Week-long holiday planned
The government is planning a seven-day Lunar New Year holiday next year to ensure that people have more vacation time during the year’s busiest travel period, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Next year’s holiday is to start on Jan. 23, the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve, to help ease traffic congestion, Su said during an inspection tour in Yunlin County. Employees would work on a weekend to make up for the extra vacation day, he said.
Eswatini gets visa-free entry
The government is to grant visa-free treatment to Eswatini nationals starting on June 1 to boost bilateral tourism and trade exchanges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Eswatini nationals who hold a passport valid for at least six months, as well as a hotel reservation, a financial statement and emergency contact information may enter Taiwan for stays of up to 90 days, the ministry said. When the measure takes effect, the current requirement for the issuance of electronic visas would be rescinded, it said. The announcement makes Eswatini the latest diplomatic ally after Nauru, Tuvalu, and Latin American and Caribbean allies to receive the visa-free privilege, it added.
Longshan to ban candles
Longshan Temple (龍山寺), one of Taipei’s oldest and most popular temples, on Thursday said that it would stop selling candles and ban their use on its premises from Wednesday next week. The ban aims to improve air quality and was decided in light of a fire at the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral last week, the temple said. The temple’s candle burner would be removed, it said, urging worshipers not to bring candles. Fan Tien-cheng (范添成), a community chief in Wanhua District (萬華) where the temple is located, said that the temple wanted to do something meaningful after 280 years of service. It does not rule out introducing electronic candles, Fan said. There are no plans to ban the use of incense at the temple, he added. The temple in 2017 limited the number of incense sticks worshipers can burn to one stick per person to curb emissions of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller. The city’s Xingtian Temple (行天宮) in 2014 led the way by banning incense burning and removing all incense burners.
Belize hopeful for fishery
Belizean Senate President Lee Mark Chang (鄭經緯) on Thursday expressed the hope for fishery technology exchanges between Taiwan and Belize. Chang made the remarks while visiting a fisheries research institute and a biotechnology research center in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港) accompanied by Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全). Chang was briefed on Taiwan’s aquaculture research and development programs, and achievements in the field. He was also shown various species of fish and shrimp, and briefed on breeding programs and pest control measures. The county has developed agricultural and fishery sectors, Su said, adding that the local climate is similar to Belize’s. As such, he hopes the county can serve as a template for construction projects in Belize, thereby creating a mutually beneficial situation. Taiwan is delighted to expand its cooperation with Belize across a wide range of fields, Su said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions