CDs offer 'green' fireworks
The Taipei City Government Department of Environmental Protection is offering free "firecracker sound" CDs to residents to make the Lunar New Year safer and more environmentally friendly. Department officials said the CDs were being offered to encourage people not to use firecrackers during the festive season to cut down on air and noise pollution and have a safe holiday. To provide an alternative, the department made audio recordings of firecracker sounds available on its Web site prior to last year's Lunar New Year holidays. Copies of the CD can be picked up for free at the department's main office in Xinyi District (信義), the officials said, adding that the audio file is also available on the department's Web site.
Superstition leads to change
National ID card numbers will no longer have more than one number "4" in the future, Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said in a news release yesterday. "Because the number '4' is traditionally considered an unlucky number, [the ministry] stopped issuing national ID cards ending in '4' in 2000," the statement said. "But the number `4' can still appear on national IDs." The number "4" is considered an unlucky number because the Mandarin pronunciation, si, sounds similar to the word for "death." The statement said avoiding the number "4" completely would be too difficult because 45 percent of national ID numbers would have to be replaced. Instead, the ministry will allow no more than one "4" on new national ID cards. The ministry will also allow "anybody whose national ID number contains a number '4' to apply to change their national ID number," the statement said.
China targets Web site
Police in China have shut down a Taiwan-based Web site that featured Chinese women in erotic footage and have arrested 33 people involved in the operation, China's state media reported on Wednesday. Viewers, mostly in Taiwan, paid to watch footage taken in Guangdong Province, Xinhua news agency said. The site had been in operation for more than one year and took in more than US$137,000 in three months, it said. Police told Xinhua that 23 of those arrested were performers for the site at 12 locations. The other 10 helped manage the operation. Two Taiwanese were among the 10 organizers, the report said without elaborating.