Many Taiwanese students view cram schools only with academic achievement in mind. But a consumer watchdog group yesterday urged students and parents to be wary of the state of fire safety at these facilities before deciding which schools to attend. \nCiting the results of a preliminary survey, the Consumer's Foundation yesterday in Taipei urged students and parents to watch out for fire hazards at cram schools. \nVolunteers conducted a preliminary survey of 16 legal cram schools in Taipei on Aug. 5, the foundation said. Out of the 16, only two met Taipei city fire safety standards. \nThe foundation found the cram schools lacking in several major areas. Most schools did not have maps of escape routes available in case of fire, and fire extinguishers were often not marked with expiration dates, the foundation's secretary general Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) said. \nVolunteers said they inspected schools where escape routes were blocked by furniture or items for storage, hallways too narrow to allow quick passage and broken emergency lights, the foundation said. Many cram schools also do not have the minimum number of at least two emergency exits, and also crowd too many students into classrooms, they added. \nRepresentatives from Taipei's education bureau and city fire department said that while the city conducts stringent safety checks during the legalization process, post-legalization inspections are up to cram schools. Schools must conduct annual checks, and schools will be given warnings or shut down if they are found in violation of regulations or of non-compliance with the checks, the officials said. \n"Anything that involves the safety of human life demands immediate improvement," said the foundation's deputy secretary-general Hsieh Tien-jen (謝天仁). \nCram schools that find themselves in violation of safety regulations should immediately make improvements or close until improvements can be made, Cheng said. \nThe foundation also noted that it would be conducting a large-scale survey of cram schools in three weeks' time. After the completion of the inspections, the foundation will make a list of Taipei's top 10 fire safety offenders available to the public, Cheng said. \n"Three weeks is more than enough time for [schools] to make changes to improve fire safety. If, after this period we still find cram schools that are still in violation of safety rules, then we will publicize a list of the offenders," Cheng said.
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 ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu