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Archive for November 11th, 2009|Daily archive page

Vietnam confirms 40th death from A/H1N1 flu

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:07 am

Health authorities on Nov. 10 confirmed one more death from A/H1N1 flu, bringing the total number of fatalities to 40.


The victim was a 17-year-old girl from Dong Anh district, Hanoi. She showed signs of fever, cough and pain in the chest and was sent to the district hospital on Nov. 5 and then transferred to the higher-level hospital of Thanh Nhan and later on to the national hospital for communicable and tropical diseases as her condition worsened.


At the hospital, she tested positive for the A/H1N1 flu virus and was treated with Tamiflu and antibiotics. Despite intensive treatment, the girl died on Nov. 7.


As of the end of Nov. 10, Vietnam has reported 10,791 H1N1 cases of the super-flu and has already discharged 10,549 of them.


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Nominees for Golden Lotus Film Award announced

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:06 am

The Golden Lotus Award competition of the 16th Vietnam Film Festival has revealed the list of nominees. The festival will be held in HCM City from December 8-12.








A poster introducing film “Don’t Burn”

According to the Vietnam Cinema Administration, films produced and distributed between the 15th and 16th festivals (November 2007 to December 2009) can join.


Film studios have the right to choose nominees for the Golden Lotus Awards without quantity restrictions. The submission deadline was October 20.


In the past two years, Vietnamese film studios produced nearly 30 large-screen movies, such as “Don’t Burn,” “Moon in the Bottom of the Well,” “Adrift,” “The Owl and the Sparrow,” “The Legend Is Alive,” “Black Forest,” “Little Heart,” “Passport of Love,” “14 Days,” “The Price for a God,” “Saigon Love Story,” “Saving The Death,” “The Hot Kiss,” “Blink of Fate,” “I Want to Be Famous” and “The Dance of Death.”


According to the festival’s organizing board, over 20 will participate in the festival.


Thien Ngan Galaxy, a big film producer and distributor, said that this year, it will submit only one work, “Saving the Death,” a best-seller in the Tet 2009 film season. Meanwhile, BHD said that its nominee is “Beautiful to the Last Centimetre.”


Thien Ngan and BHD only produce films for popular audiences during the Tet film season so they will only send one film to the festival.


Meanwhile, Phuoc Sang is a private firm with the highest number of nominees, three films: “Swordman,” “Miss Muoi” and “Legend Is Alive.”


Chanh Phuong Films registered two movies, “14 Days” and “The Owl and the Sparrow.”


For state film companies, the number of nominees is remarkable, with three from Vietnam Feature Films Studio: “Black Forest,” “Little Heart” and “Still Alive.”


The latest is the first large-screen movie by Tran Trung Dung, a true story of a flight attendant named Hoang Thi Thu Hang.


The Vietnam Movie Association Film Studio’s Director Hong Ngat revealed that her company submitted two films: “I Want to Be Famous” and “Don’t Burn,” which will represent Vietnam at the Oscars.


The Feature Film Studio chose “Adrift.” This film will be introduced in local cinemas as of November 13, after traveling to many prestigious international film festivals like Venice, Toronto, Pusan, London and Bangkok.


“The Moon at The Bottom of the Well” will represent the Liberation Film Studios.


This year, besides familiar awards, the organizing board will present the “Best Film” award voted on by the media.


The Vietnam Film Festival is organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Cinema Administration each two years. It is one of the two key film events in the country, besides the annual Golden Kite Awards of the Vietnam Cinema Association.


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UNESCO to fund preservation of ancient Hanoi site

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:06 am

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has given the green light to include Thang Long, the ancient site of Hanoi, in a list of relics whose preservation will be financed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).








The Thang Long Imperial Citadel is shown in an ancient map

The project will get non-refundable aid of US $1.1 million.


Earlier this year the Center for Preservation of Co Loa – Hanoi Ancient Citadel Relics sent the profile of Thang Long – Hanoi Imperial Citadel to UNESCO for consideration to recognize it as a world cultural heritage site.


The citadel, excavated in December 2002, covers an area of 19 hectares in Ba Dinh District. But it is believed to extend over 40 hectares in all.



 


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Clinton: US envoy’s trip to North Korea still on

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:05 am

SINGAPORE, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – A US envoy will go ahead with a landmark trip to North Korea despite a naval clash between the Stalinist state and South Korea, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.


“We are obviously hoping that the situation does not escalate and we are encouraged by the calm reaction that has been present up until now,” Clinton told reporters at Asia-Pacific talks here.


“But this does not in any way affect our decision to send Ambassador (Stephen) Bosworth. We think that is an important step that stands on its own,” she said, renewing US demands for North Korea to end its nuclear drive.


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S.Korea military on alert after naval clash

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:05 am








South Korean Navy vessels sit at anchor at a naval base in Incheon, west of Seoul, on November 11, 2009 (AFP photo)

SEOUL, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – South Korea’s military was on alert Wednesday for any retaliatory moves after a North Korean patrol boat was set ablaze in a naval clash, as Washington warned Pyongyang against escalating tensions.


Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young ordered army, navy and air force commanders in charge of border areas to step up surveillance and respond immediately to any provocation, a spokesman for Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.


Tuesday’s clash near the disputed Yellow Sea border raised tensions just over a week before US President Barack Obama arrives in Seoul as part of an Asian tour.


White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called on the North to avoid any further actions “that could be seen as an escalation”.


But Washington also announced it was accepting an invitation to send an envoy to Pyongyang to try to bring the communist state back to nuclear disarmament talks.


The State Department said the US envoy to North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, would visit at an appropriate time, probably before year-end.


Military sources quoted by Seoul newspapers said one North Korean sailor was killed and three wounded in the brief but fierce exchange of fire.


The defence ministry said it could not confirm the figure. No South Koreans were injured.


President Lee Myung-Bak called Tuesday for calm to prevent any escalation. His Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan described the clash, which follows recent peace overtures from the North, as unplanned.


But Lee is concerned about a possible retaliatory move by the North, Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young told parliament Tuesday.


The top presidential aide for security affairs, Kim Sung-Hwan, told Yonhap news agency Wednesday there were no signs of preparations for any revenge strike.


“But the North may take its time, waiting for the best chance for retaliation. We’re taking countermeasures,” he said.


Cross-border tensions have been high for more than a year and the North has also angered the international community with missile test-launches and a second atomic weapons test. The United Nations tightened sanctions in response.


The North says it is ready to rejoin six-nation nuclear disarmament talks that it quit in April if the US discussions go well.


Washington stresses that the bilateral talks are intended only to bring Pyongyang back to the six-party forum, which also includes South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.


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Indonesian president in Malaysia to mend strained ties

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:04 am








Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrives in Malaysia Wednesday for a visit aimed at smoothing over the latest spats between the neighbours, who have a history of troubled relations.


Yudhoyono will be given a full state welcome at Parliament Square in the afternoon, before an evening audience with Malaysia’s king and a state banquet. On Thursday he will hold talks with Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.


Discussions are expected to cover allegations of mistreatment of Indonesian maids, a territorial dispute, regional terrorism and wrangles over cultural issues that have caused anger in Indonesia.


“I think we have our ups and downs,” Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told AFP ahead of the visit.


“What is important is that wisdom and sincerity prevails among our top leaders so that (contentious issues) will not jeopardise our relationship.”


Hishammuddin said the discussions between Najib and Yudhoyono would cover the issues of “foreign workers, terrorism, Islamic militancy, border security and drug trafficking”.


Relations have dived since June when Indonesia said Malaysian warships entered oil-rich waters of the disputed Ambalat area in the Sulawesi sea off northeastern Borneo island.


An Indonesian navy ship came within moments of firing on a Malaysian vessel.


Tensions have been aggravated by horrific cases of abuse against Indonesian maids, which led to Jakarta putting a temporary ban on sending domestic workers to Malaysia.


One of Asia’s largest importers of labour, Malaysia depends heavily on domestic workers, mainly from Indonesia, but has been criticised for not introducing legislation to enshrine their rights and conditions.


Cultural issues, long a flashpoint between the two countries, have also added to the troubles.


Foreign minister Anifah Aman met his Indonesian counterpart in September after anger erupted over erroneous reports that Malaysia had screened tourism advertisements featuring the traditional “pendet” dance of Indonesia’s Hindu-majority Bali island.


The ad was actually a promotion for a Discovery Channel programme, but did little to quell a media-fuelled rage in Indonesia that saw protesters vow to “crush Malaysia” and organise vigilante sweeps aimed at rounding up Malaysians.


“The visit by the Indonesian president will help mend ties and allow the two leaders to reconcile and strengthen their bond,” Mohamad Abu Bakar, professor of international relations at University Malaya, told AFP.


“The relationship of the two Southeast Asian countries is stable but we see minor eruptions,” he said.


Hishammuddin said relations between the two sides remained strong in the area of security.


“At the operations level, the relationship is very strong. If not you will not see Mas Selamat and Noordin Mohammed Top brought to book,” he said.


In September, Indonesian security forces working with unspecified cooperation from Malaysia, killed Noordin, a 41-year-old Malaysian who led a violent splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) radical network.


He is believed to have masterminded suicide bombing at two Jakarta hotels in July, as well as a string of other attacks including the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta and 2005 attacks on the holiday island of Bali.


Malaysian security services said in July that with the help of Indonesia and Singapore, they had captured militant Mas Selamat bin Kastari, head of the JI cell in Singapore who had been on the run for more than a year after escaping from a high-security detention centre in Singapore.


Yudhoyono will travel to Singapore on Thursday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.


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Cambodia refuses to extradite Thailand’s Thaksin

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

PHNOM PENH, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – Cambodia on Wednesday rejected Thailand’s request to extradite Thaksin Shinawatra, inflaming tensions over Phnom Penh’s appointment of the fugitive former Thai premier as an economic adviser.


Billionaire Thaksin, who was toppled in a bloodless coup in 2006 and lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption, arrived in Cambodia on Tuesday and received a warm welcome from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.








In this handout photo provided by the Prime Minister office, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (R) sits with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) at a house that Hun Sen prepared for Thaksin in Phnom Penh on November 10, 2009 (AFP)

Thai diplomats gave extradition papers to officials at Cambodia’s foreign affairs ministry early Wednesday but were then handed back a note from Phnom Penh denying their request, an AFP reporter saw.


“Our diplomatic note answering them is nothing beyond rejecting the extradition request,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told AFP shortly before the exchange of letters.


Cambodia had repeatedly vowed to refuse any request from its larger neighbour for the extradition of Thaksin, saying that the charges levelled against him in Thailand were politically motivated.


“Thaksin’s conviction is caused by the coup in September 2006, when he was the prime minister of Thailand whom Thai people voted in with an overwhelming majority in accordance with democracy,” Hor Namhong said.


Tensions are already running high between the two countries following a series of clashes over a temple on their border and the row threatens to mar a weekend summit of Southeast Asian leaders with US President Barack Obama.


In Bangkok, Thailand’s foreign ministry said it was waiting for official confirmation from the embassy in Phnom Penh that Cambodia had denied its request and “will consider the next measures to take”.


Thailand and Cambodia recalled their ambassadors from each other’s countries last week after Thaksin’s appointment, and this week the Thai cabinet agreed to cancel an oil and gas exploration deal with Cambodia signed under Thaksin.


Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has threatened to tear up the extradition treaty with Cambodia if it refuses to send Thaksin home to face justice.


Thaksin is due to give a speech to 300 Cambodian economics experts on Thursday. Cambodian officials have said he will stay in the country for two or three days but is not intending to live there.


In a posting on micro-messaging website Twitter, Thaksin said that on Wednesday he would “discuss with Hun Sen about Cambodia’s problems and its relations with Thailand, to improve understanding and find mutual ways to benefit our two countries.”


Twice-elected Thaksin fled Thailand in August 2008, a month before a court sentenced him to two years in jail in a conflict of interest case. He had returned to Thailand just months earlier for the first time since the coup.


But he has retained huge influence in Thai politics by stirring up protests against the current Thai government, and analysts say that in his close friend Hun Sen he had found a new way of pushing his campaign for a return to power.


Thailand’s government upped the pressure on Thaksin this week by accusing him of offending the revered monarchy after he was quoted by the website of British newspaper The Times as calling for reform of royal institutions.


Defaming the monarchy, led by 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail in Thailand. The king has been in hospital since September with a lung and chest infection.


Cambodian state television late Tuesday showed Thaksin and Hun Sen embracing, reporting that the Cambodian leader pronounced him an “eternal friend.”


Thaksin also planned to visit Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple during his trip, television said.


Cambodia and Thailand have fought several deadly skirmishes over another ancient monument, the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, since it was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in July 2008.


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Asia faces new risks of overheating: Zoellick

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:03 am

SINGAPORE, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – Asia’s rapid recovery from the economic crisis carries new risks of overheating, and governments must carefully unwind their huge stimulus injections, the World Bank chief warned Wednesday.


Robert Zoellick said there were signs in some markets of a “substantial” rise in equity and property prices which could lead to asset bubbles — the very ingredients that triggered the global crisis in the first place.


“In East Asia, if you start to get a strong rebound in growth, and you’ve got a lot of liquidity, there is the question of whether one could start to face asset bubbles in particular markets,” he told the Foreign Correspondents Association of Singapore.


He said this was one reason why Australia had become the first industrialized nation to raise interest rates since the crisis erupted, but the response could differ among countries.


“I think one of the questions here will be the timing of how they manage the interest rates and the risk that they could get some inflation and even asset bubbles which obviously, if they become a serious issue, could undermine confidence going forward,” he said.


Zoellick said Asian governments must take care in winding down the multi-billion-dollar stimulus packages they implemented to ease the impact of the global downturn.








World Bank president Robert Zoellick (R) speaks while Richard Woolcott (L), former Australian secretary of foreign affairs and trade, share a light moment during the APEC 20th anniversary high-level symposium on November 10, 2009 in Singapore (AFP photo)

Most of the packages will run until next year, and governments must find a way to transition smoothly back to growth led by the private sector, he said.


“A lot of the stimulus programmes, including the one in the United States, really don’t have their full effects until late this year and the first half of 2010,” he said.


“And so when that stimulus money has run its course, then the question will be, will the private sector rebuild demand?”


Zoellick was speaking on the margins of annual meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Singapore, leading up to a summit this weekend of regional leaders including US President Barack Obama.


The APEC leaders are expected to say they will maintain their hefty stimulus packages until they secure a “durable” recovery from the world’s worst slowdown since the 1930s, according to a draft communique seen by AFP.


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APEC warned to fight protectionism

In World on November 11, 2009 at 11:02 am

SINGAPORE, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – Asia-Pacific economies led by the United States and China opened annual talks Wednesday with calls to fight protectionism or risk reversing the region’s “fragile” economic rebound.








Ministers pose during a photograph for Trade and Foreign Ministers in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Singapore on November 11, 2009 (AFP photo)

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said “resisting protectionism” was the topmost concern, as foreign and trade ministers from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group met in advance of a weekend summit here.


“It is a slippery slope and if we are not careful, before we know it, all of us will be in a much more dire situation,” he said before convening the meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Pacific Rim delegates.


Asked if the ministers believed the world’s worst economic crisis since the 1930s was at an end, Yeo told reporters: “The consensus is that it is by no means over.


“The upturn that we now have is a respite… the situation is still fragile and we should address the root causes of the problem.”


APEC was founded in 1989 with the goals of promoting free trade and investment. Its membership stretches from impoverished Papua New Guinea to the United States via the fast-emerging heavyweight China.


The group is lagging on its ambition of eliminating all barriers to commerce among developed members by next year, and the global crisis has made free trade an even harder sell, most notably in the United States.


World Bank president Robert Zoellick, who is attending APEC’s 20th anniversary gathering, told the Foreign Correspondents Association of Singapore that protectionism remains a risk.


“This is still a region that is dependent very much on trade and logistics systems and so when you get higher unemployment, you always have the risk of protectionism as well,” he said.


US Chamber of Commerce chief Thomas Donohue urged APEC to fight “trade isolationism” and lead the world in “jump-starting” the Doha round of talks on a new global trade deal.


“Expanding free trade across the Pacific can drive the global economic recovery, create badly needed jobs, and advance economic and social progress in developing and developed countries alike,” Donohue said at a separate forum.


“The United States, in particular, needs to get off the sidelines and embrace an ambitious trade agenda,” he said.


But US President Barack Obama, who is among the leaders attending the summit along with China’s Hu Jintao, will struggle to get more trade pacts past a recalcitrant Congress.


In any case, a study commissioned by the Singapore-based APEC secretariat suggests that the impact of APEC membership has been just as beneficial as a formal free trade agreement in terms of driving down business costs.


“This suggests that APEC members enjoy a significant degree of de facto integration even though APEC’s trade liberalisation process is non-binding,” said a summary of the study by independent economists.


APEC’s members, which also include Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia, account for about 40 percent of the world’s population, just over half its gross domestic product and roughly 44 percent of global trade.


APEC finance ministers will meet separately on Thursday and are expected to call for lavish stimulus spending to be kept in place until the global economic recovery is secure.


The World Bank chief warned, however, that the accelerating recovery in Asia could trigger a new round of economic overheating and inflation, and said governments must unwind their stimulus injections with care.


Zoellick said there were signs in some countries of a “substantial” rise in equity and property prices which could lead to asset bubbles — the very ingredients that triggered the global crisis in the first place.


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SGGP to confer Nguyen Truong Toan Prize on 30 teachers

In Vietnam Education on November 11, 2009 at 11:02 am








 







Students congratulates teacher Bui Thi Xuan Hoa in a ceremony to honor excellent teachers in Vinh Long Province in the school year 2008-09. (Photo: SGGP)

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Training and Education and SGGP named 30 teachers for the 2009-10 Nguyen Truong Toan Prize for their innovative teaching methods and dedication.


They are from regular schools, continuous education schools, and vocational training and special training units based in the city.


Nguyen Hoang Duyen of Hong Ha Primary School is the youngest at 34 to be named for the prize.


SGGP instituted the Vo Truong Toan Prize in 1998 and it has since become a coveted award for recognizing teachers’ dedication.


The awards ceremony will be shown live on television on November 18.


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