Taxis install SOS buttons
Thousands of taxis in Taipei plan to install emergency reporting gear following the grisly killing of a taxi driver by five youths earlier this week, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday. As Taipei’s radio taxis are already equipped with global positioning systems (GPS), after a driver pushes an SOS button beside the steering wheel, dispatchers will be able to determine where the taxi is and alert police to the location. When switched on, the emergency reporting gear can also serve as a microphone so that dispatchers can hear inside the vehicle. The plans were prompted by the slaying of a taxi driver in Taichung, the Liberty Times reported. On Wednesday, five youths aged 15 to 21 years old attacked a taxi driver in Taichung and robbed him of NT$1,900. The suspects stabbed the driver 31 times, dumped him in the mountains and drove off with his taxi. The driver bled to death and police arrested the five youths later on Wednesday.
CPC wants caffeine labels
With the increasing popularity of fresh-brewed coffee, now one of the most popular drinks, chain coffee shops and convenience stores that sell fresh-brewed coffee have been urged to provide labels that include caffeine content. The Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) has renewed a call for convenience stores to follow a voluntary labeling system that coffee stores adopted in August 2006 when they agreed with the CPC’s proposal to use the colors red, yellow and green to denote different levels of caffeine content. CPC official Liu Ching-fang (劉清芳) said yesterday that the proposal was based on research by the EU Scientific Committee on Food that suggested caffeine consumption of under 300mg per day was not harmful to the health. Under the system, the green label marks a caffeine content of under 100mg, while yellow represents between 100mg and 200mg and red signals more than 200mg of caffeine, Liu said.
Malaysia charges suspects
A Malaysian court has charged four Taiwanese men with trafficking 1,439kg of drugs worth US$16.4 million, news reports said yesterday. The four chemists, aged 30 to 36 years old, pleaded not guilty to the charge of trafficking the hypnotic drug nimetazepam, better known as Erimin or Erimin 5, the Bernama news agency reported. If found guilty, the four men face mandatory death sentences by hanging. The seizure, recorded as the biggest drug haul in the country, came during a March 22 raid on a factory in the southern state of Johor. Nimetazepan was originally made to treat insomnia but is often sold in Asia as a substitute for ecstasy. Police also seized machines used to process the drugs, about 430kg of powder used in manufacturing the drug and thousands of pills in the raid.
Ma plans video conference
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will hold a video conference with US think tanks from the Presidential Office late this month to mark the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi made the announcement after Ma received Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a few days ago and expressed hopes that the AEI would hold activities to discuss issues related to the act as it is a key element of US policy toward Taiwan. This would be the first overseas video conference Ma has held since taking office.