David Ho voted president
Academia Sinica researcher David Ho (賀端華) has been elected president of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), Academia Sinica said yesterday. The leading research institution in Taiwan said in a statement that this was the first time the world’s largest and most prestigious plant biology professional organization had elected an Asian for president. Ho’s three-year term will begin in October. Founded in 1924, the ASPB focuses on encouraging research in plant biology and promoting the development of molecular and cellular biology. The society has more than 5,000 members, 40 percent of whom are non-US citizens. Ho, a distinguished research fellow and the director of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, has for years dedicated himself to research on plant biochemistry and molecular biology, Academia Sinica said.
Monitoring body created
An association has been created to enhance the quality of service provided by pharmacists in Taiwan and protect the safety of people using prescription drugs, founding members announced yesterday. The Quality Improvement for Pharmaceutical Affairs Association, Taiwan, was set up by pharmaceutical, public health, medicine and law experts to address the problem of a lack of information about the proper usage of drugs, which could put people’s health at risk, the members said. The association, which will focus on educating consumers about drug usage and drug safety, differs from the Union of Pharmacists Association, which is a society composed only of pharmacists to promote the sector’s interests. The association said its new priority would be to lower the number of prescriptions each pharmacist has to fill each day from 300 to 100 and to lobby the government to integrate its suggestions into the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法).
President heads south
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will visit acquaintances in southern Taiwan from tomorrow until Monday as part of his effort to reach people at the grassroots level, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday. Ma will visit friends he made during his “long stay” campaign in Yunlin and Chiayi counties, as well as attend the graduation ceremony at Tainan University of Technology. He is scheduled to stay overnight at the ROC Military Academy in Kaohsiung County, Wang said. Wang said Ma’s upcoming trip would provide the president with an opportunity to consolidate his friendships and was not aimed at dealing with the aftermath of the flood damage caused by torrential rains earlier this month.
Black garlic unveiled
Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) unveiled the island’s latest tourist attraction yesterday — locally developed black garlic. Lee said he hoped the product, made using a special fermenting technique, would join the list of must-see items in Kinmen, which includes its kaoliang liquor and peanut candy. Lee made the remarks during a presentation of the unusual garlic, which was co-developed by the National Kinmen Institute of Technology, the Kinmen County Farmers’ Association, the Kinmen County Agricultural Research Institute and the Kinmen County Animal and Plant Disease Control Center. Lee said that black garlic, which does not smell like ordinary garlic, contains more nutritious elements, which could make it a popular health food.
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
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students