Sam Brownback on running for President, gay rights, the Middle East and religion

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sam Brownback is perplexed. The U.S. Senator from Kansas and Presidential candidate is a Republican whose politics—he is against marriage for gay people, he is against abortion, and he has a clean image in a party tainted by scandal—should speak favorably to the party’s base. But it has not. “I’m baffled by that myself,” Senator Brownback told Wikinews reporter David Shankbone. “We haven’t been able to raise money.”

A recent poll in Iowa has put him in eighth place, with 2% supporting his campaign. “If we don’t finish fourth or better in Iowa…we’ll pull out.”

Senator Brownback’s relationship with God infuses almost every answer you find below. Although he doesn’t feel “competent” to explain why God would dislike gays, he does feel strongly that allowing two men or two women to enter into the union of marriage will destroy it for heterosexuals. Pointing to the research of Stanley Kurtz at the Hoover Institution, Brownback asserts that Northern Europeans have “taken the sacredness out of the institution.”

In the interview, Senator Brownback discusses the tug-and-pull that befalls him when his constituents show up at his office and say, “Look, I’m a conservative, but we need this bridge, we need this subsidy, we need this hospital.” Brownback feels this spending system needs to be changed; however, when it comes to energy policy, Brownback is there for his constituents. David Shankbone asked the Kansas Senator, a supporter of cellulosic ethanol, why he doesn’t support the lowering of tariffs on sugar since sugar ethanol delivers 8 times the energy output of cellulosic ethanol. Brazil, in particular, has become energy independent because of its sugar ethanol program. It’s cheaper to produce, and there is vastly more bang for the buck in sugar fuel than in corn fuel; an entire country no longer needs to import oil because of it. Federal tariffs currently make sugar ethanol too expensive in the United States. “You’re going to kill the ethanol industry here just as it gets going,” was Senator Brownback’s response. However, there is a debate over whether the process to make corn ethanol uses more energy than the ethanol itself produces.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Senator Sam Brownback.

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Exclusive look at Bebo

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wikinews spoke to the Global Communications Director at Bebo to have a look at the popular social networking site. Sarah Gavin spoke via email to Wikinews’ Gabriel Pollard exclusively.

Bebo – its full name being Blog Early Blog Often – started off life with its name being adopted from a suggestion a journalist made, as well as the memorable nature of the name. Ms Gavin said, “The reality is that the name was chosen for more practical reasons… it was memorable, translated well and most importantly it was available.”

Founded in 2005 by husband and wife team, Michael Birch and Xochi Birch, Bebo was an online community for Internet users to talk to one another online, write blog posts and generally post pictures. Now in 2008, “Bebo allows users to find and communicate with friends as well as discovering, experiencing and sharing professional and user-generated content including video, music, books and other forms of entertainment,” Ms Gavin said. 2005 was the year when at least another two social networking sites entered the market with Friendster and, which was set up by the same people who created Bebo. Ringo was later sold on to

Not only does Bebo facilitate the aforementioned activities on it’s site, but also has access to professional content produced by broadcasters, such as TVNZ in New Zealand, and producers. This is done through its Open Media platform which claims to have over 400 media partners signed up.

Ms Gavin said, “Bebo offers many of the same features found on other sites, but unlike most social networks that limit their scope to communications and utility platforms, Bebo has opened its doors to all media companies, bringing the richness of the media world to its fast-growing community of users.”

All of a sudden – and seemingly out of nowhere – the individual understands the power the web, and what opportunities instant, widespread communication, affords them. Everyone can create and shape the message.

Bebo even has its own television series it hosts on its website. KateModern, produced by those who made the popular Lonelygirl15 web-series, is a series exclusive to the Internet and was commissioned by Bebo in April, 2007. Bebo boasts that KateModern is the most popular television show on the Internet and saw it attain over 35 million views in the first season alone.

In early December 2007, Bebo announced its Open Application Platform, compatible with Facebook’s F8 and Google’s OpenSocial platforms. This new platform opens up its API so developers such as NBC Universal and can build applications for use on Bebo. 1,300 applications have already been made for Bebo.

With over 40 million members internationally, Bebo has become the only “global Social Media Network” in existence today. Each month its demographic users aged between 16 and 24-years of age inclusive spend a combined total of 2.14 billion minutes a month surfing the highly popular site; or 40 minutes a day per user. The majority of its membership are from English-speaking nations such as United States, Australia and New Zealand where it experiences high popularity.

In the United Kingdom alone, Bebo has more than 11.4 million users, with 1.3 million located just in Ireland; 80% of Irish members are over 18-years-old. Ms Gavin spoke further on the popularity experienced in the world, “It is the number one social networking site in New Zealand, the number two site in Australia, and the number three site in the US and Canada.”

Bebo experiences a gender balance with a virtual “50:50” split between female and male users “in each territory”.

There is also a local version catered for the Polish community as well as there being plans to migrate into a local French and Spanish site.

Bebo also experiences higher usage than rival social networking site, MySpace, and video sharing website, YouTube, combined. “Bebo users are the most engaged and view an average of 92 pages per usage day,” Ms Gavin said.

Ms Gavin said, “Only 10 months after its inception, Bebo was voted Best Social Networking Web Site by more than 300,000 voters in the annual People’s Voice awards, in May 2006. Bebo won the People’s Choice award in the Social Networking category at the 2006 Webby awards and was named as the number one search term in the Year-End Google Zeitgeist 2006.”

We are shocked and saddened by the recent tragic events in Wales.

Recently it has emerged that youth in Wales have been committing suicide to gain attention, such as having a memorial page on the networking site. In response Bebo have set up their own service called “Be Well” to help make Bebo a “safe and secure environment.” Ms Gavin said, “We are actively working with mental health and social care organisations – including Samaritans – to provide support and advice for our members.

“Bebo recognizes the potential dangers of online and takes proactive measures to promote safe use of its network. Bebo works in collaboration with law enforcement agencies from across the globe… [and] features a ‘report abuse’ button on every page.”

The “Be Well” service has recently expanded its offerings to the Australian and New Zealand markets too.

When asked to comment on any possible offers to buy Bebo by such companies as Google, Ms Gavin said that it was against policy to comment on “rumour and speculation”. However, after the interview, it was revealed that Time Warner’s AOL Internet division is set to buy up Bebo for US$850 million.

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How To Choose The Best Yogurt Maker

How to Choose the Best Yogurt Maker By Atica Brewton

Many people who are seeking a more healthy diet and lifestyle are contemplating what is the best yogurt maker for their budget. There are many different brands to choose from with a plethora of options and price ranges. Although there are many to choose from, the difference between competing yogurt makers is minimal. All you need is a device that will maintain the yogurt mixture at the required temperature for a set amount of time. Honestly, the best yogurt maker is the least expensive and most reliable appliance that fits your budget.

Many consumers choose the least expensive option and just won’t buy a yogurt maker. I don’t think these people are cheap, but I do think they should explore their options. Instead, they will use their oven for heat. This is a viable option but it will end up costing you in the long run because of how much electricity is required to keep an oven heated for at least 6 to 8 hours. I recommend they purchase a yogurt maker instead because it is more energy efficient and won’t use nearly as much electricity as their oven. I must repeat that they best yogurt maker is the most inexpensive option.

Another option I’ve heard from several people is to use a microwave convection oven. Once again, this is a large appliance that draws tons of electricity so your power bill will be affected from leaving the microwave on for several hours. Also your microwave is tied up and can’t be used while your yogurt is heating. Some people would be annoyed by the constant noise of the microwave. It just seems easier and more hassle-free to invest in an inexpensive yogurt maker.

There are several ways to make yogurt using alternative heat sources. All of these options are legitimate and can yield a wonderful tasting snack. I recommend that you follow whatever method works best for you. I like to keep things simple and worry-free. The less utensils I dirty during the process, the better. Since I make yogurt several times per week, this works best for me. In my opinion, the best yogurt maker is the most user-friendly and inexpensive device available.

The author’s website Yogurt Maker Enthusiast features tips on finding the best yogurt maker, how to use yogurt makers, yogurt starters and homemade yogurt recipes.

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A strong, 6.4 magnitude earthquake stuck Indonesia on Friday, even as recovery efforts continued from the devastating tremors that hit there last month.

The earthquake caused some buildings to sway in the country’s capital, Jakarta; however, there were no reports of injuries. According to officials, the earthquake’s epicentre was in in the Sunda Strait, off the western coast of the island of Java.

The earthquake wasn’t powerful enough to generate a tsunami, according to a Meteorology and Geophysics Agency official, Suhardjono.

On September 30, a powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Indonesia, causing landslides, destroying buildings, and killing over a thousand people. Cleanup and recovery efforts for that quake are still ongoing. Tremors frequently strike Indonesia and neighbouring vicinities, as it is positioned on an arc of fault lines.

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Air Conditioning Hampshire Managing Your Hvac Systmes

Air Conditioning Hampshire- Managing Your HVAC Systmes


Salik Khan

The extreme hot and humid conditions in the UK are always a reason to worry, at point of time; its really awful and hard to work in such conditioning. The weather can be very cold at times and very hot at other times. The need for air conditioners and heaters or furnaces is therefore very basic. Residential air conditioning and heating can no longer be regarded as mere luxuries. Without heating in very cold weather or air conditioning in very hot weather, people can fall very seriously ill. Immediate home heating and air conditioner repair is needed when these equipment break down. Residents should therefore recognize the importance of heating; you should always go for some good air conditioning Hampshire company, so that you can get some good atmosphere to live in.

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The air conditioning should be done with some professionals, because of the fact that, most of the tome, even with some good HVAC systems, we are unable to utilize their functionality properly, this is because we dont lay importance on the fact that the proper placement should be done of these systems. Aside from minimizing efforts and cutting down on time spent on such dealings, this could also result in lower costs. The client could very well negotiate for package discounts from the service provider. As we know that, after all these air conditioning systems are machines, therefore they are also more prone to breaking down, consequently, there is more need for air conditioner repair. If this is not seen to at once, the hot and humid conditions inside the home can result in a medical emergency, especially for very young children and senior citizens whose physical conditions are most vulnerable. Not only will the children and the elderly become very irritable but they could also succumb to heat stroke. The air born diseases are very common these days, this is because of the negligence of the proper cleaning and hygiene in the air ducts. While planning for the ducting systems, we neglect one very important issue, and that issue is the cleaning of the ducts. We should plan the design of the duct is away that; the cleaning of the duct should be easy, often we neglect this cleaning issue just because the cleaning of those ducts is quite cumbersome. Having a reliable air conditioning Hampshire would be the solution for the problem. Whether the need is for a new installation of complete air conditioning and heating systems or for maintenance and repair, it is best to stick with one and the same service provider. To find a truly service provider, referrals can be sought from relatives and friends. It is best to get testimonials from satisfied clients. If such referrals are not available, online searches can be done.

Author has been writing articles from last three years on various topics, with this post, he wants to share information on

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IRA disbands military structure

Thursday, October 5, 2006

The Independent Monitoring Commission has reported that the Provisional Irish Republican Army has undergone major changes within their military structure and shows that the IRA Army Council wants to put its military campaign behind it. The Commission consists of John Alderdice, a former Alliance Party leader; Joe Brosnan, former Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Republic of Ireland; John Grieve, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and former head of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terror Branch; and Dick Kerr, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Agency.

The report states the IRA no longer has the capacity to mount a military campaign anymore or return to one. The units that have been shut down were responsible for weapons-making, arms smuggling and training. The IRA decommissioned their arms last year.

The report also mentions that the IRA has also put its criminality beyond use and is “clamping down” on criminals within the organization, said Lord Alderdice, as he presented the report. He also added, “That doesn’t mean that criminal activity by all members has stopped but the leadership has made public statements and internal directions, investigated incidents of breach of the policy, even expelled some members and has emphasised the importance of ensuring that business affairs are conducted in a legitimate way.”

Finally, the report added that there is not enough evidence or intelligence to identify who killed Denis Donaldson, a British spy who infiltrated the IRA and Sinn Fein, before revealing his status as a spy.

However, the report added that splinter groups like the Real IRA (RIRA) and Continuity IRA (CIRA) are still threats and are still continuing their activity. The Real IRA was the group behind the deadly 1998 Omagh bombing. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) “was not capable of undertaking a sustained campaign [against the British State], nor does it aspire to” according to the report.

It is also noted the creation of two new organizations, Oglaigh na hEireann (Irish Gaelic for “Volunteers of Ireland” and is used by the Irish Defence Forces and the various IRAs.) and the Republican Defence Army. However, the groups are small dissident factions according to the report.

The report also added that the two loyalist paramilitaries, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) are also beginning to move from violence but at slower pace and not at a grassroots level like the IRA. Another loyalist paramilitary, the Loyalist Volunteer Force

The report was received warmly by Irish Toaiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Ahern, said “These positive and clear-cut findings are of the utmost importance and significance. It is time to make decisions and for Northern Ireland to look to the future.”

“The IRA has done what we asked it to do, and while issues like policing remain to be solved, the door is now open to a final settlement, which is why the talks next week in Scotland are going to be so important.” said Tony Blair in a live statement.

In a surprising reaction, the notoriously hardline leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Ian Paisley, also welcomed the report. He believes that his party’s pressure is working and if Sinn Fein signs up to policing there could be a deal. Paisley said, “If the police question is settled absolutely on a democratic basis and principle we would have come a long way along the road.”

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said “The DUP don’t have anything other than very limited options. They will or will not participate in power-sharing arrangements. If they don’t participate they are condemning people here, but particularly their own constituents, to second class public services, run by second class fly-in, fly-out British ministers. All the DUP can do is to delay, is to attempt to slow down, but they can’t stop the process of changing.”

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Monday, September 5, 2005

Feel free to use the Wikimedia sites to solve our Wikinews crossword. Please do not fill it out online as it would spoil it for other people; print it out and fill it in at your own leisure!

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How To Make Your Christmas Email Marketing Campaign Great

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By Ben Greenwood

Christmas; ’tis the season to be jolly and ’tis the season to be giving. You’ve been sending out your emails all year round as part of a sustained email marketing campaign, providing your dedicated subscribers with original content and exclusive offers in exchange for their loyalty (and hopefully, their custom!). Then Christmas arrives, you’ve left all your present buying late and you want to finish for the season and spend time with your family. So you compose a quick Merry Christmas message, hit send and leave the office until the New Year. Oh, intrepid email marketer, you should know so much better.

Christmas is a vital period for just about any business and this extends to all departments, including marketing. While you should definitely send your customers’ season’s greetings, Christmas provides the opportunity to do so much more for the average email marketer. Last minute buyers, one-off sales, gift ideas – the potential conversion rate of your campaign over the holidays is huge and with a bit of planning, you can make the most of it!

Everyone complains about Christmas coming ‘earlier’ every year, so timing is key to any email marketing campaign. No-one wants a message about Christmas in August and it will undoubtedly get deleted, so target November as an absolute earliest starting point for Christmas themed messages. That’s not to say you can’t mention Christmas earlier though – maybe through a small picture or link.

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We’ve all been in the position where we need to buy someone a present and simply don’t have a clue so give your subscribers a helping hand. Put together a gift guide separated into sub-categories – for him, her, kids, etc. Send one out a day towards the end of November/start of December and provide obvious links to products. Use your subscriber list to determine how to target these gift guides.

As Christmas Day approaches, start ramping up your efforts – you want to be catching any stragglers and last minute buyers. Check your analytics to see who has converted as a result of your emails and if there’s a particular demographic that seems to be lagging behind, target them. Offer discounts, feature items and one-off codes. Make sure you ramp up the pressure too; put in reminders about delivery dates and limited stock, but offer the customer hope by letting them know you can provide them with what they need and save their Christmas!

The best part of an email marketing campaign is that you don’t even need to be sending emails out physically on the day – so long as you’ve put together your content in advance, you can schedule all your Christmas emails to send out on particular days, even if you’ve left the office long ago! It is worth keeping an eye on things just in case, however – you don’t want to return to the office only to find that your emails haven’t sent or aren’t fulfilling their purpose.

The final step to a great Christmas email marketing campaign is to thank your customer for their loyalty and wish them a Merry Christmas. Don’t just send them a text email though – invest some time in designing an personalised e-card to make them feel extra special! E-cards allow you to personalise text, photos and even add video, but for the most pizzazz go for animated e-cards!

About the Author: Ben Greenwood is writing on behalf of


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Australian Maritime Safety Authority directs owner of APL England to search for, and recover, 50 cargo containers lost at sea off New South Wales

Saturday, June 13, 2020

This Monday, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a direction ordering the owner of APL England, a Singaporian cargo ship, to search for, and recover, 50 cargo containers that were lost from their vessel off New South Wales, Australia last month; Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has classified it as a “serious incident”. AMSA has identified a priority search area of about 1000km2 stretching between the Illawarra and Sydney’s southern suburbs. Drift modelling and analysis of container sightings following the incident indicates that missing containers could be in this area at water depth of up to 200m. Containers within the search area pose the most immediate environmental threat and may present a safety hazard for commercial fishers.

AMSA General Manager Response Mark Morrow said 15 containers had been recovered from the shoreline or towed in after being spotted floating off the coast, but 35 containers were still missing. The 50 cargo containers were spilled from the ship on May 24 as rough weather at the waters has been reported, which caused the vessel’s main engine to trip; resulting in loss of propulsion for a short time and the ship rolling heavily, up to 25°. Further investigations, according to a statement from AMSA, showed “inadequate lashing for cargo and heavily corroded securing points for containers on the deck”, which were the shipmaster’s responsibility.

Of the 50 spilt cargo containers, 26 were empty, according to reports. Further, another 75 containers were damaged but stayed onboard, according to a report from ABC. Some commenters had remarked this incident could have been avoided if the ship was loaded with the cargo more appropriately, such as with a lesser amount.

The AMSA surveyors conducted a seaworthiness inspection on May 26, with the ship docked at the Port of Brisbane anchorage (off Port Cartwright), to check the structural and operational condition of the ship following the collapse of container stacks on the deck. AMSA General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz said the seaworthiness inspection would help inform if, and how, the ship might be brought safely into the Port of Brisbane.

On May 27, the ship was found to be fit to be brought safely into the Port of Brisbane by Maritime Safety Queensland and the Brisbane Harbour Master. The vessel was escorted into Moreton bay by two harbour tugs, one container salvage response vessel, two Queensland water police vessels and a Maritime Safety Queensland pollution response vessel. It arrived safely in port at midday, and was detained by AMSA on Wednesday night after its investigators discovered the cargo stowage deficiencies including inadequate lashing arrangements for cargo and heavily corroded securing points for containers on deck.

AMSA said in a statement that the ship will not be released until the issues are corrected. “These inspection findings are a clear breach of requirements under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This is a now matter for the ship’s owner, American President Lines (APL), and the operator to rectify.” AMSA and Australian Transport Safety Bureau are conducting investigation into the incident; the final report is anticipated by the end of 2021 . AMSA continues to provide drift modeling and work with NSW Maritime, the lead agency responding to the incident’s shoreline impacts.

The ship master, 42-years-old Mohamad Zulkhaili Bin Alias, appeared at Wynnum Magistrates Court on May 29, 2020. According to the statement by AMSA, the offences filed against the shipmaster related to pollution and/or damage of the Australian marine environment as a result of poor cargo loading. Specifically the two charges that have been laid, as reported by ASMA, were

  1. “Section 26F of the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 – Discharging of garbage into the sea contrary to the Act
  2. Section 141 of the Navigation Act 2012 – Master did not ensure that the vessel was operated in a manner that did not cause
    • pollution to the marine environment in the coastal sea of Australia or the exclusive economic zone of Australia and
    • damage to the marine environment in the coastal sea of Australia or the exclusive economic zone of Australia”

The orders also included the ship insurer company to pay $22 million as per the Protection of the Seas Act, before the ship can be released from detention at the Port of Brisbane.

This Friday, on June 12, the Brisbane Magistrates Court in Queensland, Australia has changed the bail conditions for shipmaster – he was now allowed to travel abroad. The ship continued to remain detained in Brisbane where Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was investigating.

The new bail conditions allowed the ship master to leave the ship and travel abroad to Malaysia to resume his work, required him to appear in court in person when requested, and required that he would pay AUD60,000 of deposit to the court before his passport could be released to him.

On May 26, reports were received of face masks washing up in NSW between Magenta Beach and The Entrance. By May 27, the floating containers and their contents started polluting the beaches in Sydney, Australia. The AMSA released a statement in which it said the containers likely contained “medical supplies, household appliances and building materials”.

The Malabar Beach, Coogee Beach, Maroubra Beach, Bronte Beach and Bondi Beach were affected. Malabar beach was reportedly affected the most. The beaches were closed on Wednesday, May 27, and Council staff –rangers– as well as residents, including volunteers from Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR), cleaned-up what washed up on shore.

On Sunday May 31, a 12-meter container devoid of its shipment of “medical supplies, household appliances and building materials” washed up on rocks near South Maroubra Beach, in New South Wales, Australia.

The ASR branch coordinator commented on the environmental impact of the debris, by saying “It’s not going to biodegrade, it’s going to stay there for such a long time. These animals out in the ocean are going to choose to eat a lot of it as food. They don’t realise that what the ocean is providing isn’t good for them.”

The beaches were re-opened for swimming by 1st of June. After the beaches re-opened, visitors were advised to not pick up any debris (pictured). Some of the spilled cargo has also reached as far as the Central Coast, according to a report from ABC.

AMSA General Manager Response Mark Morrow said AMSA expected the owner and operator to respond to the direction with a detailed search plan in the coming days. “Failure to comply with this direction constitutes an offence under Australian law”.

The court matter was adjourned until July 24, to be mentioned at Brisbane Magistrates Court on the day.


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International participants showcase different industry cultures at 2008 Taipei Game Show

Friday, January 25, 2008

B2B Trade Area of Taipei Game Show, criticized by trade buyers last year, but accompanied with 2008 Taiwan Digital Content Forum, moved to the second floor at Taipei World Trade Center for world-wide participants with a better exchange atmosphere this year.

Not only local OBMs (Softstar Entertainment, Soft-World International Corp., International Games System Corp., …, etc.) but also companies from New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea showcased different specialists with multiple styles. Especially on South Korea, participated members from G? Trade Show (Game Show & Trade, All-Round, aka Gstar) showcased gaming industry of South Korea and the G? upcoming at this November with brochures.

In the 2-days Digital Content Forum, world-class experts not only shared industry experiences, members from Taiwan Gaming Industry Association also discussed and forecasted marketing models for gaming industry. With participations from governmental, industrial, and academical executives world-wide, this forum helps them gained precious experiences of digital content industry from several countries.

According to the Taipei Computer Association, the show and forum organizer, the digital content industry in Taiwan was apparently grown up recent years as Minister of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China Steve Ruey-long Chen said at Opening Ceremony yesterday. Without R&Ds from cyber-gaming, and basic conceptions from policies and copyright issues, this (digital content) industry will be fallen down in Taiwan. If this industry wanted to be grown up in sustainability, gaming OBMs in Taiwan should independently produce different and unique games and change market style to market brands and games to the world.

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