Chen congratulates artists
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) sent his congratulations yesterday to Yang En-dian (楊恩典), a physically challenged artist who paints with her mouth and feet, over the recent birth of her baby girl. Chen was represented by Cho Chun-ying (卓春英), a deputy director-general of the Presidential Office's Department of Public Affairs, who visited Yang at Mingsheng General Hospital in the southern port city of Kaohsiung. Cho presented Yang with a specially designed baby carrier and a "red envelope" containing money as a gift from the president. The baby carrier is designed so that Yang can bottle-feed her baby with her feet. Yang, 31, who was born without arms and was abandoned by her parents, gave birth to a healthy baby girl Monday. Yang and her husband, who is not physically challenged, named the infant "Chenteh" (貞德, St. Joan of Arc), hoping that the child will grow up to become a brave woman like the French heroine.
Farmers say groupers `safe'
Fish farmers who raise groupers in Yungan Township (永安) in Kaohsiung County said yesterday that health officials regularly monitor their fish and claimed that their groupers are safe, despite Hong Kong officials saying they had found a carcinogen in a sample exported from Taiwan. The farmers, who raise 8,000 tonnes of the fish each year in 350 hectares of ponds, made the claim after hearing that Hong Kong had found malachite green, a carcinogen, in a sample from a spotted black grouper imported from Taiwan. Hong Kong's fishery businesses have suspended the sale of this kind of fish. However, a Taiwanese official based in Hong Kong has questioned the method used by Hong Kong authorities making such a "serious accusation." The official asked that Hong Kong's health authorities offer more details about the report, which was widely carried by the media and could cause a lot of damage not only to fish farmers but also to Taiwan's image.
■ Typhoon relief
Vegetable tariffs cut
Ten kinds of imported vegetables were given a 50 percent tariff cut yesterday in an effort to restrain skyrocketing vegetable prices after Typhoon Talim rampaged through Taiwan on Thursday. The imports include scallions, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers, lettuce, other leafy green vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet peppers and sweetcorn, officials of the Council of Agriculture said, adding that the tariff cut will remain until Sept. 22. The vegetable shipment to the Taipei wholesale market dropped to 503 tonnes yesterday, a new post-typhoon low. Consequently, the wholesale prices of vegetables surged to a historic high of NT$43.2 (US$1.3) per kilogram, according to statistics from the Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co. By cutting the tariff from 20 to 10 percent, the council hopes there will be enough imports to allow reasonable prices to be maintained, officials said.
Next typhoon under scrutiny
The Central Weather Bureau is monitoring a new storm system in the Pacific Ocean that has gained strength to become a super typhoon in the last 24 hours. Typhoon Nabi is the 14th typhoon reported in the Pacific Ocean this year. It was located more than 1,000km from Taiwan's southernmost tip of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) at 10am yesterday, meteorologists said, adding that tomorrow would be the time to say whether the typhoon will affect Taiwan.