Fri, Dec 17, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Society

Elderly demand better deal

The government should

help agencies dealing with welfare and senior citizens improve their efficiency so that policies can be carried out more smoothly, the fifth "silver hair summit" declared yesterday. Participants said the government ought to establish an assets and property trust for senior citizens to reduce tensions between offspring even before elderly people have died. The summit, attended by about 120 senior citizens, also resolved that the elderly should be treated equally and entitled to the same retirement benefits regardless of profession.

The summit was organized

by the League of Welfare Improvement for the Elderly in the Republic of China. League secretary-general Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴) said that the recommendations drawn up during the summit will be forwarded to the Ministry of the Interior for reference.

■ Engineering

Taipei 101 sets new record

Taipei 101 -- the world's tallest building -- set another first yesterday as

the Guinness Book of World Records certified two of its elevators as the fastest in

the world. Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) attended the record-setting ceremony and took a short and quick ride up the 508m Taipei

101. The two Toshiba-made elevators will take tourists

to the observation deck on

the 89th floor in 37 seconds,

or 60kph. They beat a 1993 record of 45kph set by Mitsubishu-made elevators in the 70-storey Landmark Tower in Yokohama, Japan. Guinness representative Hein De Roux said Toshiba's achievement is impressive even by modern standards

as "it has exceeded the previous record by 33 per cent." Taipei 101 has 61 elevators -- including the two record-breaking lifts -- and 50 escalators. It already holds three world records: structural height (508m), rooftop height (448m) and habitable floor height (438m).

■ Health

Vaccines in test mode

David Ho (何大一), a leading figure in AIDS research and the inventor of a cocktail therapy that improves the lives of sufferers, yesterday discussed two potential HIV vaccines and one potential SARS vaccine at a seminar

in Taipei yesterday. For the past four years, Ho has been researching a DNA vaccine composed of two plasmids that can express five HIV genes. This kind of vaccine

is thought to be able

to enhance the immune system's ability to detect the rapidly changing HIV virus and trigger a cell-mediated immune response to protect the body. A clinical trial involving 45 people in New York conducted this month by Ho proved the vaccine was safe, he said. The second vaccine under research is the MVA vaccine, which has been found to be safe in preclinical in vitro studies. Clinical trials for this vaccine are expected to begin next month.

■ Academia

Ma to speak in HK

The University of Hong Kong said yesterday it will invite Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to deliver a speech on urban cultural development next month. A spokesman said Ma will speak on urban cultural development and

the role of Chinese cities in global cultural development in the 21st century at the university on Jan. 11. According to the spokesman, Ma will make the lecture tour of Hong Kong after attending the closing ceremony for the 2005 Deaflympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. Taipei will be the host city of the next Deaflympics -- an Olympic-style sports event for the hearing-impaired --

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