on Formosa TV.
Chen said he was still traumatized by an attack which left him hospitalized for three days, and that he is reluctant to attend Han's inauguration.
New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said a solution has to be found for the disposal of nuclear waste at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant.
The plant's first reactor was due to begin a decommissioning process Wednesday, but that has now been delayed due to administrative problems.
According to Chu, the delay was due to Taipower's failure to adhere to approved plans when it built a dry storage facility at the plant and as a result of that, the 816 fuel rods in the first reactor will have to remain in place.
The plan to decommission two reactors at the Jinshan Plant included the construction of an outdoor storage yard for the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel.
The storage facility was built in 2013. However, it has yet to pass a New Taipei government inspection needed to obtain an operating permit, leaving the decommissioning process in limbo.
Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said any unification between Taiwan and China must be peaceful and democratic and that his recent "three noes" proposal is in line with the terms of the Republic of China Constitution.
Speaking at a seminar at Soochow University, Ma said if Taiwan and China are to be united, it must be on a gradual basis.
According to the former president, "no ruling out the possibility of Taiwan's unification with China" means that it could or could not happen and is a goal without a set timetable that is outlined in the country's Constitution, pending a host of conditions and timing.
Ma says if unification does not take place via peaceful and democratic means, Taiwan's people will not accept it.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) has paid his respects to late U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the lying-in-state ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
Su attended the ceremony on behalf of the Tsai administration and was accompanied to Capitol Hill by Taiwan's top representative to the U.S., Stanley Gao.
Both officials also attended Bush's state funeral the at Washington National Cathedral.
Su said the purpose of his trip was to pay respects to Bush. He also delivered a letter of condolence for the Bush family from President Tsai to former U.S. President George W. Bush.
The UK-based Environmental Justice Foundation has accused five Taiwan-owned longline fishing boats of illegally killing dolphins to use as bait to catch sharks for shark finning.
Taiwan's Fisheries Agency (FA) responded to the report yesterday. Agency Deputy Director Lin Kuo-ping (林國平) said his office has began to investigate into the case and is expected to present its initial results in two weeks.
Lin said all of the allegations made in the report, including those related to fishing practices and human rights abuse, would be illegal under Taiwanese law if proven to be true.
This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.
Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)
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