Taiwan must join WHO: Chen
President Chen Shui-bian yesterday (陳水扁) stressed the importance of Taiwan obtaining access to the World Health Organization (WHO). Speaking at a ceremony to honor senior medical workers, Chen said the reappearance of SARS in Taiwan has reminded the world of the loophole in its anti-epidemic frontline caused by Taiwan's absence from the WHO, which coordinates the global efforts to fight epidemics. Noting that Taiwan succeeded in overcoming the disease on its own earlier this year, Chen said the episode brought home to both the international community and the country that epidemics know no political boundaries and that the world's attempts to bring epidemics under control are hampered by shutting Taiwan out for political reasons. Now that the disease has reappeared in Taiwan due to the negligence of a scientist engaged in SARS research that caused him to become infected by the disease on Dec. 17, the president said the case serves as a warning to both the world and the country that Taiwan should be included in the WHO as soon as possible.
Austronesian fest opens
The 2003 Austronesian Cultural Festival opened yesterday in Taitung, focusing on the weaving and knitting skills of Austronesian civilization. The festival, organized by the Taitung County Government and the National Museum of Prehistory in Taitung City, is the final large-scale tourist activity to be held by the government this year. It will run through Dec. 30. In addition to Taiwan's 10 Aboriginal groups, the organizers have also invited performance troupes from Canada, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Hawaii to take part. Festival-goers will be able to get a better understanding of the movements of the Austronesian people and of their marine and terrestrial cultures. On the evening of Dec. 31 there will be a party, featuring various types of music, including jazz and Latin from Cuba and Brazil.
Trade with China up 29.4%
Trade between Taiwan and China amounted to US$44.63 billion in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 29.4 percent over the same period of last year, according to a report by the New China News Agency. The report quoted an official of China's Ministry of Commerce as saying that the outbreak of SARS earlier this year had little impact on cross-strait trade, because 80 percent of Taiwan's investments in China are in manufacturing industries. In the first 10 months of this year, Chinese imports from Taiwan totaled US$39.59 billion, an increase of 28.7 percent over the same period of last year. China's exports to Taiwan totaled US$7.04 billion in the same period.
Skyscraper fails to impress
Plans to build the world's tallest skyscraper in New York barely caused a ripple yesterday in Taipei, home to the building that currently claims that title. The island's media paid little attention to the plan announced in New York on Friday to build a 532.8m glass tower on the site where terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and other buildings on Sept. 11, 2001. The New York structure, dubbed the Freedom Tower, would top Taipei 101, which stands at 502.8m. A Taiwanese architect said no one expected Taipei 101 to stay the world's tallest building forever. "With technology advancing constantly, it's only a matter of time before a higher building will be completed," Richard Lee said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions