ICRT Weekly Central Taiwan News Report, Oct. 7–transcript

Mayor Lu touts success of shopping festival

Speaking to city council, Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen touted the success of this summer’s second annual shopping festival.
The festival included special offers, activities and lucky draws for a wide range of items, including TVs, scooters and a new apartment.
Overall, they registered over NT$9 billion on the festival’s online platforms to qualify for the lucky draws.
That is up from NT$2.5 billion in last year’s inaugural shopping festival.
The online platforms generated 740 million in visitor traffic and the city estimates that it generated over NT$36 billion in economic benefits.
According to a poll, 66.6% were satisfied with the event, 83.1% thought it was beneficial to Taichung’s economy and 85.9% hope it will be held again next year.
Not everyone was happy with the festival however, with one DPP city councillor saying it should change its name to “raffle festival”.

Hydrogen tanker crashes, explodes in Changhua

A hydrogen tanker crashed on an elevated section of National Freeway 3 near the interchange with Freeway 1 in Changhua City, killing the driver, and causing a massive explosion after the tank unit plunged more than 20 meters onto a road below.
At about 12:15 am flames lit up the night sky as multiple explosions rocked the city.
The explosions could be heard up to 2 kilometers away.
The driver of the hydrogen tanker appears to have lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the guardrail, crashing through it and plunging to the street below.
The impact of the crash caused the tank unit to separate from the chassis of the vehicle.
Hydrogen is more reactive than other gases, and highly flammable.

12 quarantined students all get sick, raise Covid concerns

According to Taichung’s Department of Food and Drug Safety, 12 quarantining Indonesian students studying at an unidentified university were sent to the hospital when they came down with fevers, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The severity and their quarantined status led to coronavirus fears, but fortunately all 12 have tested negative.
The Taichung Health Bureau suspects the students became ill due to food poisoning and have taken samples from three of the vendors that supply food to the hotel.
The bureau said it found that some of the suppliers’ practices did not comply with food safety regulations, including workers not wearing hats when preparing food.
The bureau has ordered them to make improvements before the next inspection.
The test results on the food samples are scheduled to be released in two weeks.
The food poisoning was fairly serious, requiring hospitalization of 10 of the students, two for multiple days.

Taichung Museum joins Google initiative

Taichung’s National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMOFA) has joined the Google Arts & Culture platform as the first public art museum from Taiwan.
The platform allows users to search and browse high-resolution works of art, landmarks and cultural relics online, and learn the stories behind museum collections through digital exhibitions–all from the safety of your own home.
Worldwide more than 1,400 cultural institutions in 70 countries or regions have joined.
The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMOFA) has put more than 100 pieces from the museum’s collection, as well as seven special exhibits, on display.

Formosan black bear rescued

An endangered Formosan Black bear was found snared last Thursday morning by a farmer in Taichung’s mountainous Heping District.
The black bear was struggling frantically in the trap and had injured its left front leg and mouth, the farmer told the Dongshih Forest District Office.
The bear was freed after forestry workers, police and five veterinarians affiliated with the Endemic Species Research Institute Conservation Education Center were dispatched to the site.
During the rescue effort, the veterinarians had to sedate the bear before it could be freed.
The trap had been set by the farmer to stop wild boars and macaques from stealing fruit in his orchard.
The bear appears to be recovering well and will be released back into the wild when the veterinarians give the word.
There are only an estimated 200 to 600 Formosan black bears left.

Hot hat fad turned huge

A little over a year ago a Norwegian triathlon champion Gustav Iden won a race in France wearing a baseball hat from a temple in Puyan Township in Changhua County–which created much curiosity in Taiwan.
It turns out he had found the hat in Japan, dusted it off, and made it his lucky hat.
The hat became the centre of a craze, which included fake hats and a lively online market for the prized hats.
Apparently the fad continues–and he recently won a race in Germany wearing the hat–in the year since he ran the French race, the temple has handed out 168,000 of them.

Image courtesy of Wang Hui-mei’s Facebook Page

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