Blue Tear organism confirmed

Blue Tear organism confirmed

On February 23, 2017, professor Chiang Kuo-ping of the Oceanographic Environment and Ecology Research Institute of the Taiwan Oceanography University announced that in 2016, a research team dispatched to Chieshouaokou in Matsu used cell separation to cultivate the algae species Noctiluca scintillans, a single celled spherical dinoflagellate with a diameter of 200 to 2000 microns.  The cell membrane contains luciferase that binds luciferin with proteins.  The captured luciferin emits blue fluorescence during algae blooms from April or May to September or October each year on the coast of Matsu.  At the peak of the algae bloom, over 300 such single celled Noctiluca scintillans are concentrated in one liter of sea water.  They occur as part of the cycling food chain of oceanic microorganisms.

The research team has also successfully created an artificial culture of the single celled Noctiluca scintillans.

The Taiwan Oceanography University’s Matsu campus will establish three new departments in 2017, i.e., a marine biology science and technology department, a marine management department, and a marine engineering department.  Students spend three years at the main Keelung campus of the university and one year at the Matsu campus.

[Master Chen Says] encourages students interested in oceanography and marine biology to go to Taiwan to study and pursue university degrees in these disciplines.


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Taiwan Cittaslow Alliance

Taiwan Cittaslow Alliance

On February 23, 2017, a Taiwan Cittaslow Alliance was founded by Hualien Fenglin, Chiayi Dalin, Miaoli Nanchuang and Sanyi.

Stefano Pisani International President of Cittaslow and Pier Giorgio Oliveti, Cittaslow International Secretary General, attended the recognition meeting at the Miaoli Sanyi Hsihu holiday village and witnesses the founding of the Taiwan Cittaslow Alliance.


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Vel Tech University encourages more cooperation with Taiwan universities

Vel Tech University encourages more cooperation with Taiwan universities

Dr. U. Chandrasekhar, vice chancellor of Vel Tech Dr. Rangrajan Dr. Sakunthala Technical University, Chennai, India, says the university encourages students to consider as their primary choice pursuing their Master’s and doctorate degrees in Taiwan.

Vel Tech University has 12 cooperation agreements with Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University, the Taipei University of Science and Technology, Yilan University, Tamkang University, and the Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

Vel Tech University’s director of international relations, Dr. Sivaperumal Sampath, and students were interested in Taiwan and its scholarship programs for Indian students.


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Cold front caused 154 deaths in 4 days

Cold front caused 154 deaths in 4 days

The recent cold front that hit Taiwan caused 154 deaths in 4 days.  Studies reveal that both cold temperature and temperature differences contribute to death.  For every drop of 10 degrees C, the death rate within two weeks increased by 36%.

Doctor Liu Cheng-wei of heart and internal medicine at the Shungshan branch of the Armed Services General Hospital in Taipei says that for every 1 degree C drop in temperature from an ambient temperature of 24 degrees C, the hospitalization rate of Taipei residents suffering from myocardial infarction increases by 2.6%.  In the city of Kaohsiung, residents there suffering from myocardial infarction due to this temperature drop increases by 4%, and by 3.7% among Hong Kong residents.  The temperature drop increases irregular heart rhythm that causes sudden death.
A 1999-2008 study showed at every drop of 10 degrees C from a median temperature of 18.8 degrees C in Taipei increases the death rate within two weeks by 36%.  In Hong Kong, every drop of 10 degrees C from a median temperature of 18.9 degrees C increases the death rate by 45% within three weeks.


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Negative impact of Taiwan’s new work schedule law

Negative impact of Taiwan’s new work schedule law

Taiwan’s 1111 Manpower Bank released its survey of wages and salaries and Taiwan’s job market in 2016 on February 18, 2017.  It says that compared to 2015, Taiwan’s salary levels in 2016 dropped by 0.6%.  Salary levels in financing, insurance and investment consulting dropped by 3.6%, the salary levels in construction dropped by 2.58%, the salary levels in tourism, recreation and sports businesses dropped by 1.5%.

Salary levels in transportation and warehousing on average rose by 2.8%, salary growth in law, accounting and consultancy rose by 1.6%, and salary levels in mass communication rose by 0.39%.

Overall, 82.1% of desk job workers are not content with their current salary.  The yes123 job search service calculates that of Taiwan’s 8,906,000 hired workers, 7,312,000 of them are not satisfied with their current income.  Taiwan’s desk job workers hope their 2017 salary can be adjusted upwards by 8.7%.

Taiwan’s 104 Data survey of 638 responses conducted on January 24 to February 9, 2017, shows that the actual salaries of 30% of desk job workers have been reduced by their company’s control of overtime and reduction in overtime pay, 52.7% of them are thinking of leaving their current job, 76% want to take up side jobs, 35% say their companies are paying overtime according to the new work schedule law, 34.1% say that are “not sure”, 31% say their companies are not paying overtime pay, and 44% or workers do not have the courage to complain for lack of pay due them because of the new work schedule law.

The 104 Data survey of 938 businesses conducted on January 20 to February 3, 2017, shows that 30.4% of the businesses are adjusting their overtime system, 26.6% are adjusting their scheduling system, 48.3% of businesses say they respond to worker enquiries about the new work schedule “passively”, 19.9% say they have not explained the new work schedule law to their employees, and internal communication within the businesses is “passive”, 73.4% of businesses think the new work schedule law has a negative impact.  Many businesses say the new work schedule law is an added burden on human resources management and has squeezed out human resources development, 78.9% say the new work schedule law will negatively impact Taiwan’s competitiveness, 27% say Taiwan’s competitiveness will be greatly reduced because of the new work schedule law, 51.9% say the new law will have some negative impact on competitiveness.

Taiwanese businesses say the new work schedule law will reduce business profits and drive the businesses to be more conservative, the new law will worsen labor-management relations, and the new law will increase labor costs and reduce the company’s capacity to win international orders.

A Taiwan business Weekly survey of 920 businesses released on February 17, 2017, shows that 61.9% of businesses will be more conservative in salary increases because of the new work schedule law, 48.3% will adjust the workers’ salary structure, 54.9% of workers believe the bosses want hire one worker to work as two, 40.2% of bosses believe their workers’ work efficiency is not good, 38.8% of workers do not want more rest days, 44% worry about tighter job performance review, and 13.9% worry they will be laid off because of stricter job performance reviews, 37.1% are under greater pressure to get the job done earlier because of the new work schedule law, 63.3% of businesses worry that labor-management relations will worsen because of this new work schedule law, 62.9% believe company profits will be reduced because of this new work schedule law, 49.3% believe the rise in labor cost will negatively impact efforts to win overseas orders, 48.3% of businesses are thinking of leaving Taiwan to invest overseas and move work opportunities abroad because of this new work schedule law.  Among workers 45 to 65 years old, 36.2% think that even if they wanted to work overtime, they will not be allowed because of this new work schedule law, and 26.9% of workers under 45 years old think so, 83.2% of businesses believe the new work schedule law will raise labor cost, 66.4% believe the new law makes it more difficult for personnel deployment, 51.7% believe it will make labor-management relations more tense, 48.6% believe operational costs will be negatively impacted, 46.5% believe their modus operandi will have to be changed, and 36.7% believe their original production capacity and services will be difficult to maintain because of this new law.

A joint survey by the general chamber of industries and the general chamber of businesses conducted on January 20-26, 2017, of 735 businesses shows that 67.4% of businesses think the new law will create scheduling problems, 67.8% “cannot accept” the newly mandated overtime pay scale of counting “each hour of overtime as four hours”, 46.3% of businesses say they will raise prices, 15.5% say they will hasten automation, 14.2% say they will move their production lines out of Taiwan, 6.2% say they will shut down, 53.7% say they will not raise prices, 72.8% of businesses say the new law will increase their annual personnel cost by over 3%, 27.2% say their personnel cost will increase by 1% to 3%, 51.3% say they will limit overtime hours, 24.4% say they will hire more temporary workers, 15.6% will contract work that used to be done in house, 8.8% say they will cut business hours.

Some suggestions by businesses include 21.8% that want to eliminate the quadruple overtime pay requirement, 18.7% that want to return to double time pay for overtime, 15.9% do not want rest day overtime to be included in the monthly extended work hours, 15.7% that want to increase the 46-hour limit on monthly extended work hours to 56 hours, 60 hours or up to 66 hours, 14.3% want to “ease” the strict one rest day per seven days rule, and 13.7% want to “ease” this rule for different professions.

A survey by Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holdings show that 44% of respondents believe the new work schedule law will be more detrimental than beneficial, 9.8% believe it will be more beneficial than detrimental, 23.6% believe salaries will be reduced, and 8.8% believe salaries will increase due to the new work schedule law.

Another indication that Taiwan’s is losing its competitiveness is reflected at the Yunlin Douliu job center.  One company is trying to hire machinery operators and it requires the machinery operations to move the equipment.  It is offering a monthly salary of NT$76,000, but there has been no enquiries for the job.

At other booths where 9-5 desk jobs in quality control are being offered at NT$23,000 to NT$25,000, several hundred job applicants line up for interviews.

Thirty manufacturers and businesses in six major industries are participating in the Yunlin Douliu job fair center.


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Taiwanese are ageing too quickly

Taiwanese are ageing too quickly

At the end of 2016, Taiwan had a registered population of 23,540,000 people.  Among them are 3,106,000 seniors 65 years old and older, an increase of 5.7% from the end of 2015, and constituting 13.2% of the total population, and those under 14 years old constituted 13.4% of the total population.

In 2011, there were 72.2 seniors to every 100 youths aged 14 and under.  In 2016, there were 98.9 seniors to every 100 youths aged 14 and under.

In Chiayi county, there are 174.3 seniors to every 100 youths aged 14 and under.  In Yunlin county, there are 140.4 seniors to every 100 youths aged 14 and under.  In Hsinchu city, there are 63.1 seniors to every 100 youths aged 14 and under.  In Taoyuan city, there are 66.6 seniors to every 100 youths aged 14 and under.


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Bird flu hop

Bird flu hop

Taiwan has implemented an emergency ban on transport and slaughter of all poultry for seven days beginning on February 16, 2017.

But at 16:45 hours on February 17, an H5N2 subtype virus was found in a dead chicken.  In Chiayi in central Taiwan, the H5N2 was found on February 13, 2017, in 20 plastic bags of dead ducks.

Taiwan has been plagued by the H5N6 bird flu virus from Hualien on the east coast to western and central Taiwan, infecting ducks, chickens, geese, and turkeys.

A TVBS survey of 1,116 responses with 114 refusals or 10.2% refusal rate conducted on February 15-17, 2017, between 1830-2200 hours shows that 89% know about the H5N6 bird flu outbreak on Taiwan, 58% are worried (20% are “very worried” and 38% are “somewhat worried”), 35% are not worried (26% are “not too worried” and 9% “absolutely not worried”), 46% do not know how to prevent an H5N6 viral infection, 51% say they know how to prevent an H5N6 viral infection, 46% say “do not know”, 53% say they will still eat poultry, 40% say they will temporarily stop eat poultry, 38% are not satisfied with the way the Taiwanese government is handling the H5N6 bird flu outbreak, 23% are satisfied, 38% have no opinion, 50% are confident in the government’s preventive measures, 36% do not have confidence in the government’s preventive measures, 13% have no opinion.

On the Chinese mainland, authorities announced on February 14, 2017, that since January, the H7N9 bird flu virus has infected 192 people and 79 of them died.  In January of 2016, there were 28 cases of H7N9 human infections with 5 deaths.  Since October 1, 2016, there have been 365 cases of H7N9 human infections, including 115 cases in Jiangsu, 65 cases in Zhejiang, 41 cases in Guangdong, and 39 cases in Anhui.

Since 2014, there have been 17 cases of H5N6 human infections mainly in Guangdong, Hunan and Yunnan, with 12 deaths.  The human death rate from the H5N6 bird flu viral infection is 70%, and 70% of the deaths from the human infection by the H5N6 virus were between 20 and 49 years old.

This is why Taiwan is extremely apprehensive about the H5N6 viral epidemic now ravaging Taiwan’s poultry.  Overnight on February 16, 2017, over 94,000 poultry were slaughtered and all poultry slaughter houses were closed for disinfection.

On February 19, 2017, the Guangdong health authorities found a mutated viral stem in two samples of the H7N9 virus from infected humans.  Between February 6 and February 12, 2017, there have been 69 cases of H7N9 human infection cases and 8 deaths.  In two H7N9 virus samples taken from infected humans in January, mutations of the viruses’ coagulation chain were discovered.  The mutations of genetic insertions, causing the viruses to be highly virulent to fowl and poultry.  Similar mutations have also been found in four other samples collected from fowl by the Guangdong health authorities.

As of February 19, 2017, Taiwan has culled 28 poultry farms and 188,696 poultry.  The H5N8 virus was found in 1 land poultry farm, the H5N2 virus was found in 17 land poultry farms, 1 duck farm and 1 geese farm, the H5N6 virus was found in 5 land fowl farms, 1 duck farm, 1 geese farm.  At another land fowl farm, both the H5N6 and the H5N2 viruses were found.

The H5N6 virus has infected six counties and cities throughout Taiwan as of February 19, 2017.

On February 19, 2017, in Guangxi Nanning, a 41-year-old live poultry vendor died of the human H7N9 infection.  He is the latest in addition to the 8 deaths out of 69 infection cases recorded between February 6 and February 12, 2017, on the Chinese mainland.  In January of 2017, there have been 192 cases of H7N9 human infections with 79 deaths in 16 provinces.

A Taiwanese businessman who returned to Taiwan on January 25, 2017, had a fever as he arrived at the Taoyuan International Airport.  He was checked by the airport’s health authorities and sent to the hospital.  He was diagnosed as being infected by a mutant H7N9 viral strain that is drug resistant.

On February 21, 2017, an H5N2 subtype bird flu virus was found in Changhua county, Taiwan, and over 20,000 chickens were immediately culled.





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