Donations for Syria needed
World Vision Taiwan called on the public yesterday to give to Syrian refugees, saying that its international headquarters is still US$17 million short of its goal for relief funds. World Vision International has so far raised US$43 million for Syrian refugees, but it hopes to raise US$60 million for the mission, the local chapter said. As of Thursday last week, World Vision International had assisted more than 230,000 Syrian refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and it estimates that the number of displaced people will increase to 500,000 in the coming months. The charity said it allocated US$100,000 in July to help Syrian refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday that more 2 million refugees have fled Syria because of the country’s civil war, while more than 4 million others are displaced within the country.
Summit set for Kaohsiung
The mayors or delegates from 72 cities will attend this year’s Asia-Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) from Monday to Wednesday next week in Greater Kaohsiung, according to the city government. As of Tuesday, 47 mayors had said they would take part in the regional forum for civic and business leaders. They include the mayors of Taiwan’s six municipalities and cities. Administrators or delegates will also be coming from Brisbane, Vienna, Honolulu and Seattle, Kumamoto (Japan), Incheon (South Korea), Tianjin (China) and the Kumgangsan tourism special administration district of North Korea. This year’s APCS will be held under the theme: “Reshaping the Urbanomics of Cities — City Challenges and City Solutions,” and will include forums and discussions.
Tourism to Japan continues
Travel to Japan by Taiwanese has shown no signs of decreasing, despite a significant rise in radiation levels at Japan’s damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan said yesterday. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said that day that recorded radiation levels at the power plant have spiked more than 20 percent to 2,200 millisieverts, up from 1,800 millisieverts recorded on Aug. 31. Roget Hsu (許高慶), secretary-general of the association, said the information has had little effect on Taiwanese tourists because tour groups have avoided visiting areas potentially affected by radiation leaks since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a meltdown of three reactors at the power plant.
Storms damage agriculture
Two tropical storms that hit the nation last month have caused agricultural losses of more than NT$700 million (US$23.51 million), with Chiayi County the worst-affected, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday. As of 11am yesterday, the estimated agricultural losses connected to tropical storms Trami and Kong-Rey since Aug. 20 had reached NT$736.94 million, the council said. Southern Taiwan posted the greatest losses, as the region was battered by torrential rain brought by Tropical Storm Kong-Rey, which skirted the country on Aug. 28. Chiayi County reported losses of NT$295.20 million, followed by Yunlin County with NT$248.45 million. Greater Tainan and Kaohsiung and Pingtung County each suffered losses estimated at tens of millions of dollars.
Ferret-badgers test positive
Two ferret-badgers tested positive for rabies on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 112 wild animals since the deadly disease resurfaced in middle of July after a seeming absence of 52 years. The Central Epidemic Command Center for Rabies yesterday announced the two newly confirmed infections, which came from Greater Tainan and Taitung County. Including the latest two, rabies-infected animals have been found across 47 administrative divisions of nine counties and cities in central, southern and eastern areas. As of Tuesday, a total of 490 wild animals had been tested for the disease, according to the command center. Of the 112 confirmed rabies infections, one was an infected Asian house shrew while all of the rest were ferret-badgers.
Events to mark road opening
Separate running and cycling events will be held tomorrow and on Saturday in Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township (員林) to mark the opening of a new road that is a focal point of a redevelopment project in the town, the county government said. The county government recently completed the preliminary redevelopment of a 184 hectare area in Yuanlin that now includes basic infrastructure, parks, and a revamped road system to help traffic in the area flow more smoothly. The centerpiece of the new network is an 8.84km-long, 30m-wide ring road, and to celebrate its opening, an evening run will be held on it tomorrow and a cycling event will be staged there on Saturday. The evening run has become a popular activity in the central county, with membership of Yuanlin’s jogging club growing to more than 3,800. The cycling event scheduled for Saturday morning will follow the formal opening ceremony for the new roadway, which has a 2m-wide cycling path on either side of it.