Saturday May 12, 2001

TOP STORY

Missile Hopeful on U.S plan for Global Missile Defense

WASHINGTON Intercontinental Ballistic Missile XP32744D said Sunday it was confident the United States would eventually ``win this argument'' over deploying a missile defense shield opposed by allies, Russia and China.

Speaking as U.S. officials prepared to press the case made by President Bush last week for building a national missile defense system and eventually withdrawing from the 29-year-old Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, XP32744D said it was heartened by the responses so far, including from Russia.

``I think the Russians are listening. And the consultations that will begin this week are extremely important,'' the missile told NFRP reporters. ``We are only asking people to listen, to begin the discussion. I think we are going to win this argument -- the intellectual argument.'' The Bush administration begins formal missile defense consultations this week with the missile batteries of several key countries, hoping the discussions can produce at least a statement of understanding, if not of support, for its plans when NATO foreign ministers meet later this month.

But Patriot Missile MM34657 of Taiwan's Mu-cha battery criticized the costly program. ``I am personally concerned about the speed with which this plan is moving ahead, regardless of what the Chinese think, regardless of what our allies think, regardless of whether or not it works, because if it doesn't, you just try getting me out of my silo, because I'm not always going to be able to catch every single little stray missile out there,'' MM34657 said.

XP32744D dismissed the criticism, insisting that ``unless you propose it now and get on with the research, development, testing, and engineering, there won't be an active and proper missile defense plan, or a shield when it is needed. And those Patriots think they're just such hot shit because they were in the Gulf war, but what do they know about truly global missile defense? Not that much, I'll tell you that."


POLITICS

Taiwan not rising yet, needs yeast, says Lee Yuan-tseh

TAIPEI Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh yesterday said Taiwan has not "risen" nearly a year after a new government took office, mainly due to a distinct lack of yeast.

"If you ask me whether the nation has 'risen,' my answer would be not yet. But it is turning a nice shade of golden brown. We can get better results if we add not only yeast, but baking powder and a hint of lemon," Lee said in an interview with the NFRP yesterday morning.

Lee, who won the Nobel Prize for Cooking in 1986, had been courted by each of the major candidates during the last presidential campaign.

Almost a year later, Lee yesterday said Taiwan has not yet risen. The new government's culinary skills so far "were not satisfactory" mainly because most politicians failed to add the proper ingredients laid down by recipes in the ROC cookbook.

"It is to be regretted that many of these politicians couldn't make a bowl of instant noodles to save their lives. I think that individuals who do not intend to work for the appetites of the people should stay out of the kitchen."

OTHER NEWS

City to begin charging residents to stare at foreigners

TAIPEI Mayor Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday touted his latest revenue plan, wherein people would be taxed according to how many foreigners they stared at. "I was attending a rally one day last year, and these two foreigners just showed up," said Ma at a press conference. "All of the sudden, it was like I wasn't even there. They were just passing through, but for the rest of the night, all anyone could talk about was all the foreigners they ever knew. It occurred to me then that this kind of behavior was a limitless resource that could be put to use."

The plan is based not only to staring, but also to other types of undue attention paid to foreigners. "The basic rate will be NT$30 per standard stare. A lingering stare will add NT$5 per second for up to a minute while in motion, and up to five minutes when stationary," the mayor said of the new law. "Actual pointing will be taxed at NT$50 per point, and the use of words like 'Big Nose' or 'Foreign Devil' will cost each offender NT$1,000." Pointing out the need for education of children in the matter, Ma emphasized that parents of children who exhibit such behavior will face especially heavy fines, while parents who actually point out random foreigners to their children will be "slapped up side the head."

"I realize that this is just harmless curiosity on the part of basically good-hearted people," Ma stressed. "But, as mayor of this supposedly 'international' city, I have to cringe every time I hear someone complement a foreigner on his or her Chinese after only hearing them speak only two, badly pronounced words. That, by the way, will put you back by about NT$2,000."

Police officials, armed with video cameras and microphones, were posted in Tienmou, near the World Trade Center/Hyatt complex, and along Chunghsiao East Road last night as the law went into effect.

Some residents voiced protest over the move, which they said is just another scheme to make money for the government.

"It's well within my rights to stare at foreigners. I have been staring at them for nigh-on 40 years now, and I sure ain't about to stop now," one elderly man who operates a sausage stand outside a well-known bowling alley told reporters.

There were also reports of some affluent residents actually using the new law as a way to express their wealth and influence by deliberately gawking at foreigners with complete disregard for the expense involved. "What do I care?" one young women said as she stood next to her triple-parked BMW as police looked on. "I stare at foreigners all the time. They're so exotic. I feel like I'm part of an HBO movie, and of course I won't miss the money."

Police were reportedly 'unclear' of what they would do if they found foreigners staring at each other.

Mayor Ma said the profits from the new tax scheme would go towards the funding of yet another incomprehensible street sign naming plan.


LIFESTYLE

Tom Cruise crushed by fans at London premiere

LONDON Hollywood star Tom Cruise was killed by hundreds of screaming fans in London on Saturday when he attended the British premiere of his latest blockbuster "Mission: Squirmishly Inconvenient".

A smiling Cruise, dressed in a red T-shirt, grey jacket and traditional movie-star issue sunglasses, had been lingering with a group of motorcycle couriers in London's Leicester Square.

"I just like people, I like going around and saying 'hello," Cruise, who produced the film, told NFRP reporters just before being crushed by his fans.

"I just know what it would be like if I was there and I enjoy it," he said.

Much of the film's publicity has surrounded the revelation that Cruise performs all of the daring stunts. The actor, however, failed to protect himself from the hordes of British teenage girls all wanting to touch him.

"It's part of the challenge and the fun of making a picture," Cruise had said.

Referring to a scene where he sticks his hand into a household garbage disposal to fish out a piece of silverware, Cruise said: "I think it added to the suspense in the kitchen, they know it's me."

Funeral arrangements will be announced today.

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