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Archive for May 12th, 2010|Daily archive page

Thai protesters vow to fight as siege looms

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

BANGKOK, May 12, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s “Red Shirt” opposition protesters vowed Wednesday to “fight to the death” as authorities prepared to lay siege to their sprawling encampment in the capital after peace talks broke down.

The government announced it would cut off food, water and power supplies to the vast rally site in central Bangkok, urging local residents to leave as it prepared to seal off the area to prevent reinforcements arriving.

A Thai “Red Shirt” demonstrator sleeps inside a fortified camp in Bangkok. AFP photo

The mainly poor and working class Red Shirts shrugged off the tough new measures, rejecting a demand by embattled Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for the protests to end on Wednesday.

“If you want to crack down you’re welcome at any time,” said one of the protest leaders, Jatupron Prompan. “We will fight to the death,” he said.

The Red Shirts have said they will continue their rally until deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban is charged for his role overseeing a deadly April 10 crackdown, when armed troops attempted to clear part of the capital.

As talks between the two sides over Abhisit’s peace roadmap stalled, the authorities said they would cut off vital supplies, as well as telephone and transportation links, to the site at midnight Wednesday.

“This is the beginning of measures to fully impose the law,” said Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, a spokesman for the government unit set up to deal with the crisis, warning the authorities were ready to disperse protesters if necessary.

“The army is ready, but at this moment I don’t want to talk about a crackdown as we want to use measures to put pressure on them,” he said.

“To the residents in the area: please leave. After midnight, authorities will not allow anyone to come in,” Sunsern said, noting that some homes and foreign embassies would suffer disruption to their water and power supplies.

The movement has said it agrees to Abhisit’s reconciliation roadmap to elections on November 14, but wants to see the government take responsibility for the April 10 incident, in which 25 people lost their lives.

“None of the Red Shirts are afraid of your threats to cut water and power. We will run at soldiers with our two bare hands even if they fire at us with assault rifles,” said one protest leader, Weng Tojirakarn.

Abhisit has warned he may scrap the plan for early elections if the protesters do not leave their vast base, which has been fortified with barricades made from piles of fuel-soaked tyres, bamboo poles and razor wire.

“If the situation does not return to normal it will delay the election day, so protesters should go home on the 12th (of May),” he said Tuesday.

The Reds say the government is undemocratic because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling ousted elected allies of their hero, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was unseated in a 2006 coup.

Their ranks were boosted over the weekend by 5,000 more supporters who arrived from the movement’s heartland in the impoverished rural northeast, defying a ban on rallies in the capital, which is under a state of emergency.

“The authorities must implement steps to make protesters suffer and leave the protest site,” a ruling party lawmaker, Sirichoke Sopa, told AFP.

“The roadmap still exists, but their demand for Suthep to turn himself in to police is not possible and not practical because he’s a political appointee,” said Sirichoke, who is close to Abhisit.

Suthep went to the Department of Special Investigation Tuesday to hear a complaint against him after the Reds demanded he turn himself in to police, but Red leaders refused to disband until a formal case was opened against him.

Twenty nine people have been killed and almost 1,000 injured in Bangkok in a series of confrontations and attacks since the protests began in mid-March, in Thailand’s worst political violence in almost two decades.

Source: SGGP

After long wait, US Senate takes up climate

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

WASHINGTON (AFP) – After a nearly year-long delay, the US Senate takes up legislation Wednesday on the first-ever nationwide system to battle climate change. But the political battle may only be beginning.

Casting a shadow over the bill is a major oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, which has hardened environmentalists’ resolve against offshore drilling — expected to be a sweetener to woo conservative and industry support.

A rescuer monitors seabirds for any sign of oil related injures, as cleanup operations continue for the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster, at Long Beach in Biloxi. AFP photo

Senator John Kerry, a close ally of President Barack Obama, and Senator Joe Lieberman will unveil legislation to force cuts in carbon emissions scientists say are putting the Earth at risk through rising temperatures.

The House of Representatives passed its own bill in June last year that would cut US carbon emissions by 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels — a landmark step in the only major developed economy to shun the Kyoto Protocol.

But the Senate has not followed suit, ignoring international pressure to act before December’s climate summit in Copenhagen whose outcome disappointed many.

Kerry, the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential candidate, has worked with industry and Republicans to craft a compromise that both fights climate change and reduces US dependence on foreign energy sources.

But Senator Lindsey Graham, the main Republican involved, backed out last month, delaying the bill’s release. It was a bitter blow to Kerry, who had pointed to Graham in his stump speeches to show the breadth of support for the effort.

Speaking to an environmental conference earlier this month, Kerry hit back at “conventional wisdom” that Congress would not take up climate change before November mid-term elections, in which many Democrats are seen as vulnerable.

“I believe this is the year — perhaps our last, best chance — to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation,” he said.

“The right bill can create good jobs, strengthen our national security and give us cleaner air — all while finally tackling the great challenge of global climate change.”

He said the bill would make emitters pay and impose no taxes on consumers. But he has hinted it would not include so-called “cap-and-trade” measures under which companies would have restrictions on emissions but could trade credits, giving them an economic incentive to go green.

Cap-and-trade has been the basis of the House bill and Europe’s more ambitious efforts to cut carbon.

Some of Kerry’s allies say he has watered down the bill too much, particularly with provisions for offshore drilling. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent and staunch environmentalist, voiced “deep disappointment” with the legislation’s direction even before the oil leak.

Sources close to the legislative process said the Kerry-Lieberman bill would still provide for offshore drilling but has included changes to ensure better environmental protection.

The Pew Environmental Group on Tuesday appealed for a halt to new offshore drilling until “robust safety and environmental standards” are established, saying the Gulf of Mexico leak showed “significant lapses” in US policy.

A Rasmussen Reports survey last week showed that two-thirds of US voters worried the oil leak would cause environmental problems, although a weakening majority still supports offshore drilling.

“Right now, offshore drilling is probably going to cost them more votes on the left than it would win them on the right,” said Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“And with even Graham not wanting to be part of this, how easy is it going to be to get other Republicans to jump on board?”

Graham said he would not help unveil the legislation due to concerns that the Senate’s Democratic leadership was muddling priorities by also moving ahead on reforming the immigration system.

Graham says he still supports the clean energy push but doubts the Senate now has the votes to approve the bill.

Source: SGGP

Cameron’s historic coalition starts work

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

LONDON (AFP) – Conservative leader David Cameron on Wednesday got down to business as British prime minister heading a historic centre-right coalition that finally ended 13 years of Labour rule.

The 43-year-old Conservative Party leader — Britain’s youngest prime minister for two centuries — took office after striking a deal with the third-placed Liberal Democrats, whose leader Nick Clegg becomes deputy premier.

Cameron’s appointment by Queen Elizabeth II late Tuesday came after Labour leader Gordon Brown admitted defeat five days of political limbo following last week’s inconclusive election.

Cameron acknowleged the huge challenges facing him, not least Britain’s fragile recovery from the global economic crisis.

“This is going to be hard and difficult work. A coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges,” he said in a speech in Downing Street, flanked by his pregnant wife Samantha.

“But I believe together we can provide that strong and stable government that our country needs based on those values — rebuilding family, rebuilding community, above all rebuilding responsibility in our country,” he added.

President Barack Obama called Cameron within minutes of his appointment, inviting him to visit the United States in July.

Other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also quickly called Cameron to congratulate him.

Clegg was joined by four other Lib Dem ministers in Cameron’s coalition government, after backing the deal to form Britain’s first coalition government since World War II.

“We are going to form a new kind of government,” Clegg told his lawmakers, adding he hoped it marked “the start of the new politics I have always believed in.”

Key Conservative appointments included 38-year-old George Osborne as finance minister — facing daunting economic challenges including a eurozone crisis — and William Hague as foreign minister.

The dramatic confirmation of Britain’s new leader came after days of uncertainty following Thursday’s election, which produced no clear winner for the first time since 1974.

Brown announced he was quitting just an hour and a half before Cameron walked through the front door of 10 Downing Street.

He wished Cameron well as he departed top-level politics, while acknowledging the personal weaknesses — such as poor presentational skills and impatience — which hampered his three-year premiership.

“Only those who have held the office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacity for good,” Brown said.

His Labour party’s deputy leader Harriet Harman will act as caretaker leader while a leadership campaign takes place, which is expected to conclude by September.

In the election, the Conservatives won 306 seats in the 650-member House of Commons — 20 short of a clear majority of 326 — followed by Labour on 258 and the Lib Dems on 57.

After five days of talks between the Lib Dems and Tories — and briefly between the Lib Dems and Labour — the two parties finally struck a deal.

Clegg is leading a Liberal party into British government for the first time since David Lloyd George left power in 1922.

Critics say the deal between the centre-right Conservatives and centrist Lib Dems is an unlikely alliance, since they have strongly differing views on a number of issues.

But between them, they have enough to secure a majority in the House of Commons which Labour and the Lib Dems, seen as more natural bedfellows, did not.

There were already doubts about the political union Wednesday, however, with the Conservative-supporting Telegraph newspaper warning it would be “unsatisfactory and short-lived.”

“Even as they applauded the statesmanship of their leaders, there were voices in both parties predicting the marriage would not last,” added the Financial Times.

Source: SGGP

Euro fears resurface as gold surges in Asia

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

HONG KONG, May 12, 2010 (AFP) – Worries over the eurozone’s debt problems despite a one-trillion-dollar rescue deal sent gold to a record high Wednesday while the euro slid as investors looked for safer assets.

As euphoria that initially greeted the massive EU-IMF support scheme for debt-ridden eurozone nations faded, demand for the precious metal soared to 1,235.50 dollars an ounce by midday in Hong Kong before settling at 1,233.00.

It jumped to 1,239.00 in early London trade.

Heightened concerns about the risk of contagion from Greece’s debt woes have attracted fresh inflows of cash into gold while investors continue to move out of the ailing euro, which remained depressed in Tokyo trade Wednesday.

“Investors now see that the magnitude of the eurozone debt problems is much bigger than they had initially thought,” Hideaki Inoue, senior foreign-exchange dealer at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking, told Dow Jones Newswires.

“There are still just no reasons for anyone to aggressively buy the euro.”

The single currency edged up slightly to 1.2730 dollars, from 1.2644 dollars in New York Tuesday.

The debt crisis began as Greece teetered toward default, triggering fears that other weak economies such as Portugal, Spain and Italy might follow.

While major governments have expressed optimism the 750 billion euros (one trillion dollars) set aside by the European Union and International Monetary Fund would prevent a new crisis enveloping the global economy, questions over its implementation remain.

A warning from Moody’s Investors Service that it may downgrade Portugal and lower debt-laden Greece’s rating to junk status also stoked bearish sentiment, after a similar move by Standard & Poor’s saw borrowing costs spike for Athens.

Investors have switched focus to how the massive bailout will be carried out and the implications for future financial governance in the eurozone, amid doubts about whether debt-ridden members can reduce their deficits.

Mizuho Corporate Bank market economist Daisuke Karakama also questioned an earlier 110-billion-euro rescue deal for Greece that would pass its debt on to the EU — mostly to Germany and France.

“Where have the debts gone? Passing debts around is not good for the future of Europe,” he said.

Regional shares were mixed, with some bargain-buying lifting markets following Tuesday’s losses.

Sydney rose 0.55 percent, or 25.1 points, to 4,573.1 after Treasurer Wayne Swan forecast the government’s budget would return to surplus three years sooner than expected and before any other major advanced economy, buoyed by key commodity exports. The index was also boosted by gold miners’ popularity on the back of the precious metal’s record price.

Tokyo ended down 0.16 percent, or 17.07 points, at 19,394.03. Toyota surged 2.71 percent after the company said Tuesday it had returned to the black and posted a 112 billion yen (1.2 billion dollar) profit in the March quarter, the height of its 10 million vehicle recall crisis.

“Exporters’ earnings are attracting short-term buyers, but at the same time, there are concerns over the weak euro, so sentiment is somewhat mixed,” said Tachibana Securities strategist Kenichi Hirano.

Hong Kong rose 0.33 percent, or 65.98 points, to close at 20,212.49 while Shanghai added 0.31 percent, or 8.14 points, to 2,655.71 as bargain hunters moved in to pick up from Tuesday’s losses.

However concerns over mainland plans to cool the property market and keep a lid on inflation capped gains.

Chinese real estate prices in major cities rose 12.8 percent in April, the biggest year on year jump in nearly five years, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

And on Wednesday state media reported Shanghai was contemplating a combination of new measures to cool the city’s red-hot property market, including levying a real-estate tax on some categories of home owner.

Oil was lower, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, down 63 cents to 75.74 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for June slid 19 cents to 80.30 dollars a barrel.

In other markets:

— Manila closed 0.20 percent higher, adding 6.48 points to 3,269.41.

Dealers were lifted by renewed optimism caused by the holding of relatively peaceful, orderly national elections on Monday, dealers said.

Ayala Corp. gained 1.54 percent to 330 pesos while its real estate flagship, Ayala Land Inc. rose 1.85 percent to 13.75 pesos.

Energy Development Corp. bucked the trend to fall 1.85 percent to 5.30 pesos.

— Singapore closed 0.79 percent, or 22.66 points, higher at 2,880.33.

Banking group DBS rose four cents to 14.44 Singapore dollars, Singapore Airlines climbed 28 cents to 14.90 and Singapore Telecom edged two cents higher to 3.00.

— Kuala Lumpur closed up 0.25 percent, or 3.38 points, at 1,344.10 due to bargain-hunting in blue-chips.

Gaming group Berjaya Toto gained 2.70 percent to 4.64 ringgit while palm oil giant IOI Corp lost 0.90 percent to 5.37.

— Seoul closed 0.43 percent, or 7.21 points, lower at 1,663.03.

— Taipei ended flat, edging 5.74 points lower to 7,602.70.

United Microelectronics Corp was 1.33 percent lower to 14.9 Taiwan dollars while Hon Hai was flat at 140.0.

— Jakarta gained 1.23 percent, or 34.73 points, to end at 2,847.62.

Cigarette maker Gudang Garam jumped 11 percent to 31,400 rupiah, while Bank Tabungan Negara rose 4.5 percent to 1,390 rupiah.

— Wellington closed 0.35 percent, or 10.95 points, lower at 3,156.08.

Fletcher Building fell seven cents to 7.84 New Zealand dollars, and Contact Energy rose two cents to 6.14.

Source: SGGP

Boy survives as more than 100 killed in Libya plane crash

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Map locating Tripoli (AFP graphic)

TRIPOLI, May 12, 2010 (AFP) – A Libyan plane arriving from South Africa crashed on landing at Tripoli airport Wednesday, killing more than 100 people but an eight-year-old Dutch boy was a miracle survivor, officials said.

Afriqiyah Airways listed 93 passengers and 11 crew members on board its flight 8U771 from Johannesburg.

“I can confirm the crash but not the number of the dead,” said Bongani Sithole, an official of the airline at Johannesburg airport. “We hear that it happened one metre (yard) away from the runway.”

A Libyan security official earlier told AFP that all those on board the Airbus A330 had died but an airport official said in fact an eight-year-old boy from the Netherlands had survived and was rushed to hospital near Tripoli.

There was no immediate indication of the cause of the crash, which occurred as the Afriqiyah Airways plane was landing after a flight from Johannesburg at around 6 am (0400 GMT).

“It exploded on landing and totally disintegrated,” the security official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The crew members were all Libyan nationals, the official added.

An AFP correspondent said the crash site had been sealed off by security officials and ambulances and emergency vehicles were seen rushing between the airport and the capital, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) apart.

The wreckage could be seen in the distance but no plumes of smoke were evident. Weather conditions were good at Tripoli on Wednesday morning, with only light clouds in the sky.

Afriqiyah Airways said on its website that it operates an Airbus fleet.

It started operations with five leased planes and signed a contract with Airbus at an exhibition in Paris in 2007 for the purchase of 11 new planes, the website said.

It was founded in April 2001 and at first fully owned by the Libyan state. The company’s capital was later divided into shares to be managed by the Libya-Africa Investment Portfolio.

On April 21, the airline announced that flights were back to normal after disruptions due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland that grounded flights in Europe last month.

Last June, a 12-year-old girl was the sole survivor of a Yemeni plane crash off the Comoros.

Wednesday’s crash was the deadliest air accident in Libya since December 22, 1992 when a Libyan Arab Airlines plane crashed near Tripoli airport killing 157 people.

Twenty-two people were killed in an oil company plane crash in January 2000.

In other major accidents, 79 people were killed when a Korean Air crashed in Tripoli in July 1989.

And 59 people died in a Balkan Bulgarian Airlines crash near Benghazi in December 1977, while 36 passengers and crew died when a Central African Airways came down in August 1958, also near Benghazi in eastern Libya.

Source: SGGP

Court upholds jail terms on two anti-State saboteurs

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm

A Ho Chi Minh City court of appeals on May 11 upheld jail terms for two men convicted of “working to overthrow the people’s administration” and cut another defendant’s sentence after his appeal for clemency.

The court, under the Supreme People’s Court in HCM City , confirmed a 16-year sentence for Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, and five years for Le Cong Dinh.

Photo: Vietnam News Agency

However, it reduced the sentence for Le Thang Long to three and a half years from the original five.

Another defendant involved in the case, Nguyen Tien Trung, who was sentenced to seven years in prison at the first-stance trial, did not appeal.

All the four defendants will be kept under surveillance by local authorities for between three and five years after serving their sentences.

Speaking in defence for himself at the trial, Dinh again admitted his guilt, showed repentance, and begged for a reduction in his sentence.

But the jury said the lower court had applied mitigating circumstances for the defendant and the sentence was lighter than the proposed one, therefore it could not further reduce the sentence.

Meanwhile, Thuc only admitted he made mistakes in his way of thinking but denied his criminal acts aimed at “working to overthrow the people’s administration.”

The Supreme People’s Procuracy’s representatives reiterated that Thuc wrote documents and disseminated them via blogs and emails, in which he blackened the Vietnamese Party and State, and called on people to gather which constitute an attempt to overthrow the administration.

The jury said in conclusion that the case is a very serious one in which the defendants had infringed national security.

Source: SGGP

VN-Index sees bear take it all

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 8:51 am

VN-Index, a gauge of 227 companies and four close-ended funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, sharply fell to below 520 on May 12 as investors sold heavily to prevent losses.

The benchmark lost 14.76 points, or 2.76 percent, to 519.6 points, heading for the biggest correction in the last 37 trading sessions. Around 69.3 million shares, worth VND2.26 trillion, changed hands.

On the index, 10 stocks gained, 207 fell, and 14 were unchanged.

Transport company Vietnam Sun Corporation (VNS) led the outnumbered losers on the city bourse, giving up 37.27 percent to trade at VND34,500.

Phuc Tien Trade Manufacture Joint Stock Company (PHT) fell 8.46 percent to VND24,900.

Phuong Nam Cultural Joint Stock Corporation (PNC), a book publisher and video producer, slid 6.98 percent to VND12,000.

Dong A Plastic Group Joint – Stock Company gained 4.63 percent to VND22,600 from VND21,600 yesterday.

House Viet Nam Joint Stock Company climbed up 3.88 percent to trade at VND37,500.

Chuong Duong Beverages Joint Stock Company (SCD) traded at VND30,000, up 3.45 percent.

Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI) continued to stay at the position of the most active stock in volume with 3.23 million shares. The country’s largest brokerage closed down 3.66 percent.

Saigon Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) was next with 2.44 million shares. Petrovietnam General Services Js Corporation (PET) followed with 2.35 million shares being traded up 1.56 percent.

Hanoi’s HNX-Index finished at 174.74 points, losing 7.69 points, or 4.22 percent. More than 53.2 million shares were traded at VND1.88 trillion.

The UPCoM-Index dropped 2.4 points to 52.94. A total of 289,052 shares changed hands at VND4.7 billion.

Source: SGGP

Rate cuts, credit growth make for a healthy financial market

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 8:51 am

Interest rate cuts and credit growth have injected vigor and strength into Vietnam’s financial market recently.

All state-owned commercial banks cut lending interest rates by 1 percent to 13 percent per year May 1, and many other commercial banks quickly followed suit.

LienVietBank said it has cut negotiable lending interest rate on short-term loans in VND by 0.5 percent per year while providing customers with good credit an additional 0.5-percent cut.

Dr. Nguyen Duc Huong, LienVietBank’s standing vice chairman, said the current trend monetary market watchers were seeing was commercial banks reducing lending rates to attract customers with good credit and efficient business operations.

Customers and agents process transactions at an Eximbank branch in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: SGGP)
Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank has not yet officially announced its new interest rates, but has said that the new rates would “benefit borrowers.”

Many other commercial banks told SGGP that they were considering cutting operating expenses to lower lending interest rates, especially for short-term loans.

Banking experts said that the trend could send most lending interest rates 0.5-1 percent lower this month than those in late April.  

More cuts expected

Dr Cao Sy Kiem, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, told SGGP the drop in interest rates had not yet bottomed out.

“Compared to a few months ago, when the lending rate soared to 17-18 percent, current rates are affordable to most businesses. However, they should be lowered even further to boost the profitability of loans.”

Currently, lending rates on medium and long term loans remain high, at 14-14.5 percent per year, even 16 percent at some banks.

At a recent monthly Government meeting in April, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed banks to lower lending and deposit interest rates to 12 and 10 percent respectively this year.

Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Bao, head of the Monetary Policy Department at the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), said the central lender was planning to adjust interest rates in line with the Prime Minister’s instructions. 

Duong Thu Huong, general secretary of the Vietnam Bankers Association, said the lending interest reduction should be carried out gradually, since many banks had previously received deposits at higher rates than current ones.

Deposit rates at commercial banks are now 11-11.5 percent, down 0.5-1 percent from late April, according to the SBV.

Ms. Huong pointed out that deposits would increase only once deposit interest rates are higher than the inflation rate. “Whether commercial banks can further lower deposit rates in the future depends a lot on the inflation situation,” she said.

Credit growth recovery

After a slowdown in the first quarter of the year, overall credit growth has recovered, the central bank said.  In April, credit expanded by 1.73 percent from March, with credit in VND expanding by 1.41 percent.

Compared to late last year, credit has now grown by 5.58 percent, meaning commercial banks can boost lending in the months to come, the state lender said.

After nearly a month-long slump, the selling price of US dollars at commercial banks has recovered. Over the past two days, a dollar has sold for VND19,060 at Vietcombank. However, on the open market, the rate was lower, at VND19,010. 

Along with the recovery of USD price, it has been rumored that the central bank will soon adjust the forex trading band.

Talking with SGGP yesterday, central bank governor Nguyen Van Giau said the rumor was groundless. “The foreign exchange market is now stable and we have no plan to adjust exchange rates,” he confirmed.

Source: SGGP

International film festival to hit Danang

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 8:51 am

More than 50 participants, included 20 international studios, will take part in a film festival focusing on sports and tourism in the central city of Danang May 27-30.

(File photo) The 4th Vietnam International FICTS Festival is held in Hanoi in 2008

The 5th Vietnam International FICTS Festival will screen 80 pictures about sports and tourism competing in six categories including documentary, reportage, feature film, advertising, science and education films, cartoons and game shows.

The winners of the competition will be sent to the 28th International FICTS Festival in Italy scheduled for October 27-November 3.

The film festival includes a screenplay competition, a photo exhibition on tourism and sports, a “walk for health and the environment” and an international seminar on Vietnamese films and television about sports and tourism.

Source: SGGP

Sofitel Legend Metropole voted as one of world’s coolest new hotels

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

Sofitel Metropole of Ha Noi has made the Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2010, the publication’s annual list of the “66 coolest new hotels in the world”.

                 Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

The hotel, over 100 years old, spent over US$20 million in renovations, over the past four years.

Its Le Spa du Metropole, which opened in April, also received recognition as one of the world hottest spas in this year.

The hotel has received numerous other accolades in the past. The Sofitel Metropole was chosen as one of the 500 best hotels in the world by readers of Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Travel; selected as the best hotel in Ha Noi by Hong Kong’s Destin Asian, Asia Money magazine, and Viet Nam’s VnEconomy; and received an award from the Viet Nam Tourism Association.

Sofitel Metropole Ha Noi was also named 2007’s best hotel for businessmen in a capital city, by readers of the Business Traveler Asia Pacific, a leading travel magazine.

Source: SGGP