Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Transportation
Bright headlights targeted

Efforts are being made to work out a set of safety standards and examination criteria for the installation of high intensity discharge (HID) lamps on automobiles, officials of the highways affairs department of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication said yesterday. By July 1, traffic safety regulations will be established allowing the police to clamp down on drivers who have their cars upgraded with HID headlights without following a standard installation procedure, the officials said. HID headlights can blind drivers coming in the opposition direction if not installed properly.

■ Society

Birth rate falls

Taiwan's gross reproduction rate declined to 7.4 live births per 1,000 population in the first 10 months of this year, down from 7.8 for the same period last year, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said. The gross reproduction rate refers to the ratio of births per 1,000 population during a specific period of time, usually a year. With the birth rate continuously falling, the DGBAS said the number of newborns dropped to 169,000 during the January-October period, marking a 3.8 percent year-on-year decrease. Of the newborns, 6,832 were born to unmarried mothers for a 6.2 percent year-on-year rise, according to DGBAS tallies. In the face of the falling birth rate, the Executive Yuan has formed a special task force to draft revisions to the nation's population policy guidelines and come up with a population policy white paper.

■ Health

More women getting HIV

The number of female HIV carriers has been rising alarmingly and the age of this group has also been getting younger and younger, officials from the Department of Health reported. As of the end of last month, 803 females were confirmed HIV positive, constituting 8.4 percent of the total number of 9,616 people who have been confirmed HIV positive since the first case was reported in 1985, officials from the Center for Disease Control said. Of the 803 female HIV carriers, nearly 70 percent were aged between 20 and 39. According to the center's tallies, the age of female HIV carriers averaged 30 this year, down from 38 in 2003. Among this year's 2,766 new cases, 332 were women. Of these, 29 were under 20 years old, including three as young as 16, according to officials. About half of these teenage girls said they had become infected via using drugs. The rising number of female HIV carriers has also contributed to changes in the stereotype of HIV carriers, who were formerly mostly male drug users and homosexuals.

■ Diplomacy

Envoy submits resignation

Deputy representative to the US Joanne Chang (裘兆琳) has reportedly submitted her resignation to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), a Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday refused to comment on the report. Chang, deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, reportedly quit her job because she felt neglected and found it difficult to implement her ideas. Chang was also alleged to have "tensions" with her boss, David Lee (李大維), the report said. Ministry officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said yesterday that they had heard Chang wanted to quit a while ago, probably because of the gap between her expectations and the reality of the job.

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