Chen Chu won't go to China
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who was invited to attend a sports conference in Beijing starting on April 24, decided yesterday to have Deputy Mayor Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文隆) attend on her behalf. Chen, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, told journalists one day after her aide talked with Mainland Affairs Council officials in Taipei about the invitation that she had decided to skip the conference because it conflicts with a Kaohsiung City Council session which she has to attend to field councilors' questions. Chen had been invited to the conference to present a briefing on Kaohsiung City's preparations for hosting the 2009 World Games.
Local researchers have successfully extracted blood clotting proteins from pig's milk, revealing new possibilities in the development of medicines to treat hemophilia, according to a report released yesterday by the Animal Technology Institute Taiwan (ATIT) in Miaoli. ATIT officials explained that the protein they have extracted is identical to the human clotting factor IX, which is used in treating type B hemophilia. ATIT officials said that medicines for hemophilia are extremely expensive -- the production cost of hemophiliac medication is about US$66,000 per gram, and hundreds of thousands of NT dollars can be spent monthly on the medicine for a single hemophiliac. However, the new method can produce greater amounts in a relatively simple process -- the volume of clotting proteins in pig milk is 100-400 times that in human plasma, they added.
Emergency center proposed
The legislature's Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee yesterday approved an amendment requiring the Department of Health (DOH) to establish an emergency medical command center to facilitate the delivery of emergency medical services. The center would be responsible for coordinating and communicating with medical authorities around the country to meet major emergency medical needs, the draft amendment said. The DOH would also be required to team up with medical institutions to form regional emergency medical reaction centers that would help the emergency medical command center in its efforts to integrate medical resources and conduct round-the-clock monitoring work in case of a major pandemic. The draft bill stipulates that participating medical institutions must post medical professionals in the regional emergency medical reaction centers year-round. The amendments still have to be reviewed by the whole legislature.
Wang You-theng denied bail
US judges denied fugitive Rebar Group chairman Wang You-theng's (王又曾) request for bail on Wednesday morning, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported. CNA said that Wang then requested that he be transferred to another detention facility with more Chinese-speaking detainees because he was not in good health and could not speak English. It was not clear at press time if the judges had granted the request. Wang fled overseas in late December after allegedly embezzling massive amounts of money from the Rebar Group. Taiwanese prosecutors have sought a 30-year prison sentence and an unprecedented fine of NT$1.71 billion (US$52.13 million) for Wang.
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
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students