■ Politics \nGet a plan, Ma told \nA People First Party (PFP) legislator yesterday urged Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to take steps toward a future presidential run by proposing a concrete vision for Taiwan's future -- instead of appealing for sympathy about the difficult situation in which he finds himself. "Objectively speaking, Ma is without question the only hope for the pan-blue alliance," said Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), PFP legislative caucus leader. "However, he must draw up a blueprint for ruling the country," Liu said. Liu said that the media has paid a lot of attention recently to Ma's so-called "combat staff," saying that Ma appears as if he likes to spend too much time talking about how much pressure his administration is under, which only seems to demonstrate a lack of will. "There are so many things that he could do, but so few thing he has done," Liu said. "Right now, focusing on the issue of organizing a `combat staff' makes Ma look like an opportunist," Liu said. "The future of the pan-blue camp must be based on a vision, not on how many people belong to anyone's team," Liu said, adding that the public will reach its own judgements about Ma's effectiveness -- especially while Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is passing important laws in the legislature. \n■ Health \nQuitter wins \nHualien County resident Chang Chien-kuo (張建國) tasted something sweeter than cigarette smoke when he won NT$600,000 (US$17,910) yesterday in an annual "quit and win" contest. Officials of the John Tung Foundation, which sponsored the contest, said that 30,096 people took part in this year's contest. Chang was chosen as the top winner in a random computer draw. Chang, 33, who had puffed up to 50 cigarettes a day, said he made up his mind to quit after learning that his wife was pregnant early this year. Health Minister Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said more than half of Taiwan's people start smoking before age 18. \n■ Public Safety \nYouths join in Police Day \nKaohsiung County's police department celebrated Police Day yesterday with a series of activities that included participation by juvenile delinquents from a local reformatory school. More than 500 guests joined in the event's activities, which focused on performances by youths that included traditional dragon dancing, a street dance and a drum performance. In addition to honoring some 60 distinguished and veteran police officers, Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) urged the Kaohsiung County Police Department to introduce a more humane work schedule to reduce the level of stress faced by police officers. \n■ Animal husbandry \nDucks chanted at \nSome farmers play Buddhist chants to ducks to calm them down in the summer heat and make them lay more eggs, a television station reported yesterday. "Some duck farm owners in southern Taiwan are playing cassettes of Buddhist sutras to ducks to calm them down because ducks get agitated in hot weather," Chinese Television System (CTS) reported. "Playing Buddhist chants has also caused ducks to lay more eggs. The percentage of ducks laying eggs rises from 8 percent when no music is played to 10 percent when Buddhist music is played," CTS said." Also, the ducks lay more double-yolk eggs," the station said. Many Taiwanese farmers play music to make cows produce more milk, while some pig farmers play music to make pigs grow.
PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,