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Taiwan’s ornamental shrimp industry is thriving due to innovation and quality
Can you believe that one tiny shrimp can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of NT dollars? In recent years, the popularity of ornamental shrimp has spread around the world. Taiwan is playing a leading role by producing six out of every 10 such shrimp. Tonight we visit a special research and development center where new shrimp varieties are being developed. Located inside the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park is this facility operated by Su Yao-long. It is a research and development center where a broad variety of shrimp is being raised. The space contains thousands of tanks, making it one of the largest centers for crystal shrimp production in Taiwan.Su Yao-longCrystal Shrimp ProducerThey are very beautiful. Their beauty can be appreciated through the lens of a camera and when these pictures are posted online. When this crystal shrimp is enlarged to fit the whole screen, there is an incredible amount of detail and expression.39-year-old Su was a photographer for a number of print publications. His sensitivity for color and composition inspired him to enter this entirely new field. Su Yao-longCrystal Shrimp Producer You can see this type of shrimp in typical aquariums. At a price of around NT$50-60 they’re affordable. These crystal shrimp, which measure less than 1 centimeter in length, look almost identical, though their color and unique striations can lead to shockingly expensive prices.Su Yao-longCrystal Shrimp ProducerRed and white crystal shrimp are more valuable if the color is richer and if they have some special expressions. Prices could rise to NT$1,000-2,000.Crystal shrimp are typically red and white or black and white. Only through selective breeding and gene hybridization are these fine bands of color able to form. Su and his employees can instantly identify shrimp types, even in juveniles that are as tiny as half a centimeter.Ornamental crystal shrimp command a higher price if their color is richer and more intense, and if special shapes or lines appear on their shell. Prices can jump from NT$3,000 to NT$10,000 or more.Su Yao-longCrystal Shrimp ProducerAt the moment, our company’s greatest accomplishment in researching and developing crystal shrimp is this type called galaxy fishbone pinto shrimp.This black and white galaxy fishbone pinto shrimp took Su three years to research and develop. A first place winner in an international ornamental shrimp contest, it starts at NT$50,000.In the process of developing new varieties of shrimp there can be many failures. If unwanted shrimp are released into the environment, they can pose a big ecological concern.Jeng Ming-shiouAcademia Sinica Biodiversity CenterCultivation of (these shrimp) around the world has led to the introduction of alien species. At the beginning, people enjoy raising these shrimps, but when they get bored, they dump them into a river, which could alter ecological biodiversity.As for whether imported crystal shrimp will be classified as an invasive alien species that poses a threat to local ecology remains to be seen. This concern isn’t stopping businesses from developing new varieties to capture potential market share.In order to prepare shipments for the European market, employees at this aquaculture farm in Pingtung are busy at 7 in the morning.Wang Yeh-haoOrnamental Shrimp ProducerIf the shipment is intended for Europe, we usually include four pieces of ice. If it’s going to Japan, we put in just two.Wang Kuo-chung has 30 years of experience breeding and raising ornamental fish. His son, Wang Yeh-ho, took freshwater cherry shrimp commonly found in drainage ditches in the countryside and transformed them into colorful cherry shrimp.Wang Kuo-chung Ornamental Shrimp ProducerAnother company within this industry caught a black-shelled shrimp in the river and discovered this variety sometimes includes reddish variations. After we saw this, we were surprised that this black shrimp could contain a range of different genes for colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple.Wang transformed common freshwater cherry shrimp into a variety he calls "five element shrimp," with exports to Japan, Korea, Singapore and Europe. Wang says the market can further expand, particularly among women.Wang Kuo-chungOrnamental Shrimp ProducerWhy are women attracted to the ornamental shrimp market? It’s because they don’t like how larger ornamental fish give off an odor when they die and have to be disposed of. Older shrimps hide in the plants. When they die, they’re eaten by other shrimp in the middle of the night.In recent years, the outlook for the ornamental shrimp export market has become promising. In Kaohsiung and Pingtung alone last year there was an increase of 6,000 new crystal shrimp cultivation tanks. Experts worry that the constant pursuit of new varieties means breeders could introduce exotic types from abroad for hybridization, which could involve some risk to native shrimps.Jeng Ming-shiou...
Local entrepreneurs tout the benefits of eating gold
Gold is highly valued and in ancient times was even considered a type of Chinese medicine. Nowadays, people are experimenting with the nutritional benefits of gold, but what are the effects on the human body? From desserts to pharmaceuticals, we look at how gold plays in a role in the foods, beverages and medicines we consume. Opening the Compendium of Materia Medica, written by Ming dynasty Chinese medicine master Li Shizhen, you can find a detailed description of the use of gold to treat ailments. Wu Ming-chuChinese Medicine DoctorRaw gold has toxins that are removed through processing. Gold processed into gold leaf or foil can then be used as medicine. It can aid the spirit, harden bone marrow, and remove pathogens from the five internal organs.In ancient times, Chinese medicine doctors used gold as an expensive type of medicine. Nowadays, however, people are using gold as a food ingredient. Some fine dining restaurants feature gold leaf to lure in customers. “It’s so unusual because I have never had anything with gold leaf on top. It dissolves as it enters the mouth. The feeling was quite exciting.”Yu Jian-chungRestaurant OperatorWe use it to highlight the ingredients and make the dish more presentable.In recent years, some businesses have been putting gold into alcohol.Hsu Rui-chiDistillerThis is our gold brewing equipment. The clear liquid is the alcohol, and the fine pieces inside are the gold foil. This system allows us to mix the gold in quickly.Taking a closer look, we see the gold foil floating inside. Few people know the hard work behind production.Shih Hui-minBrewery StaffEach type of alcohol is a little different, so it has a different type of interaction with gold. We need to carefully control the gold volume, fermentation period, temperature and pressure.Many businesses use gold as a selling point, but few actually explain what effect gold has on the body. The Food and Drug Administration says regulations existed long ago governing the use of edible gold leaf.Wang Hui-yingFood and Drug AdministrationGold is often used for its decorative color and can be used for cakes, candy and chocolate in suitable amounts. We ask that gold for food use have a purity of over 90 percent, with a silver content below 7 percent and copper content below 4 percent.Yen Tzung-haiChang Gung Memorial HospitalIf you look at the chemical structure of pure gold, you will see that it has no toxins. What we fear most is that businesses aren’t clear and use gold compounds or gold chloride, which can cause skin inflammation, gastroenteritis or acute renal failure.The Ministry of Health and Welfare doesn’t have a limit on the use of gold as a pigment.Wang Hui-yingFood and Drug AdministrationFor decoration, you just need a little layer to cover the top, meaning it shouldn’t exceed proscribed volumes. For gold used as a food product, we will have to make another assessment. Most edible gold takes the form of gold leaf. Traditional gold leaf is made by hand.Tang Shang-wenNanogold ResearcherTraditional gold leaf can be pounded to 100 nanometers, but it’s difficult to control the thickness. It may be 110 or 150 nanometers, and there won’t be any uniformity.Tang Shang-wen has been researching gold for 30 years. He entered a printing company as one of his first jobs and became interested in gold after seeing a technique for stamping business cards with gold. He would later stumble into nanotechnology.Tang Shang-wenNanogold ResearcherFirst we take out the nanogold foil so we can hold it in our hands and lightly rotate it. Can you see the gold seem to disappear? Now we take a look at traditional gold foil. If we rub it, flecks start to come out. Because it was hammered to this thickness, it doesn’t have a molecular structure.Nanogold foil has 100 percent absorption and can be accurately measured. Its use in medicine could help increase Taiwan''s competitiveness in biotechnology.Chen Chia-nanNanogold ResearcherIt’s not labor-intensive and doesn’t require a large plant, but you need trained experts and a small team which can assist in the development of medicine and patent applications. If we are able to make these drugs, the technology can be transferred to international pharmaceutical companies.From medicinal uses in ancient times to nanotechnology today, the uses of gold are diverse and likely to increase in the future.
Parts for over 1,000 domestically manufactured T91 rifles bought out by firearm sellers in...
An unprecedented collaboration between a state-owned gun maker and an American ammunition seller has ended in success, after the Taiwan government completed its first-ever sale of gun parts to an overseas commercial market. US consumers eagerly snapped up the US-assembled version of the T91 rifle, which is also proving popular in militaries overseas.These American gun enthusiasts are testing out the capabilities of the new Wolf A1 rifle. The rifle bears a striking resemblance to another gun manufactured in Taiwan. Last year, Wolf Performance Ammunition in the US made a deal with Taiwan’s 205th Arsenal to purchase gun barrels, bolts and handguards used in the domestically-made T91 rifle. Wolf assembles the parts in the US and sells the completed gun as the Wolf A1 for US$599 apiece. Song Yu-ningDefense AnalystOur locally made firearm products are considered pretty decent. They’re also not that expensive to make. After, American gun sellers will be able to turn a profit putting the parts together in the US and selling the completed guns to buyers over there. The T91 rifle debuted in 2002 and is in wide use by Taiwan’s military as well as by militaries in other countries including Jordan and Indonesia. Voice of Chen Chung-chiDefense Ministry SpokesmanWhen selling firearms or weapon technologies abroad, the Defense Ministry abides by laws called the “Regulations on Sales of Ministry of National Defense Produced Industry or Technology.” Profits from those sales flow directly into the national treasury. The Taiwanese military’s first-ever sale of firearms components to a non-governmental overseas buyer represents an important milestone for the domestic defense industry.
Toxicologists recommend chicken feet and pig skin to fight toxic starch
A local toxicologist says foods such as chicken breast, chicken feet and pig skin can counter the effects of toxic starch. Lin Chieh-liang credits the glycine in these dishes for helping metabolize maleic acid. Few people know that these stewed chicken feet and pig skin can help rid the body of toxins. "I didn't know this. We usually eat pig skin because of the collagen.""I was unaware. If it's true, then I will go buy some chicken feet."This piece of pigskin is about 50 to 60 grams and rich in glycine. Consumption of just 40 grams can help in the discharge of toxins. And eating 30 grams of chicken feet or 55 grams of chicken breast can also lead one to metabolize maleic acid.Lin Chieh-liang ToxicologistMaleic acid can cause problems in the production of renal tubular cells, resulting in a
China Airlines strikes enters third day with no end in sight
A strike by pilots at Taiwan''s flagship carrier China Airlines has dragged into its third day. So far the strike has resulted in 52 canceled flights and affected more than 10,000 passengers. Another 28 flights are expected to be canceled tomorrow. The Transportation Ministry said today that the carrier must shoulder its responsibilities and properly compensate travel agencies and travelers for their losses.Labor and management met yesterday for the first time since the strike began Friday. The carrier agreed to the union''s request to assign four pilots to any flight longer than 12 hours. But the two sides clashed on the number of crew for shorter flights. The union insisted on three pilots for flights exceeding seven hours, while the carrier would only grant three for flights exceeding eight hours.Li Hsin-yenPilots Union TaoyuanWe keep hoping that the company will rethink the issue of pilots'' fatigue. But they''re not budging, and that''s where we are stuck. Neither side is giving in.Hsieh Shih-chienChina Airlines CEOThey suddenly demanded that we add crew members, so now it''s a matter of readjusting the flights, flight routes and flight network. This is the part that''s still being negotiated.The strike entered its third day today, canceling 52 flights and affecting more than 10,000 travelers. Under pressure from the Transportation Ministry, China Airlines has come up with a compensation plan for passengers, promising no less than US$100 each per day.Wang Kwo-tsaiMOTC deputy ministerTravel agencies should be compensated based on their actual losses. As for individual passengers, the airline''s vice president mentioned today that the compensation won''t be lower than what was paid during the flight attendants'' strike, which was US$100 dollars a day.With no end in sight to the strike and mounting demands for compensation, China Airlines is certain to face more turbulence ahead.
Kaohsiung successfully harvests new variety of jujube
Many people have eaten candied jujube, but few have tried a new variety called Kaohsiung 11 "Honey" jujube. It is described as literally bursting with flavor. Farmers hope to take advantage of its rarity and taste to market it as a high-end export product. Here we see a large jujube held in a person's hand. As soon as a bite is taken, a crisp sound is heard and the juice explodes into the mouth.Described as a new variety of exploding jujube, the Kaohsiung 11 "Honey" jujube was developed by the Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station. Success by farmers who test planted it means the fruit can enter the market for the first time this year.Tseng Wen-taiFarmerNow that this type of fruit is starting to enter harvest, we need to carefully manage it. The new variety of juju
Inside North Korea: Relations With Russia and a Rare Glimpse of Their Joint Border
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un never completed plans to travel to Moscow for an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Despite the cancellation, there was still important symbolic meaning behind the young leader’s choice of Russia for his first overseas trip as head of state. FTV’s Anne Hu takes a closer look at the warm relations between the two states. The Tumen River stretches more than 500 kilometers, though only the last 15 kilometers before the mouth serves as a border between Russia and North Korea. Along this section are two coasts, two countries and two very different places.Su C. F.FTV ReporterOn my right is Russia. If you look further down to the right you can see North Korea’s Tumengang.Anne HuFTV News ChiefWe are at the North Korea-Russia border in the North Korean village of Chosal. Across the Tumen River is the Russian town of Khasan.Heading upstream from near the river mouth at the bank of the Tumen River at Chosal Village, we reach Tumengang neighborhood. There are close to 1,000 homes, each with gray roof tiles and blue window shutters.Tumengang Neighborhood GuideEverybody lives his or her own life. Doctors treat patients and teachers teach students.North Korean GuideThe first time I visited, my uncle was alone at home. I asked what he did. He said he managed, cleaned and served as a guide. As a youth I was curious, so I went to see the victory platform and use the binoculars.Farmers grow potatoes and corn along the border each year, but sowing of seeds will have to wait for rainy season. Life isn’t tense or busy like many other border towns, but the tranquility is broken each Tuesday and Friday when the Korea-Russia cross-border train arrives and undergoes customs inspections. Anne HuFTV News ChiefFrom Tumengang neighborhood you can see the Korea-Russia Bridge, which passes over the border. In the past, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il’s father, crossed this bridge by train.North Korea founder Kim Il-sung’s fear of flying led him to choose rail transit when visiting the Soviet Union. These journeys from Pyongyang to Moscow contributed to the close historical connection between the countries and paved the way for desperately needed assistance.When North Korea was still a colony of Japan during World War II, Kim Il-sung relied on the Soviet Union for support in his fight of resistance. The Soviet Union provided assistance again in 1945, when the Workers’ Party of North Korea was founded, and on Sept. 9, 1948, when Kim Il-sung founded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In the 1950s and 60s, support from the Soviet Union led North Korea to have a rate of industrial development that was second only to Japan in Asia. When the Soviet Union dissolved, this generosity abruptly ended. Desperate for support in the face of international sanctions, as North Korea began to drift away from the Soviet Union, it turned to China. While Russia is still North Korea’s third largest exporter, proportionally it is far behind China, which places first in terms of both exports and imports. The discrepancy is apparent by looking at flight schedules. There is one daily direct round trip flight between Pyongyang and Beijing and no regular direct flights between Pyongyang and Moscow. In terms of the most widely spoken foreign languages in North Korea, Russian trails English and Mandarin.Former StudentKim Il-sung UniversityOf course English is the official language of the world. But in our country, China and Russia are so nearby. So we must study English first, after that we need to study Chinese and Russian as a second foreign language.North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had chosen Russia as his first foreign state to visit since taking power. While the trip was later cancelled, it still carried important symbolic meaning. Recently, Russia has proposed building a railway that cut across North Korea from north to south and links to the Trans-Siberian Railway. This would provide easy transport of coal, iron, petroleum and natural gas. Early interest from North Korea points toward more opportunity for cooperation in the future.This is FTV’s Anne Hu, Su C. F. and Yeh Chun-hao with an exclusive report from China, North Korea and Russia.
Special Service Command Center hosts exercise to demonstrate protection for presidential candidates
With campaigning for the 2016 presidential election heating up, the Special Service Command Center under the National Security Bureau today held a military ceremony to mark the formation of a new security team for protecting presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Aside from showing off all kinds of weaponry and equipment, the new team also displayed dare-devil combat skills. And with Tsai Ing-wen being the leading presidential candidate, the group doubled its number of female bodyguards. During this exercise, secret service officers drive a car that comes to a quick stop. The security team fires shots and huddles around an officer standing in for the presidential candidate, forming a human shield, protecting him and shuttling him away from the scene. Gunfire can be heard everywhere as the Special Service Command Center holds this live shooting drill. Each exercise simulates likely scenarios for an attack on Taiwan’s president as officers cannot afford to be careless. In addition, they proudly display new equipment. There’s a blast from a gun but it shoots a net instead of a bullet. In addition, stun guns were put to use, which can immediately subdue criminals. The team of 220 specialists was selected from the ranks of the police and military. It will be responsible for the security of the three presidential candidates and their deputies. As there is a female presidential candidate, the numbers of female security guards has been doubled. Among them, a Taiwanese SWAT team member Jian Ling-chen will be Tsai Ing-wen’s personal bodyguard. Jian Ling-chenSWAT Team MemberThe goal of absolute security will become our standard duty. The display of combat skills and equipment today shows that Taiwan’s secret service is fully ready for any threat that may befall presidential candidates in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
A pair of US Navy F-18 fighter jets makes emergency landing in Tainan
A pair of F-18 fighter jets landed at a Tainan Air Force Base at 1:20 this afternoon, the first time American piloted jets landed in Taiwan since the severing of official ties. The landing came after one of the jets experienced engine trouble. Both F-18 Hornet fighter jets belong to the US Navy. After landing on the ground, they were led into a repair hangar. People were quite surprised to see these jets make a landing at a Tainan Air Force base.Mark ZimmerAIT SpokesmanOur two F-18 jets were on a routine flight when a mechanical problem was encountered, (leading) to a precautionary landing in Tainan.The American Institute in Taiwan confirmed the landing of two fighter jets which had taken off from a base in Okinawa. At 1:20 this afternoon, one engine on the jet providing escort duties experienced mechanical trouble. After a call was placed to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, a Taiwan piloted F-16 provided safe escort to the Tainan Air Force base. The most sensitive aspect of this operation was that these F-18s were providing safe escort and protection for the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, which is able to gather and jam enemy electronic communication. Erich ShihMilitary Expert A few days ago China was conducting exercises near the Bashi Channel, so the (US) might have been collecting information about these missions.Both Taiwanese and US authorities deny any involvement in carrying out electronic warfare. However, China’s rapid escalation of military might means any US military movement in the area is certain to draw attention.
Airline competition heats up as EVA takes delivery of first Boeing 787 Dreamliner
A new round in the battle of the airlines is about to begin. This year, 14 Airbus A350s ordered by China Airlines will be delivered to Taiwan. Meanwhile, EVA Air is starting to build a fleet of 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Today EVA took delivery of its very first Dreamliner in the US state of South Carolina.EVA Air has extended its partnership with Boeing to add the 787 Dreamliner to its fleet, setting a new aeronautics milestone.Steve LinEVA Air Chairman Our fleet has to grow. The new 787 uses new technology. This plan was made to meet the needs of company expansion.The Dreamliner’s cabin has two sections, 26 business-class seats and 278 seats in economy. All the seats are larger than the typical layout, and the windows can be dimmed for five different levels of light. What’s more, compared with Boeing older models, the 787 is more fuel-efficient. Yin Piao-yuanEVA Air aviation management officerMost of our flights from the US’ west coast to Taiwan require 130 tons of fuel in the winter. The 787 only needs around 100 tons. The cabin of the 787 also has lower air pressure compared to the conventional models and contains a bit more oxygen, so passengers won’t be easily fatigued on long hauls.Eva’s first 787 will start service in November, initially on the Taipei-Hong Kong route. Meanwhile, China Airlines’ newly purchased Airbus A350s will all be delivered this year, touching off a fresh round in the battle for Taiwan’s most advanced fleet.
Miaoli County residents say Taiwan High Speed Rail noise is causing insomnia and mental di...
Residents of Miaoli’s County’s Tongsiao Township’s Chengbei Village are upset by the lack of soundproofing measures undertaken by the Taiwan High Speed Rail. Residents complain passing trains are so loud it is causing them to suffer from long-term insomnia and mental health disorders. Recently, the EPA decided the railway should pay compensation of NT$8.33mn to residents living nearby. However, the high speed rail is challenging this judgment and has filed a suit with the Miaoli District Court.The sound of this passing high speed rail train is causing many residents to complain.As the train exits the tunnel there is a booming sound which is in excess of 80 dB. What’s worse is this kilometer long bridge doesn’t have any soundproofing walls, which may be a factor behind the noise complaints emanating from Chengbei Village. Chan Chun-wangChenbei Village ChiefThis area is a basin and the sound may resonate and cause an echo.As many elderly and children go to bed early, they are disturbed by trains that pass after 11pm each evening. This has led many to develop insomnia and mental disorders. Chengbei ResidentIt’s so loud that I cannot sleep. I even get up and walk around in the middle of the night as many people have almost gone mad here. From the start of the high speed rail in 2007, some 200 residents of Chengbei have complained about noise and vibrations caused by passing trains, launching a petition years ago asking for NT$42 million in damages. Last month, the EPA ruled the high speed rail must compensate residents a total of NT$8.33 million.The decision is being disputed by the high speed rail who says noise caused by passing trains only measures 70 dB and is within the 80db standards required by class 2 control areas. For this reason, the railway didn’t install soundproof walls and the reason why it will appeal the ruling in a local district court.
President Tsai thanks United States for passage of Taiwan Travel Act
President Tsai Ing-wen attended the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei’s annual banquet last night and thanked the US for passing the Taiwan Travel Act. The non-binding act encourages visits between senior US and Taiwanese officials. Tsai also pledged to be on hand when AIT, the US’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, opens its new complex in Neihu. At AmCham’s annual banquet, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her gratitude to the United States for approval of the Taiwan Travel Act.Tsai Ing-wenPresidentJust a few days ago, we were pleased President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act into law. We are grateful to the Trump administration and to members of the Congress for supporting this bill and bringing it forward. In fact, we have seen an ever-growing number of visitors from the States. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong was at the event to give a speech. Though his visit was planned well in advance, according to AIT, it still drew attention because it was the first by a US official after the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act.Alex WongUS Deputy Assistant Secretary of StateThe U.S. commitment to Taiwan, it doesn’t change or rise or fall with the fortunes of other powers of the region. It doesn’t change with the emergence of new challenges or new threats.AIT Director Kin Moy said, meanwhile, thatAIT’s new facility in Neihu was almost finished, and he used that to crack a joke at Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s expense.Kin MoyAIT DirectorSo we are all working to take the relationship to the next level. I had the opportunity… I did not place a bet with mayor Ko that we would finish our building before he finished his stadium.Tsai Ing-wenPresidentThis is one of the few new openings around the world, demonstrating the United States’firm commitment to Taiwan. So I want to assure you again here that I’ll be there. Tsai’s appearance will have some symbolic significance because of her presence on an extension of American territory.
Researchers and engineers collaborate in project to reintroduce fireflies to Taipei
Environmental and light pollution made fireflies a rare sight in Taipei many years ago, but city authorities last year embarked on a plan to reintroduce them in three parks across the city. Bringing back fireflies to Taipei was easier said than done, however, as the bugs need a suitable habitat with proper food sources. The sensitive issue of light pollution has also been a big sticking point. Here’s a look at what Taipei’s ecological park project has achieved to date. The tiny points of light occasionally poking out of the darkness are just what these two men are looking for tonight – fireflies. They plan to take the fireflies they collect here in the suburbs of Taipei and reintroduce them to new habitats within the city itself.Wang Yi-jieh is concentrating on a pipette while feeding a recently caught firefly. He is the student of professor Yang Ping-shih, whose nickname is the “NTU Godfather of Fireflies.” Wang explains that fireflies are carnivorous insects which breed in water.Voice of Wang Yi-jieh NTU Entomology Dept.Fireflies are actually a type of insect that is prone to killing others of its kind. It’s easy for fireflies which are smaller or trying to shed their skin to be eaten by bigger ones.Today, Wang is moving firefly larvae from the laboratory into their new home in nature.A group of kids are on hand at Rongxing Park to help out. They first let a bit of pond water into the paper cups to help the firefly larvae adapt to the water temperature, then slowly pour the contents into the pond. The operation ends in success.The nonprofit organization Society of Wilderness began construction of Rongxing Park’s ecological pond in January 2015, marking the first step in reintroducing fireflies back to Taipei. Similar projects in Daan Forest Park and Muzha Park followed soon afterward.Huang Li-yuanTaipei City Parks and Street Lights OfficeFireflies are a symbol of this city, and an important indicator of whether we take the issue of ecological integrity seriously. Experts have suggested that we, the Taipei City government, start our repopulation efforts in these three locations because the likelihood of success is greater.In the past, fireflies were found throughout the Taipei Basin, but light pollution and environmental contamination contributed to the disappearance of the insects’ habitat and a sudden decline in their population. Yang Ping-shih NTU Entomology Dept. Professor Today there are isolated remnants of firefly populations in Four Beasts Mountain and in the other hills surrounding Taipei. Because of Taipei’s development, firefly habitats disappeared, so where did they go? They’ve shrunk down to only the areas around the mountains now.To welcome fireflies back to Taipei, volunteers have been working diligently to renovate and maintain the ponds, so that the small insects can once again illuminate dark city nights.Ho Chien-rungNantou Endemic Species Research InstituteFireflies use their light to communicate, and especially to fulfill their mission of finding a mate and reproducing. The females light up when near the ground, and when a male sees the female’s light while flying around they will descend almost as in free fall and land next to the female.During firefly breeding season in April and May, Rongxing Park has undergone special preparations to make it a better environment for the bugs. Voice of Liu Ching-ying Society of Wilderness VolunteerSo as not to affect the safety of pedestrians, the park shut off 12 lamps specifically in a bid to help us promote firefly breeding. We’ve taken other steps to limit light, such as painting this bathroom window black.Bringing fireflies back to Daan Forest Park, the biggest park in metropolitan Taipei, represented an even more difficult task. High-rises surrounding the park create severe light pollution, and workers faced the challenge of preparing proper water and food sources, including snails, a favorite of fireflies.Wu Chia-hsiungNTU Entomology Dept.In the middle we’re making a small reservoir to collect rainwater, and after it’s done it will be used as a backup for the ecological pond.With the water conditions under control and the snails breeding properly, the job of creating a firefly habit in the heart of the city still has to overcome another sensitive problem – that of light pollution.To address the problem of light pollution in Daan Forest Park, Wu Chia-hsiung worked with researchers from local lighting company Everlight in a search for a solution.In the open areas near the ecological pond in Daan Forest Park, removing streetlamps could affect public safety, so the firefly repopulation team instead switched the light bulbs in the lamps to a type which was designed specifically not to disturb the fireflies. Liang Chia-haoEverlight Lighting CompanyWe’re not bugs, so when we wanted to switch to a firefly-friendly lamp, we needed to have people go out a...
Chinese fighter jets circle Taiwan for the second time in two weeks
A fleet of around a dozen Chinese military aircraft yesterday morning flew over strategically important waterways near Taiwan and Japan, and proceeded to circle Taiwan. While the aircraft remained outside Taiwan''s air defense identification zone, fighter jets from both Taiwan and Japan scrambled to the air to conduct patrols. Taiwan''s Defense Ministe Feng Shih-kuan personally directed operations from the Heng Shan Military Command Center. DPP Lawmaker Lo Chih-cheng says he fears that in future such flyovers may become commonplace. Within the last two weeks, China has twice sent a fleet of military aircraft to fly around the perimeter of Taiwan. This time the fleet flew from north to south in a clockwise direction according to information released by the Ministry of National Defense. Voice of Chen Chung-chiMinistry of National Defense SpokesmanOur Minister Feng has gone to the Heng Shan Military Command Center and is personally directing operations with a full understanding of the situation. China’s fleet of over ten military aircraft included ones with electronic surveillance equipment. In addition to monitoring the nation’s airspace, Taiwan’s F16 and IDF fighter jets set off on patrols from eight bases across the island in response. Lo Chih-chengDPP LawmakerWe think that in future such (Chinese exercises ) may become routine. The target (of these exercises) is not necessarily Taiwan. China wants to break through the first island chain and second island chain. The intent behind this strategy is very clear. In order to strengthen the nation’s air defenses on the eastern side of Taiwan, (given that the jets are flying around the entire island), the Ministry of Defense has deployed Sky Bow II and Sky Bow III surface-air-air anti-ballistic missile systems.
Taiwan’s anthem and flag song make breakthroughs abroad
Taiwan’s national anthem is rarely heard overseas. Sometimes even Taiwan’s flag song is deliberately omitted from sporting events. Recently in South Korea, a group of Taiwanese dancers were able to win back airtime for Taiwan’s flag song, thanks to help from local supporters.With Taiwan’s national anthem playing over a loudspeaker, a Taiwanese freighter slowly enters the Port of Hamburg in Germany.For many years, the Port of Hamburg has maintained its custom of playing the national anthem of any ship entering its waters. The port’s command center plays the anthem of the country that the ship is registered to, which in this case signifies Taiwan’s recognition as a country. Elsewhere, too, Taiwanese have had support overseas as they tried to get their anthem heard.The dance troupe Charm Belly Dance recently participated in the IDO Korea World Dance Cup, winning three golds, one silver, and a bronze. Two years prior, Taiwan’s national anthem had deliberately not been played during the competition’s awards ceremony. Taiwan’s dancers came prepared this year. Erin KuoDance troupe leaderThe competition staff told us dancers that they hadn’t received our national anthem. One of our members is an old hand. She dashed to the break room and grabbed a CD that had the flag song on it. When we went onstage singing with the national flag, our flag song was playing and we looked at each other and felt a bit teary-eyed.Despite China laying on constant pressure, the people of Taiwan are, step by step, working hard to earn international acceptance and a seat at the world table.
Chinese tourists stopped at airport for taking away too many stones
Aside for an affinity for milk powder, Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan also seem to want stones from Taiwan's beaches. But picking up a load of stones is not allowed, as a Chinese couple heading home found out yesterday morning. They were stopped at the airport with 5 kilos of stones collected at Chishingtan (七星潭) Beach in Hualien and had to give them up. An X-ray machine detected the 5 kilos of stones after the Chinese couple checked in their bags. When airport workers pulled them aside, they fumed, insistent that the stones were not prohibited goods. But Tourism Bureau staffers then intervened and got the couple to leave after explaining Taiwan's regulations. In fact, guides often remind Chinese tourists not to pick up stones in Taiwan, but the message doesn't always get through.Airport
Taiwanese envious of South Korea’s minimum wage hike
Taiwan''s minimum hourly wage will rise to NT$140 next year, but many are comparing Taiwan''s economy unfavourably with those of other East Asian countries. South Korea''s minimum wage for hourly work will rise to the equivalent of about NT$210 in 2018 -- 50% more than in Taiwan. Economists blame a lack of investment and an unstemmed brain drain for Taiwan''s ongoing culture of low pay.Ms. Wu is a casual worker in this Luwei shop, where she prepares the ingredients before opening time. The news that Korea’s minimum wage for casual workers will rise by 16.4% next year, to about NT$210, elicits a sigh of envy. She says that even if you work hard in Taiwan, you can’t amass any savings.Ms. WuCasual WorkerThat’s so high! A student working part-time in Taiwan can maybe earn, if you work really hard, altogether maybe a bit over NT$20,000 a month. After you’vepaid all your rent and bills, you can’t save anything.Incomes in Taiwan are much lower than in South Korea. The income per capita is also far from that of other East Asian regions like Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Economists are predicting Korea’s income per capita could be US$30,000 next year, and its GDP growth 3%. But multiple Taiwanese analysts say that Taiwan’s GDP growth will do well to stay above 2%.Liang Kuo-yuanYuanta-Polaris Research InstituteWe can see an extremely serious brain drain at the moment. Manufacturing is returning to the US now. Lots of countries are trying to entice their skilled workers to come home. Things are changing: businesses are not going to continue outsourcing all their production to other countries. Taiwan needs to recognize this fact.Some economists say that if the government wants to raise the nation’s low wages, it needs to attract foreign investment and stem the brain drain. They say GDP growth of 2% is nothing to be complacent about.
26-year-old Horret Wu wins honor for Taiwanese magicians in international competition
In July of this year, 26-year-old Horret Wu became the first Taiwanese to win a top prize at the World Championship of Magic. Wu is also the first Asian to achieve such honor. While he’s now enjoying the spotlight and spoils that come with this honor, there’s no denying the fact that many magicians in Taiwan struggle in their chosen profession. We now look at what it takes to survive in this unique field of performing arts. Horret Wu is seen here displaying oversized poker cards. They seem to magically shrink in his hands. The audience claps enthusiastically for this magic trick.In 2015, Horret Wu performed this trick at the FISM World Championship of Magic in the close-up card magic competition. His creativity and innovation won him the champion title in this category. Wu’s initial exposure to magic came when he purchased magic props as a junior high school student.Horret WuMagicianIn high school, we had a reunion of junior high school mates. Talent performances were sort of mandatory at the event. So I thought I would do some magic. For this show, I went back and chose some props which I bought in junior high school and did some poker tricks. My magic tricks amazed everyone and the reception was very good. Wu soon fell in love with magic and wanted to bring magic to more people. He began to study magic tricks from the Internet and DVDs. He became deeply in love with card magic and would sometimes spend the whole day in his room practicing card tricks. But his mother didn’t support his decision to pursue this field in the beginning.Chen Tung-chingWu’s MotherI wanted him to pursue a legitimate career, as magic is just a sideline. This means that you can always be a happy magician during your leisure time. You can feel free and don’t have to do things under pressure. I’d prefer him that way because at the time I never thought he would become a world champion.In 2014, Horret Wu was crowned champion by the Taiwan Magic Association, qualifying him to compete in South Korea’s FISM Asia Competition in Inchoen, where he won second place. This victory allowed him to qualify for the 2015 FISM magic competition which is held every three years and is widely considered by many to be the “Olympics of Magic.” In the close-up card magic competition he debuted this trick involving large poker cards, enabling him to become the first Asian to win this competition. Horret WuMagicianEverybody says magicians need sleight of hand skills and big hands to pull off tricks. I wanted to break this myth so I used large poker cards. That meant I couldn’t hide anything and had to rely purely on magic.Wu’s win in the international competition was not about prize money because there was none. The only thing he got was the respect from the international magic scene. As far as Wu is concerned, performing well in the competition was a sort of certification exam. Here in Taiwan, his win definitely has a big impact.Horret WuMagicianIn terms of Taiwanese magicians, I think they will have more confidence and begin to believe that they have an opportunity to move forward to the next level. Before, they probably were never able to think that they could progress to the level of an international competition and win these awards.For a long time, magic shows in Taiwan have an awkward position as some considered magic a warm-up segment for commercial shows and not a true performance art. Unfortunately, these magic shows weren’t able to achieve large scale commercial success and magic shows in Taiwan didn’t benefit from a supportive environment. This comes despite the fact that magicians such as Huang Po-han were frequently invited overseas to perform.Huang Po-hanMagicianMany cruises, casinos and hotels abroad employ magicians and people are willing to spend money to buy tickets to see magic shows. But most magic performances in Taiwan are commercial shows such as end of year parties. People spend their time eating rather than watching the show, and the quality of the show is not that good. Aside from Horret Wu, who is very much a professional magician, many magicians in Taiwan make a living by performing in commercial shows. For example, one magician named Joker adds comedic elements to entertain his audience.Joker has been in the magic profession for the past 29 years. During the 2008 global financial crisis, many companies canceled their end-of-year parties, hurting his income and almost forcing him to quit the profession. JokerMagician The magic industry is very strange. It’s sort of like the entertainment industry. Out of 100 people about 20 will make money and others will need to think of other ways to earn money. However, these 20 will make a lot of money, so the public may feel that doing magic is a good way to earn a living when in fact that’s not the case. Real life concerns have interrupted the dreams of many Taiwanese magicians who still hop...
China slams Japan for including “Taiwan” in the name of its de facto embassy
China’s foreign ministry has lashed out at Japan’s decision to change the name of its de facto embassy in Taiwan and is urging Tokyo to abide by the one China principle.Tokyo’s office in Taiwan had been called the “Interchange Association, Japan” but starting Sunday its title will be changed to the “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association,” a name implying that Taiwan is a country. Starting on January 1, the institution managing bilateral ties between Taiwan and Japan will be known as the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, signifying that Japan is willing to handle its relations with Taiwan on a “country-to-country basis.” This has touched a raw nerve with China. Hua Chin-yingChinese Foreign Ministry SpokesmanWe express our strong dissatisfaction over the negative measures adopted by Japan in relation to the Taiwan issue. China urges Japan to adhere to the principles set forth in the Japan-China Joint Communique and honor the promises it has made to China, uphold the ‘one China’ principle and refrain from sending false signals to Taiwan and the international community, thereby causing new problems to China-Japan relations.Eleanor WangMinistry of Foreign Affairs SpokeswomanThe position of our foreign ministry is that we will do what we need to do. So now we will focus on how we can strengthen exchanges between Taiwan and Japan and then let the meaning of our institutions be fully reflected in their names. Japan’s decision to change the de facto embassy’s name is a major indicator of increasingly warning ties and represents a diplomatic breakthrough for Taiwan. It is still undecided, though, if Taiwan will change the name of its de facto embassy in Japan to substitute the word “Taipei” in the title to “Taiwan.” Hsu Ching-hsiungJapan specialist, Tamkang UniversityWe should not only change the name to Taiwan Representative Office, but also formally become a nation. We must stand up and create our own country. This is the only way for Taiwanese people to have dignity. Taiwan’s de facto embassies abroad use the wording “Taipei” to describe themselves not only in Japan, but also in every other country in the world that is not a diplomatic ally of Taiwan. Polls from Taiwan Thinktank have found that 66 percent of the public supports changing the wording of the names of de facto embassies from Taipei to Taiwan, reflecting hopes that the government will address the situation.
Japanese horseradish cultivation will soon be banned in Alishan
High-end Japanese restaurants frequently offer freshly-ground Japanese horseradish -- also known as Wasabi -- to accompany the sushi or sashimi they serve. In Taiwan it is hard to find the right environmental conditions for Wasabi to thrive. Alishan is one of the very few places in Taiwan suited to its cultivation. Wasabi produced in Alishan is both of high quality and of high price and it has become Alishan’s main cash crop. However, the Forestry Bureau is expected to completely eliminate its cultivation by the end of the year on the grounds that Wasabi farmers have been illegally occupying state-owned land, and its cultivation has created problems with soil and water conservation. Visitors to Alishan are attracted to this store display rack featuring mountain products advertised as genuine Alishan Wasabi. However, many of these products contain cheap Western Wasabi. Where can genuine, fresh Alishan Wasabi be found? Most Wasabi fields are located in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. According to regulations, cultivation of Wasabi must first be approved and checked by the Forestry Bureau. These days, Wasabi crops are flourishing, with many farmers busy digging it out and carefully separating the roots, seedlings, leaves and stem. Alishan with an altitude above 2000 meters meets the rare environmental conditions needed for Wasabi to thrive. It has become the only place in Taiwan that produces Wasabi. Wu Hsiang-tseAlishan Wasabi FarmerYou see how loose Alishan’s soil is. See how slippery it is. Our soil is so good, it’s so slippery, it can easily turn into a ball when squeezed. The reason why other places, including Hehuanshan and the Central Mountain Range, are not so good is because their soil is different from ours. It is all gravel and rock and water drains too quickly. Alishan’s Wasabi is actually a foreign non-native species. During the Japanese occupation, the Japanese came to Alishan to carry out logging and brought Wasabi from their hometowns. Originally it was cultivated in small-scale areas, but in the 1980s with the opening of the Alishan Highway, large-scale cultivation of Wasabi began. Cultivation of Wasabi yields several times the profit of other vegetables, causing farmers to gradually drop other crops in favor of Wasabi. Huang Chien-mingFarmerIn the past, many people were involved (in this cultivation) probably around 500-600. People farm in Alishan’s high-altitude locations.Most of the Wasabi is exported to Japan, making it still difficult to find in Taiwan. Huang-Lu Shih-yiChef of Japanese CuisineOnly a limited amount is produced here, and it’s quite rare and very expensive. One kilogram is a couple of thousand New Taiwan dollars. While the cost of real Wasabi produced in Alishan is quite high, Wasabi packages are sold commercially throughout Taiwan. They are mostly made in factories with chemical additives. Huang-Lu Shih-yiChef of Japanese CuisineNatural wasabi is a lighter green and has a moist taste. The Wasabi with chemical additives of course will look better and brighter. Much pigment is added and it looks very green. Its taste is also drier. However, although regarded as expensive and exclusive, cultivation of Wasabi is destroying Alishan’s environment. Lai Lung-huei Alishan Station Director When cultivating Wasabi, there’s typically a special ditch created that leads water to runoff. That can also cause soil erosion and damage to the park.To increase the sunlight on the Wasabi crops, branches and leaves from cedars on the mountaintop have been removed, but this is having an impact. Lai Lung-huei Alishan Station Director Rain now falls directly on the ground and can cause the loss of soil and water. It’s probably why the soil is so loose. The canopy down to middle-level shrubs down to the ground with grass cover, prevents the rain having a direct impact on the soil. In addition, these Wasabi fields are in state-owned forestlands and (the farmers) are classed as engaging in illegal occupation. The Forestry Bureau in September 2015, sent a formal letter to inform Wasabi farmers that the government will reclaim all the Wasabi fields by the end of 2016. The Wasabi farmers produced contracts signed with the Forestry Bureau showing that over the past 20-30 years they had obtained the government''s permission to farm this land.Yang Hung-chihForestry Bureau Deputy Director GeneralIn fact, Wasabi cultivation has produced many negative effects. From 2008, we continually tried to encourage these Wasabi farmers to transfer to other work within the forest recreation area.The Wasabi industry is not only related to the farmers’ livelihoods, but is also integral to tourism in Alishan. People are thinking of new ways to balance the conflicting interests of farmers, tourism, and soil conservation.Alishan Wasabi can only grow at areas which have average temperatures of eight degrees and it...
Speculation on which of Taiwan’s remaining 19 allies will be next to break diplomatic ties
After the Dominican Republic abruptly severed its 77-year-old ties with Taiwan, many are now asking which of Taiwan''s remaining allies might be the next to protect their relations with China. Despite particular scrutiny over the relationship with Haiti, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says officials are more concerned about the status of ties with Honduras, the Vatican, and Burkina Faso.A sad sight: Taiwan’s flag being lowered at the embassy in the Dominican Republic, after the two nations severed diplomatic ties. The day before the relationship ended, President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a visit from Antonio Rodrigue, the Foreign Minister of Haiti – some see the alliance with Haiti as the next one in danger.Joseph Wu (May 1)Foreign MinisterThe Foreign Minister of Haiti has been in Taiwan over the last few days. The purpose of his visit was to arrange a visit to Taiwan by their President, JovenelMoise. So, in light of this, I don’t think there is any crisis in our diplomatic relationship with Haiti. Presently, what we see is, apart from the situation with the Dominican Republic which was rather out of the ordinary, what we see at the moment with our other diplomatic allies is that relations seem to be stable.Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says there is nothing to worry about in relation to Haiti. But the ministry admits it is keeping a beady eye on Honduras, the Vatican, and Burkina Faso, all of whom have been getting increasingly chummy with China lately.Wang Ting-YuDPP LegislatorI don’t think Haiti will break ties, because the Haitian president is just about to visit. Right now in Latin America, it’s true there is another country with a warning light flashing over it, which means we need to pay close attention. I believe our team on the frontlines in the Foreign Ministry, and senior national security personnel, are doing all they can to consolidate these ties.Legislator Wang Ting-yu also revealed that the Foreign Ministry has at least two nations lined up as potential candidates for establishing diplomatic relations. But when the stakes surrounding national security and regional politics are so high, they will consider Taiwan’s interests carefully before making any hasty moves.
Illustrator Jimmy Liao opens exhibition in Yilan
Renowned illustrator Jimmy Liao has opened a painting exhibit in Yilan. It is one of many ways that Liao gives back to his hometown. This is Jimmy Liao's latest exhibit. The interior design of the Luodong Cultural Working House adds three-dimensional appeal to his colorful and playful works."The paintings are simple," says this person. "But the scenes they depict make me feel warm inside."Liao had mixed feelings upon seeing his first painting plastered on a piece of transparent glass.Jimmy LiaoIllustratorAll my works began from this painting, says Liao. I knew I could paint, but I didn't know I could create a picture book. One quiet morning I was sitting at my desk and I began to paint these trees, one stroke by another.Liao charged about NT$10 million to curate a similar exhibition in Bei
Taiwan Lottery jackpot grows to record NT$3 billion
The next jackpot for Taiwan Lottery will be NT$3 billion. The record amount has many people dreaming of becoming a billionaire. Taiwan Lottery has seen no winners for the past 29 drawings, leading the jackpot to grow to an astounding NT$3 billion. It’s already reached a historical high with the bigger jackpot attracting even more interest from those eager to get rich quick.Many hope the God of Wealth will use this opportunity to provide them with good fortune. Seniors show little hesitation when it comes to buying lottery tickets and office workers are being creative by pooling their money together and then carefully selecting numbers to win.Even seemingly easy numbers picked on Monday resulted in no winners for a 29th consecutive drawing. The higher jackpot means many are now lining up to purchase an opportunity to become the next billionaire, leading to good business at many lottery ticket outlets. Hsing Chi-fanLottery Outlet OperatorMany people have never purchased a lottery ticket before but they are coming. Even some foreigners are taking their chances.Lotto fever is expected to increase as the next drawing takes place on Thursday.
ITRI develops new device to detect and measure pesticide residues on agricultural products
A new device developed by local researchers promises to let consumers detect and identify the type and concentration of common pesticides found on agricultural products. Taiwan''s Industrial Technology Research Institute, or ITRI, is behind the technology, which uses wavelength detection and analysis to tell the user if the residues on their fruits and vegetables are within safe levels.This new device developed by ITRI works in conjunction with a smartphone app to let users measure the level of pesticide residues found on fruits and vegetables.Voice of Chu Chun-hsunITRI Smart Microsystems Technology CenterWhen it detects pesticide residue, it will show up here at the bottom (of the screen). We can also detect a change in concentration.The instrument integrates multi-wavelength detection technology with a database of wavelengths for common pesticides compiled by the development team. This way, changes in the wavelength reading can be correlated with a specific type of pesticide.Lin Ching-yuanITRI Smart Microsystems Technology CenterRegulations state pesticides are harmful to humans at (or above) concentrations of 10 ppm. Our system can currently detect concentrations as low as 0.5 ppm.The pesticide detection equipment may go into mass production, allowing more consumers to feel at ease when consuming fruits and vegetables.
Opportunities for learning as Muslim population of Taiwan grows
Last Sunday we were introduced to Nouf, a travel blogger who led a group from the Middle East around Taiwan. Some businesses here are starting to cater to Muslim consumers, who may be locals, immigrants, or visitors. But many in Taiwan still see Islamic cultures as mysterious and unfamiliar. Tonight we''ll look inside the daily lives of Muslims in Taiwan, and explore how these different cultures can be bridged. Here''s part two of our Sunday special report.Chen Kai-ticomes from Indonesia. She’s making one of her homeland’s classic family dishes, telurbalado, or eggs with chilli sauce. After some efforts in the kitchen, an array of tempting dishes appear on the table – but none contain pork, because all Kai-ti’s family, including her Taiwanese husband and children, believe in Islam.Chen Chia-yaoHusband of Chen Kai-tiI used to be Taoist. Because of meeting my wife, I converted to Islam.Chen Kai-tiIndonesian immigrantMuslims have to marry someone of the same faith.Kai-ti’s husband acknowledges that at first it was not easy to convert from Taoism to Islam. But now, like every other practising Muslim, he prays on the allotted hour every day, five times a day.Chen Chia-yaoHusband of Chen Kai-tiIn Taiwan, you could say there exists a kind of veil of mystery over Islam. We didn’t know it well enough. It was only because I met my wife, and then joined Islam, and started going to the mosque, that I gradually got to understand their Islamic laws.The main religions of Taiwan are Taoism and Buddhism. So although there are now 260,000 Indonesians living in Taiwan, mostly either students, workers, or spouses of Taiwanese citizens, most Taiwanese people have quite a limited idea about Indonesian culture and religion. But from a business standpoint, it would be foolish to ignore the chance to cater to the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.Ma Hsiao-chiFormer imam of Taipei Grand MosqueThe government wants to pursue its New Southbound Policy. In Southeast Asia, the vast majority, more than two- out of five-hundred-million people are Muslim. If you want to do business with them, or even befriend them, on every level, in every industry, you will come across Islamic culture.This biotechnology firm based in Hsinchuset its sights on the Muslim market in 2017. It has already established a presence in Malaysia and Indonesia, which has helped its overall performance grow by somewhere between 5% and 10%. Their success in cornering the market is thanks to the great effort they put into understanding Muslim consumers.Richard TuBiotech firm executiveLots of collagen or extract of animal placenta may come from pigs, for example, it might be collagen extracted from pig skin. So because followers of Islam are not so keen on that, we can’t use it, we can’t use any of the ingredients made from pigs.But as Taiwan is not a Muslim country, it takes more than just a ‘Halal’ label to get a good enough grasp of Islamic culture to corner the market.This is Taipei Grand Mosque. Every Friday Muslims come here for a weekly congregational prayer.Ma Hsiao-chiFormer imam of Taipei Grand MosqueFriday is the day we gather to pray together. It’s called “Jumu''ah”. Jumu''ah is the greatest favor given by Allah, the most graced day in the whole week. In Islamic countries, Friday is the day of rest: if you want to travel or even do business, you might have to watch out, you might not be able to find anybody on Friday, because they take Fridays off.Muslims must perform a ritual purification before prayer – and there’s quite an art to it. You wash various body parts considered unclean, such as the soles of the feet, and you should only touch your body with your left hand, not your right.Ma Hsiao-chiFormer imam of Taipei Grand MosqueThere are also rules about the left and right hands. When you take someone’s hand, or a business card, use your right hand. You don’t need your left hand for picking things up, giving gifts, handing over business cards, or eating.Islamic cultures have very specific rules of etiquette, which if not properly understood, can make it easy to cause offense, or even trigger conflict.Ma Hsiao-chiFormer imam of Taipei Grand MosqueYou can use the Western logic, and say “You Muslims are backward, don’t come in, you’re scary”. Then you make it very hard to do business in this area, you’ve closed that door.With the growing numbers of overseas students and migrant workers, not to mention international marriages, in Taiwan, there are more and more people wearing headscarves on the streets. Only with mutual understanding can people from different backgrounds cultivate mutual respect.In December, a Halal market was held in Daan Forest Park in Taipei, attracting many to try a taste of Islamic culture.HouTsung-yuMember of the publicI think – to be honest I really don’t understand Islam, even though I took some classes on Arabic culture. But really in our d...
Snow in Taiwan
The worst cold wave to hit Taiwan in 44-years sent the mercury today plummeting to a mere 2.8 degrees in the early hours of the morning in Hsinchu. In Taipei it has plunged to 4 degrees. Described as “emperor-grade cold,” the weather has caused snow to fall in many places across Taiwan, as our images reveal.Snowfall on TaipingshanAfter a night of snowfall, Taipingshan, a mountain in Ilan County, had over 40 centimeters of snow. Snowfall on Wuling Farm was also 15-centimeters deep. A mountainous highway connecting Taipei and Ilan County became so snowy and icy, that there were repeated reports of car breakdowns keeping the police busy all night. A section of the highway was also closed off due to snow and ice, the first time in Taiwan. Snowfall on LalashanIn Fuxing district and Lalashan in Taoyuan, it began snowing at around 6pm on Saturday, causing snowfalls 15-centimeters deep, the heaviest in 20 years. In Rugushan, 400 meters above sea level in Taoyuan’s district of Longtan, tea farmers were afraid that the snow and frost could affect next year’s tea production. They braved the cold to go on up in the highlands to remove snow from the tea plants. Snow in Greater Taipei It snowed in many mountainous areas in Taipei and New Taipei City. Areas on Yangmingshan, such as Zhuzihu, 600 meters above sea level, and Xiaoyoukeng, became icy wonderlands. In New Taipei City, mountainous areas in Wulai, Pinglin and Sijhih also saw stunning snowscapes.
US senators introduce bill to support Taiwan in fight for diplomatic allies
Four US senators have introduced a bill that seeks to help Taiwan counter the Chinese campaign to poach diplomatic allies. The bill is called the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative, or the TAIPEI Act. It asks Washington to support countries that continue to recognize Taipei, and to punish those that switch to Beijing. El Salvador last month ended ties with Taiwan and switched its allegiance to China. Four US senators are hitting out at Beijing by introducing Senate legislation that helps Taiwan retain its 17 remaining allies.Stanley KaoRepresentative to USEveryone is looking at Beijing''s actions, some of which are very predatory and very manipulative. There is clearly a widespread sense of concern and wariness.TAIPEI stands for "Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative," and the bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It calls for the US to engage with other nations in a way that supports Taiwan''s diplomatic recognition and strengthens unofficial ties with Taiwan. For nations that switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, it authorizes the US State Department to downgrade US relations with that country, or to suspend or alter US foreign assistance.Stanley KaoRepresentative to USWe would like to thank the senators, both for their moral support and the practical aspects of their assistance.As China keeps courting nations in the US'' backyard, there are concerns that Taiwan''s number of allies will continue to dwindle. Amid the threats and promises from Beijing, four US senators are calling for tough measures in support of Taiwan.
Conservationist balances needs of farmers and endangered leopard cats
In Miaoli County a conservationist is helping lead an effort to restore leopard cat populations. Among the biggest steps she has made is encouraging farmers to use environmentally friendly practices as a way of ensuring safe habitats and food sources for the endangered species. To see a leopard cat in the wild, you typically need to visit a special conservation area. It helps to have a guide.Chen Mei-ting has taken a special interest in wild cats. After graduating from university with a history degree, she soon switched gears and began studying wildlife conservation in graduate school.Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistWhen I began graduate studies in wildlife conservation, Taiwan only had two species of wild cats. One was the Formosan clouded leopard and the other was the leopard cat. No one had seen the clouded leopard in a long time, so I decided to study the leopard cat.The leopard cat is adaptable to different environments and can pass through areas covered in gravel or cement. But it prefers to stay where people are rarely seen. It may travel along dirt roads and is difficult to spot.Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistThe leopard cat typically avoids the daytime and moves about from dusk to dawn. Its night vision and sense of smell are much better than ours. When it senses people, its immediate instinct is to hide, so it can be difficult to spot a leopard cat.The leopard cat’s nocturnal nature and alertness mean surveillance cameras are typically needed to capture its image.Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistWhen doing our research, we look for feces. This tells us what type of animals are in the area and lets us know what the animals ate.Leopard cat feces indicate popular routes that the animals travel upon. If one is fortunate enough to collect fresh feces, it tells researchers about leopard cat DNA.In the past, when leopard cats were caught in traps or poisoned, they were often delivered to Chen. She would rehabilitate the animals then release them back into the wild, but not until she had recorded their vital details and affixed them with radio transmitters. Even with this tracking equipment, leopard cats continued to be elusive.Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistUsing a radio transmitter to track the cats can tell us how many meters away they are, but they’re still difficult to locate.The leopard cat is quite active, making it hard for Chen to trace them even when using a radio transmitter. Sometimes, when she returns to a place where she released a leopard cat, they may appear when they hear her call. Unfortunately, one leopard cat which responded to her call has since disappeared. Chen did find the remote transmitter, leading her to fear that this leopard cat was captured.Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistEvery time one disappears, I feel like giving up. But my friends encourage me to continue because there are too few people doing this wildlife research.To encourage locals to join the conservation effort, Chen taught farmers about the benefits. This even led to the creation of “leopard cat rice.”Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistWhat is “leopard cat rice?” It is rice that has been cultivated in an environmentally friendly way. Only this type of rice qualifies for the special leopard cat rice designation.No toxins are used in cultivating this rice to ensure that the mice and rabbits that eat it are healthy. These animals are an important food source for the leopard cat. Chen invited an organic agriculture promotion foundation to teach local farmers about toxin-free rice cultivation. But the transition to organic farming wasn’t always as smooth as anticipated.Hsu Hsin-kaiCommunity Re-development DirectorOf course there have been challenges. First many elders laughed at us and said we wouldn’t be able to achieve a harvest.Su Mu-rongOrganic Foundation DirectorBefore they sprayed weed killer. This isn’t too difficult to change, but if we don’t spray anymore, the weeds have to be pulled by hand. The farmers said it was difficult and tiring. Sometimes they felt so fatigued that they sought treatment.Chen Mei-tingLeopard Cat ConservationistThis led me to think of how good some people are. I can’t just speak from the position of the wildlife. I also need to think about these farmers. And I want to clarify that there hasn’t been any conflict. We are trying to find a balance point.Farmers willing to pursue organic farming hope that leopard cat rice will not only help this endangered animal but also win over consumers. It’s a win-win situation that can balance the environment and local communities. It may also save the leopard cat from extinction.
Hundreds of local teenagers audition for shot at contract with South Korean talent agencies
The rise of Taiwan-born singer Chou Tzu-yu as a pop star in South Korea has encouraged South Korean talent agencies to come to Taiwan to look for their next big star. We reported previously about an agency partnering with a university for auditions, this time a New Taipei City high school has joined forces with two talent agencies, and over 300 students at the audition did all they could for a shot at a contract. These girls are going all-out on stage to impress the judges, who represent famous South Korean talent agencies looking for the stars of the future.After their performances, the judges asked the girls to take off their makeup and stand in a row for closer inspection. Many of the girls are hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Taiwanese Chou Tzu-yu, who was recruited to join South Korean band “TWICE” and went on to make over NT$100 million for her agency in the first year after her debut. Now two other talent agencies from South Korea have come to Taiwan to look for talented prospects. Lin Chien-yuJuang Jing Vocational High School StudentIf I were selected to develop my career abroad, it would be a great opportunity.Aside from singing and dancing, successful candidates are expected to be confident, natural and command attention. The head of the local school that collaborated with the Korean agencies on the audition observed that the casting directors have their own individual preferences.Lin Shu-gueiJuang Jing Vocational High School PrincipalSome like boys with androgynous or feminine features, and girls with all different kinds of features.After the first audition in New Taipei’s Juang Jing Vocational High School, the Korean talent agencies will hold a two-day nationwide audition, in the hopes of finding the next Chou Tzu-yu.
Daughter of American diplomat attends local Taiwanese school
American diplomats stationed in Taiwan frequently choose to send their children to the Taipei American School. But the AIT’s Economic Section Chief Joshua Cartin is an exception. He sent his daughter, whose Chinese name is Tian Ge, to a Taiwanese primary school. Now she can not only speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, but she is also familiar with the history of Taiwan. Tian Ge, who is playing the guitar and singing Taiwanese songs, could not speak a word of Chinese when she came to Taiwan three years ago. Her father, an American diplomat, placed her in Xinsheng Elementary School. Tian Ge Daughter of AIT OfficialSometimes when I don’t understand, I ask the student next to me. Once in class it all felt like a daze. There is also a lot of pressure to study. I spend over one-and-a-half hours doing homework every day. Joshua M. CartinEconomic Section Chief, AITBeing stationed in Taiwan is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn Mandarin Chinese in a Taiwanese educational environment. The first six months are more difficult and this was the case for our family. Over the past three years, Tian Ge has not only leant Chinese, but Taiwanese history has become one of her strengths. Joshua Cartin is very satisfied with his decision. Even though Tian Ge will return to the US with her family in July, Taiwan-US relations will remain rooted in her childhood.
Taiwanese gaming monitor stops bullet, still works
A Taiwanese gaming monitor has catapulted to fame for its unexpected bullet-blocking abilities. Two days ago, a stray bullet fired into a California gamer''s home was stopped dead in its tracks by an MSI gaming monitor. Later the gamer gave a shout-out to the monitor''s Taiwanese manufacturer. He said he wanted to keep the screen, since it was still in perfect working order. Eric GanGamerThis is one of the marks left by the bullet. The bullet came from here through the wall and hit my monitor. Even after being shot, it works just like new.An unknown shooter had fired shots at Eric''s residence. One of the bullets hit the back of his trusty monitor.Eric GanGamerAfter the investigation, police found that this wasn''t a targeted attack. At the time there were people partying on the street. In the haze of it all, my house was accidentally shot up. Nobody was hurt so I''m really thankful to MSI.It''s a remarkable story. Many are now curious about what this bulletproof screen is made of.Lin Li-weiMSI marketing managerThe display is on the front. Behind it there are several layers of protection -there''s a galvanized steel plate that prevents rusting. Our screens are curved so it''s important that their structures are sturdy. The bullet actually didn''t go through. It just got stuck here.MSI marketing executiveWe wanted to give him a new monitor in exchange but he said he wanted to keep the old one so he could set up a dual monitor, because the screen didn''t actually break. We had hoped that he would send it back to us to put it in a display. It''s priceless now. Bullet stopping isn''t on the standard list of features for a gaming monitor. One ordinary-looking monitor was in the right place at the right time to prove itself as extraordinary.
Solomon Islands Deputy PM says alliance with Taiwan is number one priority
President Tsai Ing-wen was in the Solomon Islands today, where she was warmly welcomed and gave an address in parliament. Although the current prime minister of the Pacific island nation is facing a vote of no confidence, senior political figures say that whoever holds power in the future will continue the country''s long-standing alliance with Taiwan. The prime minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, asked everyone to smile to lighten the mood. But minutes later he got a frog in his throat as he spoke.Tsai’s visit has coincided with the Solomon Islands’ parliament initiating a vote of no confidence in their PM, which could result in a change of leadership. Tsai Ing-wenPresidentSince I became president, I’ve received many friends from the Solomon Islands, including Prime Minister Sogavare, who I met in September this year.Tsai gave an address in the country’s parliament, and though the house may be adjourned during the political upheaval, many members of parliament still showed up just to welcome Tsai. After her speech, the instigator of the no confidence vote, Deputy PM Manasseh Maelanga, reiterated that the two nations’ alliance will be unaffected by any reshuffle.Manasseh MaelangaSolomon Islands Deputy Prime MinisterBecause it is a long relationship that we’ve had, and I think any government that comes up on Monday, it will continue to maintain that relationship.After leaving the parliament, Tsai visited a farm to see how well Taiwanese technicians and local farmers are working together. She and Maelanga planted vegetables together. Tomorrow she’ll depart the Solomon Islands and stop in Guam on her way home.
Ending Taiwan-Gambia relations threatens status of oversees students
News that The Gambia ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan surprised Gambian students in Taiwan. Many are studying at National Taipei University of Science and Technology and Pingtung University of Science and Technology. They are now left to worry about their future. Sarata comes from Gambia and is studying civil engineering at National Taipei University of Technology. Upon hearing that Gambia has ended relations with Taiwan, she felt a little helpless, and expressed her wish to keep studying.SarataOversees Gambian Student The government and the people of Taiwan are very friendly and we have received great care from the university and from the people of Taiwan.National Taipei University of Science and Technology had accepted Foreign Ministry grants to foster educational exchange among co
Documentary on Taiwan features its food, culture along the Tropic of Cancer
The Tourism Bureau has produced a new documentary to highlight Taiwan as the emerald of the Tropic of Cancer. Called Taste of the Tropic: Taiwan, the show takes viewers to the many spots the Tropic of Cancer runs through, from Penghu and Alishan to Sun Moon Lake. Culinary adventurer Harry Yuan, having a blast in Taiwan. This is the Tourism Bureau’s latest project to promote Taiwan, a documentary to promote the country’s many attractions along the Tropic of Cancer. Yuan went to Penghu to make a dish from handpicked cactus, to Alishan to ride the forest train and even to Sun Moon Lake for a leisurely bike ride. Yuan and the production team spent nearly one month filming the show, traveling to Taiwan’s counties on the Tropic of Cancer, including Hualien, Chiayi and Penghu. Wayne LiuTourism Bureau Deputy Director GeneralOf the countries on the Tropic of Cancer, Taiwan is one of the richest in special attractions. So this time we decided to highlight the Tropic of Cancer, hoping that in the future when people overseas think of it, they’ll think of Taiwan.This documentary, which cost NT$15 million to produce, will be broadcast by the National Geographic Channel to 35 countries, giving viewers around the world the chance to appreciate Taiwan’s beauty.
US congressman submits resolution urging formal ties with Taiwan
Taiwan-US relations marked a new milestone yesterday when US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher submitted a formal resolution calling for the US to restore its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. This unprecedented proposal will go up for consideration by other US lawmakers, who only recently passed a pro-Taiwan defense policy bill and the breakthrough Taiwan Travel Act. Dana Rohrabacher (March 22, 2008)US House of RepresentativesI have supported Taiwan’s right to be in the United Nations. I think it’s up to the people of Taiwan to determine what name they want to give themselves.Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is no stranger to Taiwan and has spoken up publicly for Taiwan’s right to join the UN. Yesterday, the congressman extended his longstanding support with a resolution urging the US government to abandon the “One China” policy in favor of a “One China, One Taiwan” policy. The resolution, submitted in the US House, called for the US to restore normal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, recognizing it as an independent, sovereign country.Regine ChenForeign Ministry, North American AffairsWe are very grateful to Taiwan’s friends in the US and in the US Congress. We have made a note of this matter and asked our representative office in the US to pay close attention to its developments.Tsai Shih-yingDPP legislatorFrom this we can see that Taiwan-US relations are now the best they’ve been since the termination of official ties. Of course, reestablishing diplomatic ties can’t be achieved right away, but I believe that the US representative office in Taiwan, the AIT, will begin to serve a more substantial function, exactly the same as official US embassies in other countries. Rohrabacher’s resolution is the first ever to float the idea of restoring official ties. Daunting hurdles stand in the way of it becoming law. But this small step is one of several in the last six months, giving cause for optimism on progress in the Taiwan-US relationship.
New Trends in Fashion in North Korea But Same Old Problems Remain
While the North Korean government is known for clamping down on virtually all facets of life, it has not been able to completely stop the tides of change. At times it even encourages change, such as when it founded an all-female music group that has indirectly let the women of North Korea know that high heels and mini-skirts are acceptable. Some things have not changed, however, whether it’s the water shortages during dry season or frequent, crippling power cuts. For years Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lorded over North Korea. One change afoot is the joint placement of their statues. This makes it easier for people to pay tribute, a custom universally observed on wedding days and the arrival of tourists in new cities.On May 1, nearly 10,000 workers gathered in Kim Il-sung Square for a Labor Day performance. North Korea excels at such mass movements and engages in them frequently. Its demonstration of the power of collective force is a thing of beauty.Ascent of the third generation Kim dynasty leader, Kim Jong-un, has coincided with policies that advocate better livelihood and entertainment. One example is the Moranbong Band. The band has grown quickly in the three years since its founding, and this year even reached the status of national band. Concerts rebroadcasts can be seen in restaurants and hotels and on airplanes.High-heeled footwear has become popular among North Korean women. Bright styles can be seen on the streets of Rason, Chongjin and Pyongyang.Kim Eun SimPyongyang GuideHigh-heeled shoes are very attractive, so we wear them in formal and public settings.Another change is the rise of smartphones. Typically, these are domestically branded Arirang or Pyongyang phones used for playing games, going online or reading news. Of course these phones can only access North Korea’s official networks.Urban renewal underway in Pyongyang is leading to the demolition of low-rise buildings in favor of high-rises. Buildings 30 to 40 stories high can be completed within as little as one year.Anne HuFTV News DirectorNorth Korea provides a home to people in designated occupations and to those who make important contributions to the nation. These two brown buildings are dormitories for professors of Kim Il Sung University. The blue building across the street is a dormitory for employees of the central broadcasting station.News anchor and national icon Ri Chun-hee lives here. With her furniture and furnishings provided by the government, she enjoys greater luxury than the average citizen.Hwang CheolPyongyang GuideResidents of this buildings all work for the central broadcasting station. Included among them is Ri Chun-hee, a famous news anchor who reports on major stories. Her furnishings are especially beautiful.Under Kim Jong-un’s orders, pink, green and blue buildings along the banks of the Taedong River have been completed. Since they will house professors of the Kim Chaek University of Technology, the residential block they will form is being called “scientists’ row.”With rainy season yet to arrive, water levels in the Taedong and Potong rivers are low. A resulting lack of hydroelectricity has led to blackouts.Kim Eun SimPyongyang GuideOur country is facing severe power shortages.Sacrifices are being made all around. As citizens collect water, goldfish at train stations have seen aquarium levels cut in half. During normal working hours and after midnight, power is cut to residential buildings. The bright lights that used to illuminate Changjon community are no more. When midnight arrives, it becomes another anonymous part of the sea of black that bathes Pyongyang city. North Koreans have responded to these setbacks by installing solar panels. We don’t hear the people complain. Unlike selfishness common in other countries, they seek to help the nation overcome challenges. They save electricity wherever possible, and thank the government for providing the utilities it can at rates that are close to nil.The darkness ends with the arrival of dawn as the people prepare to work on the country’s behalf for another day.This is FTV’s Anne Hu, C. F. Su and Chun-hao Yeh with an exclusive report from North Korea.
Pricing and delivery information available for new Gogoro electric scooters
A revolutionary new electric scooter will soon become available. It will have a starting retail price of NT$128,000 and begin delivery on July 25.At a press event for the latest electric vehicles to arrive in Taiwan, the company’s chief executive said that more than 200,000 people have visited the flagship store and close to 10,000 have signed up for a test drive.An app that links to the scooter’s control panel informs users whether there are any problems. The color of the dash illumination changes easily.The vehicle shell can also be changed using suction equipment. Power comes from a pair of batteries that can be switched at battery swap stations. The control panel lets you know when power is running low.The vehicle reaches speeds of up to 85 kilometers per hour, similar to the typical 125 cc scooter.Peng Ming-iVP of MarketingThe more we sell the better, but we don’t have any special expectations. In this business model, we must change people’s behaviors. It’s a new product and a new way of consumption that requires gradual understanding and acceptance among our customers.The company hopes to win over users of conventional gas-powered scooters. Currently, it has 32 battery swap stations in Taipei and New Taipei. By the end of the year it hopes to have expanded this number to 150.
KMT’s Han Kuo-yu to run for Mayor of Kaohsiung in 2018
KMT party head for Kaohsiung City, Han Kuo-yu, has been chosen to run for mayor of the city after a party primary conducted by poll. He says he was lucky to beat legislator Chen Yi-ming for the candidacy, and told the people of Kaohsiung that they don''t owe the DPP anything. DPP figures have occupied the mayor''s seat in Kaohsiung for two decades, and the city is generally considered a shoo-in for the party. Yet Han described them as "out-dated and hard up."The KMT’s Kaohsiung City Chapter director Han Kuo-yu has come first in an internal primary poll, and will fight for the seat of Kaohsiung mayor for the KMT at the end of the year.Han Kuo-yuKMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidateI was very lucky, very lucky. But I must still express my respect and gratitude towards Chen Yi-ming. When I saw the figures come out, I could really feel just how much people expect out of me, the ideals they charge me with, the hopes they place in me.Han also urged his main rival, DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai, to make it a nice clean fight.Han Kuo-yuKMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidateThe Democratic Progressive Party has contributed to Taiwan’s democracy. The people of Kaohsiung have given them 20 years in power. Not to put too fine a point on it, you don’t owe them anything. Kaohsiung doesn’t owe the DPP anything at all. After 20 years, the 20 years the DPP has been in power in Kaohsiung, I can sum it up in just four words: out-dated and hard up.Han trails behind the DPP’s Chen in the polls and in political influence. But after two decades of the DPP, he says it’s time to shake things up in Kaohsiung.
Indonesian woman becomes Taiwan's first immigrant civil servant
Taiwan today welcomed the country's first-ever new immigrant to test into a civil service position. The new civil servant, who goes by the Chinese name Wang Hui-ling, managed to join the National Immigration Agency thanks to support from her Taiwanese husband's family and her own hard work. President Ma Ying-jeou spoke words of encouragement today and posed for a picture with Taiwan's newest immigration officials, at the first annual ceremony celebrating the completion of their training.Of the 122 new civil servants, the most notable is probably Wang Hui-ling (汪慧玲), a 31-year-old immigrant from Indonesia. She spent two months of hard studying to be the first-ever foreign spouse to become a civil servant.Wang Hui-lingImmigration OfficialMy father-in-law and mother-in-law told me I should gi
Officials say no bitcoin ban in effect as local convenience store chain prepares for its usage
Although bitcoin has yet to become a legal currency in Taiwan, a local convenience store chain is now willing to indirectly accept the virtual currency. Consumers will soon be able to use bitcoins to purchase coupons and have them printed at the shop to pay for goods. This convenience store chain launched a program last year that allowed consumers to top up their bitcoin wallet. Now consumers can even pay by using the digital currency saved in their e-wallet.Titan ChengBitoEx Founder, CEOThere are many foreigners in Taiwan. We hope they can conveniently purchase and use bitcoins. However, accepting such payments is controversial as bitcoin is not a legal currency regulated by the central bank.Tseng Ming-chungFSC MinisterIf bitcoin reverts to being considered a commodity rather than a currency, then the (FSC) and the central bank won’t need to regulate it. This convenience store chain is launching the service to attract consumers with Financial Supervisory Commission Minister Tseng Ming-chung saying there’s no law preventing such an action as long as no banks are involved.
Local collector amasses some 3,321 piggy banks in personal collection
While few people use piggy banks nowadays, their image continues to spark fond memories of childhood. Placing a coin into a piggy bank teaches the importance of saving, as well as the anticipation of breaking it open when a goal has been reached. For one individual in Taiwan, collecting piggy banks has become something of a personal obsession which has consumed much of his time and personal wealth. This is 64-year-old Liu Guang-bin, who owns Taiwan’s largest collection of piggy banks. It currently numbers 3,321.He has piggy banks that are of the traditional porcine variety, as well as those fashioned after cartoons, cats, postal workers, soldiers and firemen. He has piggy banks in virtually every imaginable shape and size.Liu Guang-binCollectorThis type is meant to look like a book. When you put money inside (and then put it on a bookshelf), nobody will suspect it is there.Liu’s heaviest piggy bank is this 3.4-kilogram dragon fish. As for which piggy bank can hold the most coins, it’s this old fashioned wooden car. Liu’s tallest piggy bank is a replica of the Tokyo Skytree.Liu has been collecting piggy banks for 20 years. As he shows us his collection, he’s very careful. More than half of the more than 3,000 piggy banks he has came from overseas.Liu Guang-binCollectorI definitely buy them when I travel abroad. I usually make five or six overseas trips for work each year.Asked why he is drawn to collecting piggy banks, Liu’s answer may surprise you.Liu Guang-binCollectorOne of my classmates collected teapots. Every time I would visit him, he would just ramble about them. I thought to myself that I should begin collecting something.From the first piggy bank that he collected to the 3,321st, Liu definitely has a few favorites. With just a quick glance he is able to easily tell the origins of each.Liu Guang-binCollectorThis one is from Latin America, which I can tell from the bold style. If you visit Latin America, you will see that their houses are painted in bold colors and each is quite different.Liu is also able to date each of these piggy banks from just a quick glance.Liu Guang-binCollectorI can tell immediately that this is from around the 1930s. This is because the slot is quite small. Only dimes can be inserted. Anything larger just won’t fit.Cracks reveal the age of this ceramic piggy bank. And there’s this mechanical piggy bank. These were produced starting from the 18th century in the United States.Liu Guang-binCollectorThe United States became independent in 1776. This was during the 18th century, when the industrial revolution was underway. More objects became mechanical.Liu has around 300 small piggy banks which are actually pigs. He has collected piggy banks from almost every country.Liu Guang-binCollectorMany people ask me (who produces the best piggy bank). I have thought about this question for a long time and still have no answer.Lin Ren-guiPiggy Bank MakerPigs are common and their shape is similar to vessels used to store coins. This may be why we frequently choose to use the image of a pig.Lin Ren-gui is the boss of one of the few companies in Taiwan that still continues to manufacture piggy banks.Lin Ren-guiPiggy Bank MakerThe pig is a lucky animal. It even looks like it will bring you good luck.Each week Lin visits this toy store on Tainan’s Anping Street to replenish stock. As fewer children buy piggy banks, this traditional industry has suffered. A few merchants have still managed to survive, however. Lin displayed this unusual bank from the 1960s.Liu Guang-binCollectorThis type requires a key to open. It was usually given as a gift by banks. Afterwards, people who saved money in it could take it to the bank, which had a key to open it. The money would then be put into the bank. It was a type of special promotion.Aside from banks, temples and social groups also distributed piggy banks as souvenirs to members or devotees. This was done with an eye toward increasing donations. Among Liu’s collection there are many piggy banks that he bought second hand.Liu Guang-binCollectorOne has to get to this flea market early. Most shops are eager to sell on the first day, so it’s easier to bargain.For Liu, collecting is a treasure hunt that takes him overseas and throughout Taiwan. He frequently takes photos of piggy banks he sees to keep permanent records.While most people purchase piggy banks to save money, this collector and this manufacturer have an altogether different take on this common item. For them, piggy banks are kind of personal obsession.
Activists, Tibetans mark 60th anniversary of 1959 Tibetan Uprising
Today is the 60th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, which resulted in the flight into exile of Tibet''s traditional Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama. NGOs and Tibetan exiles alike marked the anniversary with a street rally in Taipei, as they reminded the public of what Tibet has gone through AND warned them not to trust any potential peace agreements between Taiwan and China. To blessings from Lamas, Tibetan exiles and civic groups held a march commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising. As the march neared Taipei''s north gate, exiled Tibetans lay prostrate on the ground to commemorate the 1.2 million Tibetans who were killed in the revolt. Tashi TseringHuman Rights Network for Tibet and TaiwanThe Tibetans have never given up. The Tibetans in Tibet have never given up. They are waiting there to achieve the goal of our own country, for the Dalai Lama to return home. DPP Secretary General Luo Wen-jia, said 60 years ago the PRC tore up a peace agreement it had signed with Tibet and sent in its army to kill 1.2 million Tibetans and destroy 6000 temples. It was a bloody history, he said, adding that he hoped .the KMT will never let this tragedy repeat itself The New Power Party, which has consistently advocated for Tibetans to return to the homeland, also called on the government to invite the Dalai Lama to Taiwan. Chiu Hsien-chihNew Power Party Chairman Taiwan must send a message to the world that it stands with those people who have been oppressed and slaughtered by the PRC.Tibetan exiles, who also face the threat of China, called on the Taiwanese people not to trust peace agreements and instead strengthen Taiwan''s sovereignty and protect its democratic freedom.
Right-to-die lobby group launched in memory of veteran anchor Fu Da-ren
When well-known Taiwanese sports anchor Fu Da-ren went to Switzerland last year to end his life, he brought the issue of voluntary euthanasia in to sharp public focus. Today activists said they''ve formed an association to push for legalizing assisted suicide in Taiwan. The group is led by Fu''s son, who said his father''s dying wish was for Taiwanese to have the right to die with dignity. In front of a camera, the long-time TV anchor signs off for the last time. He was suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer and had traveled to Switzerland to end his life.His son Fu Chun-hao, seen here kissing his father, is leading a renewed campaign for assisted dying in Taiwan.Fu Chun-haoFu Da-ren’s sonWe should do everything in our power to fulfill his dying wish.Today activists formed a pro-euthanasia lobby group. Fu’s son is the group’s first chairman, and he says he’s committed to making his father’s final wish come true. As proponents and opponents dig in for a long debate over euthanasia, medical professionals are also taking the issue seriously.Chiang ShengPhysicianThis is a form of freedom. It is a kind of human right. The U.S. state of Oregon has had the right to die for over 10 years and the right has never been misused. Assisted suicide has been carried out in the Netherlands for 30 years. Not a single doctor has been penalized for physician-assisted suicide. Calls have emerged for Taiwanese society to tackle the issue head-on and for the government to enact a euthanasia law. Proponents argue that suffering patients should have the right to end their life with physician support and to leave the world with dignity.
FTV tours public transit in Pyongyang, North Korea
Tourists visiting North Korea face strict limitations on the transportation they can use, and most are only allowed by the authorities to use cars reserved for foreigners. Meanwhile, public mass transit, and the details of how average people in North Korea get around, has been largely off-limits to visitors, but earlier this year, FTV secured unprecedented permission from the country’s authorities to ride on and film three transit systems in the capital Pyongyang, coming into close contact with its residents. How did North Koreans react to the rare appearance of a foreigner on a tram, a trolleybus, and the subway? Our exclusive report, from FTV News Director Anne Hu and her team in the Hermit Kingdom. Around 3 million people live in Greater Pyongyang, with 1 million commuting from suburbs daily. Most of them use bicycles, a safe and convenient way of commuting given that the city’s streets are wide and traffic-free, even if they don’t have bike lanes. The few motorcycles on North Korean roads are imported electric scooters, mostly because North Korea has discouraged the production of motorcycles and the use of fossil fuels.But Pyongyang itself is host to a wide array of mass transit systems, all of which are powered by the city’s electrical grid.Hello.A single ticket is the same price across all systems, no matter the length of the journey – five North Korean won, about NT$1.5. Anne HuFTV News DirectorThis is the sixth time we’ve come to North Korea, and it’s the first time we’ve been able to ride on the trams used by the general public. [To a passenger] Hello. We need to find a seat to sit in, but the seats at the front are, like those in Taiwan, designated for those in need, such as pregnant mothers or soldiers who have served the government. Regular passengers like us can only sit from here on back, and I’m choosing this seat.From the beginning, we were told not to speak to other passengers without permission, out of concern we might create trouble for them. So we avoided conversation on the train.Every tram had at least three cars, with inspectors in the first and last cars to take passengers’ tickets. Ticket InspectorThe beginning and end of the shift is always the busiest time. My job is to take passengers’ tickets, and then to deposit that money with the state. Completed in the 1990s, Pyongyang’s tram network is one of the city’s newer public transport systems, but it only has three lines at present. The city’s trolleybus network, built in the 1960s, is more extensive. Anne HuFTV News DirectorUnlike in other countries, North Korea developed its trolleybuses before its trams, and manufactured its own trolleybuses. There are no ticket inspectors on the trolleybuses, so (fares) are all put in this ticket box. North Korea trusts its people to put their tickets in the box after boarding. North Korea’s trolleybuses, built decades before its trams, are starting to show their age, but the ten different trolleybus lines connect all of Pyongyang, and have the highest and most frequent ridership.We then descended more than 100 meters to a station on the Pyongyang Metro, ahead of our ride on the city’s subway.Pyongyang Metro Station ChiefDuring the morning rush hour, there is one train every three or four minutes. Between midday and evening there’s a subway train every five minutes.With around five minutes between trains, we let several trains go past before boarding this one, a new model built in Pyongyang and put into service in 2016. Anne HuFTV News DirectorRight now we’re about to board the subway, and the car we’re boarding now is one that North Korea says it has built itself. [pause, to a passenger] Hello.Having found a seat, I realized that this is the closest I’ve gotten to the actual public. But several times, passengers immediately got up or moved away after noticing me as a foreigner. I tried out some simple greetings.(Where are you going?) I’m going to work.I got some brief responses, but nobody was willing to have a chat, reflecting the shyness of North Korean citizens and the language barrier. The new, locally-made subway cars were more comfortable, brighter, and better appointed, and had systems to display upcoming stops and train speed, giving passengers a range of information at a glance. Other LCD screens in the cars played short propaganda films, in the absence of any paid advertisements in the socialist country’s subway. Pyongyang’s lack of vehicles with four or more wheels is an important indicator of the country’s political and economic openness. Under international economic sanctions, North Korea can’t import vehicles from the US, Europe, or Japan, so aside from a few Chinese cars, nearly all the cars on its roads are models like the Cuckoo, Whistle, and Three Thousand Li, made by Pyeonghwa Motors, a joint venture between China and North Korea. Private citizens in the country can’t afford t...
Three moderate quakes shake Taiwan in just one hour
A series of tremors occurred beneath Hualien last night and today, and were felt right across Taiwan. The main tremors occurred between 9 and 10pm last night, with three moderate tremors of magnitude 5 or above. Taiwanese folk lore attributes quakes to the rumblings of an ox deep in the earth; seismologists however, are divided over whether another major quake could be coming soon. The island of Taiwan experienced seven tremors centred on Hualien last night, starting at 12 minutes past nine in the evening. The tremors lasted an hour, with the first of magnitude 5.1, and the third, magnitude 5.8, believed to be the strongest of the series.Chen Kuo-changCBW Seismological Center HeadThis quake occurred when tectonic plates exerted pressure on each other. The Philippine Sea Plate was squeezing the Eurasian Plate. A moderate earthquake is one of magnitude five or above; it is fairly unusual to see so many of these occur at once.The Seismological Center detected three tremors of magnitude five or above within one hour, the most in such a short period since 1972. From last night to four thirty this afternoon, a total of 66 tremors shook Taiwan. Scholars say this may be the start of the once-in-a-century major earthquake season.Prof. Lee Chyi-TyiNCU Applied Geology InstituteWhen subduction occurs - our tectonic plate moves against another and sinks into the mantle - it can cause a quake of magnitude eight or above. This generally only happens about once every 100 years. The active earthquake season has started now.Prof. Wu Yih-minNTU Geosciences Dept.This quake occurred in a different place to the great 1920 quake, which was slightly deeper, in the subduction zone; in that case the plate was bumping against the crust by its front edge.Expert opinion is split on the likelihood of a major quake in the near future. But nonetheless scholars advise the public to have evacuation plans in place.
World number-one women’s badminton singles player Tai Tzu-ying returns to Taiwan
After successfully defending her world number-one ranking in Dubai, women''s singles badminton player Tai Tzu-ying returned to Taiwan, where she was greeted by crowds of well-wishers. The president of Tai''s college even brought some of the champion''s fellow students to the airport to welcome her with flowers. Tai Tzu-ying received a warm welcome at the airport upon her return to Taiwan.Tai Tzu-YingWomen’s Badminton Singles World ChampionI’ve really been moved by everyone’s enthusiasm.After her win in Dubai, Tai will for the near future retain her top ranking in women’s singles badminton. The position comes with a special privilege that Tai relishes, which is that she can request her opponent change clothing, if it happens the opposite number is wearing a jersey with a similar color scheme.Tai Tzu-YingWomen’s Badminton Singles World ChampionAs the top-ranked player in the world, I won’t have to change my jersey because my opponent will have to make the change. This is probably what I am happiest about.A group of students from Tai’s school, the University of Taipei, led by university President Dana Tai, joined the badminton star’s family members at the airport to greet her.Tai''s next public appearance is scheduled for Saturday morning at the Kaohsiung City Department of Sports where she will host her first autograph session as the world number-one.
President of Haiti Jovenel Moise begins state visit to Taiwan
The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, is in Taiwan for a five-day state visit. The Tsai administration has reportedly promised him a US$150 million loan for power infrastructure, and Moise is due to meet Taipower officials in the coming days. Haiti shares an island with the Dominican Republic, a former ally of Taiwan that switched its allegiance to China at the start of this month, leading many to wonder if Haiti could be the next ally to drop. A 21-gun salute greeted Haitian president Jovenel Moise, the first head of state of one of Taiwan’s allies to visit since the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso cut ties earlier this month.Tsai Ing-wenPresidentIn the coming days, we have arranged a schedule of visits to observe agriculture, power-generation and the tech industry. And we will also exchange views with the Right Honorable Mr. Moise, concerning the international situation we face.Jovenel MoisePresident of HaitiAfter my Foreign Minister returned from his last visit to Taiwan, he told me that your nation was willing to assist Haiti’s development. Madame President, both your and my countries share the same political interests.Haiti’s finance minister said that Taiwan will provide a loan of US$150 million to improve power infrastructure, according to Haitian media. But US spectators point out that Haiti and China have offices established in each other’s territory, tipping the Caribbean nation as another that might soon switch to an alliance with Beijing. Perhaps to counter these doubts, Tsai Ing-wen made sure to emphasize Haiti’s track record of taking Taiwan’s side in the international community.Tsai Ing-wenPresidentHaiti has long supported Taiwan’s participation in many areas of global life. Addressing the UN General Assembly last year, the Right Honorable President Moise himself took a stand for justice for Taiwan. This April, the Foreign Minister, Antonio Rodrigue, also wrote a letter to the World Health Organization to advocate for Taiwan.Since the loss of ties with Burkina Faso, there has been a continuous stream of esteemed overseas guests visiting Taiwan. The Tsai administration is doing all it can to consolidate the 18 diplomatic alliances Taiwan still enjoys, and to prevent any more break-ups.
Tsai meets with US Senator Cruz despite China’s warning to Texas congressional delegation
Before heading to Central America, President Tsai Ing-wen made a 28-hour stopover in Houston, Texas, where she reportedly met with political figures including US Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Cruz said that he and other Texas representatives had received a letter from China requesting them not to meet with Tsai, but he rejected the letter and its premise, in a show of support for Taiwan. During her transit stop in Houston, President Tsai reportedly met with US Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. After the meeting, Cruz revealed that he and other congressional delegates from Texas had received a letter from the Chinese consulate asking them not to meet with Tsai.Ted CruzUS Senator (R, Texas)That letter was not persuasive. It is not the position of the People’s Republic of China to exercise a veto on those with whom we meet. We do not attempt to do so with China, and it is not their place to attempt to do so with us. As for whether Tsai had seen members of Donald Trump’s transition team, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Harry Tseng denied that any meeting had taken place. But when asked if the two sides had exchanged phone calls, Tseng took a more reserved tone.Harry TsengPresidential Office Deputy Secretary-GeneralBased on our bilateral understanding and respect for our friends in the United States, we will not elaborate on this point.Tsai and her staff assiduously avoided discussion of Trump or his team during her US transit stop, in what is being viewed as an attempt not to exacerbate the current tensions between Taiwan, the US, and China.
Chef teaches how to make your own oil from pork fat and chicken skins
The recent food scare is creating new interest in homemade oil. Follow our report as we teach you how to make edible oil from pork fat and chicken skins. As the edible oil food scandal spreads to more types of products, some consumers believe that making their own cooking oil may be the safest choice. If you don't have a non-stick pan, simply add a little water and some pork fat. It's best to cook over a small flame so the mixture doesn't burn. Stir to gradually separate oil from the solids.Wu Yu-long ChefIt's important to see bubbles. This is what it should look like. If you turn up the heat too much it will smoke and won't create these bubbles. As long as there are bubbles the moisture is being cooked out of the oil. It''s that simple.It takes about 20 minutes to turn 2 kilograms of pork
Cherry blossoms are transformed into an attractive display for the home
Cherry blossom season is in full bloom. In Kaohsiung, one teacher of floral arranging shows you how to transform cherry blossoms into an attractive display for the home. These beautiful cherry blossoms not only impress visiting tourists but can also be used to create terrific floral arrangements to be appreciated at home.With 30 years of experience in floral arranging, this instructor knows how to trim cherry branches and place them in a special pot. The instructor makes the branches look as if they grew out of the pot, and even has a technique for bending branches into right angles. Kao Hua-yangFloral Arranger You choose where you want to bend then slowly bend it. Arrange it so it resembles a beautiful cherry tree.Other plants used to create floral arrangements include rapeseed and tomato