A-mei’s shows to be cheaper
To celebrate the 15th year of her singing career, pop diva Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), better known as A-mei (阿妹), will perform six concerts in a row at lower-than-normal ticket prices in Taipei starting from March 30 next year. A-mei began her career on the first weekend of this month in Sichuan Province, China, followed by several more concerts throughout China. Before the march 30 show in Taipei, the 39-year-old singer will also give concerts in the US, Canada and Singapore. Although the production costs of the Taipei concerts will exceed NT$107 million (US$3.6 million), ticket prices will range from NT$600 to NT$2,800, low compared with the typical range of NT$600 to NT$6,000 for other well-known singers, the organizer said.
DOH to donate equipment
The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday pledged to donate customized medical equipment to the Solomon Islands, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, to help combat high maternal and newborn death rates in the South Pacific nation. Deputy Minister of Health Chiang Hung-che (江宏哲) said the donation was to improve the public health situation in the Solomon Islands, which are on par with Taiwan 40 years ago, when it had a high death rate for mothers and newborns. According to data from 2005, the maternal mortality rate stood at 236 deaths per 100,000 live births, while the newborn mortality rate was 12 per 1,000 live births, Chiang said, adding that the autoclaves being sent to the ally were designed to suit the needs of island residents that often lack electricity. The high-pressure instruments have been adapted to generate power from firewood and coconut shells, he said.
‘E-schoolbags’ to be used
Taipei will introduce “e-schoolbags” to more students starting next year as part of its plan to promote cloud-based learning, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday. Hau said the government would introduce e-schoolbags — tablet PCs or portable e-readers that store teaching materials and allow students to search the Internet in class — to 150 elementary and junior high schools in Taipei in a three-year program starting next year. The initiative is a follow-up of a pilot program launched by the Ministry of Education two years ago in Zhongyi and Dahu elementary schools. Hau said that because the trials went well and tablet computer technology has matured, the program would be extended to 30 more schools next year, 50 more schools in 2013 and another 70 schools in 2014. Hau said the program would also establish an electronic database of teaching materials.
Drug cases drop 0.73%
Drug cases in Taiwan dropped slightly in the first seven months of the year, but those related to “second-degree” drugs were on the rise, according to a latest report released by the Ministry of the Interior. The police reported a total of 27,900 cases related to illegal drugs, a 0.73 percent decrease from a year earlier. Drugs categorized as “second-degree,” including opium poppy, marijuana and amphetamine, accounted for 58.53 percent of the total cases — the second consecutive year that they have topped harder drugs. Illegal use of these drugs has increased for the past three years, climbing by 3.29 percent in the January to July period compared with same time last year, the report showed. First-degree drugs, including heroin, opium, cocaine and morphine, were the second-most common types of drugs used. New Taipei City (新北市) reported the most drug cases in the country at 4,776, followed by Greater Kaohsiung and Taoyuan County at 4,358 and 2,906 respectively.