The Central Weather Bureau in September significantly revised its system to measure rainfall into a more precise one, which can offer residents more useful reference when they encounter unstable weather in Taiwan, which has a subtropical climate. \nFor the sake of disaster prevention, the bureau in the last two decades offered only two rainfall forecasts, including "heavy rain," which means more than 50mm of rain will be accumulated within 24 hours, and "severe storms" -- more than 130mm of rain within 24 hours. \nHowever, recent unusual weather, accompanied by devastating rainfalls triggering mudflows, landslides and flooding necessitated the addition of two new levels of rainfall above existing ones. \nAccording to the bureau's new system, the warning of "exceptional severe storm" will be issued to residents in certain areas if accumulative rainfall within 24 hours exceeding 200mm is expected. In addition, when accumulative rainfall within 24 hours exceeding 350mm is expected, a warning of "super severe storm" will be issued. \nMeanwhile, the Central Personnel Administration (CPA) added rainfall level as one of the reference factors for local governments to determine whether schools and businesses can have a day off when potential devastating heavy rains come. \nSchools and businesses in Taiwan are entitled to "natural disaster leave" when typhoons, earthquakes or flooding occur. Previously, however, local governments considered the strength of strong winds caused by typhoons as the only reference. The CPA's adjustment was made to respond to a controversy over the Joint College Entrance Examination that was held without giving a thought to examinees in certain areas as Tropical Storm Mindulle swept across the nation and caused floods in central and southern Taiwan in early July.
PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES
PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES
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
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,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students