Sunday, January 28, 2007

Taiwanese TV station ETToday reports on a parrot in Yilan County's Luodong who chews betel nuts

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

中時電子報|焦點新聞|愛滋新增感染者 首度負成長

Fascinating Statistics: HIV, Drugs, and Needles

The China Times had some fascinating statistics in a story today about how the number of new HIV infections in Taiwan has dropped for the first time ever.

Number of new reported infections in 2006: 2,942
Number of new reported infections in 2005: c. 3,300
Total reported infections (Taiwanese): 13, 103

Percentage of new infections from intravenous drug use in 2006: 60%
Percentage of from intravenous drug use in 2005: 73%
Estimated number of heroin addicts in Taiwan: 60,000 to 100,000
Number of needle distribution centers: 730
Number of clean needles distributed by government so far: more than 450,000
Average monthly cost of a heroin habit: NT$40,000
Average doses per week: 7
Hospitals with methadone programs: 19

Number of people imprisoned in Taiwan: 60,000
Number of people imprisoned on drug charges: 40,000
Number of HIV positive inmates: c. 6,000

The Liberty Times ran a similar story with a little partisan sniping at the end. The Center for Disease Control, a national agency, complained that Taipei City was not doing its part in the CDC's nationwide HIV harm reduction program that distributes the needles.

The Taipei City Health Department agreed that Taipei isn't distributing enough needles. They said that the Taipei police are rigorously enforcing regulations requiring that suspected users have their urine tested. This makes heroin users afraid of being identified if they go to needle distribution points in Taipei.

Incredibly, Tainan County intends to launch a pilot program to sell hypodermic needles in convenience stores. Way to go Tainan!

On the negative side, the incredibly high number of people locked up for drug offenses shows that Taiwan is yet another country losing the war on drugs and wasting taxpayer money by incarcerating people who are sick.

曾韋禎的部落格:小歪老師 - 樂多日誌

Transgender Teacher Fired?

[All links point to Chinese-language sites]

Tseng Wei-chen is blogging and TV station ETToday is reporting on Jane, a physically male teacher at Concordia Middle School in Minsyong, Chiayi County who has been taking female hormones for the past 19 years and is now planning to have sex reassignment surgery. Tseng criticizes the conservative Lutheran school for firing Jane and "acting like the spokesman of God with a Pharisee sneer on its face." Tseng, who attended Concordia although he did not have Jane as a teacher, notes that the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church is the only liberal church in Taiwan.

In a story filed earlier today, ETToday reported that the school asked Jane to resign, and when she refused ordered her to dress as a man at school. When reporters tried to cover the story, the school called the cops.

ETToday is now reporting that according to the school, Jane has not been fired and notes that by law any decision to fire a teacher must be made by the school's Faculty Evaluation Committee, not the school administration.

Somewhat salaciously, ETToday mentions that Jane is married and has four children. CTS puts a much more positive spin on the story, saying that Jane's family--including her wife and mother--support her decision.