Mon, Jan 17, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with Agencies

AGRICULTURE

Bacteria hampers chestnuts

Malabar chestnut plants, one of the major exports of Changhua County, are being affected by unknown bacteria that has hurt yields and sales, Hsichou Township (溪州) chief Huang Sheng-lu (黃盛祿) said earlier this month. Since July last year, the popular pot plants grown in Hsichou have often been returned by foreign buyers because of complaints about root and bark quality, Huang said. The town has 650 hectares of the trees under cultivation, accounting for about 80 percent of the nation’s overall production. The infected chestnuts usually do not appear sick until shipped to distribution centers or abroad, resulting in costly losses for farmers, Huang said. Farmers said fusarium, a fungus often found in soil, could be behind the outbreak, although Chen Bao-liang (陳保良), an official with the Council of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said the actual cause of the disease was still being investigated.

POPULATION

Aboriginal numbers rise

The nation’s Aboriginal population reached 512,701 at the end of last year, up 1.6 percent from the year before, statistics by the Ministry of the Interior showed over the weekend. The average age of Aboriginal people stood at 32.5 years, 5.6 years younger than that of the country’s overall population, which numbered 23,162,123 at the end of last year. Hualien County boasted the largest number of Aboriginal residents, with 90,929 or 17.7 percent of the total Aboriginal population, followed by Taitung County with 80,152 or 15.6 percent and Taoyuan County with 59,321 or 11.6 percent. Among the 14 officially recognized Aboriginal tribes, Amis is the largest, with 187,763 people or 36.6 percent of the overall Aboriginal population. Paiwan came in second, with 81,552 (15.9 percent), followed by Atayal, with 81,552 people (15.9 percent.)

SOCIETY

Elderly volunteer honored

An 83-year-old woman, who yesterday was given an award for her years of volunteer work at a cultural center in Greater Taichung, said helping others had boosted her energy. Cheng Wu Chiao-niang(鄭巫嬌娘), the oldest volunteer at the Dadun Culture Center, received an award from Greater -Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who praised her spirit at such a venerable age. The spirit of volunteer service is hard enough to come by, but the commitment of senior volunteers was even more praiseworthy and sets a good example, Hu said. Cheng Wu takes a bus every Thursday to get to downtown Taichung, which is about a three-hour journey from her home. “I view the volunteer work as a break, so I do not feel it is a waste of time,” Cheng Wu said.

CULTURE

Village to hold festival: Chen

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday vowed to help the remaining residents of Siaolin Village (小林) continue to hold the Siraya Night Festival (小林夜祭). Chen said after the permanent housing for residents of Wulipu Village (五里埔) was completed, the city government would launch a campaign to help promote the festival because the celebration was an important asset of the Aboriginal community. The new housing, which is 3km away from the village, is part of the government’s reconstruction work in the areas hit by mudslides induced by rain brought by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009. The village was almost completely wiped out by landslides.

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