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Archive for November 17th, 2008|Daily archive page

China approves 1.5 bln- USD loan for quake zone

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Beijing (VNA) – The Chinese government has approved five international organisations to provide emergency loans totaling 1.5 billion USD for reconstruction in May 12 quake-hit regions, local media reported.

The funds will be used for infrastructure, healthcare, education, environmental and energy projects in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) was quoted by China daily as saying on November 12.

The bulk of the money, 710 million USD, will come from the World Bank, with the rest coming from the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, and the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development, the NDRC said.

In addition to the international loans, a spokesman for the Civil Affairs Ministry said that the ministry is working on plans to revamp infrastructure in the quake-hit regions following the announcement last week by the State Council of a 586 billion- USD plan to stimulate the domestic economy.

The magnitude 8 quake that shook Sichuan and its neighboring provinces on May 12, claimed more than 69,000 lives and left almost 18,000 people missing. –

Cuba becomes official member of Rio Group

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Havana (VNA) – Cuba has become a full member of the Rio Group, the only political grouping for the region of Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The 22-member current Rio Group took into account “expressions of interest (from Cuba) and a positive evaluation of dialogue, consultations and political agreement, said a document released at the end of the group’s foreign ministers meeting in Zacatecas, central Mexico, on November 13.

Cuba’s entry “reinforces the Rio Group at a moment when the international dynamic requires regional approaches that can count on the support of everyone,” said Panama’s foreign minister, Samuel Lewis.

The Rio Group was created in 1986 in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro with first eight members. –

RoK to resume aid for DPRK despite tensions

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s government said on November 14 that it will resume funding for private aid projects in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) despite Pyongyang’s threat to close the border amid rising tensions.

Kim Ho-Nyoun, spokesman for the unification ministry, was quoted by news agencies as saying that the ministry would grant approximately one billion won (730,000 USD) out of a total four billion won requested by civic groups, after consultations with other government agencies.

After months of frosty relations, DPRK made an announcement on November 12 threatening to shut the border from December 1 in protest at what it called Seoul’s policy of confrontation.

Such a border closure would cripple the RoK-funded Kaesong industrial complex, a joint project built just north of the frontier as a symbol of reconciliation.-

Chinese ship hijacked off Kenya, crewmen “fine”

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The 24 crew members, including four Vietnamese aboard the vessel hijacked by pirates off the coast of the southern Somalian port city of Kismanyuare, are “fine”, Xinhua news agency quoted the pirate’s leader as saying.

The pirates’ leader, who did not identify himself, said that his group boarded the Chinese vessel 30 miles (48.2 kilometres) off the coast of the southern Somalian port city of Kismanyu, 500 km south of the Somalian capital Mogadishu, late in the afternoon of November 13.

The pirate leader claimed that the vessel was fishing off Somalian territorial waters, adding that the ship and crew “will be put before the law and punished accordingly.”

However, a source within the Chinese Ministry of Transport said that the ship, Tianyu No. 8, was fishing off the Kenyan coast when it was hijacked by unidentified persons.

The source informed Xinhua that the hijackers demanded the Chinese fishing boat sail towards a coastal area off southern Somalia.

The pirates holding the Chinese ship said they will speak about their demands “at a later time.”

Onboard the ship, owned by Tianjin Ocean Fishing Company, were 24 fishermen including 16 Chinese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese crewmen.

Somalia is considered to have one of the most dangerous coasts in the world, where numerous international maritime forces have been deployed to fight piracy off the coast of the war-torn Horn of African country, Xinhua added.-

WB, Japan to set up fund for developing countries

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The World Bank and Japan have agreed to launch a 3 billion-USD fund at the global lending agency to help recapitalise embattled financial institutions in developing countries feeling the pinch amid the global financial crisis.

Japan will contribute 2 billion USD and the WB 1 billion USD to the new fund, WB was quoted as saying in a statement issued on November 15 after Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa and WB President Robert Zoellick made the deal in talks.

The contribution will be one of the main proposals Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is to put forward to deal with the crisis at a just-started two-day meeting of the Group of 20 developed and emerging market economies in Washington.

Another of his major proposals will be Tokyo’s plan to lend up to 100 billion USD to the International Monetary Fund so as to help crisis-hit emerging market economies.

Japan’s contribution to the new 3 billion USD fund would be made through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, with the fund expected to be set up at the International Finance Corp., a World Bank group member.-

China, Japan, RoK cooperate in addressing financial crisis

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The finance ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have agreed to enhance collaboration to effectively address the ongoing global financial crisis.

In a joint message released after an informal trilateral meeting on November 14, the ministers vowed to play a pivotal role in maintaining economic and financial stability of the region, after reviewing the current economic and financial conditions and exchanging views on the causes and development of the current crisis, Xinhua news agency reported.

At the meeting, the ministers also discussed policy measures taken by the three countries, reiterating commitment to taking macroeconomic policy and financial stability measures and strengthening policy dialogues among the three countries.

Ministries of finance, central banks and financial supervisory authorities from the three East Asian countries are due to meet in Tokyo on November 26, known as the first initiative of the Workshop on Macroeconomic and Financial Stability, Xinhua said. –

RoK delegation carries message to DPRK

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – An opposition party delegation from the Republic of Korea (RoK) took a message from the RoK government to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to try to improve deteriorating relations after the DPRK threatened to halt border crossings on the divided peninsula.

The Democratic Labor Party group traveled to the DPRK on November 15 via China, Jun Kwon-hee, a party leadership aide, told The Associated Press (AP).

Earlier on November 13, RoK’s Vice Unification Minister Hong Yang-ho met party leader Kang Ki-kap and asked him to tell the DPRK that Seoul has not turned away from deals reached at two bilateral summits and that it is ready to discuss how to implement them, AP quoted Jun as saying.

Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated since RoK President Lee Myung-bak took office in February. After months of frosty relations, the DPRK made an announcement on November 12 threatening to shut the border from December 1 in protest at what it called Seoul’s policy of confrontation.

The Democratic Labor Party is a small, left-leaning opposition party that holds five seats in the RoK’s National Assembly. –

Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit Cuba

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to pay a visit to Cuba from November 17-19 with a view to boosting the long-standing friendship between the two countries.

President Hu Jintao’s upcoming visit would have “a historic significance”, said Xinhua news agency, citing Blanco Silva, director of the Asia and Oceania Division of Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, as saying.

The Cuban diplomat said the relationship between the two countries was “splendid” and based on continuous contacts between high-ranking officials as well as mutual support on international issues. President Hu’s visit would be successful and promote the development of the relations between the two socialist countries, he added.

The Chinese President would make the visit after participation in the G20 summit in Washington.-

Thai PM plans to reshuffle cabinet

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has announced his plan to reshuffle the cabinet after the royal funeral of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the late sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a local paper reported.

According to the Bangkok Post, PM Somchai refused to comment whether this will be a minor or major reshuffle.

He also expressed confidence in the government’s work, saying that the National Anti-Counter Corruption Commission (NACC) ruling against him and 28 others in the previous Samak Sundaravej administration for their handling of the Preah Vihear temple dispute would not impact the work of the government.

The PM would consider filling the seat of deputy prime minister, which was left vacant by Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who was then in charge of security affairs and resigned after the October clashes between police and anti-government protesters.-

ADB gives emergency aid to Cambodia

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Over 68,000 poor families in Cambodia have received emergency food assistance following the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Directors’ approval of the project last month, according to an ADB press release issued on November 14.

“This assistance is making a very real difference to the lives of Cambodia’s most vulnerable, particularly its children,” ADB Country Director Arjun Goswami was quoted as saying.

One of the primary objectives of ADB’s emergency food assistance is to help support Cambodia’s efforts to ease the impact of food price increases on the poorest and most vulnerable families in the seven provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, and in three urban slum areas around Phnom Penh, said ADB’s press release.

The project targeted the worst-off 20 percent of poor families in 200 selected communes, it added.

The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. The ADB is owned by 67 members, 48 from the Asia Pacific region.

In 2007, it granted 10.1 billion USD of loans, 673 million USD of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to 243 million dollars, according to the release.-