Panama delays Beijing trip
China said yesterday that Panamanian First Vice President Arturo Vallarino had postponed a planned visit to Beijing. His trip had raised concerns that Taipei was about to lose another diplomatic ally. "Vallarino has decided to postpone his visit to China until next year because of personal reasons," a Chinese foreign ministry official said.
Vallarino had been scheduled to visit China from tomorrow through Sept. 7 at the invitation of a thinktank affiliated with the Chinese government. The visit, which would have become Vallarino's second in four years, had been widely interpreted as a move designed to pave the way for Panama-China relations. Beijing said last week that it was keen to set up diplomatic relations with the Central American country.
University inks pact
US-based Microseal LLC and the I-Shou University signed a memorandum yesterday to jointly develop micro and nano technologies for security and anti-counterfeiting use. Li Yien-chie (李彥杰), director of the university's research center, said the school's work with Microseal will help increase the commercial applications of micro and nano technologies. Li said Microseal's work can give every product a unique and nearly invisible "fingerprint" that cannot be counterfeited, therefore the technology can be applied to products ranging from ID cards, passports and visas to bank notes, jewelry and pharmaceuticals. University president Fu Shen-li said that in addition to offering equipment and experts in engineering, administration and legal services for the program with Microseal, the school will also set up an exclusive research and development center to develop applications for Microseal's products.
Hospital offers interpreters
Jen-Ai Hospital in Tali City, Taichung County, has set up an International Patient Center to accommodate the growing medical needs of the foreign community in Taichung. The center has recruited a group of volunteers to provide free interpreter services in more than a dozen languages, ranging from English, French and Thai to Tagalog, Burmese and Hakka. The volunteers will be available during regular hospital hours while the center also plans to arrange three-way telephone interpretation via conference calls. The hospital, however, is recommending people call at least three days in advance to make sure the desired interpretation service is available.
Envoy speaks for farmers
Taiwan's permanent representative to the WTO, Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), said in Geneva yesterday that Taiwan is of the position that the needs of new members should be taken into account in the agricultural negotiations at the upcoming Fifth Ministerial Conference of the WTO. Yen said Taiwan is very concerned about the rights of new members in the agricultural negotiations, which will be high on the agenda at the September meeting. The conference is set for Sept. 10-14 in Cancun, Mexico. As the outcome of the agricultural negotiations is expected to have a significant impact on Taiwan's economy, Yen said, the government has sought to safeguard the rights and interests of Taiwan's farm population. Yen said that it is impossible to apply a unified solution to all members, adding that the rules should be more flexible.
A DECADE’S WORK: The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon has collected more than 20,000 words and phrases, and is expected to help people learning the Liu Dui dialect The Liu Dui Culture Research Association on Saturday unveiled the nation’s first domestically compiled lexicon of Hakka-language words in the Liu Dui dialect, an effort that took a decade of work and cost about NT$7 million (US$233,085 at the current exchange rate). The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon collected more than 20,000 phrases and words, and is estimated to be of great value in helping people learn the Liu Dui dialect and culture, the association said. It could also become a reference book for teachers, the association added. The lexicon collected phrases and common words used in daily speech, as well as local sayings, phrases
EXPANSION: The transportation ministry is to subsidize Taipei and Kaohsiung’s purchase of 63 multipurpose taxis, as well as the payment of incentives for drivers The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is appropriating nearly NT$60 million (US$2 million) to subsidize plans by the Taipei City Government and the Kaohsiung City Government to expand their multipurpose taxi fleets, it said over the weekend. The ministry said that it has since 2013 subsidized the multipurpose taxi service nationwide, as it has become a way for disabled people to travel. The nation has 980 multipurpose taxis, including 301 in Taipei and 272 in Kaohsiung, ministry statistics showed. Last year, the service was accessed more than 200,000 times in Taipei and 460,000 times in Kaohsiung, which the ministry said shows
The One Bear Museum in Hsinchu County’s Guansi Township (關西), a teddy bear museum once touted by the county government as a “luminous pearl” along Provincial Highway No. 13, is facing possible closure. The museum’s building, which was provided by the county government, has a serious water leakage problem and lacks a parking lot for buses to bring in tour groups, Hsinchu County Councilor Lo Shih-shi (羅仕琦) said on Saturday. The county government should step in to rescue the museum, or the negative reviews about the museum on the Internet might affect visitors’ impression of the township and the county, he said. The
‘NATIONAL SECURITY PROBLEM’: Two DPP legislators said the government needs to help public agencies replace Chinese equipment and pass legislation banning their use More than 200 government entities are together using 1,108 telecommunications devices from Chinese brands, posing a cybersecurity risk, a government report showed. At the suggestion of the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee last year, the Executive Yuan investigated 7,704 public institutions to see whether they were using or had procured telecoms equipment manufactured by Chinese companies. They found that as of April 13, of the 3,837 public institutions that responded to their requests, 228 said they had been using equipment made by Chinese brands, including mobile phones, video cameras, drones and other Internet-related devices. The report highlighted products from seven brands considered to