Huang Yung-tien (黃永田), 50, who tore the toupee off Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) last year, was sentenced to five months in jail for depriving Chiu of his freedom to “look good,” Taipei District Court spokesman said yesterday. “The judge thought Chiu Yi had the freedom to wear what he wanted, and Chiu felt the hairpiece made him look better,” spokesman Huang Chun-ming (黃俊明) said. “The judge thinks that to remove it intentionally was to take away that right.” Chiu lost his toupee, revealing a mostly bald head, when he went to file a complaint against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in December. Huang Yung-tien, the leader of a pro-Chen group, called the sentence excessive, local media said. “I wasn’t careful,” he was quoted saying. “Does carelessness warrant such severity?” The sentence can be converted to a fine.
AIT ground-breaking all set
Construction on a new office complex for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) will begin on June 22, AIT spokesman Thomas Hodges said on Monday. He said the US State Department approved a US$176 million budget for the project last October. AIT Director Stephen Young will preside over the ceremony on June 22, Hodges said. Completion of the first phase of the project, on a 6.5-hectare site that has been leased for 99 years from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, is expected to take about two years. The first phase of the project will include clearing and grading the site as well as building a perimeter security system, vehicular and pedestrian access control facilities, recreational facilities, guards’ quarters, maintenance buildings and a parking area. The second phase will include the construction of the new office facility and will take another two-and-a-half years.
Population increases slightly
Ministry of Interior statistics show the nation’s population reached 23,063,027 at the end of last month, an increase of 74,599 or 0.325 percent from last year. Kinmen and Penghu recorded the highest annual population growth rates at 6.086 percent and 2.291 percent respectively, the statistics showed. Lienchiang County saw the biggest drop in population, 1.798 percent, followed by Taipei City at 0.492 percent. The number of males in Taiwan was 11,626,940, while the female population was 11,436,087. The number of registered households was 7.706 million, up by 1.91 percent, or 144,780 households, from last year’s figure, the ministry’s report showed. Taipei County had the highest number of registered households at 1.35 million, or 17.54 percent of the national total. Taipei City and Taoyuan County ranked second and third respectively, accounting for 12.47 percent and 8.34 percent respectively.
Free lunches in the works
Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) said yesterday a comprehensive free lunch program for elementary and junior high school students could be in place by September next year at the earliest. “It should be possible” for the comprehensive program to begin by that time, he told a teaching presentation in an e-class at Shengkeng Elementary School in Taipei County. An estimated NT$5.9 billion (US$179.4 million) will be required to fund the free lunch program in the first semester and around NT$17.7 billion will be needed for the full 2010 academic year, Cheng said.
Swine flu tally hits 24
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced three more imported cases of A(H1N1) influenza, bringing the nation’s swine flu tally to 24. All three new patients are students who had returned from Thailand after traveling there on graduation tours. Two of them are 24-year-old classmates who visited Thailand as part of a 57-member tour group from last Monday until Sunday. One student was quarantined upon the group’s return to Taiwan on Sunday with a 38.4˚C fever. Six of his classmates also had flu symptoms and were quarantined as a precaution. One of the six was yesterday confirmed to have swine flu, the CECC said. The third patient, a 23-year-old female student, had visited Thailand as part of a separate tour group. Her entire tour group of 17 people wore face masks during their flight home, the CECC said.
Rare megamouth caught
A megamouth shark, one of the world’s rarest species, was caught on Monday by a fisherman in Taitung County, marine biologists said yesterday. National Taiwan Ocean University’s Department of Environmental Biology and Fisheries Science said the shark was only the 42nd to be caught or sighted worldwide and the ninth in Taiwan since the species was discovered in 1976. The shark was 3.9m long, weighed 350kg and its mouth when opened measured 75cm. It was netted off the county’s Hsinkang Harbor (新港漁港), and was sold yesterday for NT$18,000 to a local shark museum, where it will be preserved and put on display. A researcher from the Council of Agriculture-affiliated Eastern Marine Biology Research Center identified the fish. Chen Wen-jung (陳文榮), the owner of the shark museum, said he has collected dozens of shark specimens, but this was his first megamouth.
Top mango buyers targeted
Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said yesterday he would target top spenders when promoting the county’s Irwin variety of mangoes during a trip to Japan. Su made the remarks prior to his scheduled departure for Japan tomorrow to promote the fruit, of which a first batch of more than 500kg was undergoing the quarantine process yesterday. Su is expected to take part in a series of promotional activities in department stores and hotels in Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido during his six-day visit. Su said the Irwin mangoes would be targeted at “top-spending customers,” adding that a case of three mangoes could sell for ¥2,800 (US$28.4) to ¥6,300, depending on quality.
Nature center to open soon
Southern Taiwan’s first Nature Educational Center will open on July 4 and is accepting applications for its summer programs, the Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau said yesterday. The center, located in the Shuangliu National Forest Recreation Area in Pingtung County’s Shihtzu Township (獅子), is one of eight that have been set up nationwide by the Forestry Bureau. The center will offer programs such as outdoor classes, theme activities, weekend family activities, workshops for teachers and groups, as well as tailor-made events. To give tourists a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of the natural ecology, the center is enhancing the role of tour guides and is encouraging tourists to apply for its tour guide service when they visit the center. Further information in Chinese is available at the Taiwan Forest Recreation Web site at recreation.forest.tw, or by calling (08) 732-6491, extension 306 or 308.
A Singaporean social media streamer who goes by the pseudonym Kiaraakitty faked an egg attack by an alleged passerby during a livestream in Kaohsiung on Feb. 9, the city’s police department said on Saturday. The department was responding to the streamer’s claim earlier this month that a stranger had thrown eggs at her during a recent visit to Kaohsiung. Kiaraakitty is known for posting provocative content on livestreaming sites such as Twitch and Discord, as well as other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. She also posts on paid adult content Web site OnlyFans. In the video dated Feb. 9,
HOT TOPIC: The Taiwan-born founder of a restaurant in the Japanese city is generally credited with creating the super spicy dish, which was originally intended as a staff meal For Taiwanese, ramen is one of the dishes that most represents Japan; for Japanese, its origins are in China. Then there is “Taiwan ramen,” which can only be found in Japan, but not in Taiwan. It is almost impossible to reach a consensus on the origin of any dish, but a brief look at its history might be helpful. Not many people who are not Japanese question whether ramen is really Japanese. Yet think about it — ramen is often unctuous and rich, unlike most other must-try Japanese foods familiar to foreign visitors to the country, such as sushi and soba noodles. According
Japanese lawmakers have been refraining from visiting China for fear of being arrested and not being able to return, while Taiwan is a popular destination, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun reported. As 120 Japanese Diet members visited Taiwan last year and fewer than 10 went to China, Beijing hopes that they could visit China more often, Japanese Ambassador to China Kenji Kanasugi was cited as saying during a meeting of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday last week. Kanasugi was in Japan to attend the Conference of the Ambassadors to Asian and Oceanian Countries and International Organizations, which was held on Thursday and Friday
INVASION: A UK based think tank said in a report published on Friday that Russia-China 5G collaboration could be applied in the event of a Taiwan contingency Russian-Chinese collaboration on 5G and satellite technologies could give Russia an advantage on the battlefield in Ukraine and could feasibly be applied in other theaters, including a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, a report by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security (RUSI) published on Friday said. Russia and China have already tested the use of shared 5G technology to control uncrewed dump trucks at a Russian mine, and have tested the integration of their respective navigation systems, Russia’s GLONASS and China’s BeiDou, the report said. “In Ukraine, GLONASS has already enabled Russian missile and drone strikes via satellite correction