Surrogacy may be allowed
The Department of Health (DOH) disclosed that new provisions may be added to the artificial births bill being drafted by the DOH to allow surrogate motherhood under certain conditions. The DOH said that the draft law would allow a childless couple with fertility problems to use a surrogate mother if they can provide their own egg and sperm for artificial insemination. The law would require that the surrogate mother be an adult with successful childbearing experience. The surrogate mother may be paid for her service, and there would be no restriction on her nationality. She would also be entitled to financial compensation to cover her hospital bills, losses of pay from her job due to pregnancy, and expenses for transportation and nutrition, according to the bill. However, medical professionals warned that if the bill was passed in its current form, commercial brokers could emerge to try to recruit foreign women working in Taiwan's factories and households to become surrogate mothers.
Gadgets lure, girls don't
About 60 percent of the public uses a computer every day, with 70 percent of families owning at least two computers, according to a recent survey on consumption patterns for information products. The results of the poll, conducted jointly by Shih Hsin University and the magazine PC Home, show that 40 percent of the nation's users give themselves a passing grade of 60 points (out of 100 points) in their ability to use a computer, while 38 percent gave themselves a score of 80 or more. Notebook computers, digital cameras and MP3s are the three most popular items among the Taiwanese people. Only 10 percent said they are attracted to visit electronics fairs because of the "show girls" at exhibit booths, and most respondents claimed that they hate large crowds at exposition venues. The finding goes against the commonly held view that show girls help lure large crowds and boost sales. The random survey questioned visitors to a computer applications show held at the Taipei World Trade Center from July 28 to Aug. 1. A total of 1,136 valid samples were collected.
■ Cross-strait ties
Soong to go to Shanghai
People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is expected to preside over a cross-strait economic forum next month in Shanghai. The matter was discussed during a meeting yesterday between a PFP delegation to China, led by party Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生), and Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), director of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the Beijing-based State Council. It will be Soong's second visit to China this year following a visit in May. PFP Policy Center Director Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said his party prefers to start engaging with the Chinese on the most urgent and less complex economic and financial issues, such as cargo and passenger services and financial cooperation, amid highly sensitive cross-strait relations. The Shanghai forum will only touch on cross-strait trade and economic issues, and will exclude complicated political issues, he added. According to Chang, representatives of major trade associations and chief executive officers of various leading enterprises from the US, Europe and Japan will be invited to take part in discussions centering on the opening of direct cross-strait trade, transport and postal links, and the impact on foreign investment in Taiwan.