Japan won a two-year term on the UN Security Council, and hopes to prove that it deserves a permanent seat on the powerful body as the issue of UN reform takes center stage next year. \nArgentina, Denmark, Greece and Tanzania were also elected on Friday as nonpermanent members -- all committed to enlarging the 15-member coun-cil, but without the same open ambition as Japan to make their two-year stints permanent. \n"It is unprecedented that the sort of momentum for seeking the reform of the Security Council is very, very great at this moment, and the fact that Japan comes into the Security Council as a non-permanent member has a special meaning," said Japan's UN Ambassador Koichi Haraguchi. \n"The people will look at the behavior of Japan, even if it's this time not a permanent member," he said. "They regard Japan as a country who has a very strong hope to serve in the Security Council as a new permanent member ... So we will continue to keep that in mind and do as much as possible to live up to the ... expectation." \nCalling it "a big day for us," Haraguchi said Japan is already "very heavily involved" in key issues before the council including Iraq, Afghanistan and African conflicts, and will remain involved. Japan will also focus on "the so-called new threats and and new challenges ... which require a lot of creative thinking" including the prevention of terrorism and weapons proliferation, he said. \nWhile some elections for Security Council seats are hotly contested battles, Friday's election by the 191 members of the UN General Assembly rubber-stamped the candidates selected months ago by regional groups. \nIn the secret ballot, Argentina received 188 votes, Greece 187, Tanzania 186, Japan 184 and Denmark 181. \nWhen the five countries take their seats on Jan. 1, the complexion of the council will change. The departure of Pakistan -- along with Angola, Chile, Germany and Spain -- means the council will lose one of its two Muslim nations, leaving just Algeria to represent Islamic nations. \n"That's why we are asking that Islamic countries should be more equitably represented in an enlarged council," said Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram. \nThe five permanent members -- the US, Britain, France, Russia and China -- are the only ones with veto power. \nWhile reform of the Security Council is the subject of intense discussion, the decision will be made by the General Assembly, though it must be ratified by the permanent Council members. \nWhile there is widespread support among all UN member states to expand the Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, there is no agreement on how large it should be, which countries should get seats, whether the new seats should be permanent or temporary, and which members should have veto power. \n"Everybody said there is a necessity to reform," General Assembly President Jean Ping told a news conference Friday. "The problem is how and which type of reforms." \n"But it's moving fast, moving," he said, when asked about prospects for agreement. \nAt last month's General Assembly ministerial meeting, the leaders of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India agreed to support each other's candidacies for permanent seats.
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
NUMBERS HAVE FALLEN: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said there are good signs, but ‘we cannot afford to let our guard down now’ The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 219 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the 219 local infections — 117 male and 102 female — were aged from under five to over 100 years old, and they began having symptoms between May 22 and Monday. New Taipei City reported 123 cases, followed by Taipei with 54, Miaoli County with 16, Taoyuan with 13, Keelung with eight, Changhua County with two, and one each in Hsinchu City, Taichung and Tainan. The 22 deaths were 15 men and
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was