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Archive for November 6th, 2009|Daily archive page

Central flashfloods leave at least 118 dead or missing

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

Typhoon Mirinae hit the central region on November 2, bringing heavy rains and floods that left 118 people dead and missing, 88 injured, and lots of house and road casualties.








Flood victims in Phuoc Nghia Commune, Binh Dinh Province, receive instant noodle from Sai Gon Giai Phong relief staff on November 5 (Photo: SGGP)

According to the Flood and Storm Prevention Center for the Central and Central Highlands regions, by November 5, over 60,130 houses were destroyed and inundated.
 
Storm-caused floodwaters caused heavy damage to nearly 600 classrooms, infirmaries and offices, ruined more than 30,000 hectares of rice and other crops, 913 hectares of aquaculture farms, and 2,111 farm rafts, and broke and sank 128 boats.
 
The storm has also caused loss of power and landslide, which has blocked many roads and isolated many areas.
 
The Vietnam Railways Corporation said by November 5, the typhoon ruined over 70 kilometers of railway in the central region, and it has spent VND26.5 billion ($1.47 million) repairing damaged rails at 25 locations so that trains can resume soon.
 
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced Nov.5  the provision of a VND225 billion ($12.5 million) aid program and 10,000 tons of rice to victims in the central provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and the Central Highland province of Gia Lai.








Rail workers repair a broken stretch of railway in Dong Xuan District, Phu Yen Province (Photo: SGGP)

The Ministry of National Defense has assigned more than 4,000 staff and soldiers to help people evacuate, ensure security around inundated areas and clear traffic chaos.


Six helicopter providing relief aid have carried 25,000 tons of goods to residents of central Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces.
 
The Ministry of Health has sent 500,000 tablets of Cloramin B to sterilize water in flooded areas plus 100 life vests.
 
Ho Chi Minh City Red Cross, Sai Gon Giai Phong and other companies and organizations have also raised fund and provided aid for flood-hit people.
 
On the same day, Party Secretary General Nong Duc Manh visited Binh Dinh Province and asked the province to ensure food, drink and medicine for flood-stuck locals.
 
He said the Party pledged that State and local authorities will provide assistance to help the victims resume their normal lives soon.


The Party leader extended his sympathy to bereaved families and those who had seriously suffered from the destruction of typhoon Mirinae which has recently wreaked havoc in the central region.


Related articles:
Heavy rains, floods recede in Central Vietnam
Central Vietnam counts flood damage
At least 90 die in Vietnam floods: officials
35 dead, nine missing in central Vietnam floods
Typhoon Mirinae hits central Vietnam


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Vietnam Cup: hosts take lead, U-23 Thailand hold China

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

Under-23 Vietnam beat Under-23 Singapore 1-0 in Hanoi Thursday in the first day of the Vietnam Football Federation Cup and took the lead, as U-23 Thailand drew 2-2 with U-23 China.


Striker Phan Thanh Binh scored the only goal for the hosts in the 36th minute at the My Dinh National Stadium. Midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang set him a ball in the middle of the left and central defenders of Singapore, and Binh fired with an oblique low shot.








U23 Vietnam’s striker Phan Thanh Binh (R) and U23 Singapore’s defender Afiq fight for the ball during their Nov. 5 match in the friendship VFF Cup in Hanoi (Photo: SGGP)

The home side played faster and higher after the break. They missed at least five chances, including a situation similar to Vietnam’s scoring one in the first half but forward Hoang Dinh Tu, who replaced Binh in the second half, failed to double the gap.


The best chance for U-23 Singapore came a few minutes before the final whistle while the Vietnamese were focusing o attacks. A Singapore striker grabbed the ball from a counter attack. He looped it over Vietnamese keeper Bui Tan Truong but his finish went wide, just a little.


The hosts did not stop their attacks but could not score more. Besides, Singapore keeper Juma made different saves to deny shots from the hosts.


In the earlier match, U-23 Thailand held U-23 China with a 2-2 draw.


The four teams play on a round-robin format in the friendship tournament, designed to help the U-23 teams of Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam improve fitness before they will compete in December’s 25th Southeast Asian Games in Laos.


In the Vietnam Football Federation Cup, the hosts will play China and the Thais will take on the Young Lions on Saturday. In the final matchday, Nov. 9, China will play Singapore before Vietnam confront Thailand.


The winners will pocket US$25,000 while the first and second runners- up will each win US$10,000 and US$5,000.


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Two more swine-flu deaths reported in Vietnam

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

Two more people have died of swine flu in Vietnam, taking the death toll so far to 39.


The Ministry of Health is concerned by the deaths since they were in the northwestern mountainous region which has not reported any cases for a long time.


The first patient, a 54-year-old woman from Mai Son District in Son La Province who also had diabetes and arthritis, died at the Hanoi-based National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases on November 2.


A 32-year-old man from Hoa Binh Province died a day later after having high fever and cough. He bought drugs to treat himself but it did not work.


He was visiting relatives when he was admitted to the Tay Ninh Province General Hospital before being transferred to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tropical Diseases Hospital but doctors’ efforts to save him proved futile.








Dengue fever treated at the Hanoi-based National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases

There was also one death from dengue fever. The head of the Pediatric Department at Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, Nguyen Tien Dung, said a child died of the mosquito-borne disease on November 4. The eight-year-old from Hanoi’s Hoang Mai District was brought to the hospital with vein collapse and lesions in the liver and other organs.


Hanoi has reported six deaths from dengue as against two from swine flu.


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2 HCMC hospitals get green light for private waste treatment systems

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:18 am








Huong Vuong Hospital has Viet Nhat constructed its wastewater treatment system

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and Department of Natural Resources and Environment have approved requests by Children Hospital I and Hung Vuong Hospital to invite a private investor to build waste-treatment facilities.


Viet Nhat Company will build them at the two hospitals at a total cost of VND20 billion. The facilities will use infrared technology for processing the waste instead of chemicals.


The hospitals will pay the company VND4,000 to treat one cubic meter of wastewater.

Related article:
City’s hospitals to get new effluent treatment systems


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Jackie Chan receives ‘Peace and Friendship’ medal

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

The Chinese movie star Jackie Chan, as ambassador for Operation Smile, paid a visit to harelip and cleft-palate children at the Vietnam-Cuba Hospital in Hanoi with Miss Vietnam 2006 Mai Phuong Thuy November 5.








Jackie Chan holds six month-old boy Tran Quy Thien in his arms after surgery of the kid in Hanoi. (Photo: TTO)

He then also attended a two-hour surgery for a six month-old boy at the hospital and was so happy for the success of the operation.


On this occasion, nearly 150 harelip children will be provided free surgery at the hospital.


More than 1,000 children born with facial deformities nationwide will be given free surgery. In addition, over 1,000 children will receive free dental care.


The world-famous actor and martial arts expert arrived in Vietnam on November 4 to spend three days visiting harelip and cleft-palate children.


After attending a press conference at the International Hanoi Westlake Hotel, he took part in a gala dinner to raise money for children with disabilities and celebrate the 20th anniversary of Operation Smile together with Ambassador of Smile Ly Nha Ky, and pop stars My Tam and Dam Vinh Hung.


At the event, the movie star was presented with a medal for Peace and Friendship from the Vietnam Ethnic Organization for his outstanding contribution as an ambassador for Operation Smile.


Jackie Chan is the first international star to receive the medal.


The organization also presented medals and certificates of merit to members of Operation Smile for their efforts in helping children in Vietnam.


He will return to China on November 6 before traveling to Thailand, Singapore and India to continue his philanthropy.


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Da Lat to hold third international flower festival in 2010

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

The Da Lat Flower Festival 2010 will be held from January 1 and 4, the People’s Committee of Lam Dong Province has announced.









 







A flower exhibition is held duirng the 2007 Da Lat Flower Festival  (Photo:KK)
The event, “Da Lat: The city of a thousand flowers,” will present to local and international visitors its various kinds of flowers, and cultural activities and sport competitions, such as the Da Lat flower market; an international flower exhibition introducing famous flowers from regions in the country and abroad; musical and fashion shows; an international trade-expo; seminars on flowers; a night wine festival; a tandem bike festive day; a flower arranging competition; a climbing competition – “Conquering Langbian;” and the Dalat Open Golf Tournament.

The amount of flowers to spruce up the festival will be increased by 50 percent over previous events.

The show also honors the value of Dalat flowers and Dalat flower growers, as well as boosting the local flower industry and act as a center for local and international flower lovers, planters, related businesses and researchers to exchange experiences and present their produce.

The local authorities have also taken measures to limit large increases in room prices during the festival.


Organized for the first time in 2005 and held every two years, the festival has been rescheduled from the original date, December 19 – 23, 2009, and will now be held in January, 2010.


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AirAsia starts HCMC-Phuket service

In Vietnam Travel on November 6, 2009 at 11:16 am









AirAsia announced November 6 the beginning of a service between Ho Chi Minh City and the Thai resort city of Phuket.


The budget carrier, which currently operates on 130 routes to more than 65 destinations, added it plans to begin more services from HCMC and other countries in the region.


Thai AirAsia is a joint venture between Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia and Thailand’s Asia Aviation.


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Rage against GM over 10,000 planned job cuts at Opel

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

 Angry German workers on Thursday protested General Motors’ shock refusal to sell its European unit Opel and its plans to cut 10,000 jobs, moves slammed as a slap in the face for Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Around 10,000 workers demonstrated at Ruesselsheim near Frankfurt, Opel’s biggest German factory, while 3,000 downed tools at Bochum, another 3,000 at Kaiserslautern and around 600 at Eisenach.


GM wants to slash costs by 30 percent at Opel, which would mean the elimination of about one-fifth a workforce of around 50,000, GM vice president John Smith told a telephone news conference.


“Opel — the big piss-take,” screamed the front-page headline of the mass-selling Bild newspaper. “The Americans duped everyone.”


GM even warned employees and unions that it could still allow Opel to flounder if the workforce upholds its threat to refuse wage concessions — a move blasted as “blackmail” Thursday by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. GM, Opel’s 80-year union








Opel workers demonstrate with banners at the main plant of carmaker Opel in Ruesselsheim, western Germany, during a protest one day after General Motors’ shock refusal to sell its European unit Opel and plan to cut some 10,000 jobs

GM estimated it would need 3.0 billion euros (4.5 billion dollars) in state aid and was confident it could secure the sum from Germany and other European countries where Opel and the British Vauxhall unit have plants.


The announcements came a day after GM, which was struggling with a bankruptcy reorganisation backed by the US and Canadian governments, stunned the auto sector by abandoning an agreed plan to sell Opel to Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna International and state-owned Russian bank Sberbank.


It said it would restructure the unit itself, just hours after an unwitting Merkel gave a historic speech before a joint session of the US Congress and held talks with US President Barack Obama.


Obama assured Merkel in a phone call on Wednesday evening that he was “not involved” in GM’s decision, Merkel’s spokesman said Thursday.


Germany’s economy minister on Wednesday slammed GM’s behaviour as “totally unacceptable.” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday called the US firm’s decision “disdainful.”


“The last-minute withdrawal from the completion of this deal does not harm our interests, but to put it mildly, it reflects our American partners’ peculiar way of dealing with their counterparts,” Putin said.


Merkel’s government had invested major financial and political capital in saving Opel from insolvency before a September general election that which she handily won.


Beyond pledging 4.5 billion euros in state aid for the ailing company, Berlin spent months shepherding a rescue deal.


About half the company’s employees work in Germany and although Magna had said it would cut around 10,500 jobs, Berlin had been confident that most of the German staff would be spared.


“It is incredible how GM has played with the feelings, the fears, the worries and the needs of Opel workers and their families,” Klaus Franz, the head of Opel’s works committee, told demonstrators in Ruesselsheim.


“I’m going to laugh myself sick if GM restructures us. It’s not going to work, it’s all going to go down the drain,” Uwe Raubert, who has worked at Opel for 33 years, told AFP. Opel workers fear for their futures


In contrast to Germany, in Spain, where many had feared local workers would bear the brunt of a sale to Opel, the press was largely optimistic about the effects of the GM turnabout.


And Britain’s biggest trade union Unite, which greeted GM’s decision with delight on Wednesday, said Thursday it was keen to work with GM to ensure job cuts at Opel were voluntary.

Peter Mandelson, British business minister, said there must be a “fair balance” of jobs lost and state aid given by European governments.

“And that is of course something that we have yet to discuss amongst ourselves and with the GM management.”


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China adopts “malaria diplomacy” as part of Africa push

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

In a laboratory in China’s southern city of Guangzhou, scientists are trying to enhance the rare sweet wormwood shrub, from which artemisinin — the best drug to fight malaria — is derived.


China hopes to improve and use the drug as a uniquely Chinese weapon to fight malaria not on its own soil, where the deadly disease has been sharply pruned back, but in Africa, where it still kills one child every 30 seconds.


Already, a Chinese-backed eradication program on a small island off Africa has proven a huge success.


Away from its practical application, scientists back in the lab in Guangzhou are also achieving results. In one of the lab’s refrigerators sit a dozen triangular test-tubes holding seedlings of the sweet wormwood shrub, also called Artemisia annua, which has only been found in the wild in China, Vietnam and border areas in Myanmar.


“There are about 0.6 parts of artemisinin in every 100 parts of the plant in the wild, but we have managed to increase the artemisinin content to between 1.2 and 1.8,” said Feng Liling, assistant professor at the Tropical Medicine Institute in Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


China pledged to help Africa fight malaria at the triennial Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2006 and has since set up 30 anti-malaria and prevention units. The next FOCAC meeting is in Egypt on November 8-9.


Helping developing countries eradicate malaria will help China project its influence and prestige as a global power, said politics professor Joseph Cheng at City University in Hong Kong.


“China is exploring cost effective ways to help the Third World and is interested in making distinct contributions,” Cheng said, adding that Western interest was often lacking in a disease that seldom afflicts rich country citizens.


“Malaria suits these requirements. It is not that expensive. It is cheaper than fighting AIDS.”


SUCCESSFUL TRIAL


Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria have begun farming hybrids of the sweet wormwood shrub with Chinese and Vietnamese ancestry, said Li Guoqiao at the Tropical Medicine Institute.


“I inspected the plantations and the plants are growing well,” Li told Reuters in an interview.


Asked if China would export the high-yielding Artemisia annua to Africa, Li said: “We want to grow them in China and whatever we export depends on bilateral relationships.”


Li is spearheading a project on the tiny African island of Moheli, which belongs to the Comoros group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel.


In mid-November 2007, he launched a “mass drug administration” exercise on the island. Its entire population of 36,000 had to take two courses of anti-malarial drugs to flush the parasite from their bodies — on day one and day 40.


The rationale was that while mosquitoes pass the parasite from person to person, they are merely “vectors” and not hosts. The real reservoir of the disease is people, and many carry the parasite in their bodies without even showing symptoms.


“The key is to eradicate the source, which is in people. Without the source, the vectors are harmless,” he said.


The results were startling. While the parasite carrier rate in Moheli ranged from 5 to 94 percent from village to village before the exercise, that fell to 1 percent or less from January 2008 and has stayed around that figure since.

“Before, 70 to 80 percent of hospital patients were there for malaria. After that, you hardly find any,” Li said.

Comoros now bars anyone from entering Moheli unless they take a course of antimalarial drugs — a mix of artemisinin, primaquine and pyrimethamine that China provides for free.

Its government has asked Beijing to roll out the same program in two of its larger islands, Grande Comore and Anjouan, with a total population of 760,000. Li said Beijing supported the idea in principle and that funding was being worked out.


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Saudis launches offensive against Yemen rebels

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

 Saudi Arabia sent fighter jets and artillery bombardments across the border into northern Yemen Thursday in a military incursion apparently aimed at helping its troubled southern neighbor control an escalating Shiite rebellion, Arab diplomats and the rebels said.


The Saudis — owners of a sophisticated air force they rarely use — have been increasingly worried that extremism and instability in Yemen could spill over to their country, the world’s largest oil exporter. The offensive came two days after the killing of a Saudi soldier, blamed on the rebels.


Yemen denied any military action by Saudi Arabia inside its borders. But Yemen’s president is a key ally of the Saudis, making it highly unlikely the kingdom would have launched the offensive without tacit Yemeni agreement.


A U.S. government official said the Yemenis were not involved militarily in the fighting. The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.


The offensive immediately raised concerns of another proxy war in the Middle East between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally. Shiite Iran is believed to favor the rebels in Yemen while Saudi Arabia, which is Sunni, is Iran’s fiercest regional rival.








n this photo taken Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, F-15 warplanes of the Saudi Air Force fly over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal

The same dynamic has played out in various forms in Lebanon, where Iran supports the Shiite militant Hezbollah and Saudi Arabia favors a U.S.-backed faction, and in Iraq, where Saudi Arabia and Iran have thrown support to conflicting sides in the Sunni-Shiite struggle.


A top Saudi government adviser confirmed “a large scale” military operation underway on the Saudi-Yemeni border with further reinforcements sent to the rugged, mountainous area.


“It is a sustained operation which aims to finish this problem on our border,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. He said Saudi troops were coordinating with Yemen’s army, but Yemen’s defense ministry denied the Saudis were inside the country.


The northern rebels, known as Hawthis, have been battling Yemeni government forces the past few months in the latest flare-up of a sporadic five-year conflict. They claim their needs are ignored by a Yemeni government that is increasingly allied with hard-line Sunni fundamentalists, who consider Shiites heretics.


The rebels said the Saudi airstrikes hit five areas in their northern stronghold Thursday but it was not possible to independently verify the reports. They said there were dead and wounded, and that homes were destroyed. The rebels’ spokesman said people were afraid to get near the areas being bombed, making it difficult to count the casualties.


“Saudi jets dropped bombs on a crowded areas including a local market in the northern province of Saada,” Hawthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam told The Associated Press. “They claim they are targeting al-Hawthis, but regrettably they are killing civilians like the government does.”


He said the attacks were followed by hundreds of artillery shells from the border.


“So far, three killed have been pulled out of the rubble, including a woman and a child who perished when their houses were bombed and burned down,” said Abdel-Salam.


The fighting is more than 600 miles from Saudi Arabia’s oil fields on the kingdom’s eastern Persian Gulf coast. But northern Yemen overlooks the Red Sea, the world’s busiest route for oil tankers.


Two Arab diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Saudi Tornado and F-15 warplanes had been bombarding targets inside Yemen since Wednesday afternoon, inflicting significant casualties on rebels. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to talk to the media.


They said army units and special forces also had been sent to northern Yemen, and that several Saudi towns on the border had been evacuated as a precaution.


State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters he had no information about whether the conflict had spread across the border but expressed Washington’s concern over the situation.


“It’s our view that there can be no long-term military solution to the conflict between the Yemeni government and the Hawthi rebels,” Kelly said. “We call on all parties to the conflict to make every effort to protect civilian populations and limit damage to civilian infrastructure.”

The weak central government of Yemen, which has little control outside the capital San’a, is fighting on multiple fronts including the northern rebels and a separatist movement in the south. But the most worrisome is a lingering threat from al-Qaida militants.

The U.S. also fears any Yemeni fighting could spill over into Saudi Arabia and is concerned that Yemen could become a haven for al-Qaida militants hiding out in the nation, at the tip of the Arabian peninsula.

The Yemeni government openly accuses Iran of arming the Hawthis rebels, but there has been no public evidence to back those claims, said Joost Hiltermann, deputy program director of the Middle East program for the International Crisis Group think tank in London.

“I think Iran is probably pleased with what is happening, but that is not the same as saying they are supporting the Hawthis,” Hiltermann said.

Simon Henderson, director of Gulf and energy policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, agreed that there is no clear evidence that Iran funds the rebels. But he said there is a wide assumption that Iran favors the Hawthis and the Saudis are backing Yemen’s Sunni president.

“So it is a Saudi-Iranian proxy war,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, rich in oil, has one of the world’s most sophisticated air forces but rarely uses it.

The bulk of its air power, with more than 350 combat aircraft, derives from squadrons of F-15s and British-supplied Tornados, according to the military and intelligence analysis group GlobalSecurity.org. The kingdom also for decades has received U.S. military assistance in the form of training.

The Saudi incursion marks the first time since the 1991 Gulf War that the country has deployed military might beyond its borders.

In that war, Saudi forces assisted the U.S. Marine Corps, providing staging grounds for airstrikes and in joint operations targeting Iraqi positions in Kuwait with artillery fire and ground offensives.

The incursion is not, however, Saudi Arabia’s first involvement in internal Yemeni conflicts. During Yemen’s 1962-70 civil war, sparked by a military coup that overthrew Yemen‘s royalist government, Saudi Arabia supported the royalists against the Egyptian-backed government.

When civil war erupted again in 1994, it was widely believed that the Saudis sided with southern secessionist rebels against the central government.

A security official told Saudi Arabia’s state news agency that the soldier died when gunmen infiltrated from Yemen and attacked security guards patrolling the Mount Dokhan border area Tuesday. Rebels said that area was among the bombing targets Thursday.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, the region’s main diplomatic forum, condemned what it called the “violation and infiltration” of Saudi Arabia’s borders. “Saudi Arabia is capable of protecting its lands,” it warned in a statement.


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