Freighter crew rescued
A Thailand-flagged freighter ran aground in shallow waters off Mudou islet (目斗) in Penghu County early yesterday because of strong winds, but all of the ship’s crewmembers are safe, the Ministry of the Interior said. The 16 crewmembers were rescued from the battered vessel — the Oberon — which ran aground 1 nautical mile (1.85km) north of Mudou islet, according to the rescue team dispatched by the ministry. The ship was reportedly taking in water. The ministry did not say whether the ship, which was carrying liquefied petroleum gas, might spill its cargo and threaten the environment. Five helicopters were dispatched at 6:33am on the rescue mission and brought the crewmembers to safety at the county capital of Makung (馬公), the rescue team said. Winds as high as 88kph in the area complicated the rescue mission, the rescuers said.
Men dominate civil service
Women hold a much smaller proportion of high-level government posts, accounting for about a quarter of positions, according to recently released figures. Only 26.9 percent of senior posts were held by women, compared with 49 percent in mid-level positions and 56 percent in low-ranked positions, according to Civil Service Ministry statistics. Of the 9,704 high-level posts held last year, 2,610 were occupied by women, compared with 7,094 held by men, the statistics showed.
Public Wi-Fi access to widen
More public places in Taipei will have free wireless Internet access starting in May, the city government said yesterday. People will be able to use wireless Internet for free on more than 100 roads and streets in Taipei, up from 39 main roads at present, the city’s Department of Information Technology said. The new metro line to Xinzhuang and large parks such as Daan Forest Park will also be covered. The network’s connection speed will also be upgraded from the current 512 kilobits per second to as fast as 10 megabits per second, which will allow more multimedia sites to become accessible and enable users to watch videos on YouTube, the department said.
Model predicts cancer
A Taiwanese-led research team has successfully devised a new prediction model to calculate the likelihood of hepatitis C patients developing liver cancer, the team leader said yesterday. The model incorporates indicators such as age, the liver function indexes ALT and AST, hepatitis C virus RNA in serum, cirrhosis and the genotype of the virus, Academia Sinica vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said at a session of the Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver held in Taipei. Chen said the serum data was particularly important in predicting the chances of developing liver cancer. The model, which can predict a result with 80 percent accuracy, assigns a score of 0 to 25 to analyze each case. The higher the score, the higher the likelihood of liver cancer, Chen said. Hepatitis B and C viruses are the main causes of liver cancer in Taiwan, Chen said, with 20 percent to 25 percent of liver cancer cases triggered by the hepatitis C virus and 70 percent to 75 percent by the hepatitis B virus. Close to 3 million people in Taiwan carry the hepatitis B virus, while about 600,000 carry the hepatitis C virus, the Department of Health says.