IVF births skyrocketing
More than 4,000 test tube babies are born in this country every year, nearly four times the number recorded 10 years ago, the Taiwan Society for Reproductive Medicine said yesterday. The number of infants conceived through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) accounted for 2.47 percent of the total births in 2010, an increase from 0.64 percent in 2001, although the nation’s total fertility rate decreased from 1.4 births per woman aged between 15 and 49 to 0.9 during the same period, the group said. More older women are becoming eager to have children, said Huang Hong-yuan (黃泓淵), the society’s president, adding that the average age of women receiving fertility treatment has gone up from 32 to 35. Statistics from the Bureau of Health Promotion show the chances of a woman older than 41 becoming pregnant are less than 10 percent. By the time a woman reaches the age of 44, the chances of success drop to about 2 percent.
TransAsia heads to Hunan
TransAsia Airways is to launch a new route on June 2 between Taipei and Zhangjiajie in China’s Hunan Province, the airline said yesterday. Three flights per week will be flown using 150-seat Airbus A320 planes or 182-seat A321 planes, it said. The airline will be the only Taiwanese carrier offering direct flight services to Zhangjiajie, a city close to the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, a UNESCO world heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. Zhangjiajie hosted 35 million visitors last year, up 15 percent from the previous year, according to the city government. Of the 2.2 million overseas visitors, 150,000 were from Taiwan, making the nation the second-largest source of tourists for Zhangjiajie after South Korea.
CIB seizes ketamine
Police on Wednesday seized 450kg of ketamine that had been smuggled into Taichung port in a shipping container and apprehended three suspects, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said yesterday. The bureau said it received a tip-off last year, suggesting the main suspect, surnamed Yen (嚴), had been attempting to smuggle drugs from China into the country in shipping containers. After a six-month investigation, police and sniffer dogs found 18 bags of ketamine in a cargo container hidden among more than 600 bags of polyformaldehyde, a chemical compound used to make plastic, the bureau said. Yen and two other suspects were arrested, it said. The ketamine had a market value of NT$300 million (US$10 million) and was enough to supply 1 million drug users, police said.
Director Nakata to visit
Japanese movie director Hideo Nakata, best known for his 1998 horror film Ring, is to visit Taipei on May 18 to promote his latest movie, local film publisher CaiChang International said yesterday. Nakata and the lead actors from The Complex — Atsuko Maeda and Hiroki Narimiya — are scheduled to arrive in Taipei on the same day that the film is released in Japan, CaiChang said. They are to hold a press conference before meeting local fans in a ticketed event in Taipei, the publisher said. The Complex is Nakata’s first film in six years. His most notable works are the first two films of the Ring franchise, which has been remade by Hollywood into two films — The Ring (2002) and The Ring Two (2005), which Nakata also directed. The Complex is to open in Taiwan on May 31.