No foot-and-mouth: COA
The Council of Agriculture on Friday tentatively ruled out the possibility that pigs on a pig farm in Changhua County were infected with foot-and-mouth disease earlier in the week. The council’s Bureau of Animal Health Inspection and Quarantine said that initial tests on 18 pigs that were killed on Monday in Hsiusui Village, Changhua County, showed that none were infected with the highly contagious disease. But bureau officials said that to ensure the safety of the hog industry, they adopted stringent quarantine measures after the pigs showed suspected symptoms of the disease. Changhua County animal health officials were instructed to control human and vehicle movements to the farm, and adopt disinfection and visiting measures. Pigs in farms within a 1km radius of the farm were given shots while livestock farms within a 3km radius of the farm will also be visited to ensure no abnormalities exist.
Taiwan donates money
Taiwan announced on Friday the launch of a program to issue small loans to fishermen in El Salvador to help them turn salt fields along the east coast of their country into shrimp farms. Ambassador to El Salvador Carlos Liao (廖世傑) and Salvadoran Agriculture Minister Mario Ernesto Salaverria hosted a ceremony at a fishery station in eastern El Salvador to mark the launch of the loans, which will total US$100,000. In addition to the financial support, a Taiwanese technical mission in El Salvador will also teach local breeders how to cultivate shrimp and increase output, a statement by the embassy in El Salvador said. It is estimated that the loans will benefit 320 fishermen, increasing their local shrimp output to 66 tonnes per year.
Eye-blink book released
Chen Hung (陳宏), a patient suffering from a neurological and muscle wasting disease, yesterday released the sixth in a series of his books that have been written by blinking his eyes. Chen’s wife, Liu Hsueh-hui (劉學慧), told a book launch party in Taipei that like the previous five, this latest book, An Easy Fish in Shallow Water, was no easy task, but he insisted on doing it because he loves writing. Chen, who began to have trouble walking in 1997, was diagnosed in 1999 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neuron disease, a condition that affects 350,000 people around the world and kills more than 100,000 each year. Also known as Lou Gehring’s disease, it leads to symptoms such as muscle weakness and stiffness. The cause of the disease is unknown and there is no cure. The disease did not defeat Chen, although now he can only communicate with the outside world by blinking. Chen began to “write” books with the help of his wife, blinking his eyes to represent Chinese phonetic symbols, and published his first book in 2002. In 2007, he was certified by the Guinness World Records for “the record for most blinked words published” — 190,185 — between 1999 and 2007.
Orchid exhibition opens
An exhibition of Paphiopedilum orchids — better known as Lady’s slipper orchids — opened at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Taichung on Friday and will run until April 26. The Taiwan Paphiopedilum Society, organizer of the exhibition, said the more than 200 pots of Lady’s slipper orchids on display at the exhibition include many that have won awards in competitions.