Heavy rains forecasted
Heavy rains are expected in the south and southeast today because the weather is being affected by the peripheral circumfluence of Typhoon Imbudo, which was heading for the Pratas Islands from the Philippines, officials at the Central Weather Bureau said yester-day. Forecasters said that residents living in the mountainous areas in the east and on the Hengchun Peninsula should be alert to landslides, mudflows and torrential rains. The bureau also issued a warning yes-terday to ships to be on the alert for strong winds from the typhoon. The alert could be lifted this afternoon. According to forecasters, the weather in the west and the north today will be clear. Forecasters said the arrival of strong winds from the east -- brought by the typhoon -- made yesterday the hottest day of the year so far. Tamshui recorded a record high yesterday of 38?C.
S Africa changes visa policy
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday that Republic of China passport holders intending to travel to South Africa for visits of up to 90 days are now eligible for visa-free trips. Francias Lee (李宗儒), director-general of the ministry's Department of African Affairs, told a press conference that the new measure took effect July 11. The new policy puts Taiwan in the same category with countries such as the US, Canada, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Nether-lands and other northern European countries, Lee said.
EU scholarship offered
Taiwanese students pursuing European studies at the post-graduate level are now eligible to apply for Erasmus scholarships, David Lee (李大維), the nation's repre-sentative to Brussels said yesterday. "The scholarship was originally limited to EU member states and has gradually been extended to non-member states," Lee said. The European Eco-nomic and Trade Office is expected to work with the Ministry of Education regarding the promotion of the scholarship scheme to interested students, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said. The scholarship is named after a popular Renaissance philosopher. Some 30 countries have taken part in the scheme, according to the EU Web site.
Monitoring centers set up
The Department of Health will establish centers next year to step up the control of the quality of Chinese medicinal herbs, a depart-ment official said yesterday. Lin Yi-hsin (林宜信), chair-person of the department's Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy, said that more than 80 percent of Chinese medicinal herbs used in Taiwan come from China and that the quality is not consistent. Lin said the department is planning to set up an overseas certification center and a domestic-control center next year to ensure the quality of medi-cinal herbs. Lin said the committee is also planning to visit 40 Chinese-medicine hospitals to assess them in September. The results of the assessment will be used for reference for students wanting to train at those hospitals. Lin said that the committee is also consi-dering expanding the assessment system and is mulling over implementing a proposal that Chinese-medicine doctors be required to work in one of the teaching hospitals for two years before practicing as a measure to upgrade the quality of these doctors.