Malawi travel alert raised
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday issued a yellow travel warning for Malawi amid political disturbance in the southeast African country. Nineteen people were killed during a two-day protest against poor living standards last month, and anti-government activists are planning another protest tomorrow that could turn violent, the ministry said. The yellow alert, the second level on the ministry’s four-level advisory system, advises citizens not to travel to the country unless completely necessary. The ministry urged Taiwanese travelers in Malawi to proceed with caution. In case of emergency, call up the nearest Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in South Africa at 27-8290-61413 or 27-8280-29380, it said.
No Japan pact yet: Wang
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday rebutted a Japanese media report that a Taiwan-Japan investment protection agreement would be signed next month, saying that the accord was still a work in progress. According to a report on Saturday in the Sankei Shimbun, the two sides would formally sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a preferential trade agreement, next month, allowing greater freedom in bilateral economic exchanges than a similar pact Japan has signed with China. Wang said the Taiwan-Japan pact, which will be similar to a free-trade agreement, was still being discussed and that several obstacles needed to be overcome. He made the statement a day after receiving Kenichi Okada, secretary-general of Japan’s Interchange Association and the country’s new representative to Taiwan. Wang said the meeting with the Japanese official was simply a courtesy call and that they did not talk about EPA-related issues.
EPA warns on UV levels
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation was expected to soar to “extreme” levels yesterday, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said. UV levels were likely to reach the 11th degree on the UV index (UVI) nationwide and could even climb to the 12th degree in the east, the EPA forecast. A UVI of 11 or above is at the extreme level. The EPA said people should take extra precautions against the strong UV light, because it could be potentially hazardous to the human body.
Many believe in spirits: poll
Almost 87 percent of office workers believe in the existence of gods and ghosts, with 48 percent of them frequently consulting divinities for prophecies about their love life and work, a recent online survey said. However, although many often pray and “seek advice” by throwing divination blocks at the temples, they tend to follow their heart or consult friends if the “prophecies” run counter to their expectations, the poll found. Conducted by 360d Human Resources Consultancy Co to mark Ghost Month, the poll also found that interpersonal relationships in the workplace were a major concern among office workers. About 52 percent of workers usually wear pinkie rings, beads, talismans, or crosses, or place crystal balls on their desks to keep workplace “villains” at bay, the poll showed. Chen Ching-ling (陳慶玲), a marketing manager at the consultancy firm, said that although religion could provide spiritual sustenance for people facing difficulties in life, it was more important to help oneself by improving one’s professional skills and working hard.