Ma encourages immigrants
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that new immigrants had not only inspired a lot of people, but they had also prompted the government to review current laws and policies. “We can see that you have made great efforts to strive upward, and your stories have inspired many more recent immigrants,” Ma told representatives of the immigrant community at a meeting that was part of a program to meet with people from different civic groups. The president lauded the positive contributions made by new immigrants, saying they had made society more pluralistic and were key to the development of a global perspective. A Vietnamese teacher at National Chengchi University, Tran Thi Hoang Phuong, said she found a lot of her compatriots had trouble because of the language barrier, and this was the reason she volunteered to help new immigrants. Tran said the government should launch news or entertainment programs in Vietnamese or Indonesian, as well as Chinese-teaching TV programs.
EV71 spreading: Taipei
Taipei City health authorities yesterday warned of a rising trend of enterovirus (EV) infection, and the likelihood that the virus, a common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease among children, will also attack teenagers. Lin Kuo-ning (林國甯), deputy chief of the Taipei City Department of Health’s disease control division, said there have been five cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection reported so far this year, involving one high school student and two junior-high school students. The cases suggest a rising trend in the age of patients susceptible to EV, Lin said. According to the department’s statistics, as of March 10, district hospitals had reported a total of 1,182 cases of EV infection — 2.8 times the 417 cases the hospitals reported in the same period last year. Meanwhile, schools around Taipei reported a total of 1,384 EV cases from Jan. 1 to March 10 — 3.93 times the 352 cases recorded a year ago. From Jan. 1 to March 10, the accumulated number of school classes that had to be suspended because of cluster infections reached 113 classes — 3.22 times the 35 classes reported a year ago, data showed. Health authorities reminded the public that infants and toddlers aged under five are at the highest risk of severe EV infection. Children who develop symptoms of extreme sleepiness, unconsciousness, vomiting, persistent fever or seizures should be taken to clinics or hospitals for medical treatment as soon as possible, they said.
Guatemala first lady visits
Guatemala’s first lady, Rosa Maria Leal de Perez, is in the country on a five-day visit to foster ties between the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Accompanied by Cecilia Arimany Tejada de Caballeros, Perez arrived in the country a day earlier and was to meet Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添). During her visit, the first lady, who used to be a kindergarten teacher, was scheduled to meet students from Guatemala who are studying in Taiwan on scholarships. In addition, the delegation is scheduled to visit the NWL Foundation for the Hearing Impaired, the Maria Social Welfare Foundation, Taipei Expo Park and Shilin Night Market during their stay, the ministry said. Perez had visited Taiwan twice before, in 1994 and 2007, but her present trip is the first time she has visited the country as first lady. Her husband, Otto Fernando Perez Molina, assumed office in January.