Sat, Mar 22, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER,WITH CNA

■ TRAVEL

Taitung-Japan flights set

Direct round-trip charter flights from Taitung to Japan are scheduled to start in May to boost tourism in eastern Taiwan. From May 1, travelers will be able to fly direct from Hokkaido to Taitung and vice versa on five-day package tours, which will cost less and offer shorter travel time than other routes, Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-Chen (鄺麗貞) said. In addition to Green Island and Orchid Island, the county's cultural heritage and festivals are major attractions for Japanese tourists, Kuang said. He also vowed to promote visits to Taitung in other countries and territories in the region, including Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asian nations.

■ SCIENCE

FAO okays screening tests

Screening techniques for foot-and-mouth disease that were developed by researchers at a laboratory run by the Council of Agriculture have won the approval of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and have proven to be capable of determining infection within a short time, council officials said yesterday. The techniques, which were developed and refined by the council's Animal Health Research Institute, employ state-of-the-art gene chips to provide accurate and timely screening services, the officials said. Gene chips, which are also known as DNA microarray, are a miniaturized device designed to analyze DNA sequences. They are used in drug development and quarantine screening. The method was certificated by the UK-based Pirbright Laboratory last year as part of the FAO's quality reviews for screening techniques used in some 40 labs worldwide.

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