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Posts Tagged ‘readies’

Nguyen Hue Flower Street readies for Tet

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

Nguyen Hue Flower Street readies for the annual Tet festival in Ho Chi Minh City from January 31 – February 6 (December 28 – January 4 on the lunar calendar).

The annual flower show will take place on Nguyen Hue Boulevard. (Photo:KK)

The much awaited annual flower show has been divided into various segments this year with exotic names like Vietnamese Spirit, southern Tet holiday, New advance, Peaceful Spring, Time of the season and Humane garden.


The main boulevards like Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, Dong Khoi, and Le Duan will be specially decorated with thousands of colorful lights from January 26 to February 14. Offices and shops located on these streets will decorate the front of their buildings.

A series of music performances, dragon and kylin dances will be organized at hotels like Caravelle, Rex, Majestic, Grand, Continental, Kim Do, Oscar, Bong Sen and Palace from January 31 to February 6.

Firework displays will be held at seven locations around the city and telecast live on Ho Chi Minh City Television on New Year’s Eve.

The areas near to CARIC Company, a French Shipyard & Ship repairing Company in District 2, the construction area of the political and administrative center of District 7, Go Vap District’s Cultural Park, Nga Ba Giong Memorial area of Heroic Martyrs in Hoc Mon District, Ben Duoc Temple of Heroic Martyrs in Cu Chi District, Ethnic Culture historical park in District 9 and Dam Sen Cultural Park in District 11 and Can Gio District have been marked as locations for spectacular fireworks display.

A street book festival titled “Dream” featuring readings and discussions will also be held on Mac Thi Buoi Street in District 1 from January 31 to February 6.

Another festival, the Banh Tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake) festival will take place on January 26 – 31 (December 23 – 28 on the lunar calendar).

The organizers include Saigon tourist Travel Service Company, Dam Sen Cultural Park and the HCM City Department of Labor. War Invalids and Social Affairs department will hand over 10,000 cakes to disadvantaged children from shelters and open houses in the city on January 31.

Source: SGGP

S.Korea readies major military drill near tense border

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:29 am

SEOUL, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – South Korea prepared Wednesday for a major live-fire drill involving fighter jets and tanks near the tense North Korean border, as Seoul and Washington reacted warily to overtures from Pyongyang.


South Korea’s military said Thursday’s ground and air firing exercise 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the mainland border would also involve self-propelled guns and 800 soldiers.

The South Korean Navy MSB (Movement Sea Base) floats off the coast of South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea on December 22, 2010. AFP

Although similar drills have been held at the same firing range at Pocheon many times before, the latest exercise comes with Seoul on high alert for a possible attack from its wayward neighbour.


South Korea’s navy meanwhile began a four-day firing drill Wednesday off the east coast, a relatively distant 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the border with the North, mobilising six warships plus helicopters.


The military said it would practise responses to intrusions by North Korean submarines and patrol boats.


And South Korean marines were posted to guard a Christmas tree that was lit up Tuesday near the land border, reflecting fears that the North might fire on the display as a propaganda symbol.


Tensions have been high since the North shelled an island near the contested western maritime border last month in response to a live-fire drill by the South. The bombardment of Yeonpyeong killed four people including civilians.


The South staged a repeat drill on Yeonpyeong Monday but the North did not go through with threats to hit back, saying it “did not feel any need to retaliate against every despicable military provocation”.


A senior South Korean military commander said Thursday’s drill at the Pocheon range would “demonstrate our solid military preparedness”.


“We will retaliate thoroughly if the North commits another provocative act like the shelling of Yeonpyeong,” First Armoured Battalion commander Choo Eun-Sik told Yonhap news agency.


The North’s comments late Monday eased fears of war on the peninsula, and it also reportedly offered nuclear concessions to visiting US politician Bill Richardson.


But Seoul and Washington have expressed scepticism about the apparent overtures, coming after an intense bout of sabre-rattling from Pyongyang, whose hardline communist regime is undergoing a generational power shift.


The United States said that North Korea was not even “remotely ready” to resume six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, despite the apparent concessions offered to New Mexico Governor Richardson on his private trip.


The White House made clear there was no change to US policy, despite Pyongyang’s reported offer to re-admit UN nuclear inspectors and sell off fuel rods which could be used to produce plutonium.


President Barack Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs said Pyongyang had, over many years and different US administrations, failed to match its words with actions.


“We’re not going to get a table and a room and have six-party talks just for the feel-good notion of having six-party talks,” he said.


“When and if the North Koreans are ever serious about living up to their obligations, then we can think about restarting six-party talks.”


North Korea pulled out of the nuclear talks — which involve the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, China, and Japan — in April 2009 and ordered UN nuclear inspectors out of the country.


It staged a second nuclear test a month later.


Its disclosure last month of an advanced uranium enrichment plant — purportedly to serve a peaceful nuclear power programme — heightened regional security fears.


Richardson, a veteran troubleshooter with the North who was formerly a US ambassador to the UN, unveiled Pyongyang’s apparent concessions after a visit that the White House stressed was unofficial and independent.

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Source: SGGP

Reinforced Thai capital readies for rising waters

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

BANGKOK, Oct 24, 2010 (AFP) – Bangkok braced for rising waters encroaching on the fortified city on Sunday as the death toll from two weeks of nationwide flooding rose to 38, emergency officials said.


The floods, which began on October 10, have affected millions of people across huge swathes of the country, inundating thousands of homes and leaving authorities struggling to reach people stranded in remote areas.

A woman stands in flood water outside her house in Bangkok on october 24, 2010. AFP

The capital has reinforced its flood walls with 200,000 sandbags and will build temporary wooden bridges in 27 communities to help people cross over waterlogged streets.


More than 1,000 water pumps are on standby and authorities are preparing schools, monasteries and mosques in 13 districts for evacuation.


Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that while floods in the kingdom’s east and northeast were declining, the situation in central provinces was concerning, especially with high tides expected in the next few days.


“I’m trying my best to mobilise all possible assistance to solve this problem,” he said on his weekly television broadcast.


The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand reported a further six deaths to add to Saturday’s toll of 32, who were swept to their deaths or killed in accidents as vehicles were carried away by the churning waters.


The two worst-hit northeastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram have each reported six deaths, while six people were also killed in Lop Buri and three died in Khon Kaen.


A further 17 people have died in eight more provinces across central, northeastern and eastern areas, including one in Nonthaburi province, just north of Bangkok.


The Irrigation Department on Saturday issued warnings to people living in seven low-lying provinces, including Bangkok, as water from further north began to flow downstream.


Around 4,000 cubic metres (a million gallons) of water per second was expected to flow into the capital’s Chao Phraya river, which coupled with high sea levels surging from the other direction could cause floods in parts of the city.


More than 2.5 million people, or 828,443 households, have been affected by the two weeks of flooding, which has hit 30 out of Thailand’s 76 provinces, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.


Bad weather has battered countries in the region in recent weeks, with dozens killed in Vietnamese floods and nearly 50 people left dead in the Philippines and Taiwan by Typhoon Megi, which has roared into southern China.


In western Myanmar, Cyclone Giri killed at least one person on Friday and left tens of thousands in need of help.

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Source: SGGP

Tensions simmer as Greece readies pensions reform

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 4:49 am

Hundreds of protesters rallied in Athens on Sunday as the government sought to rein in social tensions while pressing ahead with drastic austerity measures aimed at avoiding a debt default.


“I feel angry that my right to dream has been denied and it’s mainly the government’s fault,” said Penny, a 19-year-old student demonstrating on a square in front of the parliament building — the scene of riots last week.


Greece is burdened by giant debts and a recession-mired economy and has appealed to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for help as it ran out of options to borrow on the markets amid steeply rising costs.


The EU and the IMF have approved an emergency loan package of 110 billion euros (141 billion dollars) to bail out Greece but have demanded strict budget cuts in return, and some experts are warning the money may not be enough.

People attend a protest against the government’s austerity measures as they stand outside the Greek Parliament in the center of Athens.

The IMF’s executive board on Sunday gave final approval to its three-year 30-billion-euro portion of the loan package.


The government has called for consultations on Monday with all of Greece’s main political movements to be hosted by President Carolos Papoulias but two far-left parties that have helped lead protests are boycotting the talks.


The cabinet is also set to give its approval to a radical plan to overhaul the pensions system, raising the retirement age for women to 65 and increasing the number of years that workers have to pay retirement contributions.


Fears of a Greek default have put a focus on the weakness of other European economies such as Portugal and Spain, hitting the euro.


EU finance chiefs met in Brussels on Sunday in a bid to stop the plunge in investor confidence linked to the Greek crisis from spreading to other eurozone nations as observers nervously awaited market reactions on Monday.


Following days of Greece-linked mayhem on world financial markets last week, US President Barack Obama also held separate phone talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the crisis.


In an interview with To Vima daily issued on Sunday, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou warned of the catastrophic consequences if Greece were to default on its debts — something the government is racing to avoid.


“The banking system would stop operating and businesses and households would automatically lose access to bank funds,” Papaconstantinou said.


“We would enter an even deeper recession of around 10 percent, maybe more, which we would not exit for years,” he added.


Violent protests in Athens, which led to the death of three bank employees last week after their office was firebombed, have added to the pressure on the government.


The country’s main union that represents around a million private employees has pledged to mobilise to prevent the pension reform from passing.


But a poll showed Greeks grudgingly accepting the need for cuts.


The survey in To Vima daily showed that 55.2 percent of respondents would accept austerity measures, while 56.3 percent prefer wage cuts to national bankruptcy and 71.3 want squabbling Greek political parties to cooperate.

Source: SGGP

NASA readies Discovery for takeoff

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

Space Shuttle Discovery sits on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center on April 4, 2010, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. AFP photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AFP) – NASA finished fueling the space shuttle Discovery and all systems were ready to go ahead of a Monday launch that will put more women in orbit than ever before.


Discovery’s planned arrival at the International Space Station is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday and will be one of the final missions for the shuttle programme, which will be shuttered later this year.


It is the first shuttle mission with three female crew members and will also mark a first in space, with four women in orbit.


The seven Discovery astronauts were climbing into their bulky, orange launch-and-entry suits after an evening wake-up call. Once suited, they will head to Launch Pad 39A, where Discovery is poised to blast off.


Discovery’s external fuel tanks were filled with about 500,000 gallons (1.9 million liters) of chilled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen at Launch Pad 39A. The propellants will remain completely full until countdown is completed.


The “tanking” operation ended at 12:21 am, a little less than three hours after it began.


Although the fueling operation began about half an hour later than planned, the delay was not expected to alter the blast-off, planned for 6:21 am (1021 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


“The weather forecast calls for an 80-percent chance of good weather for launch, and no weather issues are expected to prevent an on-time predawn liftoff,” NASA said.


It will be the second space shuttle launch for NASA this year. After this flight, only three more are planned before all three remaining US manned orbiters are retired at the end of 2010, ending 30 years of service. The first shuttle flew in April 1981.


During the 13-day mission, Discovery and its crew will deliver over seven tonnes of cargo, including spare bunks for the occupants of the space station, a large tank of ammonia coolant and seven racks filled with science experiments.


American Tracy Caldwell Dyson was headed for the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with two Russian cosmonauts.


Joining Dyson from Discovery will be mission specialists Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, 34, a former high school science teacher; Stephanie Wilson, 43, a veteran of two shuttle missions; and Naoko Yamazaki, 39, an astronaut with the Japanese space agency since 1996.


Rounding out the Discovery crew are mission commander Alan Poindexter, 48; co-pilot Jim Dutton, 41; mission specialist and spacewalker Rick Mastracchio, 50; and fellow spacewalker Clay Anderson, 51.


Among the gear being hauled into space is a freezer to preserve samples of blood, urine, saliva, plants or microbes used in micro-gravity experiments and then analyzed later back on Earth.


Discovery also will be carrying an exercise machine designed to study the effects of micro-gravity on the body’s musculoskeletal system. Muscles can atrophy during long sojourns in space so astronauts have to take care to exercise regularly.


The supplies, racks and other gear are packed into a pressurized Italian-built module named Leonardo, carried in the shuttle’s bay.

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Source: SGGP

NASA readies Discovery for takeoff

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 11:32 am

Space Shuttle Discovery sits on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center on April 4, 2010, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. AFP photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AFP) – NASA finished fueling the space shuttle Discovery and all systems were ready to go ahead of a Monday launch that will put more women in orbit than ever before.


Discovery’s planned arrival at the International Space Station is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday and will be one of the final missions for the shuttle programme, which will be shuttered later this year.


It is the first shuttle mission with three female crew members and will also mark a first in space, with four women in orbit.


The seven Discovery astronauts were climbing into their bulky, orange launch-and-entry suits after an evening wake-up call. Once suited, they will head to Launch Pad 39A, where Discovery is poised to blast off.


Discovery’s external fuel tanks were filled with about 500,000 gallons (1.9 million liters) of chilled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen at Launch Pad 39A. The propellants will remain completely full until countdown is completed.


The “tanking” operation ended at 12:21 am, a little less than three hours after it began.


Although the fueling operation began about half an hour later than planned, the delay was not expected to alter the blast-off, planned for 6:21 am (1021 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


“The weather forecast calls for an 80-percent chance of good weather for launch, and no weather issues are expected to prevent an on-time predawn liftoff,” NASA said.


It will be the second space shuttle launch for NASA this year. After this flight, only three more are planned before all three remaining US manned orbiters are retired at the end of 2010, ending 30 years of service. The first shuttle flew in April 1981.


During the 13-day mission, Discovery and its crew will deliver over seven tonnes of cargo, including spare bunks for the occupants of the space station, a large tank of ammonia coolant and seven racks filled with science experiments.


American Tracy Caldwell Dyson was headed for the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with two Russian cosmonauts.


Joining Dyson from Discovery will be mission specialists Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, 34, a former high school science teacher; Stephanie Wilson, 43, a veteran of two shuttle missions; and Naoko Yamazaki, 39, an astronaut with the Japanese space agency since 1996.


Rounding out the Discovery crew are mission commander Alan Poindexter, 48; co-pilot Jim Dutton, 41; mission specialist and spacewalker Rick Mastracchio, 50; and fellow spacewalker Clay Anderson, 51.


Among the gear being hauled into space is a freezer to preserve samples of blood, urine, saliva, plants or microbes used in micro-gravity experiments and then analyzed later back on Earth.


Discovery also will be carrying an exercise machine designed to study the effects of micro-gravity on the body’s musculoskeletal system. Muscles can atrophy during long sojourns in space so astronauts have to take care to exercise regularly.


The supplies, racks and other gear are packed into a pressurized Italian-built module named Leonardo, carried in the shuttle’s bay.

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Source: SGGP

Discovery readies for Monday launch

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2010 (AFP) – The space shuttle Discovery readied for a Monday morning launch to rendezvous with the International Space Station that will put more women in orbit at the same time than ever before.

The sun rises over Pad 39A (L) on April 3, 2010 as the space shuttle Discovery is prepared for an early morning April 5 launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. AFP photo

As Discovery prepared for lift-off with its crew of seven, including three female astronauts, American Tracy Caldwell Dyson headed for the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with two Russian cosmonauts.


Discovery’s arrival at the space station, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, would mark a first in space, with four women in orbit. It also is also the first shuttle mission with three female crew members.


Joining Dyson from the Discovery will be mission specialists Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, 34, a former high school science teacher; Stephanie Wilson, 43, a veteran of two shuttle missions; and Naoko Yamazaki, 39, an astronaut with the Japanese space agency since 1996.


Rounding out the Discovery crew are mission commander Alan Poindexter, 48; co-pilot Jim Dutton, 41; mission specialist and spacewalker Rick Mastracchio, 50; and fellow spacewalker Clay Anderson, 51.


Officials at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center gave their thumbs up after their prelaunch briefing for a “go” for Monday’s launch just after sunrise at 6:21 am (1021 GMT) from the Florida facility.


The weather was expected to cooperate. Going into the weekend, forecasts put the chances of favorable weather conditions at 80 percent, said meteorologist Cathy Winters.


After this flight, the second shuttle mission this year, only three more are planned before all three remaining US manned orbiters are retired at the end of 2010, ending 30 years of service. The first shuttle flew in April 1981.


During the 13-day mission, Discovery and its crew will deliver nearly eight tonnes of cargo, including spare bunks for the occupants of the space station, a large tank of ammonia coolant and seven racks filled with science experiments.


“We’re really excited about this mission… and the science we’ll be able to get onboard for the ISS to do what it needs to do and demonstrate its true ability as a national laboratory,” said space shuttle launch integration manager Mike Moses.


Among the gear being hauled into space is a freezer to preserve samples of blood, urine, saliva, plants or microbes used in micro-gravity experiments and then analyzed later back on Earth.


Discovery also will be carrying an exercise machine designed to study the effects of micro-gravity on the body’s musculoskeletal system. Muscles can atrophy during long sojourns in space so astronauts have to take care to exercise regularly.


The supplies, racks and other gear are packed into a pressurized Italian-built module named Leonardo, carried in the shuttle’s bay.


After linking up with the International Space State three days after the launch, Leonardo will be removed from the orbiter and docked to the station for unloading.


Until construction of the orbital outpost is completed, NASA has to ferry spare parts and gear to maintain the space station and service the scientific experiments on board.


Two Discovery astronauts will conduct three space walks lasting six and a half hour each on days five, seven and nine of the mission.


One of their principal, and most complex, tasks will be to replace an empty ammonia tank attached to the rear of the station with one that is full. Ammonia is used in the station’s cooling system.


The ISS, a hundred billion dollar project begun in 1998 with the participation of 16 countries, is financed mainly by the United States.


In presenting his 2011 budget proposal in February, President Barack Obama announced that the space station will be maintained until at least 2020.


Once the shuttle program is closed, the United States will depend on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry their astronauts to the ISS until a new US launch vehicle is ready to take over around 2015.

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Source: SGGP

Nation readies for UN review of human rights conditions

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2008 at 3:30 pm

HA NOI — Viet Nam is committed to the success of the UN’s Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism, said Deputy Foreign Miniter Nguyen Quoc Cuong at a workshop in Ha Noi yesterday.


“Viet Nam shares the hopes of the international community that the UN’s Human Rights Council will make a positive contribution to development in international co-operation over human right issues, serving as a forum for effective co-operation and mutual understanding, with adequate respect to the traditions, culture and self-determination of every nation,” Cuong said.


Viet Nam has established an inter-agency mechanism to make preparations for its first comprehensive report on human rights conditions.


UN’s acting resident coordinator in Viet Nam Jesper Morch praised the country’s participation in most of the major international conventions on human rights and cited its remarkable progress in poverty reduction and its implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, with a substantial portion of its social benefits allocated to the nation’s most needy.


However, he said, the protection of human rights, socio-economic development and social security expansion remained challenges to Viet Nam.


The two-day workshop was organised with the aim of providing knowledge and experience for Vietnamese experts in preparation for the submission of the country’s report next year.


Under the terms of the mechanism, the UN’s Human Rights Council reviews the human rights conditions of all 192 UN members every four years as a reminder to the countries of their obligations to the protection and implementation of basic freedoms and human rights. —

Car show readies to ignite auto sales

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm

HA NOI — As many as 12 leading auto makers in Viet Nam will display their flagship vehicles at the Viet Nam Motor Show 2008, the country’s largest car show, which will open in Ha Noi on Thursday, organisers said last week.


The five day event, with the theme Realising Your Dreams, is expected to attract 120,000 visitors, according to the Viet Nam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) and AFTA Co, organisers of the event.


“The theme of the event means that nowadays, it is easier for the Vietnamese to buy their own cars,” said VAMA’s chairman Udo Franz Loersch.


“Meanwhile, with the dynamic growth of the Vietnamese market, we want to entice foreign parts makers to invest more into Viet Nam’s supporting industries,” he added.


Loersch said he hoped the Government would generate more stable and long-term policies for VAMA to expand its production.


The event, which will display the vehicles over 12,000sq.m, will not only create more business opportunities for auto makers and spare parts suppliers, but also celebrates the latest and most advanced auto products in Viet Nam.


According to VAMA, visitors will enjoy hundreds of car models, many of which are concept cars such as the Ford B, Toyota FTHS, Isuzu multi-utility MU7 and GM Daewoo L4X.


Leading auto makers will also display their flagship cars such as Mercedes Benz with its renowned two-door sports car SLK350, and Suzuki with its Swift 1600 race car.


A seminar entitled Preparation for Car Motorisation in Viet Nam will also take place with the participation of representatives from Government organisations and relevant associations and enterprises.


According to VAMA, which represents the country’s 17 leading auto makers including the 12 firms participating in the show, 17 car makers in Viet Nam last month sold a total of 8,458 units, a 31 per cent rise over the same period last year. —

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