Dog adoption planned
The government is planning to launch a new initiative next year aimed at encouraging people to adopt animals kept at animal shelters, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday after a new documentary focused attention on the plight of strays. The program will include incentives such as offering free rabies vaccinations to dogs and subsidies for neutering pets, the council said in a statement. The documentary, Twelve Nights, which hit theaters last month, highlighted that stray dogs are killed if they are not adopted within 12 days of their arrival at a shelter. The council said it hoped that the documentary would encourage more people to take the animals home as pets. The new initiative would complement efforts already made by the council to increase the rate of animal adoptions from the shelters and reduce the need to kill strays, the statement said.
Lanterns voted must see
The sky lantern festival in Pingxi District (平溪), New Taipei City (新北市), was recently named by the world’s largest publisher of travel guides as one of the world’s 14 festivals a person must attend in their lifetime. More than 100,000 lanterns are launched into the sky every year at the celebrations during the Lunar New Year, Fodor’s Travel wrote last month on its Web site, adding that festival activities include food and fireworks. Each year, the festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Pingxi, the only place in the nation where the release of sky lanterns is permitted. First held in 1999, the festival was also named one of the 52 things to do in 2013 by CNN Travel in an article published in January. Fodor’s picks also included the Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, Oktoberfest in Germany and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in the US.
NIA Web site translated
The National Immigration Agency (NIA) said it finished renewing its “Living in Taiwan” Web site, adding seven languages to the service so that it is available in Chinese, English, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian and Indonesian. When the Web site was first launched in 2005, it was available in Chinese and English. A Japanese version was made available in November last year. With the increasing number of foreign residents from Southeast Asian countries, the agency decided to add in four more languages to provide information related to living in Taiwan. The agency said the Web site provides an interactive question-and-answer service, and users only need to enter keywords to search for related information.
Pageant hopeful returns
A woman was able to return home safety after allegedly being duped by human traffickers into traveling to South Africa for a beauty contest. The woman, who has only been identified by her surname, Yeh (葉), said that human traffickers asked a Taiwanese beauty pageant association to provide them with a candidate to take part in beauty contest in South Africa. After Yeh arrived in South Africa, she was allegedly confined to her quarters and almost sold into prostitution, she said. She said she avoided that fate by contacting Lin Shu-li (林書立), an official with the Criminal Investigation Bureau stationed in South Africa, who helped her regain her freedom. The bureau said it is still investigating the case. The association that allegedly recommended her to go to South Africa could not be immediately reached for comment.