■ Cross-strait Ties
PFP's Tsai off to China
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Tsai Shen-chia (蔡勝佳) left yesterday on an individual trip to China to give a speech on agriculture. Speaking to reporters before his departure, Tsai, who will head the delegation the PFP legislative caucus plans to send to China next week, said he would not be going to Beijing on this trip and would only be talking about agriculture. Tsai is also chairman of the Tainan County Farmers' Association. However, during a press conference later in the day, the PFP's legislative caucus emphasized that Tsai is representing the party on this trip. The motivation of his trip is to work for Taiwan's farmers, said PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄). Liu said the caucus is fully supportive of Tsai and his efforts.
Medical group departs
A four-member medical mission has traveled to Indonesia to help with post-earthquake relief work, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday. The group will offer medical services to survivors of the March 29 earthquake that struck off Sumatra, the official said. According to the official, the temblor resulted in the death or injury of more than 1,000 people, with Nias bearing the brunt of devastation. Out of humanitarian concern, the government has donated US$50,000 in cash and a large number of body bags to the Indonesian government, the official said, adding that the ministry has also told the representative office in Jakarta to buy US$10,000 worth of rice to help feed the quake survivors.
Employees unhappy with pay
Most employees earn less than NT$400,000 (US$12,700) per year and 91 percent of them and dissatisfied with their pay, according to the results of a poll made public yesterday. Some 26.7 percent of the respondents said that they earn an annual salary of between NT$390,000 and NT$300,000, while 24.8 percent and 22.1 percent claimed that they receive an annual salary less than NT$200,000 and between NT$200,000 and NT$290,000, respectively, according to the results of the survey carried out by the executive search Web site www.1111.com.tw. Only 1.43 percent of employees enjoy an annual salary of more than NT$1 million, making a per-capita salary of NT$342,300 per year, according to the poll. Employees aged between 31 and 35 get an annual salary of NT$448,100 on average, while those aged between 30 and 26 receive an average of NT$344,100. The 25-21 age group earn an average annual salary of NT$266,800. Some 82 percent of employees said that they are not satisfied with their pay, with only 6.6 percent satisfied with their earnings. About 91 percent dream of enjoying an annual salary of over NT$1 million, and those already achieving the goal said that it took them 5.09 years to reach that point.
Chinese explorer honored
A private group is organizing activities to observe the 600th anniversary of the naval expeditions led by Ming dynasty explorer Zheng He (鄭和). The Chinese Zheng He Society, founded by Liu Tah-tsai (劉達材), a retired admiral, with former minister of education Wu Jin (吳京) as honorary chairman, will host lectures and international symposiums and other activities to mark Cheng Ho's first naval voyage -- aimed at increasing the prestige of the emperor of the Ming dynasty -- in 1405. Taipei City Councilor Pan Huai-tsung (潘懷宗) said Wu will give a lecture on Cheng at the Taipei City Council tomorrow.
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
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
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