New labels for the blind
Health authorities yesterday introduced braille labels indicating dosage and other key information for prescription bottles. Twelve embossed symbols marked with braille, indicate how often to take the medicine, the dose to take and the medication's use. A sun with braille print indicates the medicine should be taken during the day, while a bowl of rice with chopsticks indicates the medicine should be taken before a meal and an empty bowl with a pair of chopsticks means it should be taken after a meal. The labels cost NT$50 each.
Deities lend a hand
Traditional deities might help promote the nation's bid for membership in the UN, some temple administrators said yesterday, one day after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) unveiled a campaign called "all deities safeguard Taiwan" during a visit to Kaohsiung's Tsaotien Temple. Temple communities said they would announce details in a press conference next week to help out with publicizing the UN bid. They said the publicity would take the form of annual tours of deity statues, such as Matsu statues, which could also be taken to New York to promote the bid. The campaign was inspired by a deity procession in front of UN headquarters in New York prior to the UN Assembly opening in September. The Presidential Office has encouraged the initiative, saying the use of creative projects that showcase Taiwanese culture would be "sure to attract more media attention."
Activists to hold parade
Environmental activists calling for concrete action to cut carbon-dioxide emissions yesterday invited the public to take part in a parade to raise public awareness about global warming on Saturday. "[East] Asia is the region with the worst global warming situation," Yang Chao-yueh (楊肇岳), a professor at National Taiwan University Oceanography, told a press conference. "In the past 50 years, average temperatures in the region have risen about 1oC ... It may not sound like a big deal now, but if we don't do anything at all, the situation will worsen -- and in 50 years, we'll suffer." Taiwan Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said the public should start to "use more public transportation and save energy." The parade will begin at 1:30pm at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Ho said.
Morning quake rattles south
A 5.3-magnitude earthquake jolted the southern half of the nation yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau said, but there were no reports of damage or casualties. The tremor struck at 9:41am and was centered 21km southeast of Lidao Village (利稻), Haituan Township (海端), in the mountains of Taitung County, the bureau said. It occurred at the relatively shallow depth of 8km, and was felt as far away as Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and the Hengchun Peninsula.
Inside job alleged
Ground crew at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport are suspected of colluding with smugglers in the trafficking of deer velvet -- the skin that covers a deer's horn -- which carries a tariff of up to 500 percent, an aviation police official said yesterday. Customs officials discovered eight cases of fresh deer velvet from Macau in a van leaving an airport warehouse on Nov. 3, he said. The shipment had not cleared customs and had not been authorized to be removed.
Customs adds up seizures
A total of 329kg of illicit drugs has been seized this year so far, the Taipei Customs Office said. A spokesman said narcotics seizures last month totaled 25kg, including 23.6kg of ketamine and 1.33kg of heroin. He said about 45 percent of the drugs were detected by X-ray scanners at points of entry, while 33 percent were found with the help of informers. Most of the drugs seized were shipped via international express parcel services or carried by passengers who hid narcotics in their check-in luggage or carry-on bags. In addition to drugs, customs officials also confiscated 185kg of fresh deer antler velvet, 170 antelope horns, 276kg of hairy crabs, 100 counterfeit credit cards and a large number of pirated video games.
Drug warning issued
The Department of Health yesterday issued an additional warning about the drug Desmopressin. The spray form of the drug, marketed under the brand name Minirin, is associated with hyponatremia, which can lead to deadly seizures, the department said in a release. The department asked doctors to exercise caution when prescribing the drug. The second warning came after the US Food and Drug Administration cautioned against using the drug on Tuesday. The drug is no longer approved to control bed-wetting by children in the US. The department revised the approved uses for the drug to exclude bed-wetting earlier this year after the UK's Department of Health showed links between the drug and violent seizures. Desmopressin nasal spray is only approved in Taiwan to treat certain cases of diabetes and to test kidney functions, the department said.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
IN PRINCIPLE: The Central Epidemic Command Center began yesterday to ban visits to hospitalized patients, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 new COVID-19 cases — eight imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 339. The imported cases involved six men and two women, all Taiwanese, who had traveled to Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, countries in Latin America, the UK or the US before arriving back in Taiwan between March 6 and Tuesday, center data showed. Among them, patient No. 338 was part of a tour group that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic, and has resulted in an infection cluster of five cases,