Suspected smuggler arrested
A Malaysian national of Chinese ancestry was arrested on Sunday night at CKS Airport for allegedly trying to smuggle ketamine into the country. The 45-year-old man, identified as One Eng Cheow, arrived on a China Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur. Detectives at the airport said they began to watch the man closely after noticing that he seemed nervous and was walking in a strange manner. Customs officials then joined the detectives in conducting a body search of the man. They said they found more than 3kg of ketamine in a package tied to his lower back. He was immediately referred to the Public Prosecutors Office in Taoyuan for prosecution. The Aviation Police said that a supply shortage due to increasing seizures by police has caused ketamine prices to soar from NT$100,000 (US$3,129) to NT$1 million per kilogram on the streets.
Nation has 116 parties
While only a few political parties constantly make the headlines, the most recent registry of political parties compiled by the Ministry of the Interior lists a total of 116 political parties as of the end of last month. Last year, no less than six new political parties were formed. Twelve parties include the word "Taiwan" in their name, and 10 were established after the Democratic Progressive Party came to power. Twenty-five parties use "China" in their name, but only four of these were established after the transition of power in 2000. Of all the registered parties, 24 had "democracy" in their name.
Chen warns on PRC exposure
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that the nation's exposure to the risks of investing in China must be lowered by diverting local investments to other countries, after a recent US survey showed that half of China's foreign investment is now from Taiwan. Chen received a group of outstanding convenience-store managers at the Presidential Office yesterday. He reiterated the necessity of deliberate cross-strait policies regarding economic development, also known as "active management, effective opening." According to the US survey, half of the US$560 billion in foreign investment in China came from Taiwan. "We have to be very cautious. Taiwan's economic lifeblood and resources cannot be placed in China only," Chen said. He said that about 40 percent of Taiwanese companies' production lines are abroad. Of these, 90 percent are in China. "The situation is quite dangerous. We mustn't forget China's long-term animosity and ambition to annex Taiwan," Chen said.
Itchy kids urged to seek help
Doctors said yesterday that children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis should be treated as early as possible to increase their chances of recovering during adolescence. Dr. Tai Yang-hsia (戴仰霞) of the Department of Dermatology at National Taiwan University Hospital said that more than 3 million people in Taiwan suffer from the disease, and if early treatment is sought as a child, chances of recovery by adolescence increase by 50 percent. The main symptoms of the disease include extreme itchiness. Treatment includes antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines and creams. Dr Chu Chia-yu (朱家瑜) warned sufferers to take extra care in winter, when the weather is much drier. Chu cautioned sufferers against soaking in certain hot springs such as those containing sulphur compounds, which could cause the skin to rot.