Ex-TRA worker vindicated
The Taipei High Administrative Court on Monday ruled in favor of the family of an employee of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) who was accused of spying for China in 1949, offering a certificate declaring the innocence of the deceased man. Chang Yu-lan (張玉蘭), former deputy head at Pingtung Station, was accused of spying for China and detained for 254 days in 1949, during which time he was tortured to extract a confession. He was later released over a lack of evidence. A district court ruled in 2001 that Chang should receive NT$1.27 million (US$41,270) in compensation for being wrongly detained. After Chang died in 2008, his children filed a suit with the administrative court because a reconciliation foundation set up by the government in 1998 refused to bestow a certificate of innocence to Chang.
US official to visit
A US Department of State official is scheduled to arrive today for a three-day visit to discuss trade and investment issues, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday. The visit is the first to the nation for Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Kurt Tong since he assumed the post in July, the AIT said in a statement. He is to deliver a keynote speech tomorrow at a private equity forum organized by the Asian Venture Capital Journal in Taipei and then participate in a panel discussion on innovation at an event organized by the AIT and the National Development Council, the statement said. Tong is scheduled to meet with political, business and academic leaders to discuss trade, investment and commercial matters. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tong’s visit will “help both countries continue to bolster bilateral trade relations.”
Foreign parent numbers up
One in every nine students in Taoyuan County’s elementary and junior-high schools has a foreign-born parent, a sharp rise from 2.1 percent recorded 10 years ago, the latest figures from the county government show. The number of students under 15 years of age from new immigrant families has grown significantly over the past decade, from 5,488 in 2004 to 23,877 at the end of last year, the county government said. The trend is particularly noticeable since the overall number of elementary-school and junior-high students dropped from 266,050 to 219,051 over the 10-year period, it said. About 86 percent of the foreign-born parents are from China (37.1 percent), Vietnam (30.6 percent) and Indonesia (18.4 percent), statistics show. More than half of the children from such families attend school in Jhongli (中壢, 18.6 percent), while the others go the school in Taoyuan (15.1 percent), Pingjhen (平鎮, 10.7 percent) and Yangmei (楊梅, 9.2 percent), the county government said.
Keelung opens LGBT center
A culture center devoted to a healthy lifestyle for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people was launched in Keelung on Monday, becoming the first support center for the community in the city. Established by a student group at National Taiwan Ocean University together with the Keelung Health Bureau, the center is on the fifth floor of a building next to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Keelung branch. The center is to sponsor health screening and awareness campaigns, the student group said. The Health Bureau said that it plans to promote its HIV prevention campaign at the center.
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
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,”
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
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