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Archive for May 30th, 2010|Daily archive page

Tourists like eco-friendly

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm




Tourists like eco-friendly


QĐND – Sunday, May 30, 2010, 20:57 (GMT+7)

More and more tourists coming to Vietnam want to go on environmentally friendly tours that openly benefit communities living in poverty.


Vietnam plans to continue to develop its billion-dollar tourism industry but with an emphasis on ‘responsible travel’. In a nutshell that means developing tourism while protecting the country’s natural resources and environment and helping to alleviate poverty in disadvantaged areas.


“Community-based and socially responsible travel development has always been a corner-stone of Vietnam’s tourism industry,” said Tran Chien Thang, deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, speaking at a recent seminar on Vietnam’s responsible travel development, held by the ministry’s Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in Hanoi.


This Responsible Travel programme will focus on training private companies in environmental management, involving the poor in such companies’ activities, supporting travel companies to encourage responsible travel and cooperating with local authorities to protect the environment.


“Vietnam received 250,000 foreign tourists in 1990 and the figure increased to 3.8 million in 2009 and an expected 4.2 million in 2010. However, the increase in tourist quantity also means the country’s tourism environment is deteriorating and most poor people cannot benefit from tourism development,” said Pham Quang Hung, head of VNAT’s International Cooperation Department.


“Responsible travel is quite a new concept in Vietnam, but has for years been developed successfully by many foreign countries,” said Monica Oliveros, a representative from SNV Nepal, where a responsible travel programme has helped that country reduce poverty and protect the environment.


In Nepal, 70 responsible travel activities have been created, mostly by travel companies, which have resulted in employment for hundreds of thousands of people from impoverished backgrounds.


Capturing the eco-friendly dollar


Oliveros said two thirds of US and Australian tourists and 90 per cent of British tourists were interested in environmental protection, a point which tourism destinations’ authorities should focus on. Some 70 per cent of US, British and Australian tourists said they were ready to pay $150 more for a two week stay in a hotel that protects the environment.


“Tourists’ awareness of travel has changed. The number of tourists coming to countries with responsible travel development is on the rise,” said Paul Steven, another SNV Nepal representative.


Nguyen Van Sieu, head of Vietnam Institute for Tourism Development Research, said such tourism models in Hoi An, Hanoi or Hue were developing independently without being combined in a large-scale movement nationwide and largely intermixed with travel companies’ tours. He said most local travel companies and authorities in tourism destinations did not understand much about responsible travel.


“Consequently, many tourism destinations are seriously damaged. This can badly influence poor people, who want to live off tourism services,” says Sieu. For example, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province is an ideal tourism destination for local and foreign tourists. However, its environment, especially the sea, is being destroyed by rubbish and polluted water.


According to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, only 300 of 1,600 cubic metres of waste water daily discharged by hotels, restaurants and resorts is treated.


Only a third of the province’s tourism-related enterprises have waste water treatment systems in place. The province’s Saigon-Binh Chau tourism area was recently rumbled for burying its rubbish and discharging waste water into the environment (apparently since 2002). .


Tourists prefer clean and green


According to a SNV survey on Vietnam’s major tourism destinations, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Halong and Hue, more and more foreign tourists are concerned about pollution and noise levels.


Some 97 per cent of interviewed tourists said they were ready to pay more for a holiday that was environmentally-friendly and resulted in increased net benefits for poor people.


The survey results show that hospitality was what attracted the most foreign tourists. For example, while Hanoi received the least gratification from foreign tourists, Sapa ranked top among the surveyed localities in pleasing foreign tourists.


Douglas Hainsworth, a tourism consultant to environmental projects led by SNV and the EU, said Vietnam needed to create opportunities for the poor to access tourism training and design poverty reduction tours in rural and mountainous areas.


According to Sieu, as part of its national tourism strategy for 2011-2020, the government will underline responsible travel development as the biggest priority for the industry. “A project for responsible travel development in Vietnam will be built soon. It will be implemented with the help from international organisations,” Hung said.


“Responsible travel can bring big benefits to companies, tourists and locals. While tourists can enrich their cultural and social experience via their direct activities with locals, thus helping them improve their behaviour towards the environment. Responsible travel can also help locals take more pride in their own cultural traits and lifestyles.”


At a recent seminar on responsible travel in Hue, 30 local travel companies in Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue and Quang Tri agreed to cooperate on a SNV-backed Vietnam-based responsible travel campaign, which would run from May until December this year. 


Source: VNN


Source: QDND

Training jetfighter crashes, but no casualties

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm




Training jetfighter crashes, but no casualties


QĐND – Sunday, May 30, 2010, 20:57 (GMT+7)

A MIC 21 jetfighter crashed on the morning of May 29 in the central province of Binh Dinh during a training mission, but two pilots parachuted safely.


The jetfighter, which belongs to the C40 air force unit, fell into Nhon Tan commune of An Nhon district at about 09:05 to 09:10 a.m, destroying the eaves of a local house, said the provincial Military Command. Nobody was injured in the incident.


Officers of the C40 air force unit and local authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

30 burnt alive in India bus accident

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

BANGALORE, India, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – At least 30 people, including 10 children, were burnt alive on Sunday when a bus bound for the southern Indian city of Bangalore ploughed into a roadblock and caught fire, police said.


The state-owned vehicle veered off a small bridge after colliding with the roadblock in the dark and fell into a ditch, local superintendent of police Labhu Ram told AFP from the accident site by phone.


“The bus caught fire when the diesel tank exploded on impact,” he said.


The bus had 64 passengers on board and was on its way from Surpur in southern Karnataka state to the IT hub of Bangalore, 600 kilometres (400 miles) away.


At least three surviving passengers were in a serious condition.


State transport minister R. Ashok, who visited the accident site, told reporters that preliminary reports suggested the driver was at fault.


“Negligent driving is suspected to have caused the accident as the bus was speeding and hit a road barrier on the bridge and skidded into the ditch,” Ashok said.


Police had registered a case against the driver, who survived the accident, Ram added.


India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, bigger than the more populous China, according to the World Health Organization, with accidents caused by speeding, bad roads, overcrowding and poor vehicle maintenance.


Police figures show that nationwide more than 110,000 people die annually on the roads.

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Source: SGGP

Indian vessels dock in Hai Phong

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm




Indian vessels dock in Hai Phong


QĐND – Sunday, May 30, 2010, 20:57 (GMT+7)

PANO – Two Indian military ships, INS RANJIT and INS KULISH, will be anchored at Hai Phong sea port to pay a friendly visit to the city from My 30th to June 2nd, under the permission of local authorities. 


During the visit, the ships’ commanders and the crews will pay courtesy calls to the city’s leadership, the high commands of the Vietnam People’s Navy, and to Military Zone 3.


In addition, they will have cultural and sports exchanges with local military units, including volleyball competitions, as well as visits to landmarks and historical sites in Hai Phong.


Translated by Thu Nguyen


Source: QDND

City has enough 5-in-1 vaccine for newborn

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:17 am

The Preventive Medicine Center of Ho Chi Minh City is ready for its free vaccination plan against five diseases starting on June 1, deputy director Nguyen Dac Tho said May 29.

A child gets vaccination in Ho Chi Minh City (File photo: K.Kh)

The 5-in-1 vaccine is against Diphtheria; Tetanus; Pertussis (whooping-cough), hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza.


The plan targets babies born on April 1, 2010 and later.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam in the eyes of Italian photographer

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

Nearly 50 photos on land and people of Vietnam taken by Italian photographer Maurizio Cofini are on display at an exhibition in Rome.


In his second exhibition on Vietnam, Maurizio Cofini continues to depict the special life in the country in a wide range of subjects from Hanoi’s old quarters, Halong Bay, the Mekong Delta river region to minority ethnic children and daily lives of other normal people across the country.


The 54-year-old professional photographer, who has won numerous major awards in Italia, has featured Vietnam as a peace-loving nation recovering from long-time wars to vigorously change.


The display, along with the previous one in September last year, is the result of his five visits to Vietnam within 15 years.

Source: SGGP

China coal mine explosion kills 17 workers

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

BEIJING, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – An explosion at a colliery in central China has killed 17 workers, a provincial official said Sunday.

The blast happened on Saturday in Hunan province’s Rucheng county, an official with the provincial work safety bureau, who refused to be named, told AFP.


“Rescue work has ended,” he said, without providing further details.


According to the official Xinhua news agency, the explosion happened inside the pit where dynamite was being stored and there was also a build-up of poisonous gas.


A total of 18 people were working underground at the time, and one survived with injuries, Xinhua said.


Police and work safety officials are investigating the cause of the blast, the report said.


Around 2,600 people were killed last year in China’s vast mining industry due mainly to lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency, according to official figures.


Earlier this month, 21 workers were killed in a gas blast at a colliery in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

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Source: SGGP

Japan corporate investment to bounce back: survey

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

TOKYO (AFP) – Capital spending by big Japanese companies is set to rise for the first time in three years as auto and electronics makers invest more abroad, a survey said Sunday.


According to the poll of 1,472 leading firms by business daily Nikkei, the companies plan to invest a total of 23.35 trillion yen (257 billion dollars) in plant and equipment in the business year to March 2011.


The annual total would be up 11 percent from the year to March 2010 when their combined capital spending plunged 23.7 percent, the steepest fall since the survey began in 1973, Nikkei said.


But the 2010-2011 estimate is still the second lowest in the past five years, at around 80 percent of the level seen in the year to March 2008, before the global financial crisis struck.

A worker walks between newly assembled Toyota vehicles at its plant in Aichi Prefecture. AFP file

And corporate Japan may once again pare back investment in 2011-2012, because the yen’s appreciation against the euro as a result of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is making many firms cautious, the report said.


In the current year, export-led auto and electronics firms intend to boost their capital spending, mostly overseas, expecting steady growth in emerging markets including China, it said.


But retailers and other sectors more reliant on domestic demand in deflation-hobbled Japan plan to spend significantly less than the last business year.


Spending by manufacturers is projected to rise 17.3 percent to 12.79 trillion yen, with 14 of the 17 sectors posting year-on-year growth.


Car giant Toyota plans to boost its capital spending by 27.8 percent from the previous year when the amount dipped 55.5 percent, Nikkei said.


It is likely to spend 41 percent of its total outlays overseas, up from 32 percent in the year to March 2010, indicating Japanese carmakers’ accelerating moves to relocate their production overseas.


The ratio of Honda’s overseas investment to its total capital spending is expected to jump from 50 percent to 67 percent as it plans to expand its production in China, Nikkei said.

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Source: SGGP

Bangladesh blocks Facebook over Mohammed cartoons

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

DHAKA (AFP) – Bangladesh has blocked social networking site Facebook for posting caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and “obnoxious” images of the Muslim-majority country’s leaders, an official said Sunday.


Facebook was blocked late Saturday, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission said.


The move was ordered after the website “hurt the religious sentiments of the country’s majority Muslim population” by publishing caricatures of Mohammed, BTRC acting chairman Hasan Mahmud Delwar told AFP.

Members of Islamic Movement Bangladesh protest against “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” competition hosted on the social networking site Facebook. AFP photo

“Some links in the site also contained obnoxious images of our leaders including the father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of the opposition,” he said.


Bangladesh’s elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested one young man over the images attacking the political leaders.


“A special intelligence team of the RAB arrested him and he has been charged with spreading malice and insulting the country’s leaders,” senior RAB official Enamul Kabir said.


Delwar said the authorities “cannot tolerate these offensive images” of Mohammed and the political leaders, but he stressed the ban was “temporary”.


“Facebook will be re-opened once we erase the pages that contain the obnoxious images,” he said.


On Friday thousands of Bangladeshis took to the streets of the capital Dhaka, demanding that the government ban Facebook over what they called “anti-Islamic propaganda”.


The protests were in response to an “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” campaign on Facebook which sparked angry protests and a ban on the site in Pakistan.


“Drawing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, is an attack on Islam and is extremely humiliating for Islam,” protest organiser A.T.M. Hemayet Uddin told thousands of cheering, white-clad supporters.

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Source: SGGP

Thailand appears back to ‘normal’: PM

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

BANGKOK, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday the country appeared to be back to “normal” after the lifting of a curfew imposed in the wake of deadly anti-government protests.


The premier cancelled the curfew Saturday but said emergency rule was still necessary after two months of mass rallies by “Red Shirt” demonstrators that paralysed the capital and left almost 90 people dead.

Thai workers climb on a scaffold during repair work on the window of shopping mall in Bangkok on May 30, 2010. AFP photo

“The situation last night was normal. Authorities will keep an eye though, then we’ll consider lifting the state of emergency,” Abhisit said in his weekly television address.


The Reds’ street rallies, broken up on May 19 in an army crackdown on their encampment in Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong commercial district, sparked outbreaks of violence that left 88 people dead, mostly civilians, and nearly 1,900 injured.


In an address Saturday to foreign diplomats, Abhisit said Thailand needed to “rebuild the social and economic compact between people and the government,” but defended the crackdown.


“I can say that when we took that Ratchaprasong intersection, we took Bangkok back for the people,” Abhisit said in the speech, which was broadcast on Sunday.


“No matter what their political views may be, I’m still confident that the majority of our people are peaceful and moderate and they were stunned and dismayed” by recent events, he said.


The premier said he was confident the situation could be resolved through the democratic process, despite a history that has seen 18 actual or attempted coups in Thailand since 1932.


“I think if something like this had happened in the past, people would probably think a coup d’etat was around the corner,” Abhisit said.


“Clearly this time around I think everybody is determined that the situation should and could be resolved through normal parliamentary and democratic processes,” he added.


The Red Shirts were campaigning for elections they hoped would oust the government, which they view as undemocratic because it came to power with the backing of the army after a court ruling threw out the previous administration.


Abhisit had proposed November 14 polls in a bid to end the rally, but he shelved the plan because demonstrators refused to disperse.


Abhisit told diplomats he had not ruled out an early poll but repeated an earlier statement that the environment must be right for elections.


“Clearly given the way things have turned out over the last couple of weeks, the date of November 14 would now look very unlikely,” he said.


Thailand declared a state of emergency in Bangkok on April 7 after protesters stormed parliament in an escalation of their street rallies.


After the May 19 army crackdown, unrest spread to several cities in the Red Shirts’ stronghold in Thailand’s impoverished northeast, and a curfew was imposed in Bangkok and 23 provinces, out of a total of 76.


Authorities on Tuesday extended a midnight-to-4:00 am curfew for four more nights as the government sought to restore order.


Anyone violating the curfew had faced up to two years in jail. The measures made life hard for people who usually work during the night and put a damper on the capital’s normally lively nightlife.


The Red Shirts, many of whose leaders have been arrested and are in police custody, are mostly supporters of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.


Celebrated for populist policies that benefited the poor, Thaksin was also accused of gross human rights abuses and corruption.


A Thai court last Tuesday approved an arrest warrant for Thaksin on terrorism charges, which carry a maximum penalty of death, in connection with the violent protests.

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Source: SGGP