Dogs catch NT$4bn in drugs
The Customs Administration said yesterday that drug-sniffing dogs have helped crack 24 drug cases, involving a total of NT$1 billion (US$33.49 million) in illegal substances from January to last month. Including this month’s cocaine and ketamine cases, the dogs have assisted the authorities in seizing a total of NT$4 billion in illegal drugs this year, the agency said. The team of drug-sniffing dogs was founded in 2002, and officially set up as the Detector Dog Breeding and Training Center in April 2008.
Audition for street artists
The New Taipei City (新北市) Government will today hold its annual street artist certificate performances in the plaza in front of Banciao Train Station from 9am to 6pm, and members of the public are welcome to attend, city officials said yesterday. The official certification would be reviewed by experts and results are to be posted on Nov. 11. Lin Kuan-yu (林寬裕), head of the city’s cultural affairs department, said that participants this year range in age from 16 to 84, and will be doing a variety of performances, including ukulele or guitar playing, singing, magic tricks and fingernail painting. This year’s 421 applications were up from the 291 who applied last year, he added.
Group to promote S Asia ties
An association aimed at encouraging parliamentary exchanges between Taiwan and South Asian countries was established yesterday by a group of lawmakers. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), who will head the Taiwan-South Asian Parliamentary Friendship Association, said he hoped the organization could contribute to economic and academic cooperation among all sides through parliamentary ties. Such links would be significant, as they would provide more flexible channels for dialogue and partnership, he said. As South Asian countries account for 20 percent of the world population and serve as an engine of global economic growth, it is essential for Taiwan to set up a communication platform with them, he said. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Shih (石定) and India-Taipei Association deputy director-general Shambhu Hakki attended the inauguration ceremony at the Legislative Yuan.
Alliance to tap SDN market
An alliance spanning five communications and technology sectors was formed yesterday to tap into the new software-defined networking (SDN) market. The alliance launched by the Industrial Technology Research Institute, Chunghwa Telecom and the Institute for Information Industry will pool resources from telecommunication network operators, system integrators, software developers, network equipment manufacturers and chip designers. The alliance is calling on major technology firms, such as MediaTek, Realtek, D-Link, Accton and Proscend Communications, to join the partnership. SDN technology has been adopted by Internet giants such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft because of its flexibility in the allocation of bandwidth. This makes SDN a major highlight in the application of 4G broadband networks and cloud computing. Market researcher International Data Corp forecast that the global value of the SDN market would grow to US$3.7 billion by 2016, with more than 10 percent of companies using the technology in the management of their physical networks.
Staff writer, with CNA
Tabloid corrects ‘China’ error
British tabloid the Daily Mail has corrected an error in a report about director Luc Besson’s new action thriller, which it originally wrote was being filmed in “Taipei, China.” The paper referred to the filming location three times as “China” in its article on Tuesday, which immediately drew comments of protest from Web users. The corrected version reads: “You can take the girl out of America... But Scarlett Johansson, 28, proved you can’t take America out of the girl — even when that girl is filming an action thriller in Taiwan.” According to Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, it spent nearly half a year arranging for Besson to shoot his film Lucy in Taipei. Once filming is completed, the Taipei Film Commission will brief the press on what led Besson to decide to shoot in Taiwan, the culture department said.
Mold puzzle uncovered
A team of researchers based in Taiwan and the US have discovered how gray mold infects crops and flowers, a significant step in finding methods to prevent the common plant infection. It took researchers two years to determine how Botrytis cinerea, the causative agent of gray mold, suppresses immunity genes, said professor Huang Hsien-da (黃憲達), vice dean of Biological Science and Technology at National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu City. They infected over 200 plant species including orchids, an important crop in Taiwan, Huang said, before concluding that B cinerea uses RNA interference to “hijack” host RNA and make it susceptible to infection. The study was published in this month’s issue of Science. The discovery is the first time that scientists have successfully gained insight into the mechanism behind infection, Huang said.