Lost pistol returned to Brazil
Local authorities are returning a pistol belonging to a Brazilian government security guard to its owner after it was mistakenly transported to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, airport police said yesterday. The Brazilian security guard reported his pistol as missing after returning home from a conference in Indonesia, where he had accompanied a Brazilian official. He asked the airlines he took to help track down the weapon, and it was eventually discovered that the suitcase containing the pistol had been inadvertently flown to Taiwan, rather than back to Brazil. Workers at the Taoyuan airport found the weapon in a suitcase under a mountain of luggage that had not left the airport, airport police said. They said the pistol is being sent back to its owner in Brazil after an investigation determined that it was not linked to any crime or intended to be used for any criminal act.
Unmanned planes unveiled
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding two unmanned aerial vehicles it has been using for the past three years to patrol the nation’s coasts in search of illegal waste dumping. The number of cases of illegal waste dumping in the ocean has dropped from 10 in 2006 to five last year, EPA Department of Water Quality Protection Director-General Chen Hsien-heng (陳咸亨) said. The vehicles, which work in conjunction with the nation’s FORMOSAT-2 satellite, are 30 percent cheaper to operate than regular planes and can be used even in bad weather conditions, Chen said. Problems with tracking specific boats and the vehicles’ inability to deviate from set routes have been resolved over the past three years, the official added.
PDAs to collect crop data
The Agriculture and Food Agency will use personal digital assistant (PDA) technology to collect data on four domestically grown crops considered “sensitive” because of their vulnerability to supply and demand imbalances, an official said yesterday. The agency plans to use PDAs to collect field data in view of the importance of establishing an accurate information database on sensitive crops to maintain a balance between supply and demand, agency official Huang Pei-hsun (黃培訓) said. This year, the agency will utilize 194 PDAs to collect data-point locations and associated information on onion, orange, Chinese date and garlic production, Huang said. The agency, in collaboration with Feng Chia University, will provide a PDA and a global positioning system device to all townships with sizable areas devoted to the sensitive crops to accurately determine the actual amount of land under cultivation.
Taiwan wins gold in Geneva
In its best performance to date at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Taiwan won 21 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals, an education official said yesterday. All but one of the 35 entries Taiwan submitted won prizes at the exhibition. National Yunlin University of Science and Technology bagged two golds and two silvers for its four inventions, a university official said. At the exhibition, which was held from last Wednesday until Sunday, more than 1,000 entries were submitted by 710 participants from 45 countries. Taiwan’s award-winning inventions include brain games using six wooden building blocks, a drawing compass and digital protractor, and an umbrella with an ultraviolet sensor.