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Archive for November 17th, 2009|Daily archive page

Cold snap to affect the south

In Vietnam Weather on November 17, 2009 at 11:09 am

A cold front from the north will affect Vietnam’s southern and Central Highlands regions, Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the National Hydrometeorological Forecast Center, said November 16.

Ho Chi Minh City dwellers wear overcoats during a cold spell last year (filed photo)

Though the daytime weather will continue to be sunny, with the temperature at a high of 29-30 degrees Celsius, nights will be fairly chilly.

Most areas in the north and the central part of the central region are experiencing cold weather and, according to Mr. Hai, will have fog.

The cold spell is likely to last at least five days, he said.

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Stocks add little as investors wait on information

In Vietnam Stock Market on November 17, 2009 at 11:09 am

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index, which tracks 182 companies and four mutual funds on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, gained 0.25 percent November 17 as investors, wary of a dearth of news, were happy with small purchases.

The index added 1.38 points to close at 547.08 as nearly 60 million shares worth VND2.5 trillion (US$215.4 million) changed hands.

The shortage of information dragged the index down several times during the session. By close, 72 shares had advanced, 82 had dropped, and 32 had remained unchanged. Most rubber stocks closed up while banking and finance shares finished in the red.

Duc Thanh Wood Processing Joint Stock Co. (GDT) closed at the offer price of VND36,000 on listing day when stocks are allowed to trade 20 percent up or down.

Big gainers included Phuoc Hoa Rubber Joint Stock Co. (PHR) based in nearby Binh Duong Province, which rose 4.99 percent to VND42,100, and Khanh Hoa Power Joint Stock Co. (KHP) based in the central province of Khanh Hoa, which added 4.98 percent to finish at VND25,300.

Saigon Commercial Bank, or Sacombank (STB), which fell 0.37 percent to VND27,000 was the most active stock by volume, with 3.77 million shares being traded.

Hanoi-based real estate investor LICOGI 16 Joint Stock Co. (LCG) was next with around 2.6 million shares as it closed at VND91,500, up 4.57 percent. The HCM City-based forwarding company Gemadept Corp. (GMD) followed with 2.4 million shares as it rose 4.65 percent to VND90,000.
Tan Tien Plastic Packaging Joint Stock Co. (TTP), a packaging maker also based in the city, gained 0.2 percent to finish at VND50,000. Saigon Securities Inc. had raised its stake in Tan Tien the previous day to 6.7 percent from 5 percent, the latter said in a statement to the exchange.

Hanoi’s HNX-Index dropped 0.5 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 182.67. Nearly 22 million shares worth VND890 billion changed hands.

US stocks rallied sending benchmark indexes to 13-month highs, and commodities gained as retail sales rebounded and Asian government leaders pledged to maintain economic stimulus spending. The dollar fell to a 15-month low and Treasury two-year yields touched the lowest level since January.

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Pasteur Institute HCM City makes A/H1N1 vaccine

In Vietnam Health on November 17, 2009 at 11:08 am

Making vaccines at the Biological Vaccine Company No.1 (Filed photo: SGGP)

The Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute announced it has successfully produced a vaccine against A/H1N1 flu based on Vero cell-based technology instead of the conventional fertilized hen-egg vaccine technology.

Following the fact, the Ministry of Health will soon set up a scientific council to test this vaccine.

Meanwhile, the director of the Institute of Vaccines and Biological Substances, Le Van Hiep, says Vietnam has state-of-the-art vaccine production technologies to make nine out of 10 essential vaccines for the national immunization program.

But mass production capabilities are limited, he adds.

The country only makes around 50 million doses of vaccines annually, focusing on key diseases like hepatitis, encephalitis, measles, and poliomyelitis.

Vietnam needs to have at least five million doses of H1N1 vaccine in reserve to protect high-risk groups like children, old people, and health workers, according to the Ministry of Health.

Related article:
Vietnam needs 5 mln doses of swine-flu vaccine: Government

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‘Meet Vietnam’ show offers US window into country’s culture, economy

In Vietnam Culture on November 17, 2009 at 11:08 am

A series of investment, economic, cultural, and educational events were on show at a program titled “Meet Vietnam” that was held in San Francisco, the US, on November 15.

The opening ceremony of the program “Meet Vietnam” is held at City Hall in San Francisco, the US, on November 15. (Photo :VNA)

A 300-strong Vietnamese delegation took part.

The inauguration was followed by a display at City Hall titled “Vietnamese space” which featured images and objects of Vietnamese culture, music, and other arts.

There were seminars on Vietnamese education and tourism-aviation on November 16.

The opening ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong, Ambassador to the US Le Cong Phung; Consul General in San Francisco Le Quoc Hung, officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Education and Training; Planning and Investment; Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Information and Communications; and leaders of Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, and Da Nang cities.

The US side was represented by California State senator Loni Hancock; US Ambassador to Viet Nam, Michael Michalak; the mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates; and San Francisco city officials.

Related article:

US show to offer glimpse of Vietnam culture

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Twins separated after marathon Australia surgery

In World on November 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

Australian doctors on Tuesday successfully separated joined-at-the-head Bangladeshi twin girls after more than 24 hours of surgery, describing the moment as “surreal”.

Trishna (L) and Krishna (R), the Bangladeshi set of twins who were joined at the head. Australian doctors successfully separated the girls after more than 24 hours of surgery on Tuesday, describing the moment as surreal. (AFP Photo)

Two-year-old Trishna and Krishna were said to be “very well” after surgeons who worked through the night finally prised apart their brain tissue at about 11:00 am (0000 GMT).

“The moment of separation was a rather surreal moment,” Leo Donnan, chief of surgery at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, told reporters.

“There was relief but I think everyone realised there was still a long way to go and that the girls have a very difficult time ahead of them.

“Now we have the long task of the reconstruction surgery which will go on for many hours. We can’t predict how long it will take.”

Plastic surgeons will now close their skulls with bone and skin tissue to prevent infection, with Trishna and Krishna expected to stay in an induced coma for several days.

The girls were close to death when they were rescued from a Dhaka orphanage two years ago, and doctors gave the highly complex operation just a one in four chance of complete success.

Donnan said the 16-strong team, which took regular food and rest breaks and listened to pop music in the operating theatre to stay alert, was elated to see them apart.

“These are once-in-a-lifetime operations that teams would do. For the hospital it’s a historic moment, for the girls it’s an even more historic moment,” he said.

“Everyone has known these girls as one with their individual personalities, so to see them as separate human beings is a pretty amazing moment,” Donnan added.

The operation had stretched past its scheduled 16 hours as surgeons battled to avoid nerve damage in the pinpoint process of separating the brains, giving members of the Children First Foundation a sleepless night.

The charity flew the girls to Australia because of poor survival rates in their native Bangladesh, where only two children have survived four separation operations in recent years.

“I think surreal is a very good expression. We’re overjoyed that we’ve got to this stage,” said the Foundation’s chief Margaret Smith, adding that it was too early for celebrations.

“I think everybody’s been on tenterhooks. No cake yet, I think when we get them to intensive care we’ll be very relieved, then it will just be day by day, hour by hour.”

Separating conjoined twins is a notoriously difficult procedure, with attempts in Britain and Bangladesh both failing over the past year, although Saudi doctors successfully divided a pair of Egyptian brothers in February.

In one of the best known cases, Singapore doctors in 2003 made a vain attempt to separate adult twins — Iranian law graduates Laleh and Ladan Bijani, 29 — who died from severe blood loss after 52 hours of surgery.

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Seoul hopes US-DPRK contact can revive nuclear talks

In World on November 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

Republic of Korea (RoK) expressed hope Tuesday that upcoming discussions between the United States and Democatic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will quickly revive stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.

Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan made the remarks on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Seoul for a summit with President Lee Myung-Bak.

“At the upcoming summit, both leaders are expected to exchange in-depth opinions about the DPRK’s nuclear issue and the policy on DPRK in general,” Yu told a briefing, referring to the Lee-Obama talks.

“Our government hopes that the pending US-DPRK contact will contribute positively to settling the DPRK’s nuclear issue through the quick resumption of the six-party talks.”

Stephen Bosworth, the US representative on DPRK, is due to travel to Pyongyang for discussions on reviving the six-nation talks, which the North quit in April.

Pyongyang staged its second atomic weapons test the following month, attracting tougher United Nations sanctions.

The United States says the only aim of Bosworth’s visit is to bring the North back to the six-party talks, which also group China, Japan, Russia and RoK.

Yu said the North may have various reasons for seeking bilateral talks and one of them “may be to disrupt the unity among the five nations”, which support the UN sanctions.

But the minister said he expects “no substantive negotiations” during Bosworth’s visit.

“We will maintain the current policy of employing both dialogue and sanctions to make diplomatic efforts to realise the complete denuclearisation of North Korea through six-party talks,” Yu said.

DPRK has said it is ready to return to the six-nation talks but only if there is progress in the bilateral discussions.

Yu said he expects Bosworth to visit sometime between Thanksgiving Day on November 26 and Christmas Day.

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Republic of Korea adopts ambitious target for emissions cut

In World on November 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

Republic of Korea Tuesday set an ambitious target for its voluntary cut in greenhouse gas emissions, expressing hope that other developing countries would follow suit.

A smokestack is seen at a thermal power plant in Inchon, west of Seoul, February 1, 2007.

The cabinet vowed by 2020 to cut emissions by four percent from the 2005 level, which it said was equivalent to a 30 percent reduction on the basis of a “business-as-usual” development pattern.

A government statement said the targeted cut was the biggest recommended for developing countries by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which called for reductions of between 15 and 30 percent.

“Today marks a historic meeting… we must think hard about ways to add to our national interests by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” President Lee Myung-Bak was quoted as telling the cabinet meeting.

A UN climate change summit opens in December in Copenhagen in a bid to strike a new deal to combat global warming to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

Although a breakthrough in Copenhagen is unlikely, RoK’s move will set an example for other developing countries, Lee said.

“Our ambitious target will help enhance the country’s international status and national pride,” he said.

The government last week said it would focus on non-manufacturing sectors such as transport and eco-friendly buildings to meet its target.

But Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan expressed concerns over strains on businesses, according to the statement.

“The target we set today is one of the highest for all developing countries,” the minister told the cabinet, noting that South Korea faces mounting competition from China and other developing countries in overseas markets.

Choi said he had been agonising between the government’s policy of pursuing “low-carbon green growth” and concerns among businesses.

The burden of the cut should be distributed among business sectors to minimise impact on industrial competitiveness, he said.

The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, however, said the target was less ambitious than expected.

“A four percent cut is too mild. We’ve been asking for a 25 percent cut by 2020 from the 2005 level of 598 million tons of emissions,” its energy and climate director Choi Sung-Heum told AFP.

RoK’s green investment ranks as one of the highest in Asia. Earlier this year, it said it would plough 107 trillion won (93 billion dollars) into “green projects” over the next five years.

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Obama vows ‘positive, cooperative’ ties with China

In World on November 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

Obama, Hu open talks in Beijing

In World on November 17, 2009 at 4:57 am

US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao opened bilateral talks on Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People, where the US leader was greeted with pomp and circumstance.

US President Barack Obama (L) speaks with Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) after his arrival at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing. (AFP Photo)

A military honour guard and a brass band welcomed the US president, who is making his first visit to the Asian giant since taking office in January.

The band played the national anthems of both countries, and each president introduced his delegation to the other, an AFP reporter saw.

The leaders were expected to focus on economic and trade issues, especially the value of the Chinese yuan and trade tensions, with Beijing repeatedly accusing the United States in recent months of protectionism.

The disputed nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea were also expected to be discussed.

Obama and Hu were expected to speak to the press after their meetings.


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