Philippines get more aid
Taiwan sent another two cargo planes filled with relief supplies to the storm-ravaged Philippines on Tuesday, bringing the number of shipments on military C-130 planes to 14 since Nov. 12. Tuesday’s flights carried 16 tonnes of supplies, the Ministry of National Defense said, bringing the total to nearly 100 tonnes of relief supplies for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. The two aircraft arrived in Cebu at 3pm on Tuesday. The airlifts are part of Taiwan’s aid to the Philippines following the devastation brought by Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, which tore through the central Philippines on Nov. 8. The Cabinet has announced plans to set up a donation center and encouraged the public to deliver water, food, sleeping bags and medicine to Tsoying Naval Base in Greater Kaohsiung by Sunday. The collected supplies will be transported to storm-devastated areas of the Philippines once the defense ministry collects 10 tonnes.
ARATS chairman to visit
China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) is scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Tuesday next week for an eight-day visit, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) announced yesterday. It will be Chen’s first trip to Taiwan since he took over as ARATS chairman. Chen will be heading a delegation of ARATS officials on the visit, which is aimed at promoting cross-strait trade and economic cooperation, the SEF statement said, adding that Chen will visit the nation’s free economic pilot zones, major Taiwanese conglomerates and China-funded companies. Chen is also to meet with former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), as well as some local government heads.
Sunspots can be seen
A large group of sunspots will be visible with specialized equipment over the weekend as solar activity reaches its peak, according to the Taipei Astronomical Museum. The sunspots will be one of the most noticeable solar events since the sun entered a period of increasing magnetic field turbulence last year, museum official Chang Kuei-lan (張桂蘭) said. Chang added that the museum would provide professional equipment and assist astronomy buffs in catching the spectacle. The combined group, known as AR1897, stretches for more than 350,000km — about 27 times the diameter of Earth. The best times to see the spots are in the early morning and late evening when there is not much sunlight, the museum said.
Tilapia’s image restored
Taiwanese tilapia farmers and vendors promoted their fish at an event in Seoul yesterday, seeking to undo the damage caused by a report aired on South Korea’s Channel A TV station. Taiwan Tilapia Alliance chairman Tsai Chun-hsiung (蔡俊雄) said Taiwan-bred tilapia is of high quality, inexpensive, nutritious and, most importantly, safe. The conference at a Seoul hotel was organized in response to Channel A’s program Food X-File, which in an Oct. 25 broadcast showed images of ponds covered in algae that it said were tilapia farms in Taiwan. A correction was later posted on the program’s Web site explaining that the images were of abandoned facilities. Correcting the image of Taiwan’s industry is important to tilapia producers because South Korea is the nation’s biggest market for the fish, according to the alliance’s statistics.