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Giant rubber duck deflates in Taiwan harbour

A giant inflatable duck has disappeared from a harbour in Taiwan after a reported rupture.

The "Rubber Duck" by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman is displayed at Kaohsiung Harbor, southern Taiwan
The "Rubber Duck" by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman is displayed at Kaohsiung Harbor, southern Taiwan Credit: REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

The 18-metre art installation was floated at Taiwan's northern Keelung Port less than two weeks ago. But tourists have been left disappointed after online videos appeared to show it rapidly deflating after a large tear opened on its side.

The cause of the rupture has not been determined but is being "carefully examined", according to a City Council spokesman quoted by CNN.

Created by Dutch designer Florentijn Hofman, the rubber duck has graced the waters of a number of cities across the globe since 2007.

Read: Tower Bridge forced to open for 50 foot rubber duck

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Meltdown in Taiwan parliament over nuclear poll

A debate in Taiwan's parliament descended into fisticuffs today as MPs clashed over whether to hold a referendum on nuclear power.

They exchanged punches and threw water at each other ahead of an expected vote on the issue.

The ruling Nationalist Party favours a referendum on the construction of the country's fourth nuclear power plant, but faces strong opposition from the minority Democratic Progressive Party.

Anti-nuclear sentiment in Taiwan is high in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. Like Japan, the island has a high incidence of earthquakes.

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Train evacuated after suspect bags found in Taiwan

More than 600 passengers were evacuated from a high-speed train bound for Taipei in Taiwan after suspected explosives and triggering devices were found on board, according to police.

"We think they are explosives as they contain liquid that smells like gasoline and some triggering devices, but further testing is required to identify the substance," a police spokesman told AFP.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation said it had alerted police after two unattended bags with a "strong odour" were spotted in a bathroom on the train.

Passengers were evacuated when the train arrived at Taoyuan station near Taipei, and police removed the bags for investigation.

The company said it had not received any threats prior to the incident and added that it was the first time an evacuation was carried out over unidentified objects found on one of its trains.

'Cultural and social factors' behind maths skills gap

A study has found that England's most able youngsters, make less progress in maths, than their peers abroad.

Overall English children are behind in their maths knowledge Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Compared to 12 other countries, including Singapore, Japan and Russia, researchers have called for more focus on children's maths skills from an early age.

The report said "cultural and social factors" could be behind strong scores in East Asian countries, with education more highly valued, from higher salaries to heavy investment.

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