Physical exercise and enough sleep help older people prevent Parkinson’s disease and other conditions leading to diminished brain functioning, medical experts have said. Wu Yu-hsuan (吳宇軒), a neurologist at Taichung Hospital, said that one of his patients, a 63-year-old man surnamed Wang (王), had hand tremors and reported that his movements were becoming slower. Wang’s family thought that it was a common condition for people his age, Wu said. However, when Wang became prone to falling, family members took him to the hospital and tests confirmed that he has Parkinson’s disease, Wu said, adding that Wang’s condition has since improved, thanks to medication prescribed at the hospital. He is no longer prone to falling, Wu said. Parkinson’s disease is caused by a degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain’s substantia nigra, he said. Symptoms are a gradual loss of control over the body’s motor functions, with a typical onset at the age of 60. As the disease progresses over time, it is often mistaken for a natural process due to aging, Wu said. Its symptoms are difficult to discern, leading to many patients receiving a diagnosis six months to a year after symptoms first appear, he added. Early signs of Parkinson’s disease are involuntary trembling of one hand or foot, parts of the body stiffening, or diminished speed of movement, Wu said. If the disease progresses, a person with Parkinson’s might have trouble sitting or standing, Wu said, adding that shuffling while walking, dragging one’s feet and freezing while in motion are also typical signs that the condition is progressing. They might eventually need a wheelchair or become bedridden, Wu said, adding that people tending for a family member with the condition often have to rely on professional help from a caregiver. Lesser known symptoms are an abnormal sense of smell, constipation, involuntary shouting, disrupted sleeping patterns, making unusual
UNIQUE SPECIES: The Forestry Bureau said that it has implemented measures against the fragmentation of habitats of the eastern grass owl in southern Taiwan
The Forestry Bureau’s Pingtung office on Friday hosted a workshop on the conservation of the eastern grass owl and the extension of its habitats in Kaohsiung, and Pingtung and Chiayi counties. Taiwan’s unique indigenous grass owl subspecies is one of six subspecies in East Asia, with populations in the lower reaches of the mountains of southern Taiwan, the office said. The owl’s habitats largely overlap with extensively populated areas, and habit loss due to agriculture and urban development poses a major threat to its survival, the office said. Poisoning by agrochemical residues and accidental hunting also pose risks, it added. Conservation efforts are complicated by a lack of data on the elusive nocturnal bird and little public awareness of the owl’s conservation status, it said. The bureau in 2018 listed the owl as a subspecies of concern in the short and medium term, it said. In May, the bureau included it on a list of 22 species and subspecies with nationwide priority conservation status, it said. Programs to protect the owl include efforts to reverse habitat fragmentation and stop habitat loss, it said. Additionally, the bureau is offering rewards to farmers who use sustainable methods and make efforts to protect target areas for conservation in their communities, it said. The bureau’s branch offices in southern Taiwan should strengthen partnerships with researchers and conservation groups to protect the owl, it said. Hung Hsiao-yu (洪孝宇), a researcher at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, said that a government-funded program to build habitat platforms has achieved some success. Video evidence shows that owls are occupying 10 of the 21 platforms that were built in southern Taiwan, providing bureau officials with important data on habitat distribution, he said. Officials should inform farmers in the region that owls are natural predators of mice and that the farmers also benefit from the platforms, he said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in spring last year, Priscilla Young (楊曉嵐), the author of a new 32-page photography zine titled Breakfast Shop (早餐店), noticed a lack of Taiwanese breakfast options in her native San Francisco Bay area. Unlike bubble tea, which has risen to the status of possibly Taiwan’s most famous export, local breakfast staples like savory, egg pancakes (danbing, 蛋餅) have had less success making it into the US dining mainstream. Young, a designer who spent about a decade living in Taiwan, told the Taipei Times in an e-mail interview last week that the more she spoke with others about breakfast in Taiwan, where members of her family still live, the more she realized that she knew little about it. She traveled across the nation with her father for 17 days in January, fueled by a desire to research the local breakfast scene — at length and at first hand. Breakfast Shop, which was published late last month, is the product of that delicious pilgrimage and a love letter to Taiwanese breakfast food and culture. With uncaptioned photographs shot with her iPhone, Young presents a sentimental view of the quintessential Taiwanese breakfast experience in her self-published work. On the matte pages, she artfully arranged images of freshly served dishes; for example, crispy, deep-fried dough sticks (youtiao, 油條) made from scratch or slow-cooked peanut soup (huashengtang, 花生湯), whose faint sweetness softens the flavor of heavier menu items. While food takes center stage in the photo book, Young dedicates nearly as much space to capturing a relaxed early morning mood. Turning her lens away from the plates, she documents sights like the sculpted roof of a temple, typical in Taiwanese residential areas, or a mosaic tiled floor reminiscent of Taiwanese architecture of the middle of last century. Taiwanese breakfast — served to tired commuters
The Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday charged 16 people with dealing drugs and demanded life imprisonment for the group’s alleged ringleader. The prosecutors accused Yeh Hsiang-hung (葉翔浤) of heading what they called a “cannabis empire” by establishing sales and distribution networks, and selling “cannabis business franchises” to young people. The suspects are accused of contravening the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) and other criminal charges. The prosecutors seized NT$26.9 million (US$959,755) in cash and bank deposits that they said were illicitly gained from sales of cannabis. Targeting Yeh’s alleged organization, police officers in May raided 33 locations in the Chiayi City area and found 2,615 cannabis plants and 21.7kg of dried cannabis products. The street value of the seized drugs was estimated at NT$1 billion, which the authorities at the time said was a record haul for cannabis products seized in the nation. Police at the time presented the seized materials, which Yeh allegedly marketed under the “Mountain Highs” brand and kept in containers labeled “herbal remedy.” Each container held 10g of cannabis, and Yeh and his distributors allegedly charged NT$500 per gram, police said. Chiayi District Prosecutor Lee Peng-cheng (李鵬程), who headed the investigation, called Yeh “the big drug lord of central and southern Taiwan.” In addition to life in prison, Lee asked that the court fine Yeh NT$15 million for “causing indescribable damage to the health of our citizens and endangering social stability.” However, prosecutors asked for lighter terms for the other suspects, saying they have admitted to breaking the law, cooperated with the investigation and displayed good attitude during questioning. Yeh allegedly started cultivating cannabis plants in 2017 and launched his sales network shortly after, prosecutors said. He allegedly sent his distributors mostly to nightclubs and entertainment venues in the greater Taipei area to find customers, they said. Yeh also allegedly offered cannabis cultivation “franchises” to
‘TECHNOLOGY MYTH’: The transportation ministry spent COVID-19 relief funds on rehashing unpopular VR videos to promote tourism, TPP Legislator Ann Kao said
Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Ann Kao (高虹安) yesterday accused the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of wasting public funds after the ministry spent NT$90 million (US$3.2 million) in COVID-19 relief funds to make virtual reality (VR) travel videos to promote a “new model of tourism.” The ministry, in collaboration with Taiwan AI Labs, earlier this year created the Taiwan Traveler Web site featuring interactive 360-degree videos of popular tourism events and destinations. Aiming to provide an at-home travel experience for domestic and foreign tourists, the site launched with videos from the Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage (大甲媽祖遶境), Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou County and Alishan (阿里山). The project was paid for through the government’s special budget for COVID-19 relief; funds that should have been used for pandemic relief, Kao said in a video statement. Instead they were used on an idea that fails to comprehend real trends, “serving only to waste people’s hard-earned money,” she said. Kao said she understands that the ministry wants to promote digital tourism, but the essential purpose of tourism is to not only allow people to see the world, but to galvanize local economies and boost their prestige. “When we spend so much on technology that does so little for physical tourism, is that not putting the cart before the horse?” she asked. She also questioned the purpose of the videos, saying that trying to generate travel demand during a pandemic is not the best timing. The incident is reminiscent of “Umaji,” another failed ministry project from last year, she said. After spending NT$150 million on the app intended to integrate modes of transportation, the ministry quietly took it down, Kao said. The Tourism Bureau’s YouTube channel has some quality videos, some of which have received hundreds of thousands of views, she said. However, its more recent uploads, especially the 360-degree videos, have only garnered a
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday reiterated his call for the government to hand out cash to all Taiwanese as a COVID-19 relief measure, following reports that the government is planning to issue paper and digital stimulus vouchers. The KMT has since last month urged the government to give NT$10,000 to every Taiwanese. The Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) yesterday cited an anonymous Executive Yuan official as saying that the body plans to issue stimulus vouchers as early as November. The vouchers are expected to be modeled after the Triple Stimulus Vouchers issued in July last year, but there were no plans to give people cash, the report said. Asked about the measure, Chiang said in a video that a universal cash handout policy would be “fast, convenient and effective, with a low cost and high benefit.” The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should consider making cash payments to all Taiwanese, he said. “Do not create ‘relief orphans’ because of social conditions, such as the digital divide, or other differences in background and environment,” he said, using a term used by critics to refer to people who were not included in government COVID-19 relief programs. There are “only good or bad” COVID-19 prevention and relief policies, and not “blue or green” ones, he said, referring to Taiwan’s pan-blue and pan-green political camps. As the ruling party, the DPP should not “oppose for the sake of opposing” the KMT’s proposals, he said. In other news, the KMT Central Standing Committee is on Wednesday expected to discuss rescheduling the KMT chairperson election, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, but was postponed due to a local COVID-19 outbreak. The KMT has said that the committee, which meets every Wednesday, would discuss election arrangements at its first meeting following the lowering of a nationwide
Employers cannot force migrant workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the Workforce Development Agency said in a statement on Saturday, following rumors of such incidents. Employers of migrant workers and labor brokers should encourage workers to receive COVID-19 shots, but any form of coercion is illegal, the agency said. In addition, employers and brokers should not prohibit migrant workers from receiving a jab, it said. Such actions contravene the Criminal Code and are punishable by a fine of NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 (US$2,141 to US$10,704), according to the Employment Service Act (就業服務法), the agency said. The announcement came after rumors on social media that some migrant workers have been forced to sign a document promising that they would receive COVID-19 vaccines. It was not immediately clear whether the Ministry of Labor has received any complaints over such incidents. The workforce agency encouraged migrant workers to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine shots become available, adding that they can register for vaccination through an online system developed by the Executive Yuan to facilitate vaccination appointments. If a migrant worker experiences a serious adverse reaction after inoculation, their employer or broker should make sure they see a doctor immediately, the agency said. In such instances, migrant workers can apply to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for compensation, the agency added. The health ministry has launched a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which provides up to NT$6 million to people who develop severe adverse reactions after vaccination. The payment would be made to the vaccine recipient’s next of kin if they die due to vaccine-related complications.
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said
The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on joining the UN and Taiwan-US relations, You said that both are very important. Especially after the past two years under former US president Donald Trump, there is a chance that the US might recognize Taiwan in the event that Beijing pushes its boundaries too far, after which acceptance into the UN would be relatively fast, he said. “If war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, the US might recognize Taiwan, but if there is no conflict, it [recognition] could drag out for a long time,” he added. Taiwan has no hope of joining the UN without US support, You said. “Acceptance to the UN would be the end of Taiwan’s troubles,” You added. Taiwan must become a normal country if it wishes to escape its woes, but to become a normal country, the most important step is to join the UN, which would be impossible without US support, he added. When former American Institute in Taiwan director Brent Christensen left Taiwan earlier this month, You said he had told Christensen over the telephone that the US should draw a red line that Beijing cannot cross, adding that if China continues to send military planes into Taiwanese airspace and provoke Taiwan, the US should at the first
The government should offer allowances to recent graduates seeking employment until the nation’s job market improves, the Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau said in a report on Saturday. Fewer than one-fifth of recent graduates have landed jobs this year, the bureau said, citing a survey. The COVID-19 pandemic has dried up the job market in Taiwan as businesses affected by the pandemic have stopped hiring, the report said. Of the 87.3 percent of graduates surveyed who said that they want to work, only 19.6 percent have found jobs, it said. This means that about 180,000 new graduates are still unemployed, the report said. “We are seeing graduates who started looking for work at the beginning of the year, and half a year later they still have not found anything. Most graduates can support themselves for an average of two months without work,” the bureau said. “About 39.6 percent of the graduates have no savings.” Of those seeking employment, 89.8 percent have reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety, a three-year high, it said. The government’s latest pandemic-relief package offers businesses a subsidy of NT$30,000 for each graduate they hire, but companies do not have any vacant positions, the bureau said. “The government must not overlook these vulnerable students who are looking for work. Our advice is to give them allowances to help them get through this difficult time,” it said. The bureau suggested that the government create short-term work opportunities to give graduates temporary employment and help them “gain valuable work experience to make them better prepared for entering the workforce.” “At the same time, increased subsidies could be offered to academic institutions and civic groups to offer online courses that teach job-hunting skills and strengthen graduates’ multidisciplinary knowledge to make them more competitive,” the report said. Schools should also
Amnesty International Taiwan on Friday called on Taiwanese to help check Myanmar’s junta six months after a coup plunged the country into chaos. ASEAN in April reached a five point “consensus” that calls for the cessation of hostilities in Myanmar, but has done little to stop the violence in the country, Amnesty International Taiwan secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) told a virtual news conference. The news conference was part of an effort by the group to pressure East Asian countries into taking decisive steps toward condemning the Burmese junta. A surge in COVID-19 cases in Myanmar this month has compounded the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country, Chiu added. As of Friday, Myanmar had reported 258,870 COVID-19 cases and 6,459 deaths, according to the WHO. Although not an ASEAN member, Taiwan is one of the few countries in East Asia where news conferences and protests can be held without fear of state interference, she said. The public should lend Taiwan’s voice to Burmese residents in the nation in issuing calls for peace and for the junta to respect basic human rights, she added. Taiwan’s business community should also refrain from engaging in transactions that could enable the Burmese junta to obtain arms in contravention of a non-binding UN resolution, she said. Burmese troops are rounding up doctors in the country even as the country reports more than 5,000 cases daily, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) said, adding that the junta has been seizing medical supplies earmarked for civilians. The junta shoots unarmed people without provocation and then reports them as having died of COVID-19, he said. “The legislature has expressed its support for the people of Myanmar in an April resolution and we urge the Burmese military to refrain from using force against civilians,” he said. Lawmakers, financial regulators and foreign affairs officials are monitoring the public and
Members of the Hengchun folk music group pose for a photograph with their instruments in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township yesterday. Following performances in the US and Japan in 2018 and 2019, the group has been invited to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland on Aug. 14 and 21 at 7:30pm. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concerts are to be held online.
TRAVEL Taipei enters ‘Time’ list Taipei has been named one of the “World’s 100 Greatest Places” in this year’s iteration of the list compiled by Time magazine. The opening of the National Center of Photography and Images, as well as the Hotel Resonance Taipei, which “boasts a boxy black-and-white exterior designed to evoke frames on a film roll” have further burnished “Taipei’s credentials as a cultural capital,” the magazine said. The Taipei Performing Arts Center, “with its striking architecture, defined by a giant silver sphere protruding from one side of the building, seems set to become a city landmark” when it opens next year, it said. Visitors to the city can also enjoy Yangmingshan National Park, which was named the world’s first Urban Quiet Park in June last year, the magazine said. Other destinations on the list include Antarctica, Osaka, Costa Rica and the Gold Coast in Australia. The magazine said nominations for the list were solicited from its network of correspondents. SPORTS Swimming event canceled The annual Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival in Nantou County has been canceled due to restrictions on gatherings to combat the spread of COVID-19, Nantou Deputy Commissioner Chen Cheng-sheng (陳正昇) said. Although the central government has lowered a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2 from tomorrow, outdoor gatherings are still limited to 100 people, making it impossible for the event to proceed, Chen said. A lack of medical personnel for the event because of their commitments a COVID-19 vaccination drive also contributed to the decision, he said. The event was first held in 1983. It is held at about the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival, attracting tens of thousands of participants. Covering a distance of about 3km, the event has been listed in the World’s Swimming Hall of Fame in 2002. This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival begins on
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines
All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments said that they would keep the ban in place, citing concerns over hidden chains of transmission. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that he and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) discussed the situation on the phone, and they agreed that there might still be undetected cases in the two cities. The full reopening of restaurants would therefore be postponed in the two cities, he said. However, Taipei would generally follow the center’s guidelines on easing disease prevention rules, Ko said, adding that city officials would observe the COVID-19 situation for another week before deciding on further relaxations. Hou said that dine-in services at all venues in New Taipei City, including restaurants, food courts and convenince stores, as well as banquets, would still be banned. New Taipei City’s daily confirmed cases in May increased from a single digit to three digits within four days, Hou said, adding that it took four weeks to bring case numbers down. The city would therefore ease restrictions very slowly, and activities that require masks to be taken off would be the last to resume, he said. Outdoor water activities, including surfing, diving and swimming, would still be banned, as well as the operation of claw-machine shops, Hou said. However, preschools
As most local governments are to lift a dining ban at restaurants when a nationwide COVID-19 alert is lowered to level 2 on Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday updated its guidelines for restaurants. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 would be allowed. Dine-in services at restaurants and wedding banquets would be allowed to resume under updated disease prevention rules, the center said, adding that local governments and other authorities might make adjustments to its updates. The FDA yesterday said that restaurant staff must check each guest’s temperature, adding that the workers should monitor their own health and seek treatment in case they develop COVID-19 symptoms. Staff must wear masks at all times and wash their hands frequently, it added. Venues must install dividers between seats and keep guests at least 1.5m apart, it said, adding that sufficient ventilation must be ensured. Surfaces, including in toilets, must be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and records of the cleanings must be kept, the FDA said. Restaurants must keep records of visitors and deny entry to those who have COVID-19 symptoms, it said, adding that the venues must provide facilities for hand washing and hand sanitizer for guests. Buffet restaurants must install panels between dishes and visitors, it said. In case a visitor is found to have COVID-19, staff must cooperate with health authorities’ investigation, it added.
PENDING APPROVAL: Disease prevention measures would include reduced capacities and a ban on all musical instruments, the league commissioner said
Ballparks might reopen for spectators as baseball is to return to Taipei next week, after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would ease some disease prevention measures. CPBL commissioner Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) yesterday said that a plan for opening ballparks is pending approval by the CECC. If approved, fans would be able to fill ballparks at 25 percent capacity for two league games on Tuesday in Taichung and Taoyuan, he said, adding that the plan has been approved by the two city governments and the Sports Administration. On Friday, the Wei Chuan Dragons are to face off against the Uni-President Lions at Taipei Tianmu Stadium, the season’s first game in the capital since a COVID-19 outbreak forced the league to alter the season’s schedule, Tsai said, adding that the Taipei City Government has approved the event. However, it is still unclear whether reporters would be allowed at the field, he said. The CPBL season was suspended in the middle of May when the CECC imposed a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. Games resumed on Tuesday last week without live audiences. League officials said they have successfully conducted the games under level 3 measures to curb the spread of the virus among players, team staff and officials. If the plan is approved, disease prevention measures would include checking all spectators’ temperatures upon entry, registering their identities and socially distanced seating, except for members of the same family, league officials said. Wearing masks would be required, even when shouting slogans and singing to cheer on the players, although not for eating and drinking items purchased outside the ballparks, they added. Traditional baseball fan rallies involving drums and trumpets would not be allowed, as all musical instruments would be temporarily banned inside venues, they said. In the CPBL’s only game on Friday, former Red Sox pitcher
People should only buy COVID-19-prevention products from licensed dealers, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said on Tuesday. The committee has received 40 complaints about allegedly illegal sales and forwarded 30 of the cases to the Food and Drug Administration, the Investigation Bureau and the Fair Trade Commission for investigation, Consumer Protection Office senior consumer ombudsman Wang Te-ming (王德明) said. For example, some online dealers sold disinfection alcohol at NT$300 to NT$400 (US$10.70 to US$14.27) per bottle, while the retail price is only NT$60 to NT$70, Wang said. Products containing alcohol are either classified as for medical or general use, and medical products can only be sold by dealers with licenses issued by health authorities, the committee said. Those selling medical alcohol without license face fines of NT$30,000 to NT$2 million, Wang said, adding that licenses are also required for the sale of rapid test kits and oximeters As the Ministry of Health and Welfare has not approved online sales of oximeters and rapid test kits, people should not buy them online, he said, adding that many allegedly illicit offerings have been reported. Those who sell the products without permit face fines of NT$30,000 to NT$1 million, he said. Stockpiling disease prevention supplies, including disinfectant, with the aim of driving up prices carries prison terms of up to five years or a maximum fine of NT$5 million, he said. Businesses that collude to drive up medical supply prices face fines of up to NT$50 million or up to 10 percent of their sales revenue in the previous fiscal year, he said. Additional reporting by CNA
Three family members of a movie theater employee at Taipei’s Q Square Mall have tested positive for COVID-19, after the worker was on Monday confirmed to have the virus, the Taipei City Government said on Friday. The worker’s parents and sister tested positive on Tuesday and are isolating, it said, adding that the source of the worker’s infection is under investigation. While likely being infectious, the three newly confirmed cases visited several venues across Taiwan, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said, adding that people who visited those places at the same time and have since developed COVID-19 symptoms should get tested. The worker’s mother on Monday last week traveled on Taipei’s MRT metropolitan railway system from the city’s Shilin District (士林) to New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重), leaving from MRT Shilin Station at 7:30am and returning from MRT Cailiao Station at 10:52am, Huang said. On the same day, she visited Bank of Taiwan’s Jiantan branch at 1:45pm, and again took the metro from MRT Jiantan Station at 2:30pm to MRT Cailiao Station, before returning from Cailiao Station at 2:30pm, Huang said. On Tuesday last week, she visited the same bank between 1:37pm to 2:10pm, Huang added. She also visited Pxmart’s Zhongzheng branch twice, on Friday last week from 3:27pm to 4pm and on Sunday last week from 1:43pm to 2:10pm, Huang said. The employee’s sister, who works at Gouter bakery in Taipei’s Zhongshan District (中山), worked daily shifts from July 8 until Monday last week, from 10am to 8pm, Huang said, adding that she worked the same shifts from Wednesday to Friday last week. The worker’s father on Friday last week took the high-speed rail from Tainan to Taipei from 8:28pm to 9:54pm, and returned to Tainan on Monday at 6:30am, Huang said. The Taipei Department of Health said that 69 of the worker’s colleagues
SHIFTING LANDSCAPE: Most drainage systems were implemented before economic shifts led to commercial development on land designated for farming, the bureau said
The Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau reiterated calls for improved rainwater drainage systems along city roads, which it had first suggested in a report last month. The bureau released a report after torrential rains caused serious flooding along Section 5 of Taipei’s Zhongxiao E Road on June 4. It called for an amendment to municipal roadworks regulations that would require city construction bureaus to install improved drainage systems along major roads. The issue was brought up again after Taipei and New Taipei City on Friday issued flood warnings due to continuous heavy rain from Typhoon In-Fa. In the bureau’s latest report, released on July 8, it said that drains in Taipei are only able to handle up to 78.8mm of rain, which was greatly exceeded on June 4 when rainfall reached 129mm. Cities nationwide should also improve their capacity for storing rainwater, given frequent water shortages in the past few years due to climate change, the report said. “There have been plans in Taiwan since the 1970s to improve drainage systems. This was included in the annual budget since 1991, when the issue was to be handled along with city planning,” it said. Rapid economic growth at the time resulted in land managed for agricultural purposes being used for residential and commercial properties, which meant that drainage issues quickly overwhelmed systems already built by city planners, it said. Cities should account for the change in circumstances from when city plans were first drafted, and ensure drainage systems are improved to facilitate the collection and storage of rainwater, and the natural runoff of excess water, it said, adding that city construction bureaus should also ensure drainage systems can deal with sludge that clogs drainage pipes. Paving roads with permeable concrete, which allows water to pass through to the soil, could also help prevent roads from
RAIN TO CONTINUE: Winds caused by In-Fa would still bring heavy rain, particularly in New Taipei City, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, the weather bureau said
The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday lifted a sea warning as Typhoon In-Fa moved away from Taiwan, but warned that the storm could still bring heavy rain to the nation. At 11:30am yesterday, the bureau lifted a sea warning, which was imposed on Wednesday night, but southwesterly wind from the storm is expected to continue to bring heavy rain, it said. As of 8am, In-Fa was about 350km east of Taipei and moving northeast at 15kph, it said. The typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 155kph, with gusts of up to 191kph, CWB data showed. A torrential rain advisory has been issued for New Taipei City, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, where rainfall over a 24-hour period is likely to exceed 350mm, the bureau said, adding that mountainous areas of Taoyuan and Hsinchu could see the strongest precipitation. An extremely heavy rain warning is in effect for Keelung, Taipei, Taichung and Yilan County, while a heavy rain warning has been issued for Hsinchu City, and Chiayi, Nantou and Yunlin counties. The CWB defines extremely heavy rain as accumulated rainfall of 200mm or more within 24 hours, and heavy rain as accumulated rainfall of 80mm or more within 24 hours, or 40mm or more in an hour. Daniel Wu (吳德榮), a meteorologist and adjunct associate professor of atmospheric sciences at National Central University, said that although In-Fa has been moving away from Taiwan, the southwesterly winds from the storm could cause disastrous rainfall. To avoid possible damage or injuries, the Directorate-General of Highways has closed parts of Provincial Highway No. 7, which connects Taoyuan and Yilan.
Taiwanese researchers have discovered that the larvae of some domestic dragonflies live on land instead of in water, in the first-ever study of its type in Taiwan. The study, published as part of the 2021 volume of the International Journal of Odonatology, was conducted after a series of unusual larvae of the species Cephalaeschna risi were discovered three years ago in Yilan County. Immature dragonflies, also known as instars, are tiny predators that hunt tadpoles, mosquito larvae and other small prey in rivers and creeks, said Hu Fang-shuo (胡芳碩), the study’s first author and a student of entomology at National Chung Hsing University. While land-dwelling instars are known to exist, they are extremely rare and none had been documented in Taiwan before, he said. Hu discovered the Taiwanese instars by accident while looking for rove beetles under rock near the bank of a creek, he said. “The thought of finding dragonfly instars on land had never occurred to me, and I thought I was seeing things because my eyes were tired,” Hu said. Further research has shown that smaller instars of the species moved about among lichens, while larger ones would hide at night by suspending themselves from the underside of leaves, he said. When bred in laboratory conditions, the instars usually hunted on the ground and rarely entered the water, which he said was peculiar as the adult dragonflies preferred to live near waterfalls. The Cephalaeschna risi are a little-understood species that inhabit medium-to-low-altitude old-growth forests in Taiwan, he said, adding that the paper was the first thorough study of its external morphology. The study’s methodology would have implications for efforts to identify instars, an important component in researching the aquatic environment, he said.