Ally prime minister to visit
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that Sao Tome and Principe Prime Minister Tome Vera Cruz will lead a delegation to Taiwan on Monday for a four-day visit. Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) will host a birthday party for Cruz on the day of his arrival, ministry officials said. Cruz will call on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) to exchange views on the situation in Africa, bilateral relations and cooperation projects, the officials said. Cruz is also expected to visit information, textile, harbor, power and agriculture facilities, they said. Cruz, who assumed the post of prime minister in April last year, last visited Taiwan in April 2005.
Bone marrow donated
A shipment of bone marrow donated by a female Chinese national and tested as a compatible match for a potential Taiwanese recipient is scheduled to arrive in Taipei today. The bone marrow, expected to be delivered from Shanghai to an operating theater at Taipei Veterans General Hospital late tonight, will be transplanted to a 15-year-old girl suffering from inherited anemia. It will mark the first case in which someone from China has donated bone marrow for a Taiwanese recipient. Taiwanese had donated bone marrow to Chinese recipients over the past several years under the arrangements made by Taiwan's Tzu Chi Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Center. The center -- the largest of its kind in Asia -- has built up a databank of nearly 300,000 bone marrow samples since its inception in 1993. It has helped more than 300 victims of blood diseases find donors.
Fishermen's fest next week
A Fishermen's Festival will be held next Saturday and Sunday at Waipu Fishing Harbor (外埔漁港) in Houlong Township (後龍), Miaoli County, to mark Fishermen's Day. Activities at the festival will include an exhibition of the local fishing culture, ecological tours, sales of seafood products, seafood specialty cooking classes, a concert and fireworks at night, said Chen You-ching (陳有慶), president of the Taiwan Fishery Association. Visitors will be able to participate in qian gu (牽罟) -- a traditional fishing technique that involves the entire community -- and to see shi hu (石滬), or stone fish traps that once dotted the nation's seacoasts, but now can only be found in Miaoli and Penghu, historian Wang Chi-jen (王啟仁) said.
Hsieh leaves on US trip
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential hopeful Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) will head to the US today for an eight-day visit, his campaign spokesman said yesterday. The trip will take Hsieh to New York, Washington, Detroit and Los Angeles, Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said. "The visit is aimed at building a channel of communication between Hsieh and the US. We hope it will pave the way for long-term communication," Chao said. In New York, Hsieh will attend a Yankees baseball game, in which Wang Chien-ming (王建民) will be the starting pitcher. He is also scheduled to deliver a speech at the National Press Club in Washington and attend the launch of his supporter clubs in the US capital and Los Angeles. Chao declined to comment on local news reports that Hsieh was to meet with officials from the Pentagon, the US National Security Council and the Department of State, including Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.
Police nab pigeon suspects
Four men and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of being part of a fraud ring in Tainan County, the Tainan Prosecutors Office announced yesterday. The prosecutors said the five suspects set up nets to trap racing pigeons in several townships in Tainan County in January. They then demanded ransoms of between NT$2,000 and NT$5,000 per bird. The ring made more than NT$1 million (US$30,000), according to the prosecutors. The ring members also rented a building in Tainan and used it as a base for tricking Chinese people to remit money to a specific bank account in China in exchange for "tax rebates," the prosecutors said. Two of the suspects were detained and the other three were released on bail, while the prosecutors continue their probe.
Poles attend language camp
A total of 32 students from various universities in Warsaw, Poland, are attending a Mandarin language study camp at National Kaohsiung Normal University. University president Dai Chia-nan (戴嘉南) said yesterday that the 42-day language and cultural workshop was co-sponsored by the school's Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Poland. The Polish students are taking Chinese lessons for 20 hours per week, as well as Chinese painting, calligraphy, tea ceremony, paper cutting, kung fu, opera and Taichi courses. The program also includes visits to tourist attractions and cultural institutions, including major Taoist temples, the Foguangshan Foundation for Buddhist Culture and Education, Chengcing Lake and Kaohsiung City Council.
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