Raft sails home
A home-made bamboo raft yesterday returned to Hualien Fishing Port, completing a round-trip to Japan’s Yonaguni Island in five days. Escorted by two yachts, 10 people in their 60s and 70s took turns paddling the raft made of five bamboo poles on the 220km voyage, which started on Tuesday. Rotating in pairs, the sailors paddled the 6m-long raft to Yonaguni, the westernmost island of Japan. The three vessels, carrying a total of 15 people, arrived in Yonaguni on Wednesday evening and embarked on the return leg on Saturday morning. On arrival in Yonaguni, the sailors were greeted by Japanese yachtsman Komai, who had sailed 1,000km from Nagoya to Yonaguni to welcome them. Su Tar-zen (蘇達貞), a retired National Taiwan Ocean University professor, said the purpose of the voyage was to show people the beauty of Taiwan’s seas.
Gas leak prompts evacuation
A chemical plant worker was hospitalized and people living near the plant in Taoyuan were evacuated after a gas leak yesterday, Taoyuan city Fire Department officials said. An ambulance and seven fire trucks were sent to a factory owned by T.N.C. Industrial Co in Lujhu District (蘆竹) at 8:30am in response to reports that a yellow-colored gas was leaking, they said. A 60-year-old worker was taken to hospital after feeling ill, firefighters said. The leak was brought under control at 9:45am, they said, adding that the cause was being investigated. T.N.C. Industrial makes liquid chemicals for the high-tech industry and coating chemicals for a wide range of applications, according to its Web site.
Rain forecast for festival
The Central Weather Bureau has forecast occasional showers and thundershowers for the nation’s south and east tomorrow, when the Dragon Boat Festival is to be celebrated, as well as on Wednesday. Brief afternoon thundershowers brought by southwesterly winds are expected in the rest of the nation, the bureau said. Meteorologist Daniel Wu (吳德榮), the bureau’s former director-general, cited data from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts as saying that with a front lingering over the Bashi Channel, humidity in western Taiwan would decline. Occasional showers are expected in the nation’s eastern and mountainous areas until tomorrow, when the front will begin to move north, triggering showers and thundershowers in the south, Wu said. The bureau said Taipei recorded a temperature of 19.7°C on Saturday, the lowest over the past week, adding that the nation’s low-lying areas also recorded lows of less than 20°C.
Air quality worsens
Air quality yesterday deteriorated to unhealthy levels for sensitive groups in several areas in the nation’s southwest, while it was ranked good or moderate in the rest of the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Administration’s Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network. As of 10am, air quality was “orange” in Yunlin County’s Douliou Township (斗六), Chiayi, several districts in Tainan and Kaohsiung, and in Kinmen County. An “orange” signal also flashed at a mobile monitoring station in Taichung’s Beitun District (北屯). “Orange” level indicates that air quality is unhealthy for small children, elderly people and people with chronic diseases, according to the network’s Web site.
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
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
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,”