China is developing the means to electronically blockade rival Taiwan with attacks to the country's vital utilities, the Internet and other communications networks, a high-ranking US defense official has said. \nThe stern warning was issued by Richard Lawless -- deputy undersecretary of defense -- during a closed-door meeting with business leaders last month in the US. A copy of Lawless' speech was obtained by The Associated Press yesterday under the US Freedom of Information Act. \nLawless cautioned that if a war broke out between Taiwan and China, the first casualties might not be "brave men and women in uniform." He said China might first target things that keep Taiwan's high-tech society running. \n"China is actively developing options to create chaos on the island, to compromise components of Taiwan's critical infrastructure: telecommunications, utilities, broadcast media, cellular, Internet and computer networks," Lawless said on Oct. 4 to the US-Taiwan Business Council. \n``Taiwan could be electronically blockaded, isolated from the world, creating a kind of perfect storm in which the US could not communicate with Taiwan or Taiwan with the world,'' Lawless said during the council's meeting in the southwestern city of Scottsdale, Arizona. \nLawless said such a strategy could be called an "acupuncture" attack aimed at "the destruction of a national will" with "the insertion of a hundred needles." \nBeijing insists that self-ruled, democratic Taiwan is part of China and has repeatedly threatened to attack if the Taiwanese seek a permanent split or delay too long on unification. \nMuch of the debate over whether China will invade has focused on China's growing arsenal of destroyers, jets, submarines and hundreds of missiles aimed at Taiwan, just 160km off China's southern coast. \nBut in recent years, analysts have touted the possibility that China could be developing new high-tech weapons that could give the Chinese an edge over US forces -- which are widely expected to help defend Taiwan. \nLawless said that several recent incidents have exposed vulnerabilities in Taiwan's critical infrastructure and communication systems and that China is aware of these weak spots. \nIn 1999, the loss of a single transformer station on Taiwan "left thousands without power for weeks," while a massive earthquake the same year "left Taiwan dependent on satellite communications to the outside world for more than a month." \n"Many feared China would attempt to take advantage of Taiwan's ill fortune," Lawless said. \nTaiwan must do more to safeguard telecommunications, fiber optics, energy supplies and major transportation arteries, and should consider allowing private agencies to assist in national defense, he said. \n"Taiwan is one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world, but the expertise and wealth of experience that exist in the private sector remains largely untapped," he said.
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
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”