Tolls suspended for holidays
The National Freeway Bureau announced that it would suspend freeway tolls at night for the Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday weekend. From April 2 to April 5, freeways will be toll-free between the hours of midnight and 7am to provide an incentive for travelers to drive during off-peak hours. The bureau said it was still considering other freeway control policies in its comprehensive traffic plan for the holiday weekend, but said that volume should be less than what was experienced between the Feb. 26 to Feb. 28 three-day weekend. The bureau attributed the severe traffic jams between Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 to the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Miaoli County. According to the bureau, freeway traffic volume for each day of the three-day Tomb Sweeping weekend last year reached 2.27 million, 2.3 million and 2.25 million respectively.
Taipei choir touring US
The Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir will perform in Boston, New York and Chicago from today until next Friday, a choir spokesman said yesterday. The spokesman also said that first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) has been invited to serve as the group’s honorary leader during the tour. The group has been invited by the American Choral Directors Association to perform in this year’s Biennial National Conference in Chicago, he said. The choir will kick off the tour with a performance at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall at Harvard University today, before taking the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Sunday. It will give two recitals at Roosevelt University and the Chicago Symphony Hall on Wednesday and will round off its trip with a performance at Metea Valley High School, also in Chicago, next Friday.
Snacks popular in China
Taiwan’s pineapple cakes, “iron eggs” and brown-sugar lollipops are listed as the three best-selling snacks on a leading shopping Web site in China, a local e-commerce company said yesterday. “The e-commerce environment is becoming more and more convenient, and online stock trading has become very common between China and Taiwan,” according to e-Dynamics, a Taiwanese company that cooperates with Taobao, a top Chinese shopping site, to sell Taiwanese products. “Taiwanese products are appealing to Chinese buyers,” the company said. “As long as the prices are reasonable, shoppers are usually willing to try new products.”
Overseas crops planned
Taiwan is planning to follow in the footsteps of other countries by growing crops overseas to meet domestic demand amid soaring prices of raw materials, the agriculture agency said yesterday. The Council of Agriculture (COA) said it is considering countries in the region with which it could cooperate, citing Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam as possible candidates for growing crops such as corn, rice, soy beans and wheat. The overseas production plan, which will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is likely to be finalized within two months, according to the COA. Taiwan will also learn from the experiences of China, Japan and South Korea in growing crops overseas, it added. On the possible forms of cooperation, the COA said, the government could encourage Taiwanese companies to engage in overseas crop production by offering subsidies or asking state-run companies to work with private companies to produce the crops.
Medication is not the only way to cure depression that is affecting a marriage, a health worker said yesterday ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday. A social worker surnamed Tung (董) at the psychiatric department of Taipei City Hospital’s Songde branch urged the public to make full use of government-reimbursed marriage and family counseling services. Learning how to cope with pressure and improve relationships between family members are also part of an effective treatment regimen for depression, Tung said. Therapeutic counseling, as opposed to prescription drugs, can help sufferers understand more about their own condition and help them find the root of the condition, she said. “Not many people know that counseling services are available under the national health insurance program. We want to send out the message that there are alternatives to drugs when it comes to battling depression,” she said.
Bureau to host families
In celebration of the Children’s Day on April 4, the Ministry of the Interior’s Child Welfare Bureau will treat 100 families with at least three children — at least two of which must be under the age of 12 — to a free tour of the Taipei International Flora Expo on April 2, with not only the admission, but also transportation and lunch covered by the bureau, the bureau’s director-general Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛) announced at a press conference yesterday. She said that as the nation’s birthrate continues to drop, the event is part of the ministry’s plan to encourage people to have more children. Those who would like to sign up for the event should submit a 300-character essay on raising children and family values, Chang said, For details, visit www.cbi.gov.tw.
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
Nearly 60 percent of Kaohsiung residents polled said that they would vote to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. A petition to recall the mayor is undergoing a second review and if it is passed, a vote is to be held in the latter half of June. Of those polled, 69.7 percent said that they would participate in a vote, while 56 percent said they would still participate if there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. The data showed that, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic, Han would likely
FALSE INFORMATION: The report quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner are ‘in prison-like conditions’ A BBC report that quotes Britons’ complaints about quarantine conditions they experienced in Taiwan is not true, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, expressing regret over damage done to the nation’s reputation for competent disease-prevention measures. The BBC report published on Wednesday quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner were quarantined on Wednesday last week and are being kept “in prison-like conditions.” “The room is filthy. She has no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes,” the mother was quoted as saying, without naming the location of