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.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’