Temperatures set to fall
The Central Weather Bureau yesterday forecast a much cooler and more humid weather pattern for the nation from late last night through the weekend. Daily highs could drop by 3°C to 6°C, with the biggest fluctuations expected in the north and northeast, the bureau said. Weekend temperatures are forecast to range between 17°C and 24°C in the north, 19°C and 26°C in central areas, and 21°C and 28°C in the south, it said. Meanwhile, chances of rain will increase across the country until tomorrow, with sudden downpours likely in mountainous areas, the bureau said.
Rise in mental disorders
The prevalence of common mental disorders has doubled over the past 20 years in Taiwan, paralleling increases in unemployment, divorce and suicide, a study by Academia Sinica shows. Common mental disorders include non-psychotic depressive and anxiety disorders, which account for more than 90 percent of all mental disorders, said Andrew Cheng (鄭泰安), a research fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences who led the study. The research team analyzed data from 9,079 respondents and found the prevalence rate of such disorders was 23.8 percent in 2010, up from 11.5 percent in 1990. Risk factors for developing common mental disorders include being a woman, married, unemployed, having a lower level of education and poor health, the research showed. While the effect of personal risk factors has remained constant over the past 20 years, the rising unemployment rate contributed to the dramatic increase in the prevalence of common mental disorders, the study showed.
KMT’s Wu set for China trip
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) is scheduled to visit China tomorrow to attend a world Hakka assembly in Fujian Province and a Hakka cultural festival in Guangdong Province, sources close to Wu said. The news follows an announcement on Thursday that Xi Jinping (習近平) had been elected general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The expected visit will be the first by a KMT member since the CCP’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition. Besides attending the two events, Wu will also visit Yongding in Fujian Province to pay homage to his ancestors. Wu has known Xi since 2000, when the two met at a Hakka gathering in Fujian during a visit by Wu to China, the sources said, adding that Xi was then deputy secretary of the CCP’s Fujian Provincial Committee. It is reported that Xi attaches great importance to Wu’s scheduled trip because the organizer of the events reported back to him in Beijing after having met with Wu in Taiwan to discuss details of the visit, the sources said.
MOFA issues Israel alert
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday issued an “orange” alert for Israel, advising travelers to be alert and to avoid unnecessary travel to the country. The warning was issued in the face of rising tensions after Israel launched an offensive against militants in Gaza on Wednesday. An “orange” alert is the second-highest in the ministry’s four color-coded travel warning system. Violence in Gaza intensified after Israeli forces killed top Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jaabari two days earlier, the ministry said. The ministry urged Taiwanese to take precautions to ensure their safety if they have to go to Israel on business, and to otherwise avoid traveling to the country.