No threat from full moon
Today’s full moon, which will appear larger than normal due to its closeness to Earth, will not pose any threat, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said yesterday amid speculations that the “supermoon” might cause natural disasters. “There is no scientific link between a lunar effect and natural disasters,” said a museum researcher surnamed Lee (李). In March last year, many people expressed concern that a “supermoon” could be related to natural disasters because one was visible on March 20, shortly after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Today’s full moon will be 356,955km from Earth, making it closer to our planet than at any other time this year and appear at least 14 percent bigger than usual, Lee said. The moon will be at its closest to Earth and in its fullest phase at 11:35pm.
Suicide rate below average
The incidence of people in the military taking their own lifes is lower than that of the average population, the Ministry of National Defense said. The ministry was responding to reports that more than 300 service personnel have died from self-inflicted wounds over the past decade and more than 100 have taken their own lives over the past five years. The ministry said in a statement that there were 243 deaths from self-inflicted wounds among servicemembers between 2002 and last year. It also noted that the incidence of self-inflicted fatalities among military personnel was 7.1 out of every 100,000 last year, lower than the figure of between 16.8 and 19.3 per 100,000 for the general population between 2006 and 2010, according to Department of Health statistics. The ministry’s comments come after a military police conscript killed himself with his service rifle while standing guard at the Presidential Office on Thursday.
Chinese biker dies
An elderly Chinese tourist on a cycling tour of Kinmen died on Friday night after being hit by a small truck earlier in the day. The Kinmen County Police Bureau said the accident occurred when a truck driven by a resident surnamed Lee (李) was heading west from the airport in the slow lane. When Lee tried to pass a car straddling the fast and slow lanes to its right, he hit Wu Shihe (吳世河), who was walking his bike on the side of the road, police said. Wu, 75, was knocked unconscious and was rushed to Kinmen Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 7pm. Wu arrived in Kinmen on Thursday with 15 other members of a cycling club in Quanzhou, China. They were scheduled to return home yesterday. The police have questioned Lee and the driver of the car he passed, surnamed Hsiao (蕭), to determine who was responsible for Wu’s death.
Fake ad sparks discussion
A classified ad placed in a local newspaper on Friday that poked fun at the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration was widely shared by netizens and sparked discussion on the Internet. The “president wanted” ad said the qualified applicant had to be able to finish a 3,000m run, do more than 67 pushups and do the occasional tour or TV show. No educational or other qualifications were listed, but it did say the applicant should not have a Taiwanese accent and needed to be more than 1.75m tall and fit. The contact number given was 0944-414-414, equivalent to the Chinese characters Nin jiou shi shi, shi yi shi, shi yi shih (您就試試，試一試，試一試), which means “Come try, try it out, try it out.”