■ Labor Teachers form union \n \nA group of schoolteachers in Kaohsiung formed a union yesterday, making it the first local-government-sanctioned teachers' union. Current law forbids teachers from forming unions. After strong lobbying by many teachers, the Bureau of Labor Affairs under the Kaohsiung City Government finally approved the union's formation. A founding ceremony was held at Kaihsuan Elementary School yesterday morning led by Chen Ming-pin (陳銘彬), a teacher at the Kaohsiung City Boys' Senior High School. More than 50 teachers and their representatives attended the ceremony. Chen said the union will not only promote teachers' rights and benefits but also will push teachers to fulfill their social responsibilities. \n \n■ Labor \nRace winners get promoted \n \nWith government jobs at stake, more than 200 temporary workers at Taichung City Government's Environmental Protection Bureau competed in a grueling physical fitness test yesterday. Bureau officials said that there are 32 vacancies for cleaners this year and that they intend to fill these positions with temporary workers it currently employs. In the test, both male and female participants were required to run for 50m while carrying a 30kg sandbag. Those with the top 32 times were to be upgraded from temporary employment to become formal employees of the bureau. This would mean a pay raise of more than NT$10,000 (US$296.73) per month and other civil service benefits for those workers with the best times in the race. \n \n■ Conservation \nFish fry freed offshore \n \nThe Hsinchu County Government and several fishing-industry groups released more than 200,000 fish fry offshore yesterday as part of efforts to promote sustainable development of the fishing industry. Many schoolchildren also joined in the event. A county official said fishery resources in Taiwan's coastal areas have been dwindling because of poaching by Chinese fishing boats in recent years. Worse still, the official said, Chinese fishermen illegally use dragnets, aggravating the decline of fishery resources by also trapping smaller fish. The official said the county government hopes the program can enhance local people's environmental awareness and lead them to work with the government to conserve maritime resources. \n \n■ Chips \nChina investment urged \n \nLin Hsin-Yi (林信義), a senior adviser to Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said more of the nation's chipmakers should be allowed to invest in China to compete with startup rivals on that side of the Taiwan Strait, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing Lin. Taiwan should allow more companies to operate in China to compete with newcomers that are "ruining prices," the paper reported Lin as saying. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world's largest supplier of made-to-order chips, in April won permission from the nation's government to open Taiwan's first chipmaking plant in China, a project that will cost US$898 million. Taiwan Semiconductor competes with Chinese chipmakers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp of Shanghai (SMIC). Taiwan, whose largest industry is chipmaking, has kept local manufacturers out of China before now.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin