Food safety act amended
The legislature yesterday passed an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) to double fines for media outlets that run fraudulent food advertisements. Violators will be fined between NT$60,000 (US$1,970) and NT$300,000 and fines will be doubled if they continue to run the ads. The amendment also requires travelers to declare overseas food products or food supplements that have been categorized by the government as “possible health-threatening products.” Travelers are now obliged to present official documents from the products’ place of origin as proof of food safety. The authority can confiscate products if passengers violate the regulation. The amendment also allows the government to prohibit travelers from bringing food products that are “seriously health-threatening” into Taiwan.
Remembering James Joyce
A Taipei publisher is holding an essay writing competition in search of Taiwan’s 21st century James Joyce as Bloomsday approaches. Bloomsday is observed annually on June 16 in Dublin, Ireland, and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish author James Joyce and relive his most famous novel Ulysses, which recounted events hour-by-hour of protagonist Leopold Bloom’s “odyssey” through Dublin on June 16, 1904. The competition, sponsored by Bookman Book Co, is encouraging participants to write a dramatic monologue describing their activities over the course of a day in a Taiwanese city similar to what Joyce did in Ulysses. The publisher will name the winners of the competition and, at the same time, launch a new book titled Taiwan’s Scholarly Research on James Joyce’s Ulysses, at its headquarters in Taipei on June 16. Competition entries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is June 8.
■ FOREIGN AID
Taiwan helps Chileans
Taiwan has donated US$15,000 to Chile to help with disaster relief efforts after the South American country was devastated by the eruption of a volcano earlier this month. The donation was made by Taiwan’s representative to Chile Ker Chi-sheng (柯吉生) on behalf of the Taiwanese government and was accepted jointly by the three mayors of Chaiten, Alto Palena and Futaleufu at a ceremony on Thursday. Expressing sympathy for the victims of the volcanic eruption, Ker said that Taiwanese expatriate communities in Chile will also donate emergency relief goods in a few days time. The donation was the first financial donation received by Chile in the wake of the disaster, Ker said. The Chaiten volcano, which had been dormant for thousands of years, erupted on May 2, prompting most residents to flee the nearby town of Chaiten.
More staying unmarried
An increasing number of people in Taipei are unmarried, figures compiled by the Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics of the Taipei City Government show. The latest census statistics released by the department earlier this week showed that as of the end of last year, Taipei’s population stood at 2.63 million. Of those who were aged 15 and over, 35.38 percent were unmarried, representing an increase of 0.03 percent over 2006, the statistics show. Department officials noted a clear tendency among people of marriageable age to delay marriage and childbearing. The average age of women giving birth for the first time last year reached a record-high of 31.66.