Five poisons’ on display
The Taipei Zoo is hosting an exhibition featuring animals traditionally seen as sinister symbols to celebrate the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival, seen as a time when evil spirits are awakened, zoo officials said yesterday. In ancient Chinese culture, snakes, scorpions, centipedes, toads and geckos — known as the “five poisons” — were believed to be evil and their spirits were thought to “possess” unfortunate human beings during the festival. However, staff said the zoo hopes its exhibition, which runs through June 30, can help dispel these myths and raise awareness of animal protection. The exhibition will give the creatures a chance to show their true colors, the zoo said. The exhibit will feature six animals: brown spotted pit vipers, emperor scorpions, Chinese red-headed centipedes, Asian common toads, Tokay geckos and Mexican red knee tarantulas.
DOH certifies food exports
The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday began to certify the safety of food products containing starch that are destined for export in an effort to salvage the reputation of Taiwan-made products in the international market. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) said the department will issue certificates for exports that have been deemed as safe for human consumption by recognized testing laboratories. The new measure was taken after a modified starch containing maleic anydride was recently found in several popular Taiwanese food products. The scandal prompted Kuala Lumpur to demand that every shipment of Taiwan-manufactured food products containing starch — such as rice noodles and tapioca balls — exported to Malaysia must carry a DOH-verified safety certificate. Kang said he expects Singapore and other countries will soon impose similar demands.
Quake costs NT$33.73mn
The strong temblor that struck Taiwan on Sunday has caused an estimated NT$33.73 million (US$1.13 million) worth of damage to 191 schools in central Taiwan, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. As of yesterday morning, 69 schools in Nantou County, 32 in Yunlin County and 27 in Greater Taichung were reported to have sustained damage, the ministry said. Nantou was the most severely affected, with damage estimated at NT$24.26 million, the ministry added. The magnitude 6.3 quake, which hit at 1:43pm, was felt in most parts of the island. The epicenter was located in Nantou’s Renai Township (仁愛) at a depth of 10km, according to the Central Weather Bureau’s Seismology Center. Four people were killed by the quake, the Central Emergency Operations Center said.
Arkansas official arrives
Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr arrived in Taipei yesterday on a week-long visit to promote bilateral ties. Darr is scheduled to meet government officials and visit several facilities around the nation, said Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of North American Affairs. Darr’s arrival marks the 30th anniversary of the sisterhood relationship between Taiwan and Arkansas, Linghu added. During the trip, Darr will have the chance to learn more about the nation’s foreign affairs, defense, education and the development of cross-strait relations, the ministry said.