Hochen defuses TRA strike
A potential strike by Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) workers was defused on Tuesday after the Ministry of Transportation and Communications agreed to their union’s demands to raise salaries and hire more workers. Hsieh Sheng-ming (謝省民), head of the Taiwan Railway Union, met with Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) on Tuesday afternoon. According to Hsieh, a long-term worker shortage has resulted in a deteriorating work environment. The union had demanded that by Friday next week the Executive Yuan approve a salary table that would improve wages and allowances. The union also demanded more workers be hired. Hochen supported the union’s demands and pledged to ask the Executive Yuan to approve the additional staff and agree to the salary table within three days.
COA plans to push biogas
The Council of Agriculture (COA) plans to aggressively push the development of biogas from agricultural waste for power generation in the near future, COA Minister Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) said on Tuesday. Addressing Academia Sinica’s two-yearly convocation, Tsao said that to promote the recycling of agricultural and animal waste for biogas power generation, the council would help pig farms increase the number of pigs whose manure is used to produce biogas for power generation to 600,000 next year and to half of the total number of pigs in Taiwan within three years. In addition, some farmland that is not arable could be used for solar power generation, Tsao said. Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said the agency would help promote the council’s biogas power generation project.
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
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
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