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In Brief

In Brief

Center launched to prevent suicide

A national center for suicide prevention was inaugurated yesterday as part of the government's efforts to curb the increasing suicide rate in Taiwan.

According to a survey conducted by the Rheumatology Association under the commission of the Department of Health, around 7 percent of Taiwan residents aged above 17 who responded to the poll said they had considered suicide.

A total of 8,835 households around the country, apart from the outlying islands, were interviewed for the survey over the course of the past year. The results show that around 1.7 percent of the respondents had thought of committing suicide in the past year, some 0.3 percent had planned to take their own lives, and about 0.2 percent had attempted to kill or injure themselves.

Technical cooperation

Academia Sinica (中央研究院), Taiwan's top research institute, will cooperate with the European Organization for Nuclear Research to build a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) computing grid maintenance center in Taiwan that will be the first of its kind in all Asia.

Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tse and CERN Deputy Director Jos Engelen jointly signed a memorandum Friday on the establishment of a Tier-1 LHC computing grid maintenance center to be located in Academia Sinica's Institute of Physics.

CEPD pushes air links

Convenient air links are vital to the government's bid to boost Taiwan tourism if the country wants to sell its tourist spots to the world, Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng (胡?正) said yesterday.

Pointing to South Korea as an example, Hu said that Seoul has direct flights to more than 100 cities around the world and that this is the major reason behind South Korea's booming tourism.

Taiwan needs to build a more convenient air transport network to bring in more foreign visitors, Hu stressed, noting that the number of Austrian tourists to Taiwan has more than doubled after direct flights were opened between Taipei and Vienna.

Tariffs dropped

The Legislature approved a government proposal yesterday to remove tariffs on 141 products imported from Afghanistan and 49 other less-developed countries.

The move responds to a World Trade Organization resolution calling for duty free treatment for products exported by less-developed countries. The Executive Yuan said the WTO follows the definition of the U.N. of less-developed countries - those whose per capital GDP over the past three years averaged less than US$750, that are short of human resources, or have a fragile economy.