■ Society \nPrisoner releases down \nThere were 7,206 prisoners released on parole between January and November last year, down 5.4 percent from the same period the year before, according to statistics released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics yesterday. In terms of offenses committed by the parolees, those who were in violation of drug prevention laws accounted for the most at 2,458, or 34.1 percent, followed by burglary at 793, or 11 percent. During the same period, 1,682 people had their parole revoked, down 19.4 percent from the same period last year. \n■ Cross-Strait Ties \nIllegal immigrants nabbed \nTen Chinese citizens -- eight men and two women -- were rounded up in waters off Lungtung Thursday night as they were trying to sneak into the country, Coast Guard Administration (CGA) authorities reported yesterday. Acting on tips, two teams of agents from the Keelung CGA and police from Juifang, Taipei County, began searching the Lungtung coast near Pitouchiao around 7:20pm. With the help of radar, police found the Chinese jumping from a Fuchi Fishing Port-registered boat into a sampan, which had sailed about 350m off Lungtung to pick up the smuggled human cargo. The 10 were brought to a nearby police station for questioning, while the skippers of the two Taiwanese fishing vessels were ordered to sail to Auti Port in Juifang for questioning. \n■ Politics \nPremier to step down \nPremier Yu Shyi-kun said for the first time yesterday that he will not remain as premier after the Cabinet resigns on Jan. 24. Yu told reporters while making an inspection tour in central Taiwan that he has been in the post for three years and that's long enough. "I will be very pleased when somebody takes over my job in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle. I want to take a rest to refresh my mind," Yu said. He said he is very confident of the competence and dedication of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration, adding that the government's work will not be affected by the departure of any single official. Yu and the rest of the Cabinet will resign en masse Jan. 24 to pave the way for the formation of a new Cabinet ahead of the Feb. 1 inauguration of a new Legislative Yuan. \nYu refused to speculate on who his successor might be. \n■ Diplomacy \nLu talks up Central America \nVice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday spoke about government projects in Central America aimed at boosting the electronic integration of diplomatic allies in the region. Addressing a seminar on technological development in Taiwan's industries, Lu said the nation would make use of its information technology know-how and resources to help Central American technological development. The projects include a "Taiwan park," which will bring together local industries in each country, Lu said. While the host countries will provide land, manpower and long-term investment incentives, Taiwan will provide the technology and experience in electronic integration, she said. Taiwan will also introduce a vocational training system and set up a Taiwan Institute in Central America. Lu also said that her pet project, the Democratic Pacific Union, will convene in Taipei on Aug. 14 and that an "e-Pacific" project aimed at narrowing the digital gap will feature prominently. \n■ Crime \n`Snakehead' executed \nA man convicted of pushing six Chinese women to their deaths in a bid to escape the coast guard was executed on Wednesday, the judiciary said yesterday. Wang Chung-hsing (王中興) was executed at a Taichung prison. Wang and his crew forced 20 young women to jump into the sea as a coast guard vessel approached their ship off the west coast in August 2003. Rescue workers later found the bodies of six women. As the ring leader, Wang was sentenced to death, while three of his crew members received prison sentences. Appeals failed to overturn the death penalty for Wang, but he never accepted his sentence, a coroner said. "Snakeheads" smuggle Chinese illegal migrants across the Taiwan Strait in boats. Many such women end up working in hostess bars and brothels. \n■ Crime \nChild abuser sentenced \nA court has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for feeding his five-month-old son glue, badly damaging the baby's sight and hearing, court officials said yester-day. The 32-year-old man, surnamed Wen, was found guilty of battery and abuse for feeding glue to his baby, now 2, on more than one occasion, a Taipei district court said. The boy has been staying with a foster family since he was found in May 2003. Wen's wife had left home alleging that she was a victim of domestic violence. The boy's brain and nervous system were severely damaged, causing irreparable damage to his limbs, hearing and sight, according to the verdict. Wen showed no remorse at the ruling and blamed the court for tearing his family apart. "I didn't do anything to hurt my son. He [the judge] destroyed a family and my relations with my son," Wen told reporters.
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
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by