Planned amendments to traffic and transportation laws would relax regulations on older drivers and push back age restrictions on tour bus drivers, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. An aging population and policies that raise the retirement age, along with driver shortage issues, all point to the need for raising the age limit for large vehicle drivers, the ministry said. Amendments to Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則) and the Road Traffic Security Rules (道路交通安全規則) would likely take place in the second half of this year, it said. The age of large vehicle drivers cannot exceed 65, but there are 3,369 large vehicle drivers nationwide who are 64 years old, meaning that without changes, the driver shortage that bus companies and tour agencies are already experiencing would worsen, the ministry said. The ministry said that due to the inherent risks associated with driving large vehicles there must be stringent physical exams, as well as other measures to protect passengers. In its planned rule revision, qualified drivers older than 65 cannot have hypertension, and drivers who have been diagnosed with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, coronary artery disease, epilepsy, stroke, vertigo or myasthenia gravis must provide proof that they can control those conditions, the ministry said. Older drivers must be physically and mentally capable of handling day-to-day affairs and cannot be chronically intoxicated or addicted to substances, the ministry said, adding that all older drivers must undergo annual physicals and would not receive their license until they pass. In addition, these drivers would be restricted to operating vehicles between 6am and 6pm, and can only drive a maximum of eight hours per day, stopping for 30 minutes every three hours, the ministry said. If the rest periods must be broken up, every rest period should be at least 15 minutes, it added. The drivers must have 10 hours of consecutive rest across
EARLY DETECTION KEY: A doctor said that a common lung cancer often shows no symptoms in the early stages and recommends that smokers be checked for it
A woman in her 50s who does not smoke was diagnosed with lung cancer after inhaling secondhand smoke from her husband and son, a doctor said on Thursday, urging people to be mindful of the dangers of secondhand smoke. Asia University Hospital doctor Liu Po-yi (劉柏毅) said a woman, surnamed Lee (李), was diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma after she sought treatment following two weeks of excessive coughing. For more than 30 years, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Taiwan, with lung cancer claiming the most lives over the past decade, Liu said, citing data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Clinical statistics show that people with lung adenocarcinoma are predominantly non-smokers, and the average age of patients is decreasing, Liu added. Early stages of lung adenocarcinoma show no obvious signs and symptoms, and when they exhibit symptoms — such as continuous coughing, coughing up blood, chest tightness or pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, weight loss, and extreme fatigue — it is usually at the third or fourth stage and might already be untreatable by surgery, Liu said. However, thanks to medical advances, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has become an effective tool in identifying early lung adenocarcinoma, as it can detect slight pulmonary abnormities, which if found early can be cured through minimally invasive surgery, he said. Compared with conventional computed tomography scans, LDCT scans for lung cancer use six, or even 10 times less radiation, depending on the size of the patient, and no contrast medium is required, making it an ideal option for patients with kidney problems, he said. People aged 55 or older, with a smoking history of 10 years, and who smoke a packet of cigarettes per day must be on high alert for lung cancer, he said, adding that Lee’s husband and son, who used to smoke heavily, have
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she went missing in 2014, Chen said. An autopsy of the partially decomposed body showed broken bones in the neck area, which police believe to be the cause of death and has led them to suspect she was murdered, Chen said. As the body was stuffed into the container and presumably carried to the site, police said that they suspect at least two people were involved. In a separate matter, a man was found dead in a rural area of Miaoli County’s Houlong District (後龍) yesterday, police said, adding that he was apparently electrocuted by a power line. The man, identified as a 44-year-old surnamed Lu (呂), was killed the day before when he allegedly tried to steal the metal wire to sell, Miaoli police said. They said they found tools he might have used to remove the wire nearby, including a ladder latched on a power pole, as well as wire cutters, a hammer and metal chains for scaling the pole. Lu’s hands had electrocution marks and his skull was broken, likely from landing on his head after falling, police said.
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb... As I learn more about trees, the more I appreciate them.” Many of those attending the course were once novices terrified of the prospect of climbing up 30m tall trees. “I threw up the first time I climbed to 10m... It wasn’t pretty, and everyone underneath screamed and scattered away,” Chen Yun-hsin, a documentary filmmaker, recalled. “I got used to it and went even higher. I feel a tree is like a living being, it protects me even when a wind is blowing,” she added. Tree climbing tends to fall into two categories. Arborists — also known as tree surgeons — who maintain trees for a living, and those that climb simply for fun. Recreational climbing has been growing in popularity worldwide since US arborist Peter Jenkins began promoting it in 1983, using techniques and tools from his profession and also borrowing from cavers and rock climbers. Tree Climbers International, the organization he founded, now has more than 700 member instructors listed around the world teaching tree climbing. The hobby side ranges from kids being pulled up on ropes to adrenaline-filled speed climbing competitions. Both the professional and amateur communities were often something of a macho sport, but slowly that is changing. Boel Hammerstrand, a Swedish national, started a
A plaque from a now-defunct elementary school has sparked a dispute in Penhghu County between residents of Yuanbei Township (員貝) and a junior-high school in Magong City (馬公). The plaque, originally from Yuanbei Elementary School, is on display at Wenguang Junior High School, but Yuanbei residents want it returned to the township. Wenguang said the plaque was found in 2006 on a beach on Yuanbei Island by the school’s then-principal Yang Chi-ching (楊啟清), when visiting the island during a beach cleaning event. Yang said at the time that the school hoped to pass on the spirit conveyed by the plaque to all of its attending students. Its inscription reads: “To know etiquette, to be just, to remain principled and incorruptible, and to know right from wrong.” However, Yuanbei residents dispute that narrative. “It had been sitting in a school classroom since 1995, we don’t understand how it turned up on the beach in 2006,” Yuanbei Village Warden Chen Tian-jui (陳天瑞) said on Sunday. Although Yuanbei Elementary School was decommissioned in 1995, it remains a fond memory for many Yuanbei residents and the village hoped to retain the plaque — something hundreds of Yuanbei school students remembered — as a memento of the school, Chen said. Wenguang dean Yang Chyong-yi (仰瓊宜) said that the plaque has already become a part of Wenguang’s history and the school would not return it. Founded in 1998, Wenguang is the youngest of the county’s schools and yet, it has two school plaques, etched with different mottos.
DUE DILIGENCE: The Consumer Protection Committee said that people should fact-check suspect ads and information related to COVID-19 to avoid becoming a ‘covidiot’
The Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee on Thursday warned people not to fall for dubious advertisements amid the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. As fears of the pandemic spread nationwide, there has been a surge in online advertisements for bargain medical supplies, such as masks, disinfectants and forehead thermometers, but people are often at a loss as to their trustworthiness, the committee said. These advertisements often come with slogans that almost seem too good to be true, such as “pay upon delivery,” “seven-day hassle-free return,” “zero negative feedback,” “24-hour online customer service” or “almost sold out,” as well as claims that the products have passed certifications, it said. When people encounter such advertisements, they should first check whether the telephone number and address provided by the seller is real, the committee said, adding that if the company information cannot be verified, the advertisement is most likely fraudulent. People who fall for the advertisements often receive substandard products or nothing at all, and the Internet Protocol addresses of these “sellers” are often overseas, it said. Most fraudulent advertisements seek to exploit humanity’s two greatest weaknesses: greed and fear, it added. Other fraud schemes have also taken on themes inspired by the pandemic, such as asking people to wire money into accounts purportedly for a “disease prevention fund” established by the government. People have reported receiving text messages to claim masks they ordered that contain phishing links or that include instructions on how to use an automated teller machine to change their bank account settings to fix an unsuccessful payment for an order of masks, the committee said. The US Federal Trade Commission has received 78,234 reports of false refunds for trips canceled due to the pandemic, online shopping fraud, text message fraud and scam rings claiming to be the US government, which have made up
UTILIZING BIG DATA: The program aims to be a step toward using technology to combat the pandemic, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee said
The Ministry of Science and Technology on Thursday announced that it would be accepting applications for projects that would help COVID-19 prevention efforts, find a cure or otherwise benefit the public as a whole. Approved projects would be able to utilize the computational powers of the National Center for High Performance Computing, the ministry said, adding that projects whose results would be immediately applicable would be prioritized. Projects to investigate the genetic evolution of viruses, protein analysis, data mining or image recognition could all apply, it said. Projects that would produce results beneficial to the public, such as maps for masks, maps for medical-grade isopropyl alcohol and other information on necessary goods would also be accepted, it added. Aside from the center’s supercomputer, storage facilities and virtual servers being made available, the center said that it would also make available data sets that have been collected by the government’s big data analysis tools. The data sets contain information across different fields — government management, scientific research, linguistic data, medical and security, it said. All academic medical theses, global COVID-19 imagery, and National Health Insurance data on mask provision and storage would be made available to the successful applicants, it added. Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said the program aims to be a step toward using technology to combat the coronavirus pandemic. National Applied Research Laboratories president Wang Yeong-her (王永和) said that the center, which is key to supporting domestic development of biomedicine and other advances, is a welcome addition to the nation’s disease prevention efforts. The ministry is accepting applications until June 30, although it is possible the program would be extended, it said.
Officials from Taiwan and the US on Tuesday attended a virtual forum on sharing the successful “Taiwan Model” of containing COVID-19 and on reinstating Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. “High-level officials representing the American Institute in Taiwan [AIT], the US Department of State, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office and the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened for a virtual forum on expanding Taiwan’s participation on the global stage,” the US Department of State said in a news release. The AIT in a separate release said that the discussion “focused on creating forums to share the internationally lauded ‘Taiwan Model’ on fighting the pandemic with other countries.” Participants also discussed efforts to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the WHA, and ways for closer coordination between Taiwan and the WHO, it said. “Countries around the world can benefit from better understanding the Taiwan Model, as well as the generous contributions and impressive expertise Taiwan — a vibrant democracy and force for good — brings to the global community,” it said. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) and Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰) led the Taiwanese delegation, including officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, at the forum held in Taipei and Washington, the foreign ministry said. The US’ attendees included AIT Washington Office Managing Director John Norris, AIT Director Brent Christensen, Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Pam Pryor and US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Atul Keshap, it said. The number of senior officials attending showed that both sides valued the forum, as well as close Taiwan-US ties, it said, thanking the administration of US President Donald Trump and the US Congress for continuing to support Taiwan’s participation in
Taiwanese sports are to return next weekend, with the baseball and soccer leagues starting their new seasons, although there are to be restrictions for spectators and protective measures due to COVID-19. The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season was originally scheduled to begin on March 14, then pushed back to March 28, before settling on next Saturday. “To conform with the government’s mandate limiting crowds at outdoor events, we will strictly limit the total number of people at each league game at fewer than 200,” CPBL secretary-general Feng Shen-hsieng (馮勝賢) said. “This figure will include the players, coaches, team employees, ballpark workers, league officials and members of the media.” Bans are also in place on fans gathering outside ballparks and seeking players’ autographs, while reporters must adhere to “social distancing” regulations during post-game interviews and other restrictive measures, he said. Baseball fans are being urged to watch the games on TV or use online streaming, Feng said. “These restrictions are needed to deal with the coronavirus situation. After consultations with government officials and health authorities, we have implemented measures to protect the players, referees and other personnel,” he said. The Rakuten Monkeys are to host the Brothers Baseball Club at the Taoyuan International Stadium next Saturday in a traditional matchup of the championship finalists from last season. All four teams are in action the following day, with the Monkeys taking on the Fubon Guardians in Taoyuan and the Uni-President Lions visiting the Brothers Baseball Club in Taichung, all behind closed doors, Feng said. The nation’s top soccer leagues also begin next weekend, with three matches in the women’s Taiwan Mulan Football League at Taipei Municipal Stadium next Saturday. The men’s Taiwan Football Premier League season begins with four matches the following day. Similar to the baseball, there is to be a ban on spectators at all the matches to
Crews on deep-sea fishing boats that have anchored off other nations or engaged in improper interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic would be subject to a 14-day quarantine on their vessel when they return to Taiwan, effective immediately, a government official said. Crew members of deep-sea fishing vessels and near-sea tuna fishing boats operating in waters between Taiwan and Japan, who are mostly migrant fishers, would be covered by the new regulation as part of the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Fisheries Agency Director-General Chang Chih-sheng (張致盛) said on Wednesday. Deep-sea fishing vessels have been targeted because they spend more time operating in waters far from Taiwan, while tuna fishing boats have been included because a large number of Taiwanese ships are engaged in the trade as the peak season approaches, he said. Vessels in the two categories that did not visit ports in other nations, did not interact with other ships, did not change their crew and were not inspected by foreign officials in the 30 days prior to their return to Taiwan are to be excluded from the measure, Chang said. The crew members of such vessels would be allowed to enter Taiwan as long as they do not have a fever, cough or other COVID-19 symptoms when examined, he said. As the agency traces the movements of all fishing boats operating on the high seas around the clock, it can determine whether they anchor off other nations or engage in any of the listed interactions, an agency official said. There are 9,680 migrant workers — 7,526 from Indonesia, 1,436 from the Philippines, 690 from Vietnam and 28 from Thailand — employed on Taiwanese fishing vessels, agency data showed, a level similar to that of past years. There are also 799 Chinese fishers working onboard Taiwanese vessels, the data showed. New migrant
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) yesterday said that it is mulling suspending the sale of its popular lunchboxes out of concern that passengers eating them would not be able to maintain a safe distance from other passengers. Passengers have been advised by the TRA to maintain a distance of 1.5m from other passengers if they are eating onboard trains due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday that said that if passengers on TRA trains could not keep a safe distance while dining, the company could implement a ban on eating on its services. The TRA sells lunchboxes on 50 Puyuma and Taroko express trains daily, and said that it would stop selling the lunchboxes if the COVID-19 situation worsens, adding that in the meantime, it would continue to remind passengers to adhere to the Central Epidemic Command Center’s “social distancing” regulations. It would give passengers advance warning if it is to suspend the sale of lunch boxes, the TRA said. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the TRA was selling about 28,000 lunchboxes per day, with lunchboxes sold with train tickets or onboard accounting for about 10 percent, it said. Since the outbreak, that number has dropped by about 30 percent, with the number sold onboard having fallen by about 50 percent, it added. Considering the plunging sales, a suspension would not have too big an impact on revenue, the TRA said. The TRA sold a record-high 10.53 million lunchboxes last year. That was a significant increase from 3.37 million lunchboxes in 2007. The number of passengers using TRA services plummeted by 22.53 percent last month when it sold 525,755 tickets compared with 678,664 tickets in February.
CRIME FAT chairman detained The Taipei District Court on Thursday ordered that Far Eastern Air Transport Corp (FAT) chairman Chang Kang-wei (張綱維) be detained and held incommunicado on charges of fraud and embezzlement. The court approved Chang’s detention two days after prosecutors appealed its decision to release him on bail after a preliminary hearing of the case. Chang was charged in connection with false property declarations, fraud and embezzlement. He has been under investigation since the airline abruptly canceled all of its flights in December last year and laid off nearly 1,000 employees, citing financial problems. A month later, the government revoked the airline’s civil aviation flight permit, and its air rights for domestic and international flights were reassigned to other carriers. Prosecutors have since been investigating the nature of the company’s financial problems. ENVIRONMENT Dead fish removed Nearly 1 tonne of dead fish has been removed from Tainan’s old transport canal, their deaths likely caused by a lack of oxygen, the Tainan Environmental Protection Bureau said yesterday. The fish, including milkfish and mullet, were found in the canal, which separates Anping District (安平) from downtown Tainan, in the section between Linan Bridge (臨安橋) and Yunghua Bridge (永華橋). The carcasses, many of which were about the size of a human palm, were removed from the waterway after the incident was first reported on Wednesday, the bureau said. An initial investigation suggested that the fish most likely died from suffocation, it said. After days of heavy downpours, sediment and domestic sewage may have washed into the canal from rising water levels in drainage channels, leading to a sharp drop in dissolved oxygen, officials said. LOTTERY Jackpot donated to charity Eighteen people won the NT$10 million jackpot in the January and February uniform invoice lottery, one of whom donated the entire prize to charity. The winner, who spent NT$300 online
IN PRINCIPLE: The Central Epidemic Command Center began yesterday to ban visits to hospitalized patients, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 new COVID-19 cases — eight imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 339. The imported cases involved six men and two women, all Taiwanese, who had traveled to Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, countries in Latin America, the UK or the US before arriving back in Taiwan between March 6 and Tuesday, center data showed. Among them, patient No. 338 was part of a tour group that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic, and has resulted in an infection cluster of five cases, including the group’s guide, a man in his 40s who passed away on Sunday, the center said. The two locally transmitted cases, a man and a woman, are in their 50s, it said. Neither had traveled abroad recently, but the man had contact with a previously confirmed case, it said, adding that the source of the woman’s infection remains unclear. The woman worked as a security guard at an apartment complex and the center is tracing her contact history there, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Asked if people would be blocked from having contact with the complex, Chen said that the center has asked the building managers to inform residents that they should avoid contact with outside people. The process of disinfecting the complex was begun yesterday morning, he added. Asked for the complex’s location, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that it is in northern Taiwan. As of yesterday, the nation had five coronavirus-related deaths, while 50 people had been discharged from quarantine facilities, center data showed. The center began yesterday — “in principle” — to ban people from visiting patients in hospitals, except for in emergencies, Chen said, adding that hospitals across the nation
FINANCIAL LOSSES: The Travel Bureau said that it is considering giving self-employed tour guides monthly subsidies of NT$10,000 for three consecutive months
Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday said that it is considering including self-employed tour guides in a second bailout package for tourism industry workers. The Tourism Bureau is studying the feasibility of the proposal after Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) on Wednesday met with representatives of travel and tour guide associations to discuss how the ministry could help them as their businesses suffer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry said. Tour guides have also experienced financial losses, as travel agencies have stopped organizing overseas tour groups or hosting tourists from other nations, the bureau said. Apart from subsidizing workers of travel agencies, the bureau said that it is also considering giving self-employed tour guides monthly subsidies of NT$10,000 (US$330) for three consecutive months. Lin said that the bailout package should help those who are really in need, and self-employed tour guides might have other jobs. To ensure that the subsidies are used to help those whose main source of income is guiding tours, the bureau is stipulating that the ministry determine how the subsidies should be distributed. The bureau said that it would not be difficult to ascertain whether someone is a certified, self-employed tour guide and has led tours before, as it can search its database. What is difficult is verifying whether they have more than one source of income, it said, adding that it would quickly stipulate criteria and make them public. The ministry said that it hopes to give out subsidies as quickly as possible so that workers in the travel industry can receive the funds by the middle of this month. The ministry was allocated an additional NT$27.5 billion from the government’s second bailout package, of which NT$12.57 billion would be used to bolster the tourism industry. The additional funds are to be used to increase subsidies
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen yesterday thanked Taiwan for a donation of masks, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the gratitude and echoed her “Stronger together” sentiment amid the pandemic. Appreciative postings from foreign representative offices in Taiwan have been popping up on social media since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday announced that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks — nearly the nation’s one-day production capacity — to countries hit hard by the pandemic. European Economic and Trade Office Director Filip Grzegorzewski on Wednesday wrote on Twitter: “#Taiwanhelps is the new hashtag.” “The European Union thanks Taiwan for its donation of 5.6 million masks to help fight the #coronavirus. We really appreciate this gesture of solidarity,” Von der Leyen wrote on Twitter yesterday. “Acts like this show that we are #StrongerTogether.” Taiwan and the EU have been like-minded partners, and the EU has been supporting Taiwan’s bid to join the WHO, the ministry said in a statement yesterday. The EU has been hit hard by the pandemic, so Taiwan is offering a timely helping hand and supporting the EU with concrete action, demonstrating the reality of “Taiwan can help and Taiwan is helping” and the benefits of being “Stronger together,” it added. Taiwan and European countries are also benefiting from each other’s experience in coping with COVID-19, including best practices in disease prevention, and research and development on rapid test reagents, vaccination possibilities and effective drugs, it said. “Hopefully, Taiwan and the EU will be able to speed up cooperation on producing medical resources for disease prevention, which would further benefit people of both sides,” it said. Asked about Taiwan’s donation of masks, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) on Wednesday said that as the US is faced with a severe outbreak, some local governments and businesses in China have offered
Two Taiwanese groups in the Philippines have donated urgently needed masks to local healthcare efforts in a bid to help contain COVID-19. The Taiwanese Compatriot Association on Wednesday gave more than 5,000 masks to the Philippines Department of Health, association supervisor Edison Lin (林坤城) said. The association has pledged to donate 10,000 masks to the Philippines, Lin said, adding that because of supply issues, the donation would be divided into two batches. The masks would help the Philippines battle the coronavirus, as well as promote goodwill between Taiwanese and Filipinos, Lin added. The virus has had a considerable effect on people in the Philippines, including Taiwanese businesspeople, especially in Metro Manila, association vice president Jack Hsieh (謝嘉卿) said. “Everyone is confined to their homes due to the community quarantine measures,” said Hsieh, who runs a Taiwanese fast food chain in the Philippines. “We can’t work. Workers who receive their salary on a weekly basis and have no savings might soon run short of cash.” Taiwanese businesspeople are doing their best to help, Hsieh said. “For example, our firm distributed packages of food and other necessities to our employees,” he said. On Tuesday, the Taiwanese Association in the Philippines, a group of Taiwanese businesspeople, donated 10,000 masks to Philippine General Hospital, one of the medical facilities designated by the Philippine government as a COVID-19 treatment center.
A Kaohsiung psychiatrist has urged people to seek help for any mental health problems they face amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Chen Feng-wei (陳豐偉), a psychiatrist based in Fongshan District (鳳山), said that financial pressure caused by the effects of the pandemic on business has resulted in some people experiencing low moods. Several people who have recently sought psychiatric help are workers in the travel or restaurant industry, as well as taxi drivers, he said. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, people should seek help for anxiety, sleeping difficulties and other mental health issues, he added. They could visit a psychiatrist, ask friends, family members or local representatives for help, seek out government resources or turn to religious or charitable organizations, Chen said. Do not try to tough it out alone, he said. Chen said that the pandemic has caused some patients he had not seen recently to return for appointments, adding that some whose conditions had been stable have needed the dosage of their medication increased. About 10 percent of recent visits by patients have been related to the pandemic, he said. In one patient, a 60-year-old woman, symptoms of anxiety were exacerbated because she was worried that her child, who was studying abroad, would be infected on their way back to Taiwan, Chen said. Chen said that in such cases, he might prescribe medications to help patients relax and remind them not to be overly anxious. He said that he would remind them to wear masks and maintain a safe distance from others, and reassure them that their child would make the necessary preparations. Parents should protect themselves as well, he added.
FORMOSAN LANDLOCKED SALMON: Conservation efforts have restored populations of the endangered species in several mountain creeks, the Shei-Pa National Park said
The nation has 10,532 Formosan landlocked salmon in several mountain creeks, a field survey by the Shei-Pa National Park administration showed. This was the first time that the number of the endangered species had exceeded 10,000 since the park administration started its field surveys in 1999. The salmon, which is also known as a “national treasure fish” or Taiwanese salmon, is endemic to Taiwan and at one point was close to extinction. By the time the park agency was established in 1992, the number of Formosan landlocked salmon had dwindled to about 200. The park said it spent last year surveying the number of Formosan landlocked salmon and released the results this week. Specifically, the largest group of Formosan landlocked salmon, numbering 5,392, was found in the Cijiawan Creek (七家灣溪) in Taichung. The creek has already been identified by researchers as a natural habitat of the species. Another 1,126 were found in the Rahao Creek (羅葉尾溪) and 121 in the Arikatsu Creek (有勝溪), in the upper reaches of Taichung’s Dajia River (大甲溪), and 136 in the Leshan Creek (樂山溪). Nantou County also hosts large numbers of the fish, with 3,757 found in the Hehuan Creek (合歡溪). Salmon in these creeks were growing naturally and steadily, the park said, adding that there is no need to raise the fish in hatcheries and release them into creeks. The park attributed the success in restoring the natural growth of the species to a clear conservation policy that was established following a seminar hosted in 2000, which set a goal of restoring the Formosan landlocked salmon in Dajia River’s five creeks within 30 years. The park spent the first four years trying to raise farmed Taiwanese salmon to ensure that the original genes of the species could be preserved. It then worked to restore growth in the
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office
A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud and the six died in the blaze, while four other relatives sustained injuries, the court said. There are now 39 inmates on death row in Taiwan. The last execution before Weng’s was on Aug. 31, 2018. It was Taiwan’s second execution since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in 2016. Prior to that, in the eight years former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in office, 33 death row inmates were executed. Separately on Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced four men and a woman to life in prison for the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in May 2015. The girl, a junior-high school student from Hsinchu County surnamed Chiu (邱), reportedly had a verbal dispute with a 27-year-old woman surnamed Huang (黃). Furious about the way Huang was treated, her boyfriend, surnamed Lin (林), led three other men in abducting 14-year-old Chiu. They took her from an Internet cafe to a riverside park, where they raped her and left. Two of the men later returned to the site and found the girl dead. They subsequently notified the other three and burned Chiu’s body. Lin had twice been given
A specialist in helping victims of sexual abuse on Sunday urged the public to take male rape seriously after a Taiwanese comedian and a Taipei city councilor both shared about being raped when they were children. Because of gender stereotyping, people tend to view males as strong, and not susceptible to rape or sexual violence, Garden of Hope Foundation executive director Wang Yue-hao (王玥好) said. Rape and sexual assault are not issues that only affect females, she added. Just because males can be taller or stronger does not mean that they cannot be verbally or physically intimidated or threatened, said Wang, who has three decades of counseling experience, including counseling male victims of sexual attack. The percentage of males reporting sexual assault has increased significantly over the past decade, she said, citing Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics. Ten years ago, only about 3 to 5 percent of reported sexual assaults were perpetrated against male victims, but the number last year rose to about 10 percent, she added. The rising number of male victims reporting sexual abuse might also indicate that males are becoming more willing to seek help, Wang said. To meet the rising demand, her foundation has set up a hotline for males seeking counseling, she said. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for male victims of sexual abuse to seek help or share their pain with family and friends, Wang said, urging people in contact with male victims to believe their stories and show them compassion. Family and friends should avoid sharing intimate details of the victims’ experiences with others, which could further traumatize them, she added. Wang made the comments following a disclosure by Taiwanese stand-up comedian Brian Tseng (曾博恩), who revealed that he was raped multiple times in elementary and secondary school. Tseng did not share whether the perpetrators were men or women, or provide