Mermaid lantern to return
An award-winning giant mermaid-themed lantern featured in last year’s Penghu International Bay Light Festival is to be reintroduced in the Penghu International Fireworks Festival on Penghu County’s Jibei Islet (吉貝嶼) on June 5. The 8m lantern would be the festival’s main highlight and illumiate the islet’s pristine beaches, the Penghu Tourism Department said. It was first showcased in last year’s light festival from Sept. 19 to Nov. 7 and later won a prize in the MUSE Creative Awards organized by the New York-based International Awards Associates. The fireworks festival is to be centered around Magong (馬公) from April 22 to June 28.
Pork import fines hiked
People who bring unauthorized Malaysian pork products to Taiwan would be fined up to NT$1 million (US$35,328), as an outbreak of African swine fever has been reported in the Southeast Asian country, health authorities said on Wednesday. The fine has been hiked from NT$30,000, after Malaysia reported that the disease has caused the deaths of bearded pigs in the Pitas region, the Central Emergency Operation Center for African Swine Fever said. With immediate effect, people entering the nation with Malaysian pork products on them would be fined no less than NT$200,000, and fines for repeat offenders would be up to NT$1 million, it said. Foreigners who fail to pay the fine would be denied entry to Taiwan, the center added.
Children win Czech prize
Two winners of an award at the 48th International Children’s Exhibition of Fine Arts Lidice, an art competition in the Czech Republic, received their prizes at the European country’s representative office in Taipei on Friday. Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei Deputy Director Dita Taborska presented prizes to Sheu Yu-hao (許育豪), 11, and Daniel Lan (藍紹齊), 9. Lan’s painting colorfully depicts a man carrying a bundle of wood, while Lan’s painting is a monochromatic surrealist piece. The competition is open to children aged four to 16 years, and works can be submitted by all types of schools and organizations working with children. It received more than 22,000 submissions from 78 countries last year, and nearly 1,400 were selected to be exhibited.
Detached wheel kills woman
A woman was killed on a freeway in Kaohsiung yesterday and her two daughters were injured after a wheel from a truck traveling in the opposite direction detached and bounced into their lane, striking the windshield of their vehicle, the National Highway Police Bureau said. They were traveling near the 364.4km mark on the southbound section of Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), the bureau said. Also involved in the accident was a man surnamed Kuo (郭), 50, who was driving with his family to Taitung, it said. The 47-year-old woman, who was in the front passenger seat, was killed instantly, the bureau said, adding that one daughter, 17, sustained a skull fracture, while her younger sister had minor bruising. Kuo was not injured, it said. The container truck was being driven by a 54-year-old man surnamed Huang (黃), who was in a northbound lane when a rear wheel detached, it said. Huang passed an alcohol test, police said, adding that an investigation was ongoing.
The navy’s new 10,600-tonne warship is on Tuesday to be christened the ROCN Yushan (玉山), as the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding program reaches a milestone, sources said yesterday. The vessel, previously referred to as the “new landing platform dock,” was at a shipyard with its name freshly painted on the hull with the number 1401, the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, citing an unnamed observer. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a member of the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the report in a Facebook post. The NT$4.635 billion (US$163 million) ship is designed
DIALOGUE SOUGHT: Washington said it was concerned about the pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate Taiwan after the 10th day of PLA activity in the region The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.” The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday. It was the 10th straight
INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Advocates are to hold a demonstration to push for the decriminalization of marijuana and allowing its use for treatment of certain conditions It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei. Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others. The group released a
‘NOT ENTHUSIASTIC’: People who have been approved by the CECC as special cases who need to travel, such as foreign diplomats, would be able to receive a vaccine The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to the fourth priority group — people who need to travel abroad for special reasons — adding that out-of-pocket vaccines would be available from Wednesday next week. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said although Taiwan’s COVID-19 vaccination program was on Monday expanded to include the top three groups in the priority list, people are still “not enthusiastic” about getting vaccinated. “Only 1,220 people received a vaccine shot on Tuesday, and a total of 27,113 people have received COVID-19 vaccination” so far, he