Kiribati diet survey planned
Three Fu Jen Catholic University students are visiting Kiribati to survey dietary habits there as part of a nutrition improvement program in the Pacific nation, the International Cooperation and Development Fund said. The students from the university’s nutritional science department will be in Kiribati from tomorrow to Aug. 27 to conduct the survey, the fund said. The survey’s results will be used to help improve the health of Kiribatians, including encouraging them to embrace more balanced diets and combat obesity and diabetes. Founded in 1996, the fund sends volunteers to many countries to help carry out foreign aid programs and also offers humanitarian assistance and aid in the event of natural disasters or international refugee crises.
SE Asia initiative launched
The Ministry of Culture has launched an initiative to encourage more interaction between Taiwanese and people in Southeast Asia. The Emerald Initiative aims to increase Taiwanese understanding of the region’s cultures, histories and social development, the ministry said. Under the program, organizations will be encouraged to invite Southeast Asian professionals for various activities, including exhibitions, to perform or write, help preserve cultural assets, to conduct fieldwork and research, make news reports and films, and engage in community development. The program offers grants of up to NT$500,000 (US$16,700) for each cultural exchange and collaborative project chosen by the ministry. Southeast Asian visitors will be able to stay for up to six months. The ministry said it is also aiming to increase artist exchanges with countries in the region and to help Taiwanese publishers sell more Chinese-language books.
Fighter overshoots runway
An air force fighter jet overshot the runway at a base in Greater Tainan yesterday, but the pilot was unhurt and there were no casualties in the incident, officials said. The AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo, also known as an Indigenous Defense Fighter, was coming in to land at 9:51am when it overshot the runway and landed in a grassy area, officials said. The flight was part of a regular training session, the military said, denying speculation that the pilot had been rehearsing for an air show on Saturday. The air force gave no cause for the accident, saying only that it would repair the damage to the fighter.
Birth statistics released
Women in Taiwan last year gave birth to their first child at an average age of 30.1, 3.2 years older than women a decade ago, who averaged 26.9 years of age at the time of their first child, government statistics released yesterday show. The total fertility rate last year was 1.3 births per woman, up from a low of 0.9 births recorded in 2010, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said. It said the increase was mainly attributed to a preference to have children in the Year of the Dragon, considered the luckiest of the Chinese lunar years. A total of 229,000 babies were born last year, up 16.7 percent from the previous year, the agency said. Nevertheless, Taiwan’s fertility rate was still one of the lowest in the world last year. It was higher than that of Singapore and South Korea, which had 1.2 births per woman, but lower than Japan’s 1.4 and China’s 1.5 births. The number of babies born in the first half of this year, the Year of the Snake, fell 6.8 percent from the same period of last year, the DGBAS said.