Haiti aid program planned
Taiwan will launch an agricultural aid program in southern Haiti to continue its assistance to the Caribbean country, an official at a government-funded agency said yesterday. The program is set to be implemented in Les Cayes in southern Haiti, to help people grow crops such as rice and corn, according to the Taipei-based International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF). Since a magnitude 7 quake struck Haiti in January 2010, Taiwan has been offering vocational training in Savane Diane in northern Haiti and helping residents grow crops such as corn and sorghum, ICDF deputy secretary-general Lee Pai-po (李柏浡) said. Taiwan also recently completed construction of a resettlement village in Savane Diane to house 215 families that lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake. The farming project, spread over 322.5 hectares, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, Lee said.
Man makes app for crops
An Android app designed to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer needed to be applied to crops has been created by a Taiwanese man who is performing his alternative military service with a technical mission in Belize. Lai Chun-fa (賴俊發), who graduated from the Department of Information Management at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, said the idea was inspired by Cheng Kun-mu (鄭坤木), a technician with a Taiwanese agricultural technical mission who has been helping local farmers in the Central American nation for several years. The main purpose of the app is to help technicians promote the concept of using fertilizer among local framers. Use of the app allows technicians to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer farmers need to apply to different crops, which could greatly reduce costs and time, he said.
Taiping antenna almost built
Construction of a new navigation antenna on Taiping Island (太平島) in the disputed South China Sea is set to be finished next month, according to military officials. The antenna will be located near an existing 1,200m airstrip on the islet. When finished, the 7m antenna will allow an increase in the number of flights to the island, where military transport planes are often forced to abort landings because of poor visibility, the officials said. Taiping Island is the largest isle in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), which is also claimed by China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.
Manila arrests Taiwanese
Philippine police yesterday rounded up 357 foreigners accused of duping Taiwanese and Chinese citizens in an online scam. The mostly Chinese and Taiwanese suspects were arrested in simultaneous raids on 20 houses in metropolitan Manila and nearby Antipolo city, Philippine National Police investigation group chief Samuel Pagdilao said. Those arrested were members of a syndicate that pretended to represent police, prosecutors, courts and insurance companies and told the victims that their bank accounts were being used for money laundering and terrorist financing, he said. He said the victims were pressured to transfer their money to a “safe account” provided by the syndicate. The syndicate raked in at least US$472,000 each day using the scam, he said. Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission head Paquito Ochoa said the arrests were the largest single-day operation against organized crime in the country.