■ EducationHonorary degrees conferred
National Taiwan University (NTU) conferred an honorary doctorate degree on 2000 Nobel Prize winner for literature Gao Xingjian (高行健) during the university's 76th anniversary celebrations yesterday. The other recipient of the degree was Henry T. Yang (楊祖佑), chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is also one of NTU's alumni. Gao did not attend the ceremony because his health does not allow him to fly long distances. NTU President Chen Wei-chao (陳維昭) said the outstanding achievements of Gao and Yang are role models for NTU in the pursuit of excellence. Chen also called on the government to funnel more resources to help domestic universities develop toward becoming world-class institutions.
Number of HIV cases rises
Taiwan has recorded 1,112 new HIV carriers in the first ten months this year, with experts blaming the upsurge on drug addicts getting infected through sharing needles, the local Chinese-language China Times daily reported yesterday. Quoting a remark made by an official at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it stated that in the first ten months, the CDC had recorded 1,112 HIV carriers. "This is the first time the number HIV infections has passed the 1,000 mark in one year," said the official. The official attributed the sharp rise in HIV-infection to drug addicts' sharing needles and unprotected sex. As of November, Taiwan has recorded 6,850 HIV carriers, of whom 1,874 have developed full-blown AIDS.
Chen praises Murkowski
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed hope for closer economic and trade relations between Taiwan and Alaska during a meeting with visiting Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski. Chen said the Taiwan-Alaska memorandum on economic and trade cooperation signed in September was a major step forward for both sides. Chen said Taiwan has appointed representatives of various sectors to a committee aimed at promoting the cooperation program. He thanked the Alaska Legislature for passing resolutions in support of Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly as an observer and of the signing of a free trade agreement between Taiwan and the US. This is Murkowski's 18th trip to Taiwan, and the third one in his capacity as governor of Alaska.
■ Law enforcement
Delegation attends meeting
A Taiwanese delegation composed of 10-plus senior law enforcement officers is attending an annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) being held in Los Angeles. IACP chairman Joseph Polisar extended a warm welcome to the Taiwanese delegation at the opening ceremony, saying that engagements between Taiwanese and US police and judicial authorities have become ever closer in recent years. There have been many successful cases in crime-fighting through Taiwan-US cooperation in the past few years, Polisar said, adding he believes that bilateral cooperation will further strengthen in the years ahead. Polisar, who has been to Taiwan on many occasions, said that judicial and police authorities of major countries around the world should increase contacts and forge information exchange mechanisms.