China: Taiwan continued to improve its travel environment for Muslims last year, but caregivers in the country were still unable to attend weekly religious services due to their lack of time off, according to a US religion report released Wednesday.
The 2019 International Religious Freedom Report, released annually by the US State Department, cited the Chinese-Muslim Association as saying that Taiwan has continued its efforts to create a Muslim-friendly travel environment, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
Taiwan has increased “training, Muslim-friendly hotels and halal restaurants by 20 per cent annually,” the association said, which is why the country has become increasingly popular with Muslim tourists.
Other steps it has taken include building new prayer rooms in public spaces such as train stations, libraries and tourist destinations, the association said.
In addition, the Taiwan Adventist Hospital in Taipei has become the country’s first hospital to be halal certified, as part of collaboration with the city government to boost medical tourism by making hospitals in the city more accommodating to Muslim visitors, it said. – Bernama
Pesticides push insects into global decline: Report
ANKARA: Though they play crucial roles in the environment, insect populations now face a global downturn due to pesticide-dependent industrial farming, according to a new report released Tuesday.
Across the planet, 41 per cent of insect species are in decline and one-third risk extinction, according to Insect Atlas 2020, published by environmental group Friends of the Earth Europe and the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that in highlighting the impact of the heavy use of pesticides, the report said the use of such chemicals had risen fivefold since 1950, with over 4 million tons sprayed on crops globally every year.
“Pollinators, which contribute directly to around one-third of global food production, are under threat: at least one in ten bee and butterfly species in Europe is threatened with extinction,” it explained.
Mute Schimpf, a Belgian-based food and farming activist at Friends of the Earth Europe, said pesticides crippled insect populations and ecosystems around the world, also threatening food production.
The report also urged sustainable farming measures to prevent damage to insect populations that also guaranteed food production such as increasing organic farming and ending the use of pesticides and fertilisers by 2030. – Bernama