Wed, Sep 16, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■UNITED NATIONS

MOFA still working on plan

The 64th session of the UN General Assembly convened yesterday, but the Taiwanese government, which had decided not to seek membership this year, has not yet finalized proposals for what it said it would pitch as part of “the country’s meaningful participation in the international body.” Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) told reporters yesterday at a media gathering that the proposals would be finalized “within one week.” Asked about local media reports that the ministry had already identified a number of UN agencies, such as the International Civil Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in which Taiwan would seek meaningful participation, Yang said: “It’s not entirely correct.” He said the ministry was still in the process of identifying which agencies would bring the most benefit to Taiwanese.

■ENVIRONMENT

Quake alert invented

A professor at National Taiwan University on Monday presented a small earthquake early warning system device that can alert people at least 10 seconds before seismic waves reach them. “An earthquake warning issued as early as possible can buy some time,” said Wu Yih-min (吳逸民), an associate professor at the Department of Geosciences. The device, which is about one-third the size of a notebook computer, can be hung on walls or incorporated into elevator systems, he said. Wu said the device could give a warning 10 to 30 seconds before an earthquake strikes, stop the elevator and allow passengers to exit. The device is based on the principle that vertical seismic waves, known as P waves, are 1.73 times faster and less violent than horizontal waves, known as S waves. However, there are certain correlations between P waves and S waves, and Wu designed an algorithm to analyze initial P waves to identify information about earthquakes.

■LABOR

Unpaid leave figures drop

The number of workers forced to take unpaid leave has dropped dramatically to just below 50,000, an indication that the country’s production slowdown could be nearing an end. The Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday that since Aug. 31, when 58,983 people were put on unpaid leave by 614 companies, the number has decreased by more than 20 percent to 46,377 workers on unpaid leave at 552 companies by the middle of this month. The number of employees on unpaid leave peaked at 238,975 in March, about seven times as much as the latest figure.

■TRANSPORT

Taiwan to host safety meet

The annual conference of the International Transportation Safety Association (ITSA) will be held in Taiwan from May 9 to May 12, the Aviation Safety Council said. It will mark the first time that Taiwan has hosted the meeting on improving global transportation safety since it joined the organization nine years ago, the council said. Formed by the independent investigation boards of the US, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands, ITSA was formally established in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, in 1993. Its mission is to improve transport safety in each member country by learning from the experiences of others. ITSA is composed of 14 independent investigation boards from various countries, with Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council becoming a full member in 2000 and taking part in the association’s annual conference for the first time in 2001.

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