Fri, Jun 08, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Politics

Premier confirms promotion

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday confirmed that deputy minister of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Winston Dang (陳重信) will be promoted to become the minister of the agency, a post which was left vacant after former minister Chang Kow-lung (張國龍) resigned along with former premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) Cabinet last month. Former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) will serve as the deputy chairman of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Chang said. Minister without Portfolio Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) will double as the chairwoman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, he said.

■ Travel

UK visa changes on the way

Starting next month, all applicants for a UK visa will have to provide fingerprint scans and personal digital photos, the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) announced yesterday. The British government is introducing the collection of biometric data for all visa applicants worldwide, it added. The new measures will start on July 26 and all applicants will have to apply for a visa in person at the BTCO so their photo can be taken and they can be fingerprinted. BTCO director Michael Reilly said that biometric visas provide a higher standard of security and will in time make entry clearance into the UK simpler and easier. The changes will help improve security checks and prevent fraudulent visa use and the abuse of the UK's immigration and asylum system, he said.

■ Health

Diverse treatments popular

Over half of the country's families have tried Chinese medicine, Western medicine and folk therapy as medical treatment options have become more diversified, a National Cheng Kung University hospital official said on Wednesday. Huang Ying-hsiang (黃盈翔) said that a study on the medical treatment of 2,000 families around the country found that nearly half of rural families and nearly two-thirds of urban families have sought the three different forms of treatment. Western medicine is still the mainstream therapy although traditional Chinese medicine has become the next-most commonly sought after treatment while the use of alternative therapies have also become popular. The results of a survey conducted in 2003 showed that 75 percent of respondents said they would be willing to seek at least one kind of alternative therapy. Those who have received higher education, are middle class and in poor health, and women suffering from anxiety, chronic pain or urinary problems, are more likely to seek alternative therapy, the study found.

■ Society

Drunk driving killing more

Drunk driving has become the No. 1 cause of deaths on public roads, according to statistics in a report released by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday. The ministry said 727 people died last year as a result of drunk driving-related road accidents. The report pointed out that in 2001, drunk driving ranked third among all causes of road deaths before becoming the second leading cause in 2002. Since 2004, the number of road accidents due to drunk drinking has increased about 30 percent each year from 2,502 in 2004 to 2,999 last year, accounting for 16.7 percent and 36.5 percent of annual road traffic accidents respectively. The number of deaths caused by drunk driving also rose from 454 in 2004 to 547 in 2005, and to 727 last year.

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