Pakistan warning remains
Taiwanese should still refrain from visiting Pakistan, as terrorist attacks remain a major threat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. “The existing ‘red’ travel alert for Pakistan remains valid,” the Bureau of Consular Affairs said in a statement. As recently as July 26, a pair of suicide bombers on motorcycles struck a Shiite mosque in a town near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, leaving 41 people dead and more than 150 injured, the bureau said. Since many terrorist groups are active in Pakistan, some of which mainly target foreigners, the bureau reminded Taiwanese that they should seek to avoid traveling to the country. Under the ministry’s four-color coded travel advisory system, red represents the highest level of threat. Meanwhile, the bureau said Taiwanese should also refrain from unessential travel to Sudan, as there are frequent reports of armed conflict in the country. An “orange” travel alert — the second highest-level of danger on the advisory system — remains in force for Sudan.
Hot weather set to continue
Temperatures in Taipei yesterday rose to 37.9°C, matching the highest recorded in the city this year, the Central Weather Bureau said, warning that similar conditions would persist throughout the week. The high in Taipei was recorded at 1:46pm. The mercury surged to 37°C in the Banciao District (板橋) of New Taipei City (新北市) at about 2pm, also the highest of the year, the bureau said. Daytime highs across most of the nation ranged between 32°C and 37°C, the bureau said. The sweltering weather is likely to prevail until the weekend, forecasters said. Yesterday’s reading in Taipei equaled the highest temperature recorded so far this year, on July 30.
New typhoon possible
A tropical depression that formed over waters west of the Philippines yesterday is likely to strengthen into a typhoon, the Central Weather Bureau said. If it develops into a typhoon, it will become the 10th typhoon this year and will bear the name Mangkhut, the Thai word for the mangosteen fruit. As of yesterday morning, the tropical depression was 1,200km south-southwest of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), on the nation’s southernmost tip, moving very slowly northwest, the bureau said.
H5N3 found on duck farm
An outbreak of H5N3 avian influenza has been detected on a duck farm in Hualien County, the first occurrence of the low-pathogenic virus strain in the nation. The virus was isolated from swabs taken from the farm on July 16 and confirmed by a laboratory on Friday, according to a report submitted by the Council of Agriculture to the World Organization of Animal Health the same day. Twenty of the 13,400 ducks on the farm tested positive for the virus, the report said. The results of a clinical investigation showed that the ducks were healthy and not exhibiting any abnormal symptoms, it said, adding that surveillance of poultry farms around the affected farm is currently being conducted.
Nation counts on students
Taiwanese students have come away with 17 gold, 34 silver and 66 bronze medals from the 9th International Mathematics Competition that concluded on Sunday in Singapore. A total of 1,165 elementary and junior-high school students from 11 countries, including China, South Korea, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Iran, took part in this year’s competition, with 166 contestants from Taiwan. Fang Chen-hsien, the students’ chief chaperone, said that Taiwan performs well every year because the nation’s parents put a lot of emphasis on mathematics.
Craft expo set for November
The Taiwan International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo is to start on Nov. 21 in Taipei and will highlight the nation’s craft design, the Ministry of Culture said yesterday. The expo will exhibit furniture, home accessories, domestic utensils, stationery and gifts to illustrate modern ways of living, the ministry said. The fourth annual expo is also to display award-winning Taiwanese cultural and creative products, products from major cultural and creative companies from around the world and items with local features that are jointly made by university innovation incubation centers and micro-enterprises. The expo’s themed pavilion will focus on natural dyes and the revival and development of the dyeing industry in Taiwan, according to the ministry. “We hope to build a comprehensive platform for all industries,” Deputy Minister of Culture George Hsu (許秋煌) said. Deals as a result of the expo have increased from more than NT$100 million (US$3.34 million) in its first year to NT$260 million last year, said Chang Pen-tsao (張平沼), chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, which is organizing the expo along with the ministry. Chang said he hopes that the more focused theme of craft design this year will further boost deals. The expo, which serves as a trading and exchange platform for corporate procurement, brand licensing, distributor networking and business matchmaking, will run until Nov. 24 at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall.