Tragedy strikes camping families
Tragedy struck two camping families when a flash flood struck their tents in the very early hours of Sunday morning.
Of the six people in the two families, only two survived.
The father of one family survived by swimming to safety.
The other survivor was the mother of the other family, who had been sleeping in the family car.
Rescue workers searched all day Sunday for all the bodies, with the last one finally found early Monday morning.
On Sunday, state-run Taipower admitted that the floodgates of its hydro Nantou Shuili Taguan Power Plant, which is located upstream from the campsite, had automatically opened twice, at 4:12 a.m. and 5:08 a.m. Sunday, for some, as they put it “unknown reason.”
The problem was later discovered by an employee, who shut down all the floodgates at the hydro plant, more than half an hour after it automatically opened.
That employee was summoned for questioning Sunday night by the Nantou District Prosecutors Office and later released on bail of NT$100,000, following allegations of negligence that resulted in death.
On Monday, a Taipower spokesperson said that in an initial investigation they had found faulty insulation around communication cables that likely caused a short-circuit, which may have triggered the accidental opening of floodgate No.6.
Normally the opening of floodgates is planned and announced in advance and public announcements are made through loudspeakers in the affected areas an hour prior.
Camping is prohibited downstream from any hydro plant in Taiwan, and there were warning signs along the riverbed.
Premier says Taichung Power Plant to be cleaner
Premier Su Tseng-chang is claiming that the completion of upgrades to four boiler units at the coal-fired Taichung Power Plant earlier this year will reduce its air pollutant emissions by 80 percent over the next five years.
He also said that the plant’s emissions last year had decreased by half from 2016 levels.
The Executive Yuan in May last year agreed to budget NT$15 billion to fund the upgrading of the plant’s boiler units No. 5 to No. 10.
At the same weekly cabinet meeting where he was speaking, he also said that dust levels at the Zhuoshui River have been halved since 2018.
Ractopamine fears spur Taichung sticker move
With the arrival of American pork and more beef products containing the leanness-enhancing agent ractopamine scheduled to be allowed into Taiwan starting January 1, Taichung City is printing up 30,000 stickers to disburse to local distributors, eateries and shops that reads in Chinese “this establishment uses pork from” with a blank space for the source of the pork to be filled in.
There is a similar sticker for beef.
Changhua has for years had an emblem identifying their own ractopamine free pork with the words “health pig” in English.
Meanwhile a poll taken by Tunghai University showed that 66.4% of city residents support the local Taichung City law that enforces heavy fines for selling pork containing ractopamine.
The same poll also showed that 55.1% were opposed to the central government allowing in the pork.
In Changhua, over 200 farmers showed up in protest during a visit by the head of the Council of Agriculture over the policy.
Taichung set to get a new passenger ship
Once the necessary paperwork has been done and permits issued, Uni-Wagon Marine Co. hopes soon to launch regular passenger service between Taichung and Penghu.
The ship, the Natchan Rera, previously operated out of Hualien.
The 10,712-ton, four-deck vessel can carry 800 passengers, 24 tour buses, and 300 cars.
The plan to operate every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Man questioned over online rumours
A Taichung-based music teacher has been questioned by the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) for allegedly spreading rumors online that President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials at a Cabinet meeting had eaten extravagant lunchboxes that cost nearly NT$7,000 each.
He faces charges of contravening the Social Order Maintenance Act by “spreading rumors in a way that is sufficient to undermine public order and peace.”
The CIB quoted the man as saying “The lunchbox looked delicious, and I just wanted to share the picture with my friends… It was unintentional and was not based on my personal political stance.”
He has, however, frequently posted on pan-blue and pro-KMT Facebook pages.
Chiang Kai-shek in a cage
After being told twice by authorities to deal with their statue of Chiang Kai-shek, Wanlai Elementary School in Changhua County’s Beidou Township was in a quandary, as the donator of the statue asked them to keep it.
To solve the problem they put the statue in a cage, intending to grow vines on it to cover the statue.
This provoked a backlash, so they’ve since taken down the cage, and are asking for suggestions and opinions on what to do next.