Girls offered for sale
EBay halted an auction this week and suspended a Taiwanese user who allegedly tried to sell three Vietnamese girls on the Internet site for a starting bid of US$5,400. The auction, which began on March 2 on eBay's Taiwan site, did not include a detailed description of the goods for sale, but said the "items" were from Vietnam and would be "shipped to Taiwan only." The site included five photos of three people. One dark-haired woman in a white shirt wore makeup and blue nail polish, and the other two appeared to be girls no older than their early teens. The 10-day auction had a starting price of NT$180,000, or US$5,411. Vietnamese activist groups in Australia and the US noticed the listing as early as March 5 and began sending e-mails to women's rights and immigrant advocates around the world. Many of them contacted eBay, and earlier this week customer service representatives pulled the auction. "There couldn't be a clearer case of what's not allowed on eBay," spokesman Hani Durzy said on Friday.
Chinese dissident writer Cao Chang-ching (曹長青) was fined NT$500,000 (US$15,000) for publicly lecturing on the importance of the referendum on Friday night, a move considered illegal by the Kaohsiung election monitoring group. Cao delivered the speech on invitation of the northern Kaohsiung chapter of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU). Accompanied by law enforcement officers, auditor of the Kaohsiung election monitoring group Tsai Chi-ron (蔡枝榮) interrupted Cao's speech several times on the grounds that foreigners are banned from engaging in any electioneering activities for presidential candidates. Refusing to end his speech, Cao said that the speech was not aimed at electioneering for any particular presidential candidate but to show his support for Taiwanese people and Taiwan's democratic development. Huang Chao-chan (黃昭展), chairman of the TSU's northern Kaohsiung chapter, said the punishment was unacceptable and pledged to file for an appeal.
SARS remedy mass produced
A product that researchers claim is effective in fighting SARS has been put into mass production, a Tamkang University professor reported yesterday. Adam S.Y. Lee (李世元), head of the Department of Chemistry, said that at present, a chemical compound that is 99 percent pure can be produced in quantities of 10kg per week that can be provided to manufacturers who produce anti-SARS masks and protective garments. Lee noted that the Ministry of Economic Affairs had originally commissioned the National Taiwan University (NTU) to research the anti-SARS product, which was jointly developed by the NTU and Tamkang University last year and has been proved effective in fighting the atypical pneumonia.
LED plan almost complete
A plan to replace incandescent lamps with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in certain traffic lights will be completed in March, creating major energy savings, the Energy Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. Once the plan has been fully implemented, 280,000 of the 646,000 incandescent lamps used in traffic lights around the country will have been replaced, which will save 8,000 watts of electricity per year and reduce dioxide emissions by 75,000 tonnes through the savings on electricity, which is usually produced by burning coal.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by