Officer on wanted list
The government has put a military intelligence officer on the wanted list after she failed to report to work following a holiday in Thailand last month, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The lieutenant, identified only by her surname Yeh (葉), has been sacked by the military intelligence bureau and will face a court-martial for abandoning her post if she returns home, the ministry said. However, the ministry denied media reports alleging she had acquired important intelligence and defected to China. “We are investigating the case and we will thoroughly review our systems for recruiting, selecting, training and assigning staff,” it said in a statement.
Biopesticide selling well
The Council of Agriculture said yesterday it has developed a biopesticide that has received a favorable response from farmers since its launch late last year. According to an official with the Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, this is the first locally developed organic biopesticide to be approved by local authorities. The pesticide is effective against insect larvae that feed on vegetables such as cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and soybeans, the official said, adding that demand has been strong since the technology was transferred to Fwusow Industry Co for commercialization. Although deadly to the insect, the pesticide does not affect humans or other animals, making it a safe choice for farmers, the council said.
Shalun Beach tightens rules
Safety measures at New Taipei City’s (新北市) Shalun Beach, where five students recently drowned, have been tightened and those who ignore warnings against swimming or playing in the water will be fined, New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said on Monday. Swimming is banned at the beach, but since it is difficult to differentiate between swimming and playing around, the government will no longer allow beachgoers to enter the water, he added. Hou said beach guards who patrol the beach will discourage visitors from going into the water, and those who disregard the warnings will be fined up to NT$25,000. Meanwhile, authorities at Zheng De Junior High School, where the five students were enrolled, called for donations to help the bereaved families who are having a hard time paying for funeral arrangements. A total of 22 people have drowned at the beach since it was closed in 1999 because of strong undercurrents and dangerous whirlpools.
Six new enterovirus cases
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported six new cases of severe enterovirus in the nation yesterday, adding that the annual peak period for infection has not ended. Five of the six patients, all children under the age of four, have been treated and discharged from hospital, the centers said, but the sixth, an 11-month-old boy from central Taiwan, is still in hospital. “We discovered that a three-year-old boy and his one-year-old sister might have been infected by other family members,” the CDC said of two of the new cases. As of Monday, the number of serious enterovirus cases this year reached 102, with one death recorded. The fatal case involved a five-month-old boy who died late last month of enterovirus 71, a virulent form of the virus, the CDC said.