Warning on baby powder
The Department of Health yesterday said it had been informed by its South Korean counterpart that 11 South Korean baby powder products had been found to contain cancer-causing asbestos and asked the public not to use them. The DOH said it had launched an investigation to determine whether any of the tainted baby powders, made by seven South Korean manufacturers, were available in Taiwan. “Aside from these seven brands’ 11 products, other baby powder products available on the market are safe,” the DOH said in a press released yesterday. The Bureau of Pharmaceutical Affairs said asbestos has been banned in cosmetic products since 2005. Manufacturers in violation of the regulation are subject to one year in prison and a maximum fine of NT$150,000, the DOH said.
‘Illicit’ screening announced
In observance of World Intellectual Property Rights Day, the American Cultural Center (ACC) and the National Geographic Society will hold a documentary film screening of Illicit: The Dark Trade, on April 29 from 10am to 12pm at the ACC. The film shows the shadowy web of illicit trade, where dangerous multibillion-dollar criminal networks threaten whole sectors of the world economy. The film follows undercover agents as they travel the globe to expose the dire consequences of the industry. Information about the screening is available by contacting Ms Lee at (02) 2723-3959 ext 230, at www.ait.org.tw or by writing to email@example.com.
EPA defends car giveaways
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said at a press conference yesterday that it was not giving out cars “so that people can own them, but not drive them,” but rather to remind people that when they need to drive, they should opt for environmentally friendly models. The press release came after the administration caused a stir last week after announcing that to encourage people to sign its 10 “No Regret Carbon Reduction Vows” online, people who registered could win raffle prizes including four cars. The announcement drew heavy criticism from local media and environmental groups, which said the EPA must have been “damaged in the head” to give out cars at an event that encourages carbon reduction. In response, EPA minister Steven Shen (沈世宏) was quoted as saying that by owning cars people could help boost the economy — even if they did not need to drive them.
Baosheng festival opens
The annual Baosheng Cultural Festival opened yesterday at Taipei City’s Baoan Temple, featuring religious rituals and Taiwanese opera performances in the two-month event that runs through May 31. The temple has long been at the forefront of efforts to give traditional Taiwanese culture national and international exposure, and has emerged as a significant symbol of the nation’s temple culture. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) opened the ceremony by beating a gong and lauded the temple for its dedication to preserving the tradition. Ma also praised the temple for receiving honorable mention at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award in 2003 for its ambitious restoration project and said his administration would work harder to promote traditional culture. The nation’s best folklore performance troupes will perform at 10am on Thursday. More than 20 opera groups will take turns presenting open-air traditional opera shows at 7pm every night until April 23.