Tue, Jul 31, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Health

Fake medicine found in raid

A raid on a Shilin (士林) area pharmacy uncovered packages of counterfeit sleep medication sold as "Stilnox," but which did not contain the correct active ingredients, the Taipei City Department of Health said. The raid, conducted in conjunction with the bureau of investigation, took place in may, a department release said. Some of the counterfeit pills were sold in packaging that is hard to distinguish from real packages of Stilnox, it said. However, instead of containing zolpidem, the active ingredient in popular sleep medications such as Stilnox and Ambien, the tests conducted by the department uncovered diazepam and lorazepam. The raid also uncovered a batch of pills containing nimetazepam, a more tightly controlled drug with potential for abuse, the release said.

■ Agriculture

Center hands out bananas

The Executive Yuan's service center in southern Taiwan distributed free bananas in Kaohsiung yesterday in a bid to help ease a glut of the fruit. Southern Taiwan Joint Service Center Executive Director You Hung (尤宏) also led a squad of military policemen as they gave away bananas. The official and soldiers urged passers-by to eat a banana each day to help the farmers. A total of 600kg of bananas was given away in less than 20 minutes. Chang Chin-yi (張清義), director of the Kaohsiung office of the Agriculture and Food Agency under the Council of Agriculture, lauded the health benefits of bananas and expressed hope that the public would eat more of them to mitigate the growers' losses. He said that there are 5,000 hectares dedicated to growing bananas in Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County and neighboring Pingtung County. Overproduction has resulted in a sharp drop in banana prices. The government has also spent NT$45 million (US$1.36 million) to buy substandard bananas to help reduce stockpiles, he added.

■ Health

Smokes sold to kids: survey

Nearly a decade after the sale of tobacco products to minors was outlawed, a high percentage of stores continue to sell cigarettes to people under the age of 18, the results of a survey released yesterday said. The survey, conducted by the Tainan City Department of Health between June 16 and July 20, found that about 90 percent of the mom-and-pop shops in residential communities in Tainan sell cigarettes to teens. A total of 136 stores that sell tobacco products were surveyed, including convenience stores, supermarkets, mom-and-pop shops and betel-nut vending stands. The survey said some 40 percent of Family Mart and 7-Eleven convenience stores sell cigarettes to teens, while about 50 percent of Hi-Life convenience stores do so.

■ Events

No Games changes: Chang

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said yesterday that there will be no change in Kaohsiung's right to host the 2009 World Games, reiterating that the central government fully backs the city's plan to host the event. Chang made the remarks in response to concerns that China might boycott the games to be held in July 2009, which could lead to the revocation of Kaohsiung's right to host the largest international sporting event ever held in Taiwan. After inspecting progress in the construction of the main stadium for the games, Chang said International World Games Association officials are scheduled to visit Taiwan in a few days, when he will meet with them to exchange views on the issue.

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