South Link upgrade begins
A ceremony was held in Taitung yesterday to mark the beginning of the electrification of the South Link Railway, which aims to shorten the travel time between Taitung and Pingtung. Upon the project’s completion, travel from Taitung to Pingtung is expected to take 90 minutes, making it possible to reach Taitung from Taipei within three-and-a-half hours, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said. Shortening the ride between Taitung and Pingtung will complete a “full circle of happiness” for Taitung residents, Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) said. The 123.4km-long railway electrification project linking Taitung and Chaojhou Township (潮州) in Pingtung County is estimated to cost NT$27.9 billion (US$907.88 million).
Officer disciplined over shot
A police officer who fired his pistol in anger into the air on Friday night will be disciplined, Taipei’s Wenshan First Precinct said. The policeman, Hung Hui-hsiung (洪輝雄), had asked to take 10 days off to take care of his ailing father in Kinmen County, but the request was rejected by his superior because of the precinct’s tight schedule ahead of local elections on Nov. 29. Hung reportedly stormed out to the parking lot late on Friday, fired his pistol into the air and yelled: “My superior is bullying me,” scaring his coworkers. The precinct said Hung, who had been honored as distinguished officer, was barred from carrying a gun and would face disciplinary action and a trial. Hung’s sister, Hung Juo-shan (洪若珊), who is the speaker of the Lieyu Urban Township (烈嶼) Council in Kinmen and is seeking re-election, said her brother’s superior was “callous” in turning down the request, but added that Hung Hui-hsiung’s reaction was “a bit irrational.”
345,000 rode new MRT line
Taipei’s MRT ferried about 345,000 passengers on its new Songshan Line on Saturday, the first day of its operation, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) said yesterday. There are eight stations on the 8.5km-long Songshan Line, from Ximen (西門) in Taipei’s old downtown area to the eastern end of Songshan (松山), where passengers can transfer to nationwide rail services. The line opened at 6am on Saturday, operating free of charge or with reduced tariffs for EasyCard holders who enter or exit the eight stations during its first month of operation. About 725,000 riders received the reduced-price service on that day, the TRTC said. The 15-minute end-to-end ride is an extension of the Xindian Line, from Xindian District (新店) in New Taipei City, south of Taipei.
Kinmen envisions landmark
The Kinmen County Government expects a planned passenger service center in the Port of Kinmen to become a landmark, county officials have said. The Shuitou Passenger Service Center has been designed as a tourist attraction that offers transportation services, the officials said on Thursday last week. A budget of NT$1.87 billion (US$60.8 million) has been allocated for it, the county said. The international gateway was jointly designed by Japanese and Taiwanese architecture firms — Japan’s Junya Ishigami and Associates and Bio-architecture Formosana headed by Chang Ching-hwa (張清華) — to help travelers obtain efficient customs clearance and other services, the government said. It estimated that the building, to be completed by the end of 2017, will serve between 3.5 million and 5 million passengers annually.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students