Raptor-watching tours set
The Tourism Bureau is launching a series of ecotourism events to celebrate the northern migration of raptors over the next few weeks. The bureau said yesterday it would hold guided bird-watching tours in the north coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area on April 19, 20 and 27 and May 4 for those interested in getting a look at gray-faced buzzards and Chinese sparrowhawks. The peak migration season for raptors begins after the spring equinox late this month, when frequent rainfall forces the birds of prey to land or fly low, making it a prime time for watching the birds, the bureau said. The season is likely to continue into May, the Taipei-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation said, adding that Guanyinshan (觀音山) in New Taipei City, Baguashan (八卦山) in Changhua County and Ken-ting (墾丁) in Pingtung County are among the best places to catch a glimpse of the aerial predators.
US weather chief visiting
US National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini is visiting Taiwan from today to Sunday to attend a meteorological meeting in Taipei, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday. He is set to give a keynote speech — titled “Taking Weather Forecasts to the Next Level: Linking Forecasts to Impact Based Decision Support Services” — at the annual meeting of the Meteorological Society of Taiwan tomorrow. He is also expected to meet with leading figures from Academia Sinica, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Environmental Protection Administration. The AIT said the visit would provide a vital “opportunity for scientific and environmental cooperation ... and contribute to joint efforts to address global climate change.
Rice donated to 17 nations
The nation is to double its contribution to international food aid this year by donating 17,400 tonnes of rice to 17 countries, the Agriculture and Food Agency said. The rice is expected to be shipped by June 30 and it is estimated it could save 5.8 million people from starvation, the agency said. While 5,100 tonnes are being sent to typhoon victims in the Philippines, 3,100 tonnes are for Syrian refugees in Jordan. Another 2,400 tonnes are being shipped to Haitians still recovering from the destructive 2010 earthquake that hit the Caribbean country. The other beneficiaries are Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Turkey, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Tuvalu.
Innovative course a hit
The term “required course” usually makes college students roll their eyes, but one class at National Chiao Tung University has instead captured the interest of students at the school in Hsinchu City. The class, entitled “Love, Sex and Law,” relates to current events, including an assignment for students to observe a court trial. The students also need to debate issues such as surrogate motherhood and fraudsters using romance as a weapon. The choice of guest lecturers has been no less innovative than the curriculum itself, ranging from lawmakers to a prostitute. The purpose of the course is to instill gender-friendly views and legal common sense via discussion of issues stemming from romantic relationships, said Carol Lin (林志潔), an associate professor. The course is designed to teach students how to avoid “landmines,” such as encroaching on a partner’s privacy and how, after things turn sour, to handle gifts given out in better times, Lin said.