'Guide dog diplomacy'
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will launch "guide dog diplomacy" at the end of this month that will include receiving guide dogs and related technical assistance from several nations, the ministry's non-governmental organization department announced yesterday. Department Deputy Director Chiang Kuo-jiang (江國強) said the nation has more than 50,000 visually impaired people, but only about 20 guide dogs, with only two organizations that train dogs to become guide dogs. The scheme will see local guide dog associations receive assistance from similar bodies in Japan, South Korea, the US, the UK, Denmark and Norway, Chiang said.
Chen congratulates Barrow
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) congratulated Belize's new Prime Minister Dean Barrow on his election, adding that he looked forward to strengthening ties between the two nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Barrow, a centrist who ran on an anti-graft platform, was sworn in as the Caribbean island nation's prime minister on Friday after the former opposition United Democratic Party won a majority of seats in the legislature on Thursday. Chen sent a congratulatory note to the winners after the victory was announced on Thursday. Barrow has affirmed on numerous occasions that he will continue to foster Belize-Taiwan ties under his leadership. Belize and Taiwan forged ties in 1989 and the Caribbean country has been a staunch supporter of Taiwan's bids to join various international organizations.
Tree planting on Valentine's
To mark Valentine's Day this year, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is inviting foreign residents to show their love not only for their significant others, but also for the Earth by planting trees to fight global warming and offset their carbon footprint. The tree planting event, "Leave Your Roots in Taiwan," will be held at the National Taiwan Normal University Linkou campus at 2pm tomorrow. Free shuttle buses are available at 12:30pm at the East 3 Gate at Taipei Railway Station, the main entrance of National Central University [No. 300, Jhongda Rd, Jhongli City, Taoyuan County] and in front of the International Cooperation and Development Fund [No. 9, Lane 62, Tianmu West Rd, Taipei], and 12:50pm in front of the EPA building [No. 83, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei]. To sign up for the event, log on to www.epa.gov.tw, or call Jenny Chien at 02-2311-7722 ext. 2752.
Robber runs off with feces
A group of women giggled and laughed when one of their peers was robbed yesterday because the robber did not get away with any valuables but rather a pile of dog feces. A local newspaper reported how a man on a scooter grabbed some scrunched up newspaper from a woman's hand while she was walking her basset hound in a Pingtung City park. A policeman told the newspaper that he saw a group of women laughing when he was patrolling the park. When he asked them what was so funny, one of them replied she had been robbed but there was no need for alarm because what the robber had taken was a bundle of wrapped dog feces that she was going to dispose of when she found a trash can.