Kaohsiung to increase links
Kaohsiung is expected to launch direct air links with the Chinese cities of Qingdao and Tianjin in the middle of this month, which will help boost tourism in southern Taiwan, a tourism industry representative said yesterday. Also, the number of flights between Kaohsiung and China will almost triple to 38 per week, said Lin Fu-nan (林富男), leader of an alliance of tourism-related businesses in the Kaohsiung and Pingtung areas. Lin said the increase in the number of flights was agreed upon during cross-Strait aviation talks last month in Taipei and is the result of lobbying efforts by the alliance. At present, Kaohsiung International Airport maintains direct air links with eight Chinese cities — Fuzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Xiamen.
Fireworks act revised
Parents who let children under the age of 12 play with fireworks unsupervised are now punishable under a recently revised law. The revised Firework and Firecracker Management Act (爆竹煙火管理條例) was implemented on Wednesday, changing fireworks categories and increasing punishments for violations, the National Fire Agency said. The agency said parents or guardians face fines of between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000 if their children are caught playing with fireworks without supervision. Previously, the law only required them to accompany their children while playing, and there was no punishment if they failed to do so. Selling fireworks to children remains illegal and violators can still be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 under the revised act.
Encephalitis claims life
A woman in Tainan City infected with Japanese encephalitis died on Wednesday, a senior health official said on Thursday. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director Lin Ting (林頂) said the woman might have caught the disease at the pig farm where she worked in neighboring Tainan County. The disease’s carrier, Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquitoes, were found at the farm after she was diagnosed. The woman began showing flu-like symptoms on May 18 and went to several clinics over the following days. However, she was not diagnosed with Japanese encephalitis until she was taken to National Cheng Kung University Hospital as her condition worsened, Lin said, adding that the local government cleaned and sprayed pesticide in the area and urged the public to take action against mosquitoes to prevent disease transmission.
Pingtung going bananas
Pingtung County Government has begun to buy bananas from local farmers at eight locations to help prop up the fruit’s slumping price, in line with an initiative launched by the Council of Agriculture (COA). The COA announced late last month that it would guide food processors to buy bananas for NT$5 per kilogram to boost flagging demand. Pingtung officials said yesterday that they had begun to comply. According to the county’s Agricultural Department, demand for bananas has been crowded out by the harvests of many other summer fruits like mangoes, pineapples and watermelons, causing prices to fall. “Bananas have been unable to compete with the juicy fruits,” the department said. The COA set a goal of purchasing 3,000 tonnes of healthy green bananas weighing under 6kg per bundle.