California delegation visiting
A delegation from the California State Assembly is visiting to promote bilateral exchanges in trade and culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday. During its seven-day trip, the delegation is scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and call on officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. It will also visit the Taipei and Tainan city governments, the ministry said. “The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties in trade and culture,” said Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the Department of North American Affairs. Issues to be discussed include agriculture and electronic products, he said. The nine-member delegation from across party lines includes Connie Conway, leader of the California State Assembly Republican Caucus, and Susan Bonilla of the Democratic Party, who was born in Taiwan, and lived here as a child, Linghu added.
More seeking certificate
A much higher number of people than expected have applied for a new disability certificate that was introduced in July last year, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. Between July last year and February, the ministry received more than 77,000 new applications for the certificate, which classifies the level of disability and required care of the holder, the ministry said. The year-on-year increase of about 27,000 was attributed to “looser regulations and a wider range of [disability] classifications,” it added. In addition, the new certificate uses codes, rather than words, to classify disabilities, giving the holder more privacy. Also, the new evaluation process extends beyond the person’s mental and physical condition to include environmental factors and the level of ability to function within society, the ministry said. This gives the government more comprehensive information on disabled needs and allows for better services to be provided to the disabled, it added.
Agency seeds clouds
The Water Resources Agency seeded clouds in Miaoli and Taoyuan counties yesterday in an attempt to create precipitation and help relieve an extended dry spell. Taking advantage of an approaching cold front, the agency sent plumes of calcium chloride smoke into rain clouds over the Ming-Te (明德) and Shihmen (石門) reservoirs in Miaoli and Taoyuan counties respectively. However, there were few immediate effects. Agency official Chien Chao-chun (簡昭群) said it was difficult to determine when the effects would become evident, but added that the agency would continue to work at Shihmen Reservoir until 8pm yesterday. Mingte Reservoir supplies 130,000 to 140,000 tonnes of irrigation water, 30,000 tonnes of domestic water and 10,000 tonnes of industrial water per day, the agency said.
Seventeen try procedure
National Taiwan University Hospital announced yesterday it had conducted 17 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantations (TAVI) since 2010. TAVI is a new medical technique available to patients with aortic stenosis that saves them from undergoing open-heart surgery. Aortic stenosis is a valvular disease commonly seen in the elderly that is characterized by an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve, hospital cardiologist Kao Hsien-li (高憲立) said. “The narrowing increases the heart’s workload and symptoms like breathing difficulty, dizziness and angina develop,” Kao said.