Halal vending makes debut
The first halal-certified vending machine in Taiwan made its debut at the Taipei International Convention Center yesterday, paving the way toward building an even more friendly environment for Muslims. Thanks to cooperation between the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the OK Mart convenience store chain, Taiwan’s first “OK mini” vending machine was unveiled at the convention center. It dispenses more than 20 halal-certified Taiwanese products, and accepts various forms of electronic payment, such as EasyCards, credit cards or mobile payments. TAITRA is also planning to team up with the Tourism Bureau to install the OK mini vending machines in 13 national scenic areas and tourist service centers throughout the country, TAITRA president and chief executive officer Walter Yeh (葉明水) said. Taiwan has worked toward building a Muslim-friendly environment in the past few years, and this year ranked No. 3 — along with the UK and Japan — in Mastercard’s Global Muslim Travel Index. According to TAITRA statistics, 1,075 businesses in Taiwan have been granted halal certification, including 252 restaurants and hotels.
Student still missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said that the search continues for a Taiwanese student who has been missing for three weeks in the US state of Alabama. Auburn police on Aug. 21 said that Lai Chih-kai (賴致愷), a 21-year-old from National Taipei University of Technology who was attending Auburn University in Alabama as an exchange student, was reported missing. He last contacted his family on Aug. 17, the police said. Police have been searching for him extensively since then. Police on Monday released a surveillance photograph taken near Lai’s apartment before his disappearance. In the photo, Lai is seen wearing black warm-up pants with white stripes, running shoes, a T-shirt and glasses, according to a local TV station. Police urged anyone who might have seen, or been in communication with Lai since midday on Aug. 18, or who might have information regarding his whereabouts, to call the Auburn Police Division Detective Section.
China axes Prague show
In the latest in a string of moves reportedly aimed at embarrassing the Taiwan-friendly mayor of Prague, China on Thursday announced that it had canceled a scheduled performance by a musical trio from the European city. Ivan Klansky, a classical pianist and a member of the Guarneri Trio Prague, said he had a feeling that the group would encounter the same problem as the Prague Philharmonia, which also had their performance in China canceled this month. China last month canceled a scheduled performance by the Prazak Quartet and another by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. According to Czech media reports in April, such actions by China are aimed at humiliating Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, who visited Taiwan in March and has been a vocal critic of China’s human rights record. Hrib, who took office in November last year, said that in a twin-sister agreement between Prague and Beijing, he wanted to remove the clause that stated: “Taiwan is a part of China,” because of concerns that it would be unfair to Taiwan. During his visit to Taiwan in March, Hrib praised Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit System and said he hoped to cooperate with Taipei in building smart cities.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by