HIV births declining: DOH
The number of babies born with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is declining, with statistics showing that since last year there have been no recorded births of HIV-infected infants, the Department of Health reported on Tuesday. Department statistics showed that Taiwan had recorded five cases of babies born with HIV in 2005 and four in 2006. As of Nov. 30, the number of children born with HIV stood at 27, the figures showed. The department in 2005 implemented a number of measures to stem mother-to-infant HIV transmission during pregnancy. The measures focused on three major areas — disease screening, medical treatment and healthcare. As a result, since 2005, 95 babies born to HIV-positive mothers have tested free of the disease, the department said. The department estimates that the risk of mother-to-infant HIV transmission during pregnancy would drop from 45 percent to 2 percent if the mothers adopt preventative medical care.
‘Chaos’ is word of the year
“Chaos” has been chosen as the word of the year after a turbulent 12 months marred by high-profile corruption scandals implicating former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and top officials. Among 61,600 people who took part in a telephone poll, nearly 8,000 voted for the Chinese character luan (亂, chaos), followed by pian (騙, lie) and can (慘, miserable), said the Chinese-language United Daily News, a co-organizer of the survey. Also on the list of the top 10 annual characters were “corrupt,” “depressed” and “love” — the only positive word of the year.
AIT closes for Christmas
All offices of the American Institute (AIT) in Taiwan will be closed next Thursday and Friday for Christmas. This includes the Consular Section, the Commercial Section, the Agricultural Trade Office, the American Cultural Center and the AIT Kaohsiung branch office. All offices will reopen on Dec. 29 at the usual time.
Egg thrower fined
Chiayi resident Lee Chung-ching (李仲清) was fined NT$1,000 on Tuesday for throwing eggs at the Presidential Office. Taipei District Court said that Lee, 57, arrived outside the Presidential Office on July 21 to protest against the government’s policy to lift the ban on chipmakers relocating factories to China. Lee purchased 12 eggs at a convenience store and threw them at the Presidential Office. He was immediately arrested by military police and transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, where he was indicted on charges of making a public insult.
Cheng Yung-chin cleared
The Hsinchu District Court on Tuesday dismissed a corruption case involving Hsinchu County Commissioner Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金). In its verdict, the court said judges had dismissed the case against Cheng as the evidence presented by prosecutors was insufficient to support the charges. In the same case, Hsinchu County Secretary-General Chan Chien-tung (詹前通) and employee Huang Chin-chiu (黃金球) were sentenced to five months and 12 years in jail respectively. Cheng, Chan and Huang were indicted by Hsinchu District prosecutors in August 2006 on allegations they accepted a NT$1 million (US$30,000) bribe in return for helping expedite a construction company’s application for a construction license.
NCC targets ad
The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it had asked 17 TV stations to reschedule the broadcast of a motorcycle commercial until after 9pm as the content was deemed inappropriate for minors. NCC spokesperson Lee Ta-sung (李大嵩) said the commission had entrusted an independent committee to review the commercial, which showed a young couple getting into a fight on an overpass. The committee of media researchers and children’s rights advocates said scenes in the commercial were likely to set a bad example for young people, as the commercial shows a person dropping a handbag from the overpass into the traffic below. A person then speeds over a railway crossing to retrieve the bag. In addition to rescheduling the broadcast, the committee said a warning must be added to the commercial.