New bike rules to take effect
From July 17, cyclists in Taipei are to be fined NT$300 if they ride on sidewalks outside of established bike lanes, the Taipei City Government said on Friday. Riders would be required to stick to designated bike lanes and if such a lane does not exist, they would have to ride in the slow lanes of city streets, city officials said. The regulations are to first be enforced in areas that have well-defined bike lanes, such as on Xinyi, Renai, Roosevelt and Xinsheng South roads, officials said. The Taipei Department of Transportation had originally planned to put the regulations into practice yesterday. However, it decided to delay the launch by two weeks after Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said he was unaware of the new rules and asked transportation officials to step up publicity of them.
Conscript number dips
The government plans to conscript 138,975 military personnel this year, a decrease of 29,144 people from last year and the lowest annual number in the past decade, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. The low number is partly a result of superstition, as on the Chinese zodiac, 1998 — the birth year of the conscripts — was a Year of the Tiger, so the birth rate was low, the ministry said. It is believed that people born in the Year of the Tiger have bad luck. The number of conscripts per year over the past 10 years has often reached 165,000, with 2009 seeing a high of 174,000, the ministry said. Among those conscripted this year, 89.4 percent would not be able to fulfill their duty in the year, ministry data show. The ministry said 85.9 percent of that group remain in school and 9.8 percent have already served their terms — for example as military-school students.
Mercury soars in Taipei
The mercury hit 35.9°C in Taipei at 12:10pm yesterday, the highest temperature recorded in the capital this year, the Central Weather Bureau said. As of about 2pm yesterday, the highest temperature across the nation occurred in Chiayi, where the temperature climbed to 36°C at 1:16pm, the bureau said. The highest temperature in northern Taiwan was the 35.9°C recorded in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), although a high of 36.2°C was recorded there on Wednesday, it said. The bureau reminded the public to take precautions against sunburn and to stay hydrated to avert heat stroke.
FDA flip-flops on fluopyram
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday revoked its decision to tolerate traces of fluopyram in tea, after its previous decision to permit residue of the fungicide stirred controversy. In line with the Council of Agriculture policy of allowing the use of a pesticide that is a mixture of fluopyram and trifloxystrobin on tea bushes, the FDA on March 15 announced that up to 6 parts per million of fluopyram residue would be permitted. The announcement immediately triggered a public outcry because fluopyram has been linked to thyroid and liver cancer in mice. According to FDA Food Safety Division director Pan Chih-kuan (潘志寬), the decision to revoke the tolerance was made to ease consumer concerns and avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. The FDA and council would reconsider the use of fluopyram and its residue limit and would improve communication with the public before a further decision is made, he said.
Staff writer, with CNA
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,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions