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Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Terror attacks kill nearly 80 in India’s Mumbai

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Nearly 80 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in late November 26, as heavily armed Islamist militants hit two luxury hotels and took foreign guests hostage, according to news agencies.

A group calling itself the “Deccan Mujahedeen” claimed responsibility for the assaults on the landmark Taj Mahal and Trident hotels in the south of the city and a number of shooting and bombing incidents elsewhere in the city.

Maharashtra state chief secretary Johnny Joseph was quoted as saying 78 people had been killed. Estimates of the number of wounded ranged from 200 to 350.

The focus of the coordinated assaults was the two upscale hotels, with gunmen taking an unknown number of foreign guests hostage and exchanging fire with anti-terrorist commando units.

Police said they had shot dead four gunmen and arrested nine suspects. Eleven police were killed during the attacks, including the head of Mumbai’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, Hemant Karkare.

A total of 12 explosions shook the insurgency-hit state, six of them ripping through crowded areas in the main city of Guwahati.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on November 26 condemned the bloody attacks in India’s financial capital Mumbai and called on Indian authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.

The United States said the attacks, which also injured hundreds, were “horrific”, while US President-elect Barack Obama pledged to work with India to “root out and destroy terrorist networks”.

Britain condemned the attacks on its former colony as “outrageous” and the European Union expressed its “horror and indignation”.-

Cuba and EU sign cooperation deal

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Cuba and the European Union have agreed on up to 30 million EUR (about 38.7 million USD) for rebuilding areas damaged by hurricanes and strengthening the capacity of agricultural production.

An accord to this effect was signed in Havana on November 26 by Stefano Manservisi, head of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Ricardo Guerrero, Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Investment, according to news agencies.

Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Stefano Manservisi said EU members would send 25 million EUR to 30 million EUR to Cuba next year. He added that much of it would go to repairing homes, power grids and highways ravaged by Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma, which hit this summer and fall and combined to do more than 10 billion USD in damage.

The new funds also will help Cuba bolster environmental protection, biotechnology, disaster preparedness and food production, which suffered severe damage in the storms.

The EU is Cuba’s largest trade partner with 3 billion USD in trade a year.-

Security tightened in Mumbai after terror attacks

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm

New Delhi (VNA) – Security was tightened in Mumbai, India on November 27 a day after a series of terrorist attacks at 10 different places in the city, leaving 101 people dead and 250 injured.

According to the Economic Times of India, five star hotels in the national capital turned into mini-fortresses with dozens of additional private security guards swinging into action checking on vehicles and frisking the patrons following November 26 terror attacks on the posh hotels in Mumbai.

“Our security was always on high alert. We had put into place a new security system after the serial blasts in Delhi . It is a tragic time that we are living in. The security of our patrons is our top most priority,” an executive of the Park Hotel located in Central Delhi was quoted as saying.

Barricades were placed outside the hotels with private security guards keeping a close eye on the visitors. Cars were not allowed to stop in front of the hotel as guards could be seen asking the drivers to park ahead.

The Delhi police have stepped up the security in the national capital in the wake of terror attacks in Mumbai.

An Air India spokesperson said that both domestic and international flights were now running as scheduled from Mumbai international airport on November 27. Railway services also resumed normally after trains were suspended for some six hours from the time people heard about the terror attacks.

The incidents have led to complete closure of all major bourses in the capital’s financial centres. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Indian central bank, said there would be no transactions and settlements in government securities, foreign exchange and money markets on the day.-

Russia, Venezuela sign nuclear energy accord

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Russia and Venezuela have signed an agreement to promote the development of nuclear energy for civilian use.

Under the terms of the agreement, signed on November 26 during a visit to Venezuela by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia will assist Venezuela in the construction of a nuclear energy plant, news reports said.

In addition to the nuclear energy agreement, joint gas and ship-building projects were also approved.

According to news agencies, military co-operation is also high on the agenda of President Medvedev’s talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The Russian leader’s visit took place at a time Russian and Venezuelan warships are scheduled to hold joint military exercises later this week.

After his visit to Venezuela, President Medvedev is scheduled to visit Cuba. –

Chinese police rescue 18 trafficked Vietnamese women

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Beijing (VNA) – Chinese police have rescued 18 Vietnamese women who were trafficked and sold to remote villages in the coastal province of Fujian.

Police in Yunxiao County, Fujian province, discovered evidence of the Vietnamese women trafficking ring through China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces to Yunxiao County at the beginning of the year, said Zhou Qigui, a senior criminal investigation officer with the public security department of Fujian province.

The women, aged 18 to 33, were sold for between 20,000 yuan (approximately 2,900 USD) and 30,000 (4,400 USD) yuan each. Among the women was Nguyen Thi Vu, whose parents had sent a letter to the Chinese government via the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing , asking for help in finding their daughter.

Yunxiao police rescued Nguyen Thi Vu and arrested a person in connection with her trafficking case. The detained person had pleaded guilty. Through the arrestee’s testimony, police arrested four other people in connection with the trans-border women trafficking ring and rescued 18 Vietnamese women.

Police are still investigating the case.–

Russian President in Cuba to improve ties

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Havana (VNA) – President of the Council of the State of Cuba Raul Castro on November 27 met with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss bilateral ties and international affairs.

During their meeting in Havana, President Raul Castro thanked Russia’s valuable assistance for Cuba to overcome recent natural calamities, that caused losses worth 10 billion USD.

Both sides stressed the importance of cooperation in various fields, especially in economy. The two leaders also exchanged views on the current international situation, such as the global economic crisis.

Also on the same day, President Raul Castro and President Dmitry Medvedev visited the recently inaugurated Our Lady of Kazan Orthodox Cathedral, in Havana.

The Orthodox temple, the first of its kind in Latin America, bears significant meaning to Russia and it is a monument raised to the friendship and solidarity relations between Moscow and Havana.

The Russian President is on a working visit to Cuba on November 27-28 at the invitation of his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro. Cuba is his final stop in a tour of Latin American countries. Early, the Russia President visited Peru , Brazil and Venezuela.

Russia is Cuba’s 10th largest trading partner. The two countries’ two-way trade turnover reached 350 million USD in 2007 and is expected to be 400 million USD this year.-

Singapore, Brazil sign series of cooperation agreements

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Singapore and Brazil have signed a series of agreements regarding trade, air services and technology during Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s first visit to the Latin American country.

Under the bilateral air services agreement, inked on November 26, Singapore carriers can operate up to 14 weekly passenger services, and seven weekly air cargo services between Brazil and Singapore, as can Brazilian carriers, Singapore’s Channel News Asia (CNA) reported.

Singapore Airlines’ chairman, Stephen Lee, said the agreement will pave the way for direct air links between the two countries.

Under the trade and investment promotion agreement, a joint committee will be formed to exchange ideas on promoting trade and business.

Meanwhile, the science and technology agreement will see both sides collaborating in areas such as microbiology and dengue control, with a view to developing a vaccine against the disease.

During their meeting, the Singaporean PM, who visited Brazil on November 24-26, and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva noted that developing countries have a role to play in stabilising financial markets and fostering global growth.

They also stressed that there is an urgent need to reform international financial institutions to give greater voice and representation to developing countries.

According to CNA, Singapore is Brazil ‘s biggest trade partner among ASEAN countries and the sixth-largest in Asia. Trade between both sides has grown steadily over the years. In the past five years, trade volume has surged by 230 percent, making Brazil Singapore’s largest trade partner in South America. –

Thailand considers delaying ASEAN summit

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand is considering delaying the ASEAN Summit scheduled for next month after anti-government protesters seized Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports, local media reported.

The move is aimed at avoiding the protests, Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat was quoted by the Nation newspaper as saying on November 27.

Leaders of the ten ASEAN countries plus those of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK), are scheduled to meet in Chiang Mai on December 15-17. The summit was initially planned to be held in Bangkok but the Thai government decided to move it to Chiang Mai because of the protesters.

At a press conference following the 5th CLV (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) summit in Vientiane on November 26, the Prime Ministers of the three countries agreed to request the ASEAN Secretariat to ask the Thai government to confirm its hosting of the 14 th ASEAN Summit.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. –

Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam intensify anti-drug stance

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam have signed a joint agreement to boost cooperation in controlling illegal drugs during their 8 th ministerial meeting in Vientiane, Laos.

At the end of the meeting, which took place on November 23-26 and attracted the participation of the three countries’ ministers in charge of drugs prevention, the three countries issued a joint press release and the Joint Vientiane Declaration on the matter.

They also agreed to continue the implementation of a trilateral agreement regarding cooperation in the fight against drugs, which was approved by the three sides in Cambodia’s Siem Riep, in 2007.

Vietnam agreed to continue assisting Cambodia in the training of detoxification experts, and to carry out a survey on the current detoxification situation in Cambodia, head of Cambodia’s anti-drug international cooperation department Bo Ramy said.

At the meeting between Cambodia and Vietnam, the Cambodian side proposed to establish borderline offices (BLO) between the two countries’ provinces.

Meanwhile, at the other meeting, Cambodia and Laos also agreed to establish BLOs during 2009. –

Thai gov’t holds urgent meeting in Chiang Mai

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s government held an urgent meeting in northern Chiang Mai city on November 27, aimed at finding solutions to put an end to the political turmoil in the country.

Chiang Mai was chosen as the site for the urgent cabinet meeting as Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat could not return to Bangkok.

On the same day, the government’s spokesperson, Nattawut Saikuar, said that the government had asked the military to “stay in their barracks.”

The appeal was made as rumours spread that the army was plotting a coup to end mass protests that have shut down both of Bangkok’s airports.

The army denied there was any attempt to topple Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat following months of anti-government protests, but admitted that tanks had moved through an area of the capital near parliament as part of a display for cadets.

Prime Minster Somchai Wongsawat on November 27 announced the imposition of a state of emergency decree at the two Bangkok airports shut down by anti government protesters for two consecutive days.

The emergency decree was enforced at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports, until 6 pm, November 29, and 6 pm, November 28, respectively. –