The Taipei City Government announced yesterday that traffic controls would be imposed on several major thoroughfares today due to the arrival of a finger relic believed to have belonged to Sakyamuni Buddha -- the historic Buddha. \nAs the relic will be sent directly from the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport to National Taiwan University's domed stadium for a three-day exhibition, the Taipei City Police Headquarters said traffic controls would be imposed on major streets along its route, including Hsinsheng S. Road, Jenai Road and Hsinhai Road. \nThe controls will remain in place from 3pm through 5pm, a police official said, adding that drivers are advised to detour during the time period to avoid possible traffic jams as throngs of local Buddhist followers are expected to turn out to greet the relic. \nBuddhist Master Hsin Yun, founder of the Fokuangshan Monastery in Kaohsiung County, led a 300-member delegation to China Thursday to escort the relic to Taiwan for exhibition in Taipei and other places around Taiwan for 40 days. \nPrior to his departure, Hsin Yun said he was convinced that the exhibition of the Buddhist treasure in Taiwan will help "purify human hearts, cleanse social morals and bring peace to the Taiwan Strait." \nNoting that the relic is an invaluable symbol of Buddhism and a spiritual asset, Hsin Yun said its arrival will mark a new milestone in cross-strait religious exchanges. \nHsin Yun further said he hopes local people will welcome the arrival of the relic with calm and reason. The Buddhist master, who recently expressed his distaste for the island's prevailing lottery mania, said he would not like to see local people become "wild" over the relic. \nHundreds of monks chanted scriptures and rang bells yesterday as the finger was taken from a temple in central China and flown to Taiwan in a container decorated with jewels. \nThe relic, which is kept at the Famen Temple in Xian, in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi, will arrive today escorted by a large number of Buddhist faithful from both sides of the Taiwan Strait. \nOn Thursday, Taiwanese cable news stations covered the elaborate ceremony of removing the finger from the temple. About 300 Taiwanese monks and several more from China wore bright yellow and orange robes as they chanted before followers who filled up the temple's courtyard. \n"This is a big religious event. It will help foster closer ties" between Taiwan and China, Taiwanese monk Hsin Yun told Eastern TV in Xian. \nAccording to religious documents, after the Buddha's cremation in 485BC, some historians and Buddhists believe his bones were saved by Indian monks as souvenirs and that a few pieces were brought to China some 200 years later, as monks went there to preach Buddhism. \nThe finger was sealed in a basement of the Famen Temple's pagoda in 874AD by order of an emperor from the ancient Tang Dynasty. It has not been seen in public since 1986, when the Shaanxi provincial government cleared the rubble of the temple's pagoda, which collapsed in 1981 amid torrential rains. \nIn 1998 the Fokuanshan Monastery brought back from Thailand a tooth believed to be one of only three Buddha teeth preserved in the world. The tooth had been held in India since being smuggled out of Tibet during China's 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the