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Archive for May 16th, 2010|Daily archive page

Greek PM does not rule out legal action against US banks

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 8:55 pm

A view of the Acropolis in central Athens on May 14, 2010 is seen at sunset. AFP photo

ATHENS, May 16, 2010 (AFP) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou raised the possibility of taking legal action against US banks which he said in an interview on Sunday bore “great responsibility” for Greece’s debt crisis.

Asked in an interview with CNN whether Greece was the victim of investment banks, he said: “I think, yes the financial sector, I hear the words fraud, lack of transparency, so yes there is great responsibility here.”

When the interviewer followed up by asking whether legal action were a possibility, he responded “I wouldn’t rule out that this may be a recourse,” according to extracts of the interview aired on Greek public television.

The Greek parliament is currently looking into deals Greek authorities carried out in 2000 with help from Goldman Sachs that allowed them to mask the extent of Greece’s debts through the use of complex financial instruments.

“Right now there is a parliament investigation in Greece, we are looking into the past how things went in the wrong direction and what kind of practices were negative practices,” Papandreou said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has led criticism in Europe against banks’ role in the debt crisis, slamming “treacherous” practices during the Greek drama and urging governments to crack down on speculators hunting profits in the turmoil.

Greece is paying a painful price for its past overspending with the government forced to slash civil servants’ and pensioners’ pay while raising taxes as a condition for a 110 billion euro EU-IMF bailout.

However, a poll published Sunday in the Ethnos newspaper found that 58.8 percent of the 1,028 people surveyed expected the country to steer clear of bankruptcy while 36.6 percent considered default inevitable.

While 56.2 percent of those polled by the Marc SA institute considered the austerity measures to be “necessary”, 87.8 percent judged them to be “unfair”.

Source: SGGP

Thai protesters call for talks as clashes leave 29 dead

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 8:55 pm

BANGKOK, May 16, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protesters appealed Sunday for UN-mediated talks with the government after several days of violent street battles in the capital left 29 people dead and more than 220 wounded.

A Thai man removes a can from a burning barricade in a main avenue of Bangkok during clashes between demonstrators and security forces on May 16, 2010. AFP photo

A top protest leader also urged the revered king to intervene in the crisis, which has turned areas of the city into no-go zones as troops fire live ammunition at demonstrators, some armed or using slingshots and fireworks.

The Reds were ready to enter peace talks with the government “immediately” as long as the United Nations mediated, protest leader Nattawut Saikuar said.

“We want the UN because we don’t trust we will receive justice from organisations in Thailand,” he said, as the death toll jumped by five Sunday after urban warfare erupted in the heart of the city of 12 million people.

But the idea was quickly shot down by the government, which has repeatedly warned foreign governments not to meddle in its affairs.

“As for the call of UN interference, no governments allow any organisations to intervene in their internal affairs,” spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said.

Previous talks between the two sides have failed to reach an agreement, despite an offer — since withdrawn — by the embattled premier to hold elections in November if the opposition demonstrators go home.

The army Sunday put off a plan to impose a curfew in parts of the city but did not rule out restricting night-time movements if the situation deteriorates.

The government extended a state of emergency to five more provinces, ordered schools to stay shut Monday and declared two days of national holidays to keep civilians off the streets.

Authorities said they would send workers from the Red Cross to help protesters — particularly women, children and the elderly — who want to leave the vast protest area in the heart of the capital.

“Men can also leave the site but they have to show they are unarmed,” army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told reporters.

The army moved on Thursday to seal off the area to prevent more demonstrators entering, although they have been allowed to leave, as the government grappled with a way to end the two-month stand-off.

There were fresh confrontations on the fringes of the Red Shirts’ sprawling encampment Sunday as a swathe of the city was shrouded in black smoke after demonstrators torched piles of tyres in roads. One shop was ablaze.

Facing a military armed with assault rifles, the protesters have fought with homemade weapons including Molotov cocktails, fireworks, rockets, slingshots, and burning tyres.

An AFP photographer saw one demonstrator firing a handgun on Saturday. The government says grenades have also been fired by militants opposed to the government.

All of the fatalities in recent days have been civilians. New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thai authorities were on a “slippery slope” towards serious human rights abuses by designating “live fire zones.”

The Reds called on the king to intervene, saying he was the “only hope” for an end to the crisis, which has left 59 people dead and about 1,700 wounded since mass protests began in mid-March.

“As people in this country, we would like his kindness,” Jatuporn Prompan told reporters at the rally site, where thousands of protesters were camped.

“I believe Thais will feel the same, that His Majesty is our only hope.”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej chastised both the military and protest leaders during a 1992 uprising, effectively bringing the violence to an end, but has avoided commenting directly on the current crisis in public.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva vowed there would be no turning back on the government’s policy of sealing the protesters inside their fortified camp.

“Your rally has been used by terrorists. It’s not a rally for democracy,” he said in his regular Sunday television address.

The Reds accuse Abhisit’s government of being elitist and undemocratic because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling ousted elected allies of their hero, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The army warned it would move against the demonstrators’ main rally site unless they disperse, but it gave no timetable for the action.

A military operation on April 10 to clear an area of the city of protesters left 25 people dead and more than 800 injured.

Thai society is deeply divided between the urban elite and rural poor, with most of the Red Shirts from the north and impoverished northeast.

Source: SGGP

By the seaside

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

By the seaside

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:29 (GMT+7)

Nha Trang is home to a number of fascinating cultural sites, proving that the city is more than a ‘beach destination’.

Nha Trang is undoubtedly one of Vietnam’s best known ‘beach destinations’. The vast majority of visitors come here to feel the warm sand in between their toes and the sea breeze blowing through their hair.

But as I tend to wilt in the sunshine, I always prefer to explore the local cultural sites during the day and hit the beach in the late afternoon.

And Nha Trang has plenty to offer by way of culture – this was once the centre of Champa civilization; in fact the name Nha Trang is thought to have been derived from the Cham word yakram, which means ‘bamboo river’.

The city is home to some of the best preserved Cham towers in Vietnam. Located on a granite knoll on the northern bank of the Cai river in Vinh Phuoc quarter, the Cham Towers of Po Nagar (The Lady of the City) were built between the 7th and 12th centuries.

Known as Thap Ba in Vietnamese, the site included eight towers, four of which remain, which were used for worship as early as the second century AD. Today, ethnic Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists come to Po Nagar to pray and make offerings here, according to their respective traditions.

The original wooden structure was razed to the ground by an invading troop of Javanese in 744 AD but was replaced by a stone and brick temple in 784.

The most sacred, and highest, tower is the 28-metre North Tower, with its terraced pyramid roof, vaulted interior masonry and vestibule. A superb example of Cham architecture, it was built in 817AD by Pangro, a minister of King Harivaman I, after the original temples here were sacked and burned by raiders, who made off with whatever precious metal they could find.

In 918 AD, King Harivaman III placed a gold mukha-linga in this tower, but it was also stolen, this time by Khmer soldiers. In 965 AD, King Jaya Indravarman I replaced the gold mukha-linga with the stone figure, Uma – a feminine manifestation of Shiva, which remains to this day. In the tower’s main chamber, there is a black stone statute of the goddess Uma with 10 arms, two of which are hidden under her vest.

Stony faces…

Situated near the tower complex, Hon Chong is a narrow granite headland that juts out towards the turquoise waters of Nha Trang bay. To the northwest is Nui Co Tien (Fairy Mountain) with three summits believed to resemble a reclining female fairy.

There is a gargantuan handprint-shaped indentation on one massive boulder balanced at the tip of the Hon Chong (Husband Rock). Legend has it that one day a giant was here spying on a female fairy bathing nude at Bai Tien (Fairy Beach) nearby.

The two began a life together, but the Gods soon intervened and punished the giant for his initial cheekiness, sending him off to a “re-education camp” for an indefinite sentence. The lovesick fairy patiently waited for her husband to return.

But after a very long time, despairing that he might never return, she lay down in sorrow and turned into Nui Co Tien. The peak on the right is supposed to be her face, gazing up towards the sky, the middle peak is her bosom and the apex on the left her crossed legs. When the giant returned and saw what had become of his wife, he collapsed in grief next to a boulder, leaving his handprint on it, before turning into stone.

Next to Hon Chong, there is another rock called Hon Vo (Wife Rock). Locals like to say that this was a female fairy who became ‘petrified’ while waiting for her husband.

Oceanographic Institute

The Nha Trang Oceanographic Institute, founded in 1923, is housed in a French colonial building and home to an aquarium, a library and an exhibition area. Incidentally, the world’s most famous oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau, started his successful career here in 1933 when it was known as ‘Institute d’Océanographique.’

It’s well worth checking out the institute to get an insight into the richness of southern Vietnam’s aquaculture. Vietnam is after all a maritime country with a coastline that stretches for more than 3,260km. The Bien Dong (East Sea) plays an important role in the development of the country.

The exploration for reasonable and sustainable exploitation of resources and protection of the environment in the Bien Dong is the main objective of the institute. The 23 aquarium tanks on the ground floors are home to a variety of live specimens – including some wonderful seahorses. Behind the main buildings, the exhibition area features nearly 70,000 dead specimens and a rather spectacular giant whale’s skeleton.

The good doctor

Alexandre Yersin had a deep and meaningful relationship with Vietnam and the French doctor was in fact buried in Nha Trang on his request. Born in Switzerland, he came to Vietnam in 1889 after working under Louis Pasteur in Paris. He spoke Vietnamese fluently, and spent years travelling throughout the central highlands and recording his observations.

During this period he discovered what is now Dalat and recommended to the colonical French government that a hill station be established there. Yersin also introduced rubber and quinine-producing trees to Vietnam. Today, the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang coordinates vaccination and hygiene programmes for the country’s southern coastal region.

The doctor’s library and office were transformed into the Alexandre Yersin Museum, another one of the town’s cultural attractions. Items on display include laboratory equipment (such as his astronomical instruments), books from his library, a fascinating 3-D photo viewer and some of the thousand or so letters written to his mother. A model boat on display was apparently given to him by local fishermen with whom he spent a great deal of his time.

No doubt Dr Yersin also liked the feel of the sand between his toes and the sea breeze blowing through his hair – and after a day of sight-seeing, the sun has gone down far enough for me to hit the beach, too.

Source: Time-out

Source: QDND

SIG looks for its place in Danang’s sun

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:06 pm

SIG looks for its place in Danang’s sun

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:32 (GMT+7)

Saigon Invest Group has joined the race to tap Danang’s coastal tourism potential with a new luxurious resort. 

Saigon-Danang Investment Corporation, an affiliate of Saigon Invest Group, will develop the $110 million Le Meridien Danang Resort & Spa on Non Nuoc beach, which is currently seeing a construction boom.

According to the developer, the resort will consist of 349 hotel rooms , 149 luxurious apartments and 48 villas for sales.

Once completed in 2013, the five-star resort will heat up already fierce competition to lure foreign and local tourists to a range of tourism ventures along Danang’s coast. Last year, the city received about 1.35 million tourists and the number is expected to increase to 1.45 million this year.

After years of lying dormant as a result of developers’ financial constraints, a number of resort projects are getting off the ground. Next to Le Meridien site is Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa, which is expected to open late next year, with 27 villas, 174 apartments and more than 200 hotel rooms.

The latest opening is the Life Resort Danang with 178 rooms and Silver Shores International Resort with 600 rooms. The 30-kilometre coastal stretch from Son Tra peninsula in Danang to Hoi An old town is expected to welcome more than 3,000 new hotel rooms in the next couple of years.

Le Meridien Resort is Saigon Invest Group’s third project in Danang, followed by the Lien Chieu and Hoa Khanh industrial parks. The group said the resort’s development was strong evidence of its investment diversification, especially in the “huge potential hospitality industry”, and tourism would be its strategic investment sector.

US-based WATG, the world’s leading design consultant for the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, Singapore’s BuregaFarnell Pte will have input into Le Meridien. The resort will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, which manages more than 940 hotels and resorts in 97 countries.

Saigon Invest Group mainly operates in the fields of real estate and infrastructure, manufacturing, construction and finance. It is also the owner of Lagi Resort in southern Binh Thuan province and Robin Hill Resort in Dalat. 

Source: VIR

Source: QDND

Creating closer link between employees and employers

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Creating closer link between employees and employers

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:29 (GMT+7)

Many graduated students cannot find a job even while many businesses are short of employees.

In recent years, training has not been in line with real demand for socio-economic development so graduates must be retrained. The current labour force is seeing an imbalance between qualifications and job opportunities.

Economic expert Le Dang Doanh says that Vietnam has a golden population with a high number of working age people. Vietnamese workers are intelligent and skillful and wage levels are affordable for employers. However, this is currently not working to its more highly qualified workers. Moreover, Vietnam is developing strongly and its labour force costs will increase so workers should improve their qualifications and productivity to raise the competitiveness of the economy in the integration process, Mr Doanh says.

Regarding the weaknesses of the Vietnam’s labour market, Mr Doanh says that both businesses and workers suffer from a lack of proper information. In the organised labour market, such as the State-owned sector, small- and medium- sized enterprises, and foreign directed investment businesses, workers are managed quite well while in the informal economic sector, they are not. Currently, more than 3 million economic households across the country attract around 38 percent of the total labour force but they do not strictly implement State regulations on minimum salary, labour practices, healthcare and social insurance and other rights.

The artificial shortage in the labour force is due to the inefficient performance of Vietnamese labour market, Mr Doanh says. Workers do not access useful information about the real needs of businesses, occupational fields and income. In addition, businesses have not developed the necessary infrastructure, such as houses, kindergartens, hospitals, and schools, to help workers feel secure with their jobs.

Improving the quality of the labour force requires close coordination among many agencies, in which the education and training sector plays a key role, Mr Doanh emphasises. It should renew its training methods as workers lack discipline and do not know how to adjust to working conditions. Therefore, to have an efficient labour force, training centres should work closely with businesses.

The productivity of Vietnamese workers is low. Over the past 25 years, productivity increased by 300 percent while in the Republic of Korea, it rose by 3,000 percent. To raise productivity, Vietnam must pay attention to health and the quality of population, ensure the gender balance and renovate training.

Promoting mutual understanding between businesses and workers

According to Nguyen Lam Thuy, director of employment network 116, it is essential to disseminate information on job recruitment, not only through newspapers, but also at vocational training centres.

In addition, workers should also conduct their job search in such a way that both businesses and workers know each others’ needs, Ms Lam said.

She also suggested that businesses employ workers for long-term contracts, rather than short-term ones. Moreover, workers should understand their job properly and choose the job that suits their ability, she added.

Regular job fairs have created good opportunities for businesses and workers to directly meet, exchange information and sign contracts. Through these events, workers gain access to employment information, while businesses can recruit employees easily at the fairs. However, such fairs will become more useful if they include job consultancy groups to help workers secure suitable positions.

Furthermore, workers should seek information relating to the businesses which they are planning to work for. Information on job recruitment should be expanded, not only within the framework of the fairs, but also at job placement centres.

The State should encourage job consultancy centres to provide updated information on the labour market, both inside and outside the country.

Taking an active role in ensuring the labour force

Luong Quoc Toan, Deputy General Director of Phu Giang Paper and Packaging Co. Ltd. in Bac Ninh province, says that his company did not suffer a shortage of workers after the lunar New Year festival as 95 percent of its workers are locals.

Most local workers are young and have good professional skills. They want to work for the company at a stable level of salary because it is convenient for them to go to work a short commuting distance from the factory, Mr Toan says.

He elaborates that his company creates a friendly working environment to make workers feel they are working at home.

According to Mr Toan, young workers often work hard and are eager to learn more to increase their professional skills. Currently, each locality has at least one vocational training centre, so local businesses do not face a shortage of workers. However, businesses should draw up long-term employment plans to ensure an adequate labour force. For example, if a company wants to apply new production technology and install new facilities in the next two years, it should promptly create a new employment plan, not wait until the new production chain becomes operational. To attract more workers, businesses must consider them as a valuable asset, create a good environment and ensure them a stable income, he adds.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Export of raw minerals must be stopped

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Export of raw minerals must be stopped

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:29 (GMT+7)

Regulations on mineral exploitation must be elaborated and supplemented to effectively prevent exploitation of raw minerals only for short-term benefit, said Dr Tran Du Lich, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City National Assembly delegation.

He made the statement at an online conference held May 14 to collect feedbacks about proposed amendments to the Mineral Law. The event was jointly held by the National Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Dr. Lich also demanded regulations on the rights and interests of people living in mining areas be more specified.

Meanwhile, leaders of several provinces and cities, including Hai Phong and Thai Nguyen, said provincial and district level authorities should be more empowered in granting licenses to small-scale mining projects.

Hoang Quoc Vuong, deputy chairman of the Thai Nguyen Province People’s Committee, said: “According to the amendments, provincial people’s committees are authorized to license small mining projects after the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announces its mining plans that include such projects. This regulation will delay the development of mining projects, since we have to wait for the ministry’s policy.”

Vietnam now has about 1,500 businesses operating in mining exploration and exploitation, compared to just 427 in 2000, according to report at the conference.

The same day, at a seminar titled “Mineral resources and Vietnam’s sustainable development” held by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), many experts demanded that regulations on mineral exploitation be tightened to protect the country’s mineral resources.

Dr. Nguyen Khac Vinh, chairman of the Vietnam Union of Geological Sciences (VUGS), said: “The Union will propose competent agencies to re-organize the mineral exploitation and stop the export of raw minerals.”
Except some large-scale projects developed by domestic or foreign groups using advanced technologies, most mining projects are of small scale and apply obsolete mining techniques, VUSTA said.

As a result, the loss of minerals in the mining process has been very high, with rates of loss ranging from 15 percent to 50 percent of the reserves, depending on kinds of exploited minerals, it said.

Scientists also warned that many mining projects have been creating serious environmental pollution problems. In addition, the illegal mineral exploitation in some provinces has caused social and economic consequences, they added.       

Experts blamed what they called “mineral bleeding” on the uncontrolled granting of mining licenses by leaders of several provinces and cities. “Those leaders have paid much more attention to boosting GDP growth than building sustainable economic development.”

Moreover, problems resulted from mining projects are hard to be resolved since there have yet to be a single agency that has enough power to control all parties engaged in those projects, experts said.

Source: Saigon Giai Phong

Source: QDND

Construction of Vietnam-Cambodia joint hospital starts

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Construction of Vietnam-Cambodia joint hospital starts

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:29 (GMT+7)

Construction of the Cho Ray – Phnom Penh multiclinic hospital, a joint project between Vietnam’s Saigon Medical Investment Joint Stock company and Sokimex company of Cambodia was started on May 15.

The US$42 million hospital covers an area of 50,000 sq.m in Meanchey district, around ten km from Phnom Penh with 500 beds.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong said the project is new, vivid evidence of the good neighbourly ties and time-honoured friendship between Vietnam and Cambodia.

After coming into operation, the hospital will help improve health care services for Phnom Penh city dwellers in particular and the Cambodian people in general, Mr Trong added.

The hospital is expected to be complete in the next two years and create employment for more than 300 people.

Cambodian PM Hun Sen also praised the project and the cooperation of the Vietnamese government and Ho Chi Minh authorities to realize it. The hospital not only helps Cambodian people save money and time that they would have had to spend on treatment abroad, but also create an opportunity for local doctors to work with their peers at Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh city, thereby improving their professional skills, he added.

Earlier on May 14, the Vietnamese-invested Bank of Investment and Development of Cambodia (BIDC) handed over a floating school on Bien Ho lake to overseas Vietnamese living in Chhnok Trou commune, Boribo district of Kampong Chhnang province.

Source: VOVNews/VNA

Source: QDND

Love struck teens update tactics

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Love struck teens update tactics

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:29 (GMT+7)

Vietnamese youngsters are now sending sweet messages to their lovers through CDs or writing the names of their loves on their bodies or on ornamental trees.

Hoai Nam, from the HCM City University of Technology, said that heart-shaped CDs containing good pictures of boyfriends or girlfriends and songs that they like is now a favourite gift to show laffection.

“I produced a CD as the birthday gift to my girlfriend. The CD contains a song that both of us love, a clip with my wishes to her and our pictures. There is nothing better than a CD made by yourself to your girlfriends, which have the pictures of both. Without real love, you can’t make such gifts,” Nam said.

Nam’s friends know about this special gift and asked him to help them make similar CDs.

Hoai Thu, a schoolgirl at an international school in District 7, presented a CD which has a clip in which Thu plays piano and makes wishes to her boyfriend, who went to Switzerland to study. The CD cover has a red rose.

“My boyfriend likes this gift very much. He often watches the CD. Our love seems to not change though we don’t see each other for a long time,” Thu said.

Some teens present their lovers or friends flower pots or bonsais in special shapes. 

“We think about each other whenever we see the flower pots. When you spend some time to take care of the pots, it means that you are missing the other. We believe that if our trees grow well, our love will be beautiful,” said Ha Anh, a schoolgirl from HCM City’s Mac Dinh Chi high school.

Ngoc Anh, a student from the HCM City Law University, boasted about her bonsai, which has the name of her boyfriend on the trunk. “I’ve kept this tree for over one year. The name of my boyfriend on the trunk was small when he carved it on the tree. It is now bigger along with the development of the tree,” she said.

However, some girls are naively made their boyfriends CDs containing their sexy pictures. When they said goodbye to each other, some boys posted these pictures on the Internet.

In an online forum for teenage, the photos of two young girls who tattooed the names of their boyfriends on their chests surprised many people who protested this way of showing love.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND

Bear necessity

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Bear necessity

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:32 (GMT+7)

The Bear Moon Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park was built in response to the vile and rampant bear bile industry in Vietnam.

Tragically, some East Asian people believe bear bile is a cure-all tonic. As a result, in Vietnam today scores of illegal farms are turning a healthy profit through the exploitation of bears that are caged and ‘milked’ for their bile. When a bear is caged in such a farm, the bile is extracted through a catheter, which is pushed through an open hole in the bear’s abdomen into his gall bladder.

It is an inhumane and insidious practice that has animal rights groups and conservationists incensed. But such the allure of bear bile (not only in Vietnam but in Korea and China where Vietnamese bear bile is smuggled), this is also an industry that will not disappear overnight.

In 2005, after six years of lobbying by AnimalsAsia and a number of other international and local non-government organisations, the Vietnamese authorities promised to stamp out bear bile farming. In the end of 2005, AnimalsAsia signed an agreement with the Vietnamese authorities to rescue 200 bears from farms around Hanoi and also to work with the government to bring an end to the practice here. Subsequently, Moon Bear Rescue Centre was built in Tam Dao National Park, 70 kilometres north of Hanoi, as a sanctuary for rescued bears.

“Rescuing bears is difficult work in Vietnam. All we do here is aim to protect wild bears from hunters or bear bile farms and try to give them a safe home,” said Tuan Bendixsen, director of AnimalsAsia Foundation in Vietnam, the owner of the bear rescue centre in Tam Dao.

To date, 48 sun and moon bears have been rescued and brought to the centre. All of the bears had been previously trapped on bile farms throughout the country. The owners of bile farms keep the bears restrained with ropes and drugged. The bears will be repeatedly jabbed with four-inch needles until the gall bladder is found and sucked dry.

The animals are inevitably worn down by this experience. Physically they are shadows of their former selves. The rescued bears at the centre had lost all instinct for survival. They cannot even climb or run. “Basically they are disabled,” said Tuan.

The rescue centre does its best to revive the animals with a diet of nutritious food and medical treatment, including surgery to remove damaged gall bladders.

Not all bears can be saved but with some tender and loving care, nearly all the bears will be able to put the horrors of the farms behind them at Bear Moon Rescue Centre. After a bear’s health improves, the bear will move to a protected outside area.

“Here, we teach bears how to walk, run, swim, climb and interact with other rescued bears,” Tuan said. To encourage the survival instinct of bears, the centre’s staff makes games that force bears to find food and water. For example, they put termites into a bamboo culinder and give it to bears. The bears have to find out how to take the termite out of the bamboo culinder.

The ongoing rehabilitation of the bears involves months of physiotherapy with fruit treats encouraging the animals to stretch and climb to strengthen wasted muscles and build confidence. As the rescued bears can never be dropped into a wild environment, the Tam Dao Moon Bear Rescue Centre will continue to expand.

Currently it can hold up to 100 bears in dens and large cages and features a quarantine block and surgical facilities. Under the second phase of development, now underway, more dens, semi-natural outside enclosures and rehabilitation areas will be built for the bears.

AnimalsAsia Foundation expects the centre will eventually be home to 200 bears. However, Tuan points out that this is a very small number if compared to the amount of bears currently caged in bile farms nationwide. While bear farming has been illegal in Vietnam since 1992, the practice is still widespread and it’s estimated around 4,000 bears remain trapped on bile farms throughout the country.

Bears are still stolen as cubs or caught in brutal leg-hold traps and sold to the bile farms. They are also caught in the wild in neighbouring countries such as Laos and smuggled into Vietnam.

The rescue centre can not save all the bears from the shameful treatment of the bile farms, but Tuan understands what he and his colleagues are doing at the centre is contributing to protect a wild animal, one which is endangered by the greed and appetite of others.

“What we want is for the government to impose tougher measures to prevent illegal bear bile farms as well as protect remaining wild bears,” he

Source: Time-out

Source: QDND

Meetings mark the 120th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Meetings mark the 120th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh

QĐND – Sunday, May 16, 2010, 21:33 (GMT+7)

The Central province of Nghe An held a solemn gathering in Vinh City on May 16 to mark the 120th birthday President Ho Chi Minh.

Present at the meeting were politburo member and standing member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee, Truong Tan Sang, leaders of Party, State, NS National Assembly leaders, representatives from the Fatherland Front of Vietnam, ministries, and departments, heroic Vietnamese mothers, and many local people.

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong and General Vo Nguyen Giap sent flower tributes to the meeting.

Tran Van Hang, Secretary of the Nghe An provincial Party Committee, highlighted the great contributions President Ho Chi Minh made to national independence. President Ho Chi Minh passed on a great national cause and an invaluable spiritual legacy –his thoughts and moral example, which has become a torch guiding the Vietnamese people to unite as one, and overcome all difficulties to make Vietnam a rich people, strong country and an equitable, democratic and civilised socialist society.

Being the proud of birthplace of President Ho Chi Minh and worthy of his sentiment for the fatherland, Nghe An contributed greatly to the past revolutions and has made significant progress in the renewal process. Its GDP growth rate reached an annual 10.3 percent and the annual food output hit one million tones. Infrastructure, especially transport, irrigation and telecommunications have been improved and the number of poor households has dropped significantly.

***On the same day, Nghe An province and the Ministry of Information and Communications published a collection of stamps to mark the President Ho Chi Minh’s 120th birthday.

There was also a stamp exhibition entitled “Glorious Party, Great Uncle Ho” that attracted a number of local people and tourists to view special stamps about President Ho Chi Minh’s life and career.

*** In Ho Chi Minh City on May 16, more than 300 outstanding young people offered flowers, reported on their achievements with President Ho Chi Minh, and received “Youth following Uncle Ho” badges. They also attended a youth congress.

During the congress, there were a wide range of activities, including a photo exhibition called “Uncle Ho with Youth”, product displays, diaries to follow Uncle Ho, calligraphy, games and a concert to honour President Ho Chi Minh.

 *** On May 18, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Vietnam Revolution Museum will open an exhibition, displaying more than 200 documents, images and other items belonging to President Ho Chi Minh.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND