Sat, Oct 30, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with Agencies

SOCIETY

Match-making days proposed

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) has proposed “match-making” holidays for government employees in a bid to boost the nation’s falling marriage and birth rates, his office said yesterday. Lin called for “creative measures” to marry off the high number of single civil servants, such as granting them up to two days off a year to join match-making activities, he said in a statement. A record low of 117,099 Taiwanese couples tied the knot last year, down 24.4 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of the Interior. The nation’s birth rate is also among the world’s lowest. Only 191,310 babies were born last year, with the average birth rate falling to 1.03 for each woman, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 births.

CRIME

Placenta smugglers arrested

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said on Thursday that it had arrested two people suspected of smuggling 1,700 doses of sheep placenta into Taiwan. The total market value of the haul was around NT$8 million (US$242,000), according to CGA official Chao Chi-tien (趙吉田). One of the suspects, surnamed Chiu (邱), was arrested while attempting to deliver 700 doses to a man surnamed Yeh (葉). Both men were arrested at the scene, Chao said. Another 1,000 doses were seized at the cargo terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after the arrest, Chao added. “The profits are handsome,” Chao said, adding that sheep placenta is believed to have anti-aging effects and can be sold in beauty clinics for up to NT$6,000 per dose, while the cost of buying it in South Korea and smuggling it into Taiwan is less than NT$200 per dose.

EDUCATION

Cursive writing to be taught

Minister of Education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基) yesterday pledged to enhance the teaching of English cursive writing to local students in response to a legislator’s complaint about the lack of cursive writing teaching in schools. During a question-and-answer session with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓), Wu promised that he would urge the ministry’s task force responsible for amending curriculum guidelines to review the nation’s policy on teaching English writing. Chou voiced the concerns after he found that some top local high school students could not read English cursive handwriting. The nation’s junior high school curriculum guidelines do not require that students know how to write in cursive.

EDUCATION

Japanese school donates

An elementary School in Pingtung County recently received a donation of NT$110,000 from a Japanese school as a restoration fund. Representatives of Kobe Takatsuka Senior High School in Japan visited Linbian Elementary School on Thursday to make the donation during a graduation trip to Taiwan. One of the teachers said the school’s second-grade teachers and students raised the money through school and neighborhood events after learning that some areas of Taiwan were damaged badly by Typhoon Morakot in August last year. The school contacted the Pingtung County Government, which suggested the donation should go to Linbian Elementary School, which was flooded to a depth of 2m during the typhoon. School principal Liu Wan-te (劉萬得) said the donation will be used to help the students, many of whose parents became unemployed after the typhoon and approximately 200 students who cannot afford their lunch and tuition fees.

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