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.