Sat, Sep 07, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

SOCIETY

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.

SOCIETY

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.

DIPLOMACY

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.

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