Heavy fog delays flights
A total of 84 flights were delayed yesterday morning at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport because of heavy fog, officials said. From 5am until 9:30am, no planes were allowed to take off or land at the airport because visibility was less than 900m, airport officials said. Two incoming flights — one passenger flight and one cargo plane — were diverted to Kaohsiung International Airport, the officials said. The heavy fog engulfed the airport’s south and north runways in the early hours of the morning. As of 3pm, it had dispersed somewhat, but some flights were still being affected, officials said.
Pigeon kidnappers nabbed
Seven people have been arrested in the south for allegedly kidnapping dozens of race pigeons for ransom, police said yesterday. The suspects were accused of setting traps along racing routes to capture the pigeons and demanding up to NT$5,000 in ransom per bird from the owners, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said. The alleged ringleader was nabbed when he met an owner to collect ransom earlier this week, police said, and he was found to be in possession of nearly 60 race pigeons. Pigeon racing is popular in the country, but has been linked to underground gambling.
Enough water in the south
Some areas in the south need not worry about a water shortage in the dry season, which usually ends when the plum rains begin in May, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) said on Tuesday. The Southern Region Water Resources Office said water supplies in the southern regions of Chiayi, Greater Tainan, Pingtung and the outlying island of Penghu are sustainable through the end of May. The Tsengwen and Wushantou reservoirs currently have about 300 million tonnes of water, representing about 50 percent of their storage capacities, the office said, adding that this is about the same level as at this time last year. The rainy season is usually from May to June — the plum rain season — followed by the typhoon season from July to September. Meanwhile, the water supply in Greater Kaohsiung, which is heavily reliant on the Gaoping River, might require further assessment as there are no large reservoirs serving the municipality, the office said.
Colleges form ethics alliance
Nearly 50 colleges formed an alliance on Tuesday to jointly safeguard the rights of research subjects in human-related studies, said Tainan’s National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), a member of the group. The establishment of the biggest research ethics alliance in Taiwan, the South Taiwan Alliance for Research Ethics, was aimed at reducing the number of controversies triggered by studies on human behavior, the university said. The rights of research subjects came into the spotlight recently after media reports about researchers subjecting children to brain-wave experiments without parental consent and collecting saliva samples from Aboriginal minorities ruffled public sentiment. Led by NCKU, the 49 colleges from southern and eastern Taiwan and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Penghu formed the alliance — initiated by the National Science Council — to enhance cooperation and discipline in academic research. Under the partnership, alliance members are expected to assist one another in reviewing ethics issues in studies involving human subjects.