Poo collectors may win big
New Taipei City (新北市) will run an innovative scheme to keep its streets clean by encouraging residents to collect dog excrement for a chance to win gold. Starting in July, the city government will offer residents who collect canines’ waste the chance to enter a lucky draw, local media reported yesterday. Those taking part in the scheme will be given one lottery ticket in exchange for the dog waste they collect for a chance to enter the draw, which has a top prize of a gold ingot worth NT$60,000, it said. The scheme ran for the first time in June last year and proved a success attracting more than 20,000 participants, according to the city government. A lucky draw was conducted in November last year in which three prizes of gold ingots, each with different worth, were given away.
Yunlin bird flu probed
All chickens at a farm in Yunlin County were culled after it was confirmed to have been hit by a highly pathogenic form of the H5N2 avian influenza virus, agricultural officials said yesterday. The farm and surrounding area were disinfected after 14,000 chickens from the farm were culled, officials from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said. A clinical investigation and epidemiological sampling within a radius of 3km of the farm would continue, but all fowl in neighboring areas have so far been found to be healthy and no suspected avian flu cases were reported, they said. A Yunlin agricultural official said on Friday that more than 13 million chickens are currently being raised on more than 900 farms in the county. The first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu was recorded on Jan. 9 at a farm in Changhua County. Since then, two other egg and poultry farms in Changhua and one each in Greater Tainan and Pingtung County have been hit by a similar virus.
Hakka park opens in Tongluo
The Hakka Cultural Park Miaoli was officially inaugurated in Miaoli County’s Tongluo Township (銅鑼) yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Premier Sean Chen (陳冲), Hakka Affairs Council Minister Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) and Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻). The establishment of the park makes it the second central government-run Hakka cultural park in the country. The other one is in Greater Kaohsiung. According to the council, the Hakka Cultural Park Miaoli is not merely a park, but rather, it is part of the Taiwan Hakka Culture Development Center, which displays elements of Hakka culture not only native to Taiwan, but also from around the world.
Illegals feted to Mother’s Day
Illegal immigrants being held at a National Immigration Agency detention center in Nantou County celebrated Mother’s Day with a local saxophone ensemble yesterday. Officials at the center, who organized the concert, also presented carnations to more than 60 mothers waiting to be sent back to their native countries. The band, based in Greater Taichung, played Taiwanese music and folk songs from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. The detainees, including two women who are being held there with small children, said they were moved by the songs and the kindness of Taiwanese. As the final stop in Taiwan, the detention center tries to provide the detainees a good diet, a pleasant environment and entertainment to ease their anxiety before being deported, officials said.