Mon, Jun 28, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Population

More male babies born

The proportion of male babies nationwide is rising as women increasingly abort female fetuses, the Department of Health said yesterday. Sociologists say couples are increasingly choosing to have only one child in order to enjoy a better quality of life and that having a son is preferable because males carry on the family name. Last year, 119,000 boys and 108,000 girls were born, boosting the ratio of males against females to about 110 to 100 from the normal rate of 105 to 100, the department said in a statement. It said more women were aborting female fetuses and giving birth only when they conceive boys. Technology allowing parents to find out the sex of their fetus, as well as artificial insemination allowing parents to choose the sex of their child, has contributed to the increase in the male-to-female ratio, sociologists say. The birthrate dropped to a record low of 1.2 last year. The rate, which measures the average number of times a woman gives birth during her lifetime, was 3.71 in 1971 and 7.04 in 1951.

■ Performing Arts

Music festival marks solstice

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) traveled to Chiayi County yesterday to join the Asian Music Festival dedicated to mark the summer solstice. Lu met with more than 500 foreign brides and their families during the festival in which bands, choirs and musicians from Indonesia, Japan, Iran, Mongolia and Taiwan showed off their talent. The Asian Music Festival, the first of its kind in Chiayi, has been going on since June 19 under the sponsorship of the Chiayi County Government as part of activities marking the upcoming opening of the Tropic of Cancer Solar Museum in Chiayi. The summer solstice, which fell on June 21, is the day the sun is furthest north of the equator. Chiayi County's Shuishang township is exactly where the Tropic of Cancer passes when the summer solstice occurs.

■ Aboriginal Affairs

Churches launch book drive

To help promote reading in remote Aboriginal commu-nities, three churches in Pingtung and Taitung counties are calling for the public to donate used children's and young-adult books. The book drive is spearheaded by Chen Yi-cheng (陳怡真), a teacher in Taitung's Chang-bin township and member of the Chang-bin Church. "In our church there are many people from the Aboriginal community or from low-income or single-family homes. I came to realize that there was a serious lack of reading materials for the kids," Chen said. She said that the idea for the drive really took off when friends used e-mail to spread her idea. Ku-lo Church and Man-chou Church in Pingtung County are centers for the book drive. To learn more, call Man-chou Church at (08) 880-1886 or Ku-lo Church at (08) 785-0431.

■ Policy

Chen firm on new constitution

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday reiterated his intention to provide the nation with a new constitution in the coming four years. Speaking at a meeting of the Tainan County Natives' Association in Taipei, Chen said that a suitable and feasible constitution will make Taiwan "a great, normal and beautiful country." Chen encouraged the association's members to continue to support his administration and to be confident in the nation's future development. Chen said many economic indicators show the economy has been steadily recovering and the country's international competitiveness has been increasing.

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