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Curious detail about flag in Top Gun: Maverick

<p dir="ltr">Moviegoers in Taiwan applauded an advanced screening of <em>Top Gun: Maverick</em> when Tom Cruise’s character came on screen wearing a jacket showing their flag.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Hollywood actor hits the screen in his bomber jacket which features patches of the flags from Taiwan, Japan and the United States, along with a United Nations symbol.</p> <p dir="ltr">When the trailer was released back in 2019, Cruise’s character Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was wearing a jacket but this time the Taiwan flag appeared to be missing.</p> <p dir="ltr">The glaring omission of the Taiwanese flag sparked criticism that Hollywood was appeasing China. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Taiwanese flag has long been a political eyesore for Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the island and considers it to be Chinese territory under the “one China principle”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Taiwan however has continued to fight against being considered Chinese territory and to be recognised as independent. </p> <p dir="ltr">There are now rumours swirling that <em>Top Gun: Maverick</em> won’t be shown in China due to the representation of the Taiwan flag.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hollywood is now pushing back,” Chris Fenton, a former movie executive who wrote a book about Hollywood and Chinese censors, told Bloomberg. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The market is simply not worth the aggravation anymore in attempting to please Chinese censors.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>


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Kevin Rudd sounds alarm over Chinese invasion

<p dir="ltr">Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has spoken out about the chance of Taiwan being invaded by China and detailed several ways Australia can avoid “sleepwalking into war”, as reported by <em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Appearing on ABC’s <em>7.30 </em>on Wednesday night, Mr Rudd said few in the West realised how much Chinese leader Xi Jinping wanted to gain control of Taiwan.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s right up there next to Xi Jinping’s desire for the party to remain in power and for him to be the predominant leader within the Communist Party of China,” he said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-374d4e77-7fff-21ab-e2d0-138f8ec508ae"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Rudd said there were only two things preventing China from invading Taiwan: questions of militaristic dominance and the risk of being slapped with similar sanctions to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src=";;show_text=true&amp;width=560&amp;t=0" width="560" height="429" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">“There has been a little too much excited commentary in the West about how China will seize on this strategic opportunity to move on Taiwan. I don’t think that’s the case,” Mr Rudd said.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the former PM did note that the dynamic could shift if the balance of both military and economic power “continues to change in China’s favour”.</p> <p dir="ltr">He added that an invasion of Taiwan would likely be amphibious, unlike Russia’s land-based “blitzkrieg” invasion of Ukraine, and that war game modelling conducted by the US suggests that China would come out on top by just a thin margin.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In most of the war gaming which has been done so far - and these are desktop exercises by and large - if you look at what various US officials have said off the record and partly reported in the American media, the Chinese at this stage win most of the time,” Mr Rudd said.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said recent events meant the situation was being watched very closely by all parties, and that a potential invasion would depend on what the Taiwanese and US does next.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Taiwanese, for the first time in a very long time, I think, are now readdressing their national defence idea needs and I think they will be looking very carefully at the fight which the Ukrainians have put up against Russia,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think it really does depend … on how much more the Taiwanese and the Americans do.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Rudd said Australia’s role should be to encourage the US and other allies towards deterring any invasion, and that working with allies in Japan, South Korea and India was crucial to avoid “sleepwalking into war”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5e2d1395-7fff-51cf-8223-dca3ce5c7818"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Kevin Rudd (Facebook)</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Discovering new tastes in Taiwan

<p><em><strong>Justine Tyerman is a New Zealand journalist, travel writer and sub-editor. Married for 36 years, she lives in rural surroundings near Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand with her husband Chris. In this piece, she samples Taiwanese wine.</strong></em></p> <p>New Zealand is known for magnificent wine – made from grapes, of course. But I recently discovered to my astonishment not all countries understand that fundamental link.</p> <p>Being quite an experienced wine drinker – by which I refer to frequency of consumption rather than implying I am in any way a connoisseur – I was excited at the prospect of visiting a winery in Taiwan.</p> <p>The unusual labels on the beautiful bottles lined up for tasting at the Nantou Winery should have forewarned me but I blithely ploughed ahead, obeying my motto to try everything offered to me in the way of new experiences.</p> <p>The winemaker spoke little English but proudly poured generous quantities into our tasting glasses, smiling and gesturing for us to sample his products.</p> <p>The first tasted startlingly like onions, and upon seeing my puzzled expression, our Taiwanese guide confirmed it tasted like onions because it was onion wine.</p> <p>Wandering around the room trying to look nonchalant while pretending to savour the contents of my glass, I found a convenient pot plant in which to ditch the "wine".</p> <p>Ever the optimist, I moved on to the second tasting which had herb-like plants on the label. I should have been alerted by this but alas, no. I took a good sip and only just managed to maintain a semblance of decorum. It was made from Chinese herbs. The pot plant received more close attention.</p> <p>The winemaker, encouraged by my apparent enthusiastic consumption of his products, poured me an even bigger glass of the third wine from a bottle with an elegant stiletto on the label. It was a dark-looking brew which tasted like chocolate, and was in fact chocolate wine, made especially for the young, female, Japanese palate. Poor pot plant!</p> <p>The final wine had a picture of exotic-looking fruit on the label which was more promising – it was lychee wine, sweet and quite palatable in a liqueur-ish way.</p> <p>Our guide explained that Taiwan was a nation of spirit drinkers, and wine made from grapes was not their forté. Having sampled four of their best, I can safely say there are excellent trade opportunities for New Zealand wine in that country. I later discovered we got off lightly – in Taiwan there is also such a thing as snake penis wine.</p> <p>Taiwan is a land of startling surprises not only to Western tastes but also habits.</p> <p>The hotels and hospitality are outstanding. However, some took discreet design to an extreme with toilets so cleverly concealed I was about to phone reception and complain there was no loo in my room when I found it behind a sliding panel, incorporated seamlessly into a wall.</p> <p>I did have to phone to find the closet where the pyjamas and slippers were hiding, having heard it was de rigueur to turn up to breakfast in the hotel’s signature “spa loungewear". Just as well I did – all the guests, from children to elderly were dressed in matching PJs next morning.</p> <p>On the subject of toilets, many were equipped with an ingenious seat-side touch screen requiring an IT degree to operate. It doesn’t pay to be too inquisitive and peer into your designer loo while experimenting with the console, trying to determine the mysterious workings of controls written in Chinese. There are various bidet nozzles which can result in a face full of warm water of dubious purity.</p> <p>In one hotel, there was a sliding window from the toilet to the bedroom so that you could converse with your room-mate if you got lonely.</p> <p>Huge tubs that held a tanker load of water were standard issue at the hotels. To luxuriate in an obscenely-deep bath after a long summer of water restrictions was a delicious treat. The tubs on higher floors are often located by full-length windows so you can sightsee while you soak.</p> <p>Taiwan is delightfully different – just be wary of wine bottle labels with snakes on them.</p> <p>Have you ever been to Taiwan? Share your travel tips in the comments below.</p> <p><em>* Justine Tyerman was a guest of Taiwan Tourism Bureau and China Airlines.</em></p>

International Travel

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Best value destinations for 2015

<p>The Aussie dollar has taken a hit in the past year and travellers looking overseas have to be more careful with their money. Here are five destinations that will give you more bang for your buck in 2015.</p><p><strong>Nicaragua</strong></p><p>All Central American countries have traditionally presented very good value for travellers, but as the popularity of places like Costa Rica rises, so does the price tag. Enter Nicaragua. It’s probably the cheapest country in Central America but it definitely doesn’t scrimp on experiences. It’s the largest country in the region and has a coastline on both the Caribbean Sea and North Pacific Ocean, making for great surfing, diving or beach lounging at a budget price. You can catch a local bus for around $1 or splurge on a taxi and pay no more than $5 to go just about anywhere in a city. If you’re careful, it’s one of the few places in the world you can still get by on $50 a day for a couple.</p><p><strong>Taiwan</strong></p><p>This island nation offers a great value alternative to places like Hong Kong and Singapore. Large chain hotels remain expensive, but there are plenty of cheap options like hostels, homestays and even camping in some of the beautiful national parks (try doing that in Singapore). Getting around is cheap and easy with modern trains and affordable rail passes. Eating is one of Taiwan’s main attractions (it is, after all, the home of legendary dumpling house Din Tai Fung) and you can get delicious meals for just a couple of dollars at any street stall or market. Even fine dining restaurants are cheaper than you would find in similar cities in the region.&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/news/news/2015/03/most-expensive-cities/" target="_blank">Related link: Most expensive cities for Aussies</a></span></strong></em></p><p><strong>Samoa</strong></p><p>Limited flights and the fact that everything must be imported means that the South Pacific has never been particularly cheap. But Samoa is shaping up to be a more reasonable alternative than ultra-pricey Tahiti or the family mecca of Fiji. There are few major resort chains operating in the country yet and most accommodation is in simple family owned resorts that consist of just a few simple beach huts. The capital city of Apia is big and bustling, with some interesting markets to explore. Get in quick – it won’t be long before the rest of the world discovers this hidden gem.</p><p><strong>Portugal</strong></p><p>This often overlooked European country has just as much to offer as Spain, France or Italy, but at much lower prices. The capital city of Lisbon is easily as happening as Barcelona but it’s easy to find good quality accommodation on a budget and you won’t have to battle the crowds. The distinctive yellow trams rattle all over the city and will take you around the most scenic spots for only a few dollars. In 2014 the British Post Office surveyed Europe’s cheapest option for a summer beach holiday, and Portugal’s Algarve coast came out on top.</p><p><strong>New Zealand</strong></p><p>The Australian dollar has dropped against just about every major country in the past year – except the New Zealand dollar. It is still sitting just below the Aussie dollar and the country is cheaper as a whole, so your money will go much further across the ditch. One third of the country is a national park or reserve and they are free to visit, so you can take in million dollar views for nothing. Plus there’s all that delicious wine to drink at local prices.</p><p><strong>Related links:</strong></p><p><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/travel/travel-club/2015/02/how-to-save-money-on-a-cruise/" target="_blank">6 ways to save money on your next cruise</a></span></strong></em></p><p><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/travel/travel-club/2015/02/free-wifi-while-travelling/" target="_blank">Where to find free wifi when you’re travelling</a></span>&nbsp;</strong></em></p><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/travel/travel-club/2014/12/how-to-get-an-upgrade/" target="_blank"><em><strong>Insider tips for securing an upgrad</strong></em>e</a></span></p>

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