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Archive for December 9th, 2008|Daily archive page

RoK’s exports surpass 400 billion USD

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Seoul (VNA) – Up to December 8, the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s exports have surpassed 400 billion USD, bringing the country’s total trade to over 800 billion USD.

The 400 billion-USD figure increases by 4000 times than that of the 100 million-USD-milestone gained by the country in 1964, said the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), who lit up a signboard at COEX trade centre in southern Seoul on December 8 to mark the event.

According to KITA, the RoK is exporting more than 8,500 items of goods to over 200 countries over the world. Key items include ships, telecommunication equipment, automobiles, petrochemical products, semi-conductors…

Even though overseas markets will shrink and competition for export will get fiercer next year amid the global economic slump, the RoK will weather the economic storm and find new opportunities in the crisis if the government and businesses work together, KBS quoted Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Yoon-ho as saying at the above ceremony.

Last year, the RoK’s trade turnover surpassed 700 billion USD, ranking 11th in the world. –

Myanmar, India to trade in euros, Singapore dollars

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Myanmar and India will use euros and Singapore dollars in direct trade transactions as an alternative means to settle credit accounts between the banks of India and Myanmar when Myanmar is under United States’ financial sanctions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Payments for bilateral trade will be conducted through the United Bank of India and three state-run Myanmar banks – Myanmar Investment and Commerce Bank, Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank and Myanmar Economic Bank, said the Myanmar Times, one of the leading local weekly.

India stands as Myanmar’s second largest export market after Thailand and the fourth largest trading partner after Thailand, China and Singapore.

Myanmar-India bilateral trade reached 995 million USD in the fiscal year of 2007-08 with Myanmar’s exports to India accounting for 810 million USD while its imports stood 185 million USD, registering a trade surplus of 625 million USD.

The Myanmar compiled figures also show that India’s contracted investment in Myanmar reached 219.57 million USD as of June 2008, of which 137 million were drawn into the oil and gas sector in September last year.-

Melamine levels for food to follow WHO

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Health is preparing a melamine standard for food.

The amount will be set following a World Health Organisation (WHO) finding that 0.2 milligrammes of the chemical per kilo of body weight per day is tolerable.

This means that a 50 kg person can safely consume 10mg of melamine daily.

“ Vietnam will now consider a safe limit for melamine based on careful calculations,” said the ministry’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department director Nguyen Cong Khan.

It will then publicise the allowed amount,” he said.

The department’s deputy director, Nguyen Thi Khanh Tran, said the ministry had yet to allow any amount of melamine in food.

But the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s recently announced limit of 2.5 mg of melamine in each kilo of animal feed was reasonable.

The WHO limit is lower than that in some industrialised countries.

The European Union’s limit is 0.5mg per kg of body weight and Canada ’s, 0.35mg.

WHO Vietnam representative Jean-Marc Olive said any country that set a melamine limit should sign an agreement with export countries to ensure the limit is honoured.

Importing countries should ask export countries to regularly check and supervise quality and licensing, he said.

Samples taken from the imports should be regularly tested.

Melamine is added to food to artificially boost its protein levels but too much can cause kidney damage.-

Borrowers rush to pay off loans

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 5:13 pm

HCM City (VNA) – Many borrowers who took out high interest rate bank loans months ago are seeking credit on the black market to pay off their loans before their maturity date.

With interest rates on bank loans as high as 18 percent to 21 percent several months ago, borrowers are looking to the black market for loans at an average of 0.5 percent per day (12 percent a month).

Two months ago, Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai of Hanoi ’s Dong Da district borrowed 100 million VND from Hanoi ’s Techcombank at an interest rate of 21 percent per year for a six-month term and she has paid the interest for two months and will have to continue to pay about 7 million VND for the remaining four months.

“I borrowed 100 million VND from the black market on a seven-day term. With such an interest rate, I had to pay a total of 3.5 million VND only. Then I used the money to pay my loan four months ahead of schedule at Techcombank,” she said.

Like many others who have borrowed from the black market, Mai went to a Commercial Bank, Agribank, to take advantage of interest rates that have dropped sharply in the last few weeks.

Her loan at Agribank, at 14 percent interest per month, will be used to pay off her black market loan.

Mai is only one of hundred of individuals and enterprises nationwide who are taking out loans on the black market.

One black market loan dealer, who requested anonymity, said that many companies had been asking to borrow money to pay bank loans before maturity.

He said they often accepted hot loans at interest rates of between 0.5 and 0.7 percent per day and with terms of five to seven days.

To qualify for the loans from the black market, borrowers must use as collateral their ownership certificates for houses or cars if they want to borrow at least 300 million VND.

Several websites have been set up that give information about acquiring loans from the black market.

In mid-October the bank loan ceiling rate was 21 percent per year, falling to 15 percent in late November.

The average interest rate on bank loans has dropped and is now an average of 11 percent.-

Viet Nam, S Korea to share maritime oil-spill expertise

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 4:45 pm

HA NOI — Viet Nam and South Korea will boost co-operation in controlling marine environment pollution, especially in preventing oil spills, according to a memorandum signed yesterday.

Under the document, the two countries will exchange information and experiences on responding to marine pollution caused by oil spills, improving the response system, and building a legal framework for the marine environment.

The deputy director of the General Department of Sea and Islands, Chu Hoi, said Viet Nam wanted to work with South Korea as Viet Nam needed more experiences in managing the sector.

Established in March 2008, the general department comes under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Yesterday’s memorandum was signed between the other deputy director of the General Department of Sea and Islands, Nguyen Van Cu, and director of the South Korea’s Marine Pollution Response Division Lee Wan Sub. —

VN edge Malaysia 3-2 in first win

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm

My kick: Viet Nam’s Phan Van Tai Em (right) vies for the ball against Malaysian Mohamad Zaquan Adha in the AFF Cup. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh

HA NOI — Substitute Nguyen Vu Phong scored twice to clinch a 3-2 win for Viet Nam in a do-or-die match with Malaysia in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup at Sarakul Stadium in Phuket, Thailand yesterday.

Midfielder Phong, who scored five of eight goals for Viet Nam’s Olympic team during the Beijing Olympic qualifiers last year, helped the team achieve its first win since coach Henrique Calisto took over in April.

The win now opens the door to the semi-finals for Viet Nam, after the team suffered a 2-0 loss to Thailand in group B opener last Saturday.

Striker Nguyen Viet Thang took a shot at goal just three minutes into the game, but his shot was easily saved by Malaysian goalkeeper Elias.

Elias, however, could not block a 30m skilful shot by Vietnamese midfielder Pham Thanh Luong in the 17th minute.

Luong dribbled the ball to the centre and suddenly launched a rocket to the back of the net, putting Viet Nam in the lead.

Viet Nam’s happiness did not last long, because Indra Putra tapped the ball in after Mohd Zainal’s shot hit the post in the 20th minute.

The goal helped Malaysia tie the score and led Calisto to shout at the Singaporean referee for allowing the goal when the striker appeared to be offside.

From that time in the game, Calisto had to instruct his players through an assistant from the stand.

The first half ended 1-1.

After the break, Calisto substituted Phong for captain Nguyen Minh Phuong, who helped Viet Nam bag a bronze medal at the championship in 2002.

The change paid off.

In the 72nd minute, Phong chested his teammate’s lob near the 18-yard edge past a Malaysian defender and stunned goalie Elias with a powerful shot to the net at a close corner.

Earlier, Malaysia missed a clear chance when Mohd Safee Sali rocketed the ball to hit the bar.

Malaysia managed to tie the score in the 85th minute, with Indra Putra scoring his second goal of the game.

The match seemed it would end in a draw as time was running out. But, Viet Nam got lucky.

Four minutes to the last whistle, Phong lobbed the ball to striker Le Cong Vinh in a final attack. Driving rain and Elias straying too far from the goal allowed Phong’s pass to bounce over Elias and roll into the net, making possible the valuable win for Viet Nam.

The win sustained Viet Nam in third place of group B with three points, but the team needs a win over Laos in their last match tomorrow to sail into the semi-finals.

In a later match yesterday, Thailand crushed Laos 6-0 to rank at the top with six points and qualify for the semi-finals.

The last match between Viet Nam and Laos will be held at Sarakul Stadium tomorrow in Phuket instead of in Bangkok as originally planned, while Thailand will face-off with Malaysia in Bangkok. —

Glue-sniffing epidemic hits youngsters in HCM City

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm

HCM CITY — Hundreds of teenagers here have become glue-sniffing addicts.

The habit, which once plagued Western countries, is extremely harmful to health and can lead to physical and mental dependence.

The most popular form is a light-yellow liquid that gives users a euphoric feeling after inhalation.

Experts warn the habit can lead inhalants to cancer and stress, inhibit breathing, damage the liver and kidneys, and even kill.

Sitting among five or six adolescents at an internet shop on Huynh Van Chinh street in Tan Phu District, 15-year-old Hoang Tung (not his real name) moves slow and has bleary eyes.

“We are inhaling glue, it is not drugs,” he says. “We are not afraid of being arrested like drug users, but it still makes us euphoric,” a girl in the group adds.

Tung says a senior teenager taught him and some of his friends how to inhale the stimulant a few months ago. Some users are only nine or 10 years old.

In another case, Nguyen Son (not his real name), who claims to have inhaled the stimulant for more than a year, says a group of 100 of his friends do the same.

According to him, it costs between VND2,000 and VND17,000 to buy a pipe of glue, depending on its size. But normally, each pipe will last for only 30 minutes. Users find bigger ones are cheaper, but they usually do not have enough money to buy.

Police told

Many owners and sales persons at groceries in the two districts of Tan Binh and Tan Phu say they have sold glue to teenagers, sometimes up to 10 pipes at a time.

One shop-keeper in Au Co Street says he has informed police about the situation since 2006.

A pensioner recalls seeing groups of adolescents inhaling glue the same year and also reported the problem to police.

He says from only few teenagers practising the habit nearby his apartment in Tan Phu District’s Huynh Van Chinh Street, the number of inhalers has grown to hundreds.

A senior police officer confirms that police know about the situation.

According to him, glues contain a substance that can stimulate the nervous system. However, he adds that it is impossible to prosecute users because the stimulant is not narcotic.

Health danger

Professor Chu Pham Ngoc Son from the Hai Dang company says two types of glue his company was recently asked to analyse contained different kinds of organic solvents.

He says some of the solvents are very harmful to people’s health, including methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, toluene and cyclohexane.

When mixed with other solvents widely used in the industrial sector, their intoxication levels rise.

Professor Nguyen Huu Duc at HCM City Medical and Pharmaceutical University says organic solvents can cause addiction.

Teenagers in many countries, especially in Latin America, have become addicted to solvents after inhaling them.

Duc says users cheery, suffer from delusions or become absent-minded. Feelings of tiredness, headache, dizziness and sleepiness are also reported. —


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