Five mats found defective
A random inspection of 20 commercially available summer sleeping mats discovered five samples that contained excessive amounts of the preservative formaldehyde, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. The samples were selected from among an assortment of retailers in the first half of this year, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection said, adding that the defective products were ordered off store shelves. Despite its widespread use as a commercial preservative, formaldehyde is classified as a carcinogen and in excessive amounts can cause respiratory tract infections, headaches, an abnormally high heart rate and skin irritation, the bureau said. The tests also revealed labeling problems on three products, it said. People should avoid purchasing sleeping mats with unclear labels or a strong chemical smell, the bureau said, adding that new mats should be thoroughly washed and sun-dried before use.
Vietnamese saved from fire
Three migrant workers from Vietnam were treated for smoke inhalation after being rescued from a fire at an apartment in Taoyuan, the Taoyuan Fire Department said yesterday. The incident happened a few minutes after midnight on Thursday in Lujhu District (蘆竹), it said, adding that the Vietnamese were rescued by firefighters from a ninth-floor balcony. Fire engines carrying 72 firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze in about an hour, it said, adding that there were no other reported injuries. The three victims were taken to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口) for treatment. The cause of fire is under investigation, authorities said.
Van Gogh goes high-tech
An exhibition that employs high-definition imagery of artwork by 19th century Dutch master Vincent van Gogh is to be held in Taipei early next year, organizer JUSTLIVE said on Thursday. Dubbed “Van Gogh Alive,” it is to be the first time this type of high-tech artistic expo is held in Taiwan, the entertainment subsidiary of online streaming service KKBOX said. The show features more than 3,000 Van Gogh images and paintings, creating a display that fills giant screens, walls, columns, ceilings and even the floor, JUSTLIVE said. The show combines multichannel motion graphics and cinema-quality surround sound, using up to 40 high-definition projectors that provide visitors with an immersive experience, it said. The show is to be held at Taipei’s Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store Co’s A11 store from Jan. 15 to April 5 and Kaohsiung’s Shin Kong Mitsukoshi store from April 18 to July 12, it added.
Three detained for robbery
Three men were detained for allegedly robbing a Malaysian tourist of NT$300,000 in Taipei, police said on Wednesday. The tourist was duped into taking what she thought was an Uber ride to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday, the last day of her trip, police said. However, instead of taking her to the airport, the car drove to Yangmingshan, where the driver and another man forcibly took her passport, cellphone and handbag, which contained NT$300,000 in cash, police said. The woman sustained injuries to her hands and feet, as she attempted to fend off the men and later flee, police said, adding that the men left the woman in the mountainous area and drove away with her belongings. A special investigation team tracked down the two men and a third suspect, who allegedly set up the robbery, police said.
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying:
BILINGUAL ASSISTANCE: The center launched a chat bot that features Chinese and English interfaces to provide foreigners with instant information about the pandemic The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would discuss with other nations the possibility of allowing businesspeople to visit on a case-by-case basis. Asked about loosening border restrictions, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at the daily CECC news briefing that while the center is cautious about opening the nation’s borders, it would aim to diminish obstacles for important trade interactions without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus. Several foreign representatives in Taiwan have expressed an interest in the matter and the center would conduct related negotiations with the help of the