Huang Yung-tien (黃永田), 50, who tore the toupee off Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) last year, was sentenced to five months in jail for depriving Chiu of his freedom to “look good,” Taipei District Court spokesman said yesterday. “The judge thought Chiu Yi had the freedom to wear what he wanted, and Chiu felt the hairpiece made him look better,” spokesman Huang Chun-ming (黃俊明) said. “The judge thinks that to remove it intentionally was to take away that right.” Chiu lost his toupee, revealing a mostly bald head, when he went to file a complaint against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in December. Huang Yung-tien, the leader of a pro-Chen group, called the sentence excessive, local media said. “I wasn’t careful,” he was quoted saying. “Does carelessness warrant such severity?” The sentence can be converted to a fine.
AIT ground-breaking all set
Construction on a new office complex for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) will begin on June 22, AIT spokesman Thomas Hodges said on Monday. He said the US State Department approved a US$176 million budget for the project last October. AIT Director Stephen Young will preside over the ceremony on June 22, Hodges said. Completion of the first phase of the project, on a 6.5-hectare site that has been leased for 99 years from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, is expected to take about two years. The first phase of the project will include clearing and grading the site as well as building a perimeter security system, vehicular and pedestrian access control facilities, recreational facilities, guards’ quarters, maintenance buildings and a parking area. The second phase will include the construction of the new office facility and will take another two-and-a-half years.
Population increases slightly
Ministry of Interior statistics show the nation’s population reached 23,063,027 at the end of last month, an increase of 74,599 or 0.325 percent from last year. Kinmen and Penghu recorded the highest annual population growth rates at 6.086 percent and 2.291 percent respectively, the statistics showed. Lienchiang County saw the biggest drop in population, 1.798 percent, followed by Taipei City at 0.492 percent. The number of males in Taiwan was 11,626,940, while the female population was 11,436,087. The number of registered households was 7.706 million, up by 1.91 percent, or 144,780 households, from last year’s figure, the ministry’s report showed. Taipei County had the highest number of registered households at 1.35 million, or 17.54 percent of the national total. Taipei City and Taoyuan County ranked second and third respectively, accounting for 12.47 percent and 8.34 percent respectively.
Free lunches in the works
Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) said yesterday a comprehensive free lunch program for elementary and junior high school students could be in place by September next year at the earliest. “It should be possible” for the comprehensive program to begin by that time, he told a teaching presentation in an e-class at Shengkeng Elementary School in Taipei County. An estimated NT$5.9 billion (US$179.4 million) will be required to fund the free lunch program in the first semester and around NT$17.7 billion will be needed for the full 2010 academic year, Cheng said.
Swine flu tally hits 24
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced three more imported cases of A(H1N1) influenza, bringing the nation’s swine flu tally to 24. All three new patients are students who had returned from Thailand after traveling there on graduation tours. Two of them are 24-year-old classmates who visited Thailand as part of a 57-member tour group from last Monday until Sunday. One student was quarantined upon the group’s return to Taiwan on Sunday with a 38.4˚C fever. Six of his classmates also had flu symptoms and were quarantined as a precaution. One of the six was yesterday confirmed to have swine flu, the CECC said. The third patient, a 23-year-old female student, had visited Thailand as part of a separate tour group. Her entire tour group of 17 people wore face masks during their flight home, the CECC said.
Rare megamouth caught
A megamouth shark, one of the world’s rarest species, was caught on Monday by a fisherman in Taitung County, marine biologists said yesterday. National Taiwan Ocean University’s Department of Environmental Biology and Fisheries Science said the shark was only the 42nd to be caught or sighted worldwide and the ninth in Taiwan since the species was discovered in 1976. The shark was 3.9m long, weighed 350kg and its mouth when opened measured 75cm. It was netted off the county’s Hsinkang Harbor (新港漁港), and was sold yesterday for NT$18,000 to a local shark museum, where it will be preserved and put on display. A researcher from the Council of Agriculture-affiliated Eastern Marine Biology Research Center identified the fish. Chen Wen-jung (陳文榮), the owner of the shark museum, said he has collected dozens of shark specimens, but this was his first megamouth.
Top mango buyers targeted
Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said yesterday he would target top spenders when promoting the county’s Irwin variety of mangoes during a trip to Japan. Su made the remarks prior to his scheduled departure for Japan tomorrow to promote the fruit, of which a first batch of more than 500kg was undergoing the quarantine process yesterday. Su is expected to take part in a series of promotional activities in department stores and hotels in Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido during his six-day visit. Su said the Irwin mangoes would be targeted at “top-spending customers,” adding that a case of three mangoes could sell for ¥2,800 (US$28.4) to ¥6,300, depending on quality.
Nature center to open soon
Southern Taiwan’s first Nature Educational Center will open on July 4 and is accepting applications for its summer programs, the Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau said yesterday. The center, located in the Shuangliu National Forest Recreation Area in Pingtung County’s Shihtzu Township (獅子), is one of eight that have been set up nationwide by the Forestry Bureau. The center will offer programs such as outdoor classes, theme activities, weekend family activities, workshops for teachers and groups, as well as tailor-made events. To give tourists a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of the natural ecology, the center is enhancing the role of tour guides and is encouraging tourists to apply for its tour guide service when they visit the center. Further information in Chinese is available at the Taiwan Forest Recreation Web site at recreation.forest.tw, or by calling (08) 732-6491, extension 306 or 308.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung