Hsieh Wen-ting appointed
Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定), a head prosecutor with the Supreme Prosecutors Office, will serve as the new secretary-general of the Judicial Yuan, sources said on Sunday. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had nominated Hsieh to serve as state public prosecutor-general, but the legislative vetoed the nomination. The source said Judicial Yuan President Lai In-jaw (賴英照), who assumed office yesterday, had invited Hsieh to serve as chief of staff. Hsieh said he had accepted Lai's invitation. A changeover ceremony for the Judicial Yuan president and vice president was to be held yesterday morning. Lai will replace Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生), who is retiring. Hsieh Tsay-chuan (謝在全) will be sworn in as Judicial Yuan vice president.
Museum holds birthday sale
The National Palace Museum will open a three-day sale on Friday on a wide range of publications,reproductions and souvenirs in celebration of its 81st anniversary, a spokesman said yesterday. The annual sale -- held in the museum's Library Building -- will include reproductions of paintings and calligraphic works from the Sung, Yuan, Ming and Ching dynasties. Other items include illustrated catalogues of rare paintings and calligraphy from the Sung dynasty, catalogs of ceramic ware from government-owned kilns in the imperial dynasties and catalogs of costumes of the Ching dynasty. Other items, including silk scarves, vases, mugs, lacquer boxes, neckties and inkstones, will also be on sale.
Review committee sparks ire
The Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA) Environmental Impact Review Committee yesterday voted to form a special taskforce to review construction of a Formosa Plastics steel plant in Yunlin. EPA Minister Winston Dang (陳重信), however, ruled toward the end of the meeting that the conclusion was still pending, since some of the committee members questioned the validity of the voting process. Other members also questioned Formosa's ability to fulfill the promises it had made during the review. The committee had previously determined that the case should be reviewed in the next evaluation phase, in which the developer will be asked to submit a more detailed environmental impact report. The result enraged environmentalists and local representatives at yesterday's committee meeting. They accused the EPA of rubber-stamping development projects. Liou Ming-lung (劉銘龍), chairman of the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation, said he and other activists would seek the support of lawmakers to question the EPA over the matter during this legislative session.
`Sugar chips' touted
Researchers at Academia Sinica have completed the development of a new "sugar chip" that can diagnose cancerous cells and bacterial or viral infections within seconds with high accuracy, sources said yesterday. The chips, based on glycan micro-array technology, detect specific interactions between carbohydrates and proteins to determine the onset of known diseases, academics said. The team at the Genomics Research Center will next use the chip to try to detect HIV and avian influenza. Liang Pi-hui (梁碧惠), a post-doctoral researcher at the center, said the chip only required a small sample and just seconds to produce results with nearly 100 percent accuracy.
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
A Tainan taxi driver is the Taiwanese with the longest name, after he last month changed it so that it now contains 25 characters, the Anping District Household Registration Office said. The 47-year-old man, formerly known as Huang Hsin-hsiang (黃鑫翔), applied for the name change on Feb. 26, in the hope that it would bring him good luck. His new name starts with Huang Da-lan (黃大嵐) and adds another 22 characters, meaning “Huang Da-lan is the blessed darling and sweetheart of the god of joy, god of wealth, god of misfortune, god of Earth and all the gods,” it said. With
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group might have lost its right to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to fulfill a contract in Taiwan, civic groups Taiwan Citizen Front and the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday. In a radio interview on Feb. 17, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, said that last year, Taiwan was close to signing a contract to buy doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but that the deal was halted at the last moment, with some speculating that Chinese interference was to blame. On Monday last week, the center
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: As China attempted to promote its national image through humanitarian aid, its targets include New Southbound Policy countries, an expert said China’s “vaccine diplomacy,” which has become central to its foreign policy this year, might hamper Taiwan’s efforts to build relations with developing countries, an expert said. “China, as one of the few countries other than the United Kingdom and the United States to have produced a COVID-19 vaccine, will certainly use that as a diplomatic tool,” said Kung Shan-son (龔祥生), an assistant research fellow at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research. Beijing’s major goals in its “vaccine diplomacy” are to promote its national image through humanitarian aid and to solidify its relations with countries that are included in its