Hu pushes no-smoking
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday he would see to it that the percentage of adult smokers in the city drops below 20 percent within one year. Hu said he was pleased that only 21 percent of adult city residents smoke regularly, compared with the national average of 28 percent since the amended Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act took effect on Jan. 11. Hu asked residents to try harder to quit. He said the city government would launch more anti-smoking campaigns in the hope that Taichung will eventually become a non-smokers’ paradise.
Hau inks peony MOU
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and the mayor of Matsue, Japan, Masataka Matsuura, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday to include Matsue in the 2010 Taipei International Gardening and Horticulture Exposition scheduled to open on Nov. 6 next year. “The memorandum not only marks the beginning of horticulture exchanges between Taipei and Matsue, but will also inject new vitality into the flower industries in both cities,” Hau told a press conference. He said Matsue was known for its 55-year development of the peony industry and was the world’s No. 1 grower of the ornamental flower, producing 2 million blooms every year in some 300 varieties. The peony, which is believed to symbolize happiness and prosperity, has long been one of the favorite flowers in Chinese culture. Hau said that he thinks visitors will be amazed by the Matsue peony exhibition. Matsuura said he was honored to have the chance to join the 2010 Taipei expo to introduce to people in Taiwan and to international visitors the beauty of peonies.
Victim shocks groper
A man was stunned to find that a long-haired, skirt-wearing victim he groped in a packed train was not a woman, cable news network TVBS reported yesterday. The 51-year-old man first touched the 20-year-old’s waist and then caressed his victim’s behind for more than 10 minutes before the victim shouted for help, TVBS quoted police as saying. At the police station, officers offered the victim the opportunity to report the incident to a policewoman to avoid embarrassment, only to learn that “she” was a “he.” The suspect begged police to pardon him and said he should not be charged with sexual harassment since the victim was a man. But the police said it was harassment all the same and charged the alleged assailant.
Safe sex for teens urged
Taipei City’s Department of Health appealed to teenagers yesterday to use condoms during intercourse. As abortion rates among teenagers tend to surge after school vacations, the department urged students to practice safe sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV. The number of teenagers in the city infected with STDs last year was twice the figure for 2007, the department said. The youngest person with a reported case of syphilis in Taipei last year was just 14, while the youngest person with a case of condyloma or AIDS was 17, the department said. From 2007 to last year, among the 15 to 19-year-old age group, the number of AIDS infections went up from one to five, the number of HIV infections increased from five to nine, while syphilis infections increased from 13 to 22 and condyloma infections grew from eight to 17. More than 77 percent of the teenagers became infected with STDs via unprotected sex, the department said.