Flights to Ningxia to start
Direct flights will begin on Tuesday between Taiwan and Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China, said Yang Ruey-tzhong (楊瑞宗), head of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association’s (TSTA) Beijing Office. The flights will be operated by Taiwan’s Far Eastern Air Transport and the Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines. Yang said the new service would help Taiwan attract travelers from Ningxia, home to 2.1 million Hui people, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group. The TSTA says Ningxia has more than 6.3 million people, 30 percent of whom are Muslims. Just 1,986 people from Ningxia traveled to Taiwan in the first three months of this year. Yang said Taiwan has a Muslim-friendly environment, with six mosques and 31 restaurants that are halal certified.
Water shortage not over
Days of heavy rain last week helped ease the nation’s water shortage, but officials said yesterday that a dry weather pattern could lie ahead. A series of cold fronts brought weekly precipitation ranging from 50mm to 100mm nationwide. Reservoirs in central Taiwan recorded the most significant increases in water levels, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) said. While water supplies for Greater Taichung, as well as for Hsinchu, Miaoli, Changhua and Nantou counties could remain stable through the end of June thanks to the recent rain, the situation in northern and southern Taiwan could remain tight, since drier weather is expected, the Central Weather Bureau said. WRA Deputy Director-General Tien Chiao-ling (田巧玲) said the agency would not rule out further cloud seeding until the plum rain season starts in the middle of next month.
Lantern on display in LA
The main lantern of the 2013 Taiwan Lantern Festival went on display at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday. The lantern, which is based on the theme “Soaring Dragon Brings Prosperity,” was part of the annual Taiwan Day event at the stadium that has been co-hosted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau since 2009. Tourism Bureau Director-General David Hsieh (謝謂君) threw the first pitch in Tuesday’s game between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Hsieh said he hoped that the lantern, which drew great attention at the Lantern Festival in Hsinchu two months ago, wouldgive Taiwan greater visibility in the world. The lantern will remain on display outside the stadium for a month to show baseball fans the beauty of Taiwan, the bureau said.
Beijing museum chief visits
Beijing Palace Museum director Shan Jixiang (單霽翔) arrived in Taipei yesterday as part of an exchange between the museum and the National Palace Museum. Shan said he would outline a cooperation plan for the two museums for this year and the next three years during his five-day visit. Shan is scheduled to attend a meeting about “The Artistic Taste of Emperor Qianlong,” an exhibition on the life of one of the longest-ruling emperors of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which is scheduled to open in October at the National Palace Museum. Shan will also visit Chiayi, Greater Kaohsiung and Kinmen. National Palace Museum Director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠) and Shan will discuss plans to jointly catalog the 600 books compiled during Qianlong’s reign. The National Palace Museum has more than 300 of the books, while the Beijing museum has the rest, Feng said.