Road hogs trot in line
A Pingtung County farmer keeps 12 wild pigs as pets and has trained them to trot behind his motor scooter for kilometers at a time and to stop at traffic lights. The pigs, all less than a year old, fall into line whenever Lee Tung-cheng (李藤正) lets them out of his yard and starts up his scooter. They go out together almost every day and know the rules of the road, he said.
Yunlin seeks adopters
Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) said yesterday that she is seeking adoptive parents for 16 children. Su called a press conference at County Hall to call for help in efforts to seek prospective parents for the orphans, who are being looked after by the county government. Su said she was glad that of the 18 children previously under the care of the county government, two have been adopted: a two-year-old boy was adopted by a US couple who left Taiwan for the US last November and a 10-year-old girl was adopted by a couple living in Taipei City in January. The adoptive parents of the girl, named Hsiao-yi (小怡), wrote to the county government’s Department of Social Affairs recently to say that their daughter was adorable, well-behaved and worked hard at school.
Kinmen provides free milk
Kinmen County yesterday launched a free milk program. The county’s education bureau chief Lee Chai-hang (李再杭) said the program would benefit 7,500 students from pre-school to junior high school. It is being implemented on an annual budget of NT$6 million (US$172,000) that was recently approved by the Kinmen County Council, he said. The funding is coming primarily from contributions by the county-run Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc, which is a long-term revenue earner for the island, he said. The students will initially be given free milk two days per week, but the county hopes to expand the program to provide the children with milk every school day, once milk production at the county’s experimental farm increases to a certain level, he said. The county government has introduced similar programs in the past. In December 1999, it became the first local government in the country to launch a free lunch program for elementary and high school students, an initiative that became a model for other areas of Taiwan.
Airline to resume flights
Mandarin Airlines announced yesterday it will resume daily flights between Taipei and Kaohsiung from April 30, in response to strong demand from business passengers. Mandarin currently operates only three two-way flights per week on Friday, Sunday and Monday between the two cities — a reduction which the airline implemented in September last year to trim its daily service. Mandarin launched a discounted ticket package on the Taipei-Kaohsiung route last march, offering one way tickets at NT$1,720 each, compared with the original price of NT$2,120. The price cut has helped Mandarin increase its passenger load factor in recent weeks. The number of flights on the Taipei-Kaohsiung route exceeded 100 per month during its peak years, when it was the most profitable domestic route. Air travel on the western corridor has been hard-hit after the high speed train system went into service in 2007. In the face of operating difficulties from competition from the bullet train, airlines have steadily chopped flights between Taipei and Taichung and between Taipei, Chiayi and Tainan.