Seized drugs burned
The Bureau of Investigation yesterday burned 265kg of drugs seized by law-enforcement personnel over the past year as a prelude to this year's National Anti-Drug Conference scheduled for June 3. Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) presided over a public ceremony at the incineration. The bureau said the drugs included 242kg of heroin, 21kg of marijuana, 691g of morphine and 1,175g of cocaine. It was the largest stash of drugs the bureau had destroyed since 1993, when it opened an office to store and manage narcotics evidence. Drug disposals have been conducted annually to coincide with the anti-drug conference, the bureau said. Bureau analysis on drug offenses shows that the amount of ketamine recovered in the past two years has grown two-fold, while marijuana has gained in popularity among office workers and people in show business.
Pianist honored in Austria
A talented Taiwanese musician was honored by Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna, Austria, for her achievements in music last Friday. Tsao Hsin-wen (曹馨文), a pianist born and raised in Taiwan, has lived in Austria since she was 17 to pursue her studies at a Vienna conservatory. She was awarded the Theodor-Koerner Award, named after a former Austrian president, which honors individuals for outstanding achievements in various fields including music, arts and sciences, according to documents released for the award ceremony. Tsao's achievements include participation in music events worldwide and winning awards in Sweden, Austria, Italy and Hungary. "It's rare for a Taiwanese person to receive the award," Tsao said, adding that she was the only Taiwanese among this year's recipients. "The award isn't just an honor for me; More significantly, it's an honor for my homeland, Taiwan."
Cabinet approves spending
The Cabinet has approved a public construction budget of NT$131.5 billion (US$4 billion) for next year, a 2.5 percent increase, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday. The construction budget is part of overall spending for next year that will be forwarded to the legislature for approval in the second half of this year. The Cabinet last August approved the budget for this year with projected spending of NT$1.66 trillion and income of NT$1.51 trillion. This year's budget is still under review by the legislature.
Clear sky days decreasing
Air monitoring data has shown that in a period of about 100 winter days when northeast monsoons prevail in Taiwan, the number of clear sky days has decreased over the past three years, an official of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) revealed earlier this week. Chang Shun-chin (張順欽), who is in charge of pollution monitoring, said there were only 46 days with clean air to breathe during the monsoon season this winter, which lasted 111 days. By comparison, there were 59 "clean days" during last year's monsoon season, which lasted 116 days, while 77 clean days were recorded in the season before that, which lasted 112 days, Chang said. He attributed the situation to pollution by particulate matter carried by monsoon winds to Taiwan from China and Southeast Asia. The pollution coming from overseas was found to be worst in the Taipei area, he added.
Group organizes `Spank Out'
With international "Spank Out Day" next Monday, the Humanistic Education Foundation said it will mark the day on Sunday by organizing activities in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. According to foundation officials, street parades and garden fairs will be held in the Taiwan's three largest cities on the same day to observe the international movement launched by the Center for Effective Discipline with the aim of raising awareness among Taiwanese parents that corporal punishment is not the only way to discipline children. Foundation officials expressed hope that Taiwanese parents will find ways to teach using their children without physical punishment after attending their activities, which suggest ways for parents to get along with their kids through a wide range of games aimed at improving their interactions.
Violence report released
A recent report by the Ministry of Justice said that 3,114 new cases of domestic violence were reported to prosecutors last year, with abusers, mostly males, coming from all age groups. Most of the offenders and victims were husbands and wives. A vast majority of the abusers were jobless men or laborers with low levels of education, and ranged in age from teens to over 60. Only one in 12 abusers is female. Among male abusers, those aged between 30 and 50 accounted for 67.5 percent; minors below 20 and the elderly over 60 making up 0.1 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, the report said. Some 49 percent of those responsible for domestic violence were illiterate or had only an elementary-level education. Only 29.5 percent were senior high school graduates.
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
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
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,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions