Colder weather forecast
Temperatures across the nation are expected to dip significantly from today due to the influence of a cold air mass, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Daily lows could drop to 13°C in the north until tomorrow, with seasonal winds likely to cause rainfall in that area during the period, the bureau said. According to bureau forecasts, temperatures in the following two days may fall to between 13°C and 17°C, 14°C and 19°C and 14 and 22°C in northern, central and southern Taiwan respectively.
Bird flu detected on Penghu
Penghu Island has reported its first highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak and all chickens on the affected farm have been destroyed, an official from the Council of Agriculture said on Friday. Huang Kuo-ching (黃國青), deputy director of the council’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said the owner of the chicken farm found 150 chickens dead on Nov. 19 and alerted the health authorities. Another 50 chickens died the next day and test results obtained on Nov. 22 showed that H5N2 was to blame, prompting the Penghu County Government to order a cull of the surviving 431 chickens. Huang said the farmer had bought chickens at an auction in Chiayi on Nov. 14 and speculated the outbreak was caused by these birds. There are three other chicken farms around the affected one, but the bureau said it had detected no abnormalities there so far, although it added that safety can only be assured after a three-month observation period.
Cyclists brave wet weather
About 100 cyclists braved heavy rain and strong winds yesterday along the Tamsui River (淡水河) to finish a 30km ride, which was organized by the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office in Taipei to celebrate the cycling culture of the Netherlands. Participants in the non-competitive event did not have much luck as the day of the bike ride, which was originally scheduled for Saturday last week, but was postponed due to heavy rain, saw poor weather conditions once again. Only 300 out of the 800 registered riders showed up at the starting line at Dadaocheng Wharf in Taipei, and only one third of the challengers made it to the end. “The weather is very Dutch today,” said Hans Fortuin, director of the Netherlands office. Fortuin said he hoped the event could promote cycling and raise awareness of green lifestyles in Taiwan, suggesting that the country could build on the popularity of the sport to further upgrade its biking infrastructure.
ew York State receives aid
Taiwan donated US$100,000 on Friday to relief aid to New York State, which was recently battered by Hurricane Sandy, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York said. This was the third donation, following earlier sums of US$100,000 each to New York City and New Jersey State to help dislocated residents and reconstruction efforts in areas hard hit by the storm. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who received the donation from Andrew Kao (高振群), Taiwan’s envoy in New York, thanked Taiwan for the aid. The fund is to be channeled into the Empire State Relief Fund set up by the state government, which has raised US$150 million, Silver said. Kao said in addition to assistance from the Taiwan government, many private groups from Taiwan have been active in relief efforts in the affected areas.