California hotline set up
Taiwan's government has set up a special hotline at 002-1-213-446-5008 for people in need of information on friends and relatives caught up in the wildfires blown by fierce winds that have forced hundreds of thousands of people in southern California to flee, Phoebe Yeh (葉非比), acting deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The ministry's staffers in the US have visited Taiwanese affected by the fires at a resource center in San Diego and they all remain safe, Yeh said. Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) has sent a message to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to express the support and best wishes of the government and the Taiwanese people, Yeh said.
Fullest moon to appear
The fullest moon of this year will appear tonight, according to astronomers in Taipei. Astronomers at the Taipei Astronomical Museum said the moon will become full at 12:52pm today, and that at 8pm members of the public will be able to look east at a 35o angle to view the fullest moon of the year. At that time the Moon will reach the closest point to Earth of its orbit. Today's moon will be 14 percent larger than the smallest full moon of this year, seen on April 3, when the moon was farthest from the Earth, the astronomers said. The full moon today is also expected to be 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons seen earlier in the year.
Hsieh wants `wetland bank'
Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) proposed a "wetland bank" concept yesterday, suggesting that efforts be made to conserve and restore the nation's wetlands. Efforts should be made to systematically research and plan wetland conservation and restoration so that wildlife habitats can be conserved and the sustainable development of wetlands can be secured, Hsieh said. Some of these efforts could be commissioned to NGO groups, he said. Noting that conserving the environment is a move that reflects "the power of progress," Hsieh said Taiwan should seek to link itself to the "global power of progress" and make the nation a stronghold of this concept. Hsieh made the remarks during a ceremony held in Taipei to mark the inauguration of the NGO group Taiwan Ecological Engineering Development Foundation.
Ko held for insider trading
Venture capital mogul Ko Wen-chang (柯文昌) and two associates have been detained for alleged insider trading, a prosecutor said yesterday. Ko, chairman of leading capital firm WK Technology Fund, and company executives Ho Cheng-chin (何正卿) and Lee Rung-hsun (李榮勳) were arrested on Wednesday after prosecutors raided the company, said Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村), a spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office. They were suspected of making illegal profits of up to NT$900 million (US$27 million) through the acquisition of Green Point Enterprises Co by US-based Jabil Circuit Inc, Lin said. WK Technology Fund allegedly purchased a large amount of shares in Green Point between July and December last year before Jabil Circuit, a maker of printed circuit boards, announced in January that the merger was completed. Ko, dubbed the "godfather of venture capital" by local media, also faces perjury charges for allegedly destroying evidence related to the case, the prosecutor said.
Official sentenced to jail
Taipei judges yesterday sentenced Vice Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏) to 11 years in prison for embezzling funds from Formosa Telecom Investment (全民電通投資公司) during his time as company president in 1996. Chang, also a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator, was charged with violating breach of trust, the Business Accounting Law (商業會計法) as well as the Securities Transaction Law (證券交易法). Chang said yesterday he was unsure whether he would appeal the verdict. The company was established by Chang and other DPP members in 1996 to fund Formosa Television (FTV, 民視). Chang reportedly raised NT$3 billion (US$90 million) from 15,000 investors, but only NT$1 billion was used for FTV.
New tumor treatment found
A new autoimmune treatment for brain tumors has been developed by the Taichung-based China Medical University Hospital, with a survival rate of 85.8 percent. Neurosurgery department director Cho Der-yang (周德陽) said yesterday the new therapy employs dendritic cells extracted from a patient's blood to fight malignant glioma cells in the brain to minimize side effects and increase the chances of survival. Cho said the dendritic cells are cultivated in vitro with malignant glioma cells, a process that "teaches" dendritic cells to recognize the malignant cells and trigger immune mechanisms. "Educated" dendritic cells are then injected back into the patient to stimulate his T-lymphocytes, which fight the remaining malignant cells. "A single course of treatment takes six months and 10 injections," Cho said.
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
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by