Chess tournament begins
The 2007 World Computer Chinese Chess Championship will begin today at two universities in Tainan, the organizers of the event said yesterday. The three-day competition is being jointly organized by Chang-Jung Christian University, National University of Tainan and the Taiwanese Association for Artificial Intelligence. It will be divided into two sections with 15 teams from the US, France, China and Taiwan competing in Group A using self-developed computer programs, a spokesman said. In Group B, nearly 100 members of the public from Taiwan and China will play against computers. The winners from each section will challenge Taiwan's best Chinese chess player, Wu Kuei-lin (吳貴臨). The event also includes a forum in which academics from Taiwan and Japan are invited to discuss issues concerning computer Chinese chess, the spokesman said.
Dengue fever alarm sounded
A 68-year-old woman in Tainan contracted the first case of indigenous dengue hemorrhagic fever this year, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more serious form of the disease that can often prove fatal. The woman fell ill last Wednesday, and was reported as a possible dengue case on the same day, the CDC said. Residents of Tainan and surrounding areas are urged to be vigilant about clearing up puddles of water where the mosquito that spreads the disease can breed, especially given the rainy weather in recent days. "The alarm needs to be sounded for the Tainan area," CDC deputy director Chou Chih-hao (周志浩) said.
TTLC wins 42 quality medals
The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (TTLC) announced yesterday that it won 42 quality medals at this year's world quality selections for wine and food products organized by Monde Selection in Barcelona, Spain. The medals brought home by TTLC include the International Quality Trophy, which was awarded to five beer products made by the state-owned company. The company's victory in the world contest is the culmination of its successful improvements to its wine and tobacco products, and will sharpen its competitiveness in international markets, the spokesman said. Monde Selection is an international institute for quality selections founded in 1961 and is the most representative and oldest organization in the field of quality selections worldwide.
Bogus officials arrested
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) announced on Thursday that it had arrested two men who disguised themselves as national security officials in an attempt to pressure government agencies to prolong their rights to exploit a mine in Kaohsiung. The two suspects, Chen Hsing-hung (陳信宏) and Chen Kuo-hui (陳國輝), were detained by CIB agents after their true identities were discovered by the National Security Bureau on information provided by Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) officials. The pair admitted to having disguised themselves as security officials and using false name cards during a meeting with the EPA secretary-general, during which they tried to pressure EPA personnel to agree to extend their mining rights. The two men claimed that they are shareholders of a mining company registered in Kaohsiung County, and pressured officials to allow the company to continue operations.
Man tried for trafficking
A Taiwanese man is set to go on trial in Vietnam this month charged with trafficking Vietnamese women in Malaysia, Vietnamese state media said yesterday. Tsai Hsien, 46, is to go on trial with five Vietnamese, including his wife, in Ho Chi Minh City on July 26, the Vietnam News Agency said. Investigators in Vietnam said they had evidence that the group had arranged fake marriages for more than 100 women, but then forced the women to remarry or work as prostitutes after coming to Malaysia. They said the women were sold for between US$1,500 and US$2,000 each. If found guilty, Tsai faces up to 20 years in jail.
■ PUBLIC SAFETY
EPA to limit chemical use
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will soon limit the use of nonylphenol chemicals (NPs) in all food stuffs, wax and detergents, setting a ceiling concentration of 0.1 percent, EPA officials said yesterday. The new regulation, which should come into effect in September, was announced amid increasing concerns over the health hazards posed by NPs, they said. Officials revealed that the EPA is also discussing the possibility of declaring NPs and nonylphenol ethoxylates -- compounds made from NPs -- hazardous materials, in the hope that this classification would facilitate further restrictions on the use of NPs. The chemical structure of NPs is very similar to that of estrogen, they noted, and male animals that ingest such chemicals after they are discharged into the environment have proven susceptible to reproductive difficulties, growth retardation and hormonal disruption. The chemicals have also been implicated in a number of human health issues, including infertility and breast cancer. In a survey by National Taiwan University, researchers collected 75 common cleaners and found that 66 percent of them contain NPs or NP-related chemicals.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up