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At the Fonglin Watermelon Festival
At the Fonglin Watermelon Festival

Taiwan's success in containing the coronavirus is certainly cause for celebration, and to really emphasize the point, farmers in one agricultural region decided this week that it's high time to break out the… watermelons?

After a string of six straight days with no new confirmed coronavirus cases, a group of farmers in Changhua, in central Taiwan, decided that to keep the streak going, they'd come together — each with a hefty watermelon in their arms — and pray, the Liberty Times reported. And it worked: Two days later, Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed a record eighth day in a row with no new reports of contagion, according to the news site Focus Taiwan.

The unusual event was clearly about lifting spirits, but by choosing to pose with watermelons, the farmers were also hoping to boost sales of the fruit after COVID-19 has caused a sharp drop in the island nation's agricultural exports. For now, domestic sales at least have gotten a boost: to celebrate Mother's Day, the New Kinpo Group, one of Taiwan's major electronics firms, along with several other companies, gave their employees each a watermelon as a present.


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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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