NIA inks pact with US school
The National Immigration Agency (NIA) signed an agreement with a US university yesterday to cooperate on research into counter-terrorism and other security issues. The agreement was signed by agency Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) and University of Houston-Downtown president William Flores during a video conference. The two sides will cooperate on studies of counter-terrorism, homeland security, criminal justice, human trafficking, immigration affairs and other issues, Hsieh said in a statement. The two parties will also attend conferences, seminars and speeches and carry out research at each other’s institutes, the agency said. The agreement will allow the two parties to share research on security issues, it said.
Artists join project in Japan
A group of Taiwanese artists has teamed up with Japanese counterparts to launch a “white house” art project aimed at boosting the morale of victims of Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Between Wednesday and Sunday next week, 36 Taiwanese and Japanese artists will create paintings on a white building that they have constructed from canvases in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, said the Formosa Wall Painting Group, which initiated the project. Around 40 paintings will be created, while children from the disaster area will be invited to paint stones and exhibit their own artwork, the Kaohsiung-based group said. The paintings will be on display in Ishinomaki until July, after which the portable “white house” exhibit will be moved to Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, and then to Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. Otsuchi was heavily damaged by the 2011 quake, while Kobe was devastated by a massive quake in 1995.
Carnation prices doubled
Wholesale prices for carnations have been doubled from a year earlier in the run-up to Mother’s Day, due to lower production, the Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) said yesterday. The average wholesale price was NT$65 (US$2.20) per bunch of 10 flowers, double the price for the same period of last year, AFA Deputy Director Huang Mei-hua (黃美華) said. About 3.42 million dozen carnations were grown nationwide this year, down from the 3.84 million dozen stems produced last year, largely as a result of inclement weather, she added. She said this year’s production of the flower traditionally given on Mother’s Day, which falls on May 12 this year, covered 67 hectares, with 55 hectares given over to the crop in Changhua County alone.
Stargazing event to be held
A stargazing event to look at the Crux constellation will take place in Pingtung County tomorrow in an effort to promote astronomy, the event’s organizers said. About 2,000 stargazers, including 1,200 students from local schools, are expected to attend the event in Maobitou Park, a popular location for local astronomy enthusiasts. Visible to skywatchers south of the Tropic of Cancer, Crux can only be seen in certain counties — including Pingtung — said Jiayi Elementary School Principal Shih Shih-chih (施世治), one of the organizers. Pingtung has been promoting astronomy since last year by designating four local schools and 70 teachers to promote related programs. The event is to take place from 4:30pm to 10pm. More information is available at http://familystar.org.tw/events/event.php?events_id=168.