Tours to US skyrocket
Bookings for group tours from Taiwan to the US during the New Year and Lunar New Year holidays have increased sharply since Taiwan’s inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program, local travel agencies said yesterday. Phoenix Tours said the three tours it is offering travelers to celebrate the New Year holidays on the US’ east coast are already fully booked. Meanwhile, Lion Travel said it has just opened one more group tour to Disneyland on the US’ west coast in response to high New Year demand. Taiwan’s flagship carrier China Airlines has also reported brisk ticket sales for travel to the US during the New Year holidays. It said seats on its three direct charter flights from Taiwan to Hawaii during the Lunar New Year are selling like hot cakes.
Local instant noodles safe
The Food and Drug Administration assured the public on Friday that the level of a carcinogenic compound found in domestic instant noodles and seasoning packets falls within standards allowable in the EU. It added that it would convene a meeting this week to discuss setting a local standard for such compounds, based on EU and WHO standards. According to the agency, out of nine brands of domestic noodles tested, seven had traces of benzopyrene, but all fell within the EU’s rigorous standard of five parts per billion and therefore do not pose a health hazard. The recent scare over benzopyrene was caused by the revelation that a popular South Korean instant noodle brand had its products recalled because they contained traces of the carcinogen. This prompted health authorities to examine samples of the noodles produced by Nongshim Co of South Korea. Tests found that two out of the five samples were found to contain traces of benzopyrene, again far below the EU standard.
Man dies in Taroko Gorge
A Japanese man was found dead at the bottom of a valley in Taroko National Park in Hualien County yesterday, Hualien police said. The man was found face down beside a stream in the popular Swallow Grotto area of the park by local fire bureau officers, who pronounced him dead at the scene. The officers identified the 62-year-old man as Masao Inaba from Iwatsuki-shi in Saitama Prefecture after retrieving a driver’s license from his clothing, the bureau said. The incident was reported earlier in the day by a Taiwanese tour guide leading a Japanese tourist group, said Hualien police, who added that Japanese tourists told the guide they saw someone fall into the valley. Hualien police said they are still investigating the incident.
Recycling in limelight
The annual International Conference on Resource Recycling will be held on Tuesday in Taipei, featuring topics ranging from sustainable cities and “green” economies to materials of the future and recycling practices, according to the organizers. Academics, experts and government officials from 11 countries are scheduled to participate in the three-day event. Over the three days, speeches and panel discussions are also scheduled, while experts from Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan and the US are to discuss their countries’ experience in recycling municipal solid waste, the organizers said. The event is a great opportunity for Taiwan to exchange ideas with other countries and the conclusions are to be used as reference for the development of environmental policies, the organizers added.