Bureau issues rain warning
Residents in the southeast of the nation and on the outlying Green Island (綠島) and Lanyu (蘭嶼) — also known as Orchid Island — should be on high alert for heavy rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Bebinca, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Daren Township (達仁) in Taitung County had seen 201mm of rainfall between midnight and 10:30am yesterday, with more rain expected in the area over the course of the day, forecasters said. Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County could expect 130mm of rain, the bureau said, warning of flooding, falling rocks and high waves. As Tropical Storm Bebinca is likely to bring in southwestern winds over the next few days, central and southern Taiwan could also face downpours and thunderstorms, the bureau added.
Canada warning issued
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday issued an “orange” travel alert for several areas in Alberta, Canada, after days of torrential rainfall triggered serious flooding there. The ministry urged Taiwanese to avoid unnecessary travel to Calgary, the largest city in Alberta Province, and the mountain resorts of Banff and Canmore. Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) cited information sent by overseas representative offices saying that only a few Taiwanese tourists had been in Canmore hotels because the highway was closed. In the ministry’s four-color-coded travel advisory system, an “orange” alert is the second-highest level. In case of emergency, the ministry urged Taiwanese to call the 24-hour emergency line on 1-604-377-8730, or the emergency liaison center at 886-800-085-095 for assistance.
Lychee farmers get boost
The nation is to begin exporting lychees to Australia next year as part of efforts to expand the overseas market for the fruit, a Council of Agriculture officials said, adding that they have had some very positive responses after 10 years of promotional efforts. Australian experts came to Taiwan earlier this month for on-the-ground inspections and such exports are “very likely” to be allowed by the next harvest season, the council said. The fruit is harvested mainly in June. Taiwan currently exports lychees to China, Canada, Japan and Malaysia, with a total annual average of about 1,000 tonnes shipped, the council said. In addition to lychee exports, Taiwan and Australia are also planning further exchanges through mutual visits and workshops for farmers, the council said. To ensure a year-round supply of new tropical fruit varieties to meet domestic and international demand, the two countries are also discussing the possibility of further technical cooperation, it added.
Ma gets clean bill of health
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday completed his annual physical checkup at Taipei Wanfang Hospital, where two colorectal polyps were found that appeared to be benign. The hospital is conducting a biopsy on the polyps, and is to present the results in three or four days. According to Taipei Wanfang Hospital president Lee Fei-peng (李飛鵬), Ma’s overall health is very good, with most of the checkup results similar to last year. Ma’s physical checkup lasted about nine hours and Lee said the presiden’s eyesight is better than average though he has a slight cataract. Ma’s heart and vital capacity are in great shape thanks to his habit of running, but he has suffered some joint issues, he added.