Darkening indicates diabetes
Overweight people with abnormal thickening and darkening of their skin creases should be on alert for diabetes, a doctor at Taipei’s Shuang Ho Hospital said. Most patients assume that dark, thick patches in skin folds are the result of lack of personal hygiene, but in fact, they are common symptoms of diabetes, said Liou Tsan-hong (劉燦宏), chief the hospital’s medical rehabilitation department. Acanthosis nigricans, the medical name for the skin disorder, is characterized by excessive melanin deposits in skin folds such as in the armpit, groin and neck, Liou said. Overweight people with insulin resistance have excessive insulin that tends to thicken and darken skin, and can sometimes even lead to small lumps, he said.
Zoo collects panda sperm
The Taipei Zoo yesterday collected sperm from its male panda for future artificial insemination after its female panda went into heat, but failed to attract her mate this week, zoo officials said. The zoo collected sperm from Tuan Tuan (團團), one of the two pandas that China gave to the zoo in 2008 to signify warming relations with Taiwan, because he did not seem interested in mating with Yuan Yuan (圓圓), zoo director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) said. Yuan Yuan, who showed signs of estrus a few days earlier, lost her appetite and kept walking around and trying to cool down by soaking in her pool, Yeh said. Tuan Tuan, however, did not appear as passionate as Yuan Yuan, and the six-and-a-half-year-old panda was interested only in feeding and sleeping, Yeh said. Because of the lukewarm interaction between the pandas, the zoo collected Tuan Tuan’s sperm in case the animals fail to mate during the female’s estrus, Yeh said.
Farms suffer losses
The agricultural and fisheries sector reported losses of NT$84.46 million (US$2.9 million) last month as a series of cold fronts damaged crops and fish farms in several areas, the Council of Agriculture said. As of Tuesday, financial losses from crop damage reached NT$21.58 million, with a total of 455 hectares affected, the council said. The heaviest damage was to high-stem grafted pears in Greater Taichung, with losses reaching NT$10.96 million, followed by wax apples and Hai-li tangors (a type of citrus fruit), the council said. In the fishery industry, total losses reached NT$62.88 million, the council said. Penghu County — the worst-hit area — suffered losses of NT$24.86 million, followed by Greater -Kaohsiung with NT$16.43 million and Greater Tainan with NT$16.1 million, it said. The council said it had approved plans to compensate tangor farmers for their losses and would decide on subsidies for Penghu County’s fishery industry after an inspection of the affected areas.
Kinmen to invite DFS bids
The Kinmen County Government said yesterday it would invite tenders to build duty-free shops at Kinmen airport later this year as part of the county’s plan to develop the island into a duty-free zone. Kinmen County Commissioner Li Wo-shi (李沃士) made the announcement during an inspection of the planned location for the airport duty-free shops. “[Management] will invite tenders for the duty-free shops, and the winning bidders will start operations in four months’ time,” he said. The first duty-free shops in Kinmen opened in 2005 at Suitou Wharf, which serves boats that provide direct transportation between Kinmen and Xiamen in Fujian Province, China. Several duty-free shops also opened in the county’s downtown area in December.