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Posts Tagged ‘1st’

Don’t blame Preval for Haiti crisis: 1st Lady

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm

He’s been accused of rigging the election of his successor, but Elisabeth Preval, wife of the outgoing Haitian president, says her husband’s not to blame for the country’s political mess.

As Haiti prepares to mark the first anniversary of the earthquake that leveled the impoverished Caribbean nation, President Rene Preval has the difficult job in his final weeks of presiding both over a natural disaster and electoral turmoil.

His wife told AFP that despite this he will be remembered positively.

“It’s not Preval who created the poverty and misery in Haiti. To the contrary, he worked for five years to create stability,” she said in an interview.

“Political stability is an important achievement that he left the country,” she said. “And this should be protected so that economic growth and social development get a longterm chance.”

Not all Haitians would agree.

The country, reeling from years of poverty, the deadly 2010 earthquake and a cholera outbreak, now finds itself in yet another round of political turmoil as candidates from a November presidential election bicker about who should go to a second round.

Supporters of the candidate that placed third believe Preval’s handpicked candidate, Jude Celestin, cheated in order to come second, clinching a spot in the run-off vote.

The third place candidate, popular singer Michel Martelly, singled out Preval for rigging the vote and demonstrators set fire to the ruling INITE party’s headquarters in December.

As yet, no decision has been taken on when to stage the run-off round — originally set for January 16 — and, as a result, Haiti finds itself in political chaos just when it needs leadership.

The first lady, who married Preval only a few months before the earthquake, says her husband can’t be blamed.

“Thanks to his political acumen, he has steered around the problems in the country, and brought together opposing groups for dialogue,” she said.

“Haiti was going in the right direction (before the quake). In December 2009, the key indicators showed positive economic growth, political stability, an easing of social conditions and growing investor confidence,” Elisabeth Preval said.

President Preval is due to step down February 7. He says he could stay in power as long as there is no clear successor.

“I am very anxious because the stability of Haiti is in danger if hte electoral crisis is not calmly resolved,” Elisabeth Preval said.

However, she insisted that her husband had no desire to hang on.

“The president and I have finished. There is only a little time left in his mandate. I can assure you that President Preval is determined to leave as soon as the new president and new parliament take office.”

“His role,” she added, “is to protect stability.”


Source: SGGP

1st Panama cultural week in Hanoi

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

City to host 1st national zither festival 2010

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2010 at 7:09 am

The 1st national zither festival will be held at the HCM City Labor Cultural Palace on October 30.

Zitherists of the “Countr’s singing” club in HCM City will join the 1st national zither festival 2010.  (Photo: Sggp)

Nearly 120 zitherists throughout the country will join the event. The list of famous artists includes Vo Van Anh, the 1st winner of the Talent Zitherist 2002 Contest; music teacher Pham Thi Tra My of the National Music Institute; Mai Thi Hong Nga, teacher of the Hue Music Institute and etc.

there is also a seminar on preserving and developing dan tranh (zither, a Vietnamese traditional 16-stringed instrument) with participation of Professor Tran Van Khe; head of the Traditional Music Department of the HCMC Conservatory of Music, musician Huynh Khai; People’s teachers Nguyen Van Doi and Pham Thuy Hoan and more.

The Vietnamese zither (dan tranh) is also known as Dan Thap Luc or sixteen-stringed zither. It has a trapezium-shape, 110-120 cm in length. The large end is 25-30 cm in width with holes and to hang the strings. The narrow is 15-20 cm in width with 16 tuning keys on the surface of the instrument. The strings are made of silk or then copper and now steel.
Players use all fingers with plectrums on the thumb. The music of the dan tranh is usually bright and full of cheerfulness. The instrument is often performed solo or in concert, to accompany poem chanting, singing, performances of traditional orchestra.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam’s 1st international film festival to be held in Hanoi

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 at 10:27 am

Vietnam international film festival (VIFF) will be held for the first time in Hanoi from October 17 to 21. All works for the largest national event have been already completed, said Mr. Lai Van Sinh, Head of the Vietnam Film Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism.

Mr. Lai Van Sinh, Head of the Vietnam Film Department.

12 documentries and 10 featured films from China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philipines, Hong Kong (China), Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam will compete for categories including Best Film, Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, a prize of the Network of the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac), and the Media Award.

The films produced in 2009 or 2010 that have not been screened abroad before or not been screened in Asia before October 21 can enter. Entries must have not been screened on TV or internet.

Other films from 25 countries throughout the world will be presented in the World Cinema program.

Good local movies which have been produced in recent years will be screened in the “Vietnamese Cinema Today” section.

The Country in Focus section which showcases pictures from a chosen country every year will introduce five latest films of the French movie industry.

During the five-day event, there will be seminars on Vietnam’s film industry, a photo exhibition of international film festivals and a display honoring People’s Artist and director Hong Sen, one of the great names of the Vietnamese movie industry.

The judging panel will include director Phillip Noyce, Venice International Film Festival director Marco Mueller, French cameramen Francois Cantonne and Matthieu Poirot – Del Pech, Korean actress Kang Soo Youn, NETPAC President Aruna Vasudev and others. Among them are Vietnamese directors including feature film director Dang Nhat Minh, documentary film director Bui Dinh Hac and film critic Ngo Phuong Lan.

The film fest is a good chance to cultural exchanges and cooperation between local and international filmmakers.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the event will take place at the National Convention Center in Hanoi and broadcast live on VTV3.

Source: SGGP

Piano high school student presents 1st solo

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:56 am

Young pianist Nguyen The Cuong Quoc performed classical music in a concert at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music on September 24.

      Nguyen The Cuong Quoc

The pianist performed works by famous composers such as Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Chopin and Ravel together with the Ho Chi Minh City Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Nguyen Anh Son.

Cuong Quoc, 17, is a 12th grader in HCMC and a student at the HCMC Conservatory of Music.

The young pianist was introduced to piano when he was four years old and entered the Conservatory of Music at eight.

He received several awards at local and international piano competitions such as the Per Giovanni Piano Competition in 2003, Bradshaw & Buono Piano Contest in New York in 2005, and Autumn Young Talent Concours Contest in Hanoi in 2007.

Source: SGGP

Australia gets its 1st female PM as Rudd ousted

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 at 4:39 am

 A sudden revolt within Australia’s ruling party gave the country its first woman prime minister, who promised Thursday to safeguard her government’s reforms in education, health and industrial law.

Julia Gillard had been deputy to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd since their Labor Party swept to power in a landslide election victory in 2007.

In a sudden move that took many government lawmakers by surprise, she challenged Rudd late Wednesday to hold a leadership ballot only month out from an election expected this year.

Rudd acknowledged that the party’s factional power brokers had lost faith in him and did not contest the leadership at a party meeting on Thursday, leaving Gillard to be elected unopposed.

“I asked my colleagues to make a leadership change … because I believed that a good government was losing its way,” Gillard told reporters.

“And because I believe fundamentally that the basic education and health services that Australians rely on and their decent treatment at work are at risk at the next election,” she said.

Julia Gillard, left, leaves a Labor Party meeting with Treasurer Wayne Swan in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, June 24, 2010

“I’m well aware that I am the first woman to serve in this role, but can I say to you, I didn’t set out to crash my head on any glass ceilings,” she added.

Gillard and her new deputy, Wayne Swan, were to be sworn into their offices on Thursday by Australia‘s first woman Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, within hours of the ballot.

Swan retains his key financial portfolio as treasurer and will to fly to Canada on Friday for a summit of Group of 20 major economies in Rudd’s place. He was also elected unopposed. Gillard has yet to announce any other ministers in her new cabinet.

An emotional Rudd, flanked by his wife and three children, gave his final speech in the prime minister’s court yard at Parliament House on Thursday, during which he rated keeping Australia out of recession at the top of his list of achievements during his short tenure.

He said he would contest the next election and continue to serve his party.

Rudd had ridden high in opinion polls as one of the most popular Australian prime ministers of modern times until he made major policy backflips, including a decision in April to shelve plans to make Australia’s worst polluters pay for their carbon gas emissions.

Gillard signaled no major policy changes during her first press conference, saying that negotiations with the mining industry would continue over the government’s plan to introduce a new tax on mineral profits after the next election.

But she would end an advertising campaign that is promoting the tax, keeping a Labor promise that Rudd broke to never use taxpayers’ money for political advertising.

John Wanna, an Australian National University political scientist, suspected that Gillard might push for an earlier withdrawal of Australia’s 1,550 troops from Afghanistan in a bid to reverse a swing of left-wing voters away from the government.

She is from a left-wing faction of Labor, while Rudd had been supported by the party’s right faction.

Gillard was likely to be less focused on foreign policy than Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat to Beijing who campaigned to create a new forum for Asia-Pacific nations and for an Australian seat on the United Nations Security Council, Wanna said.

“He has been trying to get Australia punching above its weight in terms of international relations when a lot of the world thought of us as another state of the United States,” Wanna said.

Wanna said dumping Rudd for Gillard months out from an election was risky for the government.

“We’ve got rid of a successful prime minister after two and a half years and we’ve never done that before in the past,” Wanna said.

Gillard was born in Barry, Wales, in 1961, the second daughter of a family who migrated to Adelaide when she was 4 years old in search of a warmer climate for her lung complaint.

A former successful lawyer, she has been attacked by some opponents as unsuitable to lead because she is childless and therefore out of touch with most Australians.

Despite Australia’s weathering the global downturn, recent polling puts the center-left government neck-and-neck with the conservative opposition. One poll earlier this month showed Labor trailing the opposition for the first time in more than four years.

Rudd is a Labor hero, having led the party to victory at 2007 elections after 11 years in opposition.

Source: SGGP

Sheraton’s 1st hotel on beach in VN enhances hospitality

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2010 at 5:00 am

The Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa is to conduct its grand opening May 14 in this beach city, home to one of the world’s most beautiful bays.

The 30-story property delivers dazzling sea views from each of its 284 rooms and a collection of restaurants and bars enable to make Nha Trang a culinary destination for a host of new reasons.

Three years under construction, the hotel ranks as the first internationally renowned, five-star brand to cultivate a beach destination within the country. 

A view seen from The Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa (Photo: Huong Lan)

“This hotel is like a standing ovation on one of Vietnam’s most alluring attractions,” said Scott Hodgetts, general manager of the hotel. “I’ve been looking at this bay, and its islands, for the past two years as we fine-tuned this launch, and I’m still not tired of it. I can’t wait to see our guests’ reaction.”

Nha Trang Bay is a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. Founded in 1997, the club is an UNESCO-supported non-governmental organization committed to environmental tourism.
The Sheraton Nha Trang hotel’s overarching appeal is exemplified, collectively, by its 10 classes of accommodation, from spacious deluxe rooms to 70-square-meter executive suites and one awe-inspiring 182-square-meter presidential suite.
Outside every room, a balcony juts far enough to admit open-air ogling of the bay and a beach that’s been described by many guidebooks as the best in Vietnam. A Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed is standard in every room.
The hotel’s décor exudes deliberate, earthy warmth, with an appealing palate of tawny tones inspired by the beach. The beige and yellow hues, and the custom carpets in jute and cotton evoke familiar Asian themes.
The property includes a multi-purpose events room on the 28th floor with panoramic views of Nha Trang Bay and wonderful environs replete with hills, rivers and an array of cultural attractions.

Three floors below, the Sheraton Club Lounge, which Hodgetts describes as an awe-inspiring modern lounge, delivers a sumptuous, multi-dimensional, uplifting guest experience. Business travelers and leisure travelers who crave extra-special treatment and amenities, and who’ll be staying in a room or suite on floors 22 through 26, check in here.
On the 6th floor, the pools include an infinity-edged pool expansive enough to accommodate lap swimmers, a reflecting pool for sun deck sun soaking and a kid’s pool.

On the 7th and 8th floors, Shine Spa makes its mainland Asia debut. In nine treatment rooms, therapists practice treatments borne of the Mediterranean, Arabia, India and Asia with a particular emphasis on Vietnamese traditions.
The hotel’s largest restaurant, Feast, is a tried-and-true culinary concept that taps the culinary heritage of Italy, India and a number of distinct Asian locales and turns out a la carte dishes a la minute. 
Outside Feast, a gallery lords over the lobby. On the far side of the open space, the Wine Bar and its glass walls position casual drinkers with opportunities for both bay-watching and people-watching in the lobby below.

For less leisurely pursuits, the hotel is shaping up as a magnet for businesses and conferences that require as much as 1,600-square meters of ballroom space. Although Nha Trang can feel like a destination apart, the 24-hour business center ensures that guests can get right into the thick of it as necessary.

Source: SGGP

Astronauts take 1st spacewalk of shuttle mission

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2010 at 10:28 am

 A pair of spacewalking astronauts disconnected an old empty ammonia tank outside the International Space Station on Friday and got a new one ready to put in its place.

In the first of three spacewalks needed to complete the job, Clayton Anderson had no problem taking apart the ammonia lines on the old tank. But he needed a pry bar to remove the new tank out of space shuttle Discovery‘s payload bay. The tank got hung up on a bolt.

“Go nice and easy, Clay,” spacewalking partner Rick Mastracchio warned as Anderson pushed and prodded with the pry bar. After several tries, the tank finally came free. “We got it!” Anderson called out.

The two men lifted the 1,700-pound tank out of Discovery and handed it off to a robot arm, which maneuvered it to a temporary storage location at the space station.

In this image made from video and released by NASA, astronauts Rick Mastracchio, center, is seen preparing the external stowage platform on the International Space Station for the new ammonia tank during the first spacewalk on the International Space Station, Friday April 9, 2010

The actual swap-out of the two tanks will take place during the second spacewalk Sunday, with the entire effort wrapping up on the third and final outing Tuesday. It will be “a big juggle” with the tanks, said David Coan, Mission Control‘s lead spacewalk officer.

Besides the tank work, Mastracchio and Anderson collected a science experiment from the space station’s Japanese lab and replaced a failed station-positioning device.

Then the game plan changed. Instead of tackling battery work, they focused on hoses and clamps. Astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, directing the spacewalk from inside, urged the men to go slow because of the switch.

Mastracchio and Anderson were originally scheduled to work on old batteries on the far left end of the space station, along the sprawling power truss. But based on new findings, NASA canceled the task this week because of concern the two might get shocked. The job instead will be carried out on the next shuttle flight, once the spacesuits are better protected.

There were a few tense moments early in Friday morning’s spacewalk when Mastracchio reported that he bumped a large V-shaped bar in the shuttle payload bay and it was sliding around. He said it did not appear to be off its mooring. Mission Control later said engineers were “pretty convinced” it was normal for the clamp to move around a bit, but as a precaution, warned the spacewalkers to stay away from it.

The V-shaped bar serves as a guide for the cargo carrier that flew up on Discovery and was attached to the space station Thursday. The compartment was unloaded by some of the 11 astronauts inside, as the spacewalk unfolded 215 miles up.

As the 6 1/2-hour spacewalk drew to a successful close, Mastracchio noted there was lot more distance to cover, moving hand over hand, than the last time he worked on the space station in 2007. The orbiting outpost has grown considerably since then.

“Like a marathon with your arms,” Metcalf-Lindenburger observed.

After the spacewalkers were back inside, one of them joked, “Of course, she’s a former teacher, so we do exactly what she tells us, otherwise she might rap our hands with a ruler.” That prompted a big laugh from Metcalf-Lindenburger, one of only a few educator-astronauts.

Later in the day, as expected, mission managers approved a one-day flight extension for Discovery.

Discovery and its crew of seven will remain at the space station until April 17, a day longer than planned, because of the failure of the shuttle’s main antenna. NASA wants the shuttle astronauts to inspect their ship for any signs of micrometeorite damage before they depart. That way, all the laser images can be transmitted to Mission Control through the station.

That stretches the shuttle mission to 14 days, with a landing on April 19.

As for the inspection conducted the day after Monday’s liftoff, no significant launch damage was found in those images or in any of the other data, officials said.

Only three shuttle missions remain after this one to wrap up space station construction.

Source: SGGP

Central province to host Tanimex beach volleyball cup for 1st time

In Vietnam Sports on November 13, 2009 at 4:38 am

Tanimex duo Cam Hong-Hong Loan (the further side) play in the 2008 Tanimex Cup last November in Ho Chi Minh City. They were the champions. (Filed photo: VNExpress)

Ninh Thuan Province on the central coast will host a national-level beach volleyball tournament for the first time from November 20 to 22. By Thursday, 23 teams have confirmed participation in Tanimex Cup there.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Tanimex Company, the tournament organizer, announced here Thursday that 12 male and 11 female teams had put their names down for this year’s competition, which is also a final test for selection of the national squads competing in December’s Southeast Asian Games in Laos.

This is also the first time the annual event is held outside HCM City since its inception in 2007. The first two editions took place here, and Tanimex teams won in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

This year, the 23 teams will compete at the beach resort of Long Thuan, Phan Rang-Thap Cham City, Ninh Thuan from November 20 to 22.

The host province, in its first participation in the national event, will send one female and one male team, the organizer said.
Tanimex will send two female and two male teams. HCM City’s Tan Binh District will send three female and two male teams, as the central province of Khanh Hoa will. The other teams come from Quang Nam, Danang, Hai Phong and a military unit.

Tanimex said it would see fierce competition from other teams this time.

Vietnam Television will broadcast live the opening and closing ceremonies, the openers, semifinals and finals on the VTV3 and VTV9 channels. HCM City Television will do the same on HTV2 channel.

Vietnam’s beach volleyball teams for the SEA Games in Laos will be set up based on performance by players in the Tanimex Cup.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Japan’s jobless rate falls for 1st time in 7 months

In World on October 2, 2009 at 6:42 am

Japan‘s jobless rate fell unexpectedly for the first time in seven months in August while consumer spending rose, data showed Friday, boosting hopes the economy is healing after its worst slump in decades.

Massive stimulus spending and rebounding exports are nursing the world’s number two economy back to health, but there is a risk that the recovery may stall at some point as the impact of pump-priming measures fade, analysts said.

The jobless rate fell to 5.5 percent in August, from a record high of 5.7 percent in July, the government said. The improvement surprised markets, which had anticipated a figure of 5.8 percent.

“The job market is still bad but is coming out of the worst period,” said UBS economist Takuji Aida.

Even so the unemployment rate will stay high for a country that once boasted a job-for-life culture, he said.

The number of people out of work stood at 3.61 million in August, up 890,000 from the same month of 2008 — the 10th straight year-on-year increase.

Household spending rose by 2.6 percent in August from a year earlier, reversing a drop of 2.0 percent in July, the government said.

Together with the drop in the jobless rate and a rise in retail sales, “the spending number raised a possibility that the state of the household sector has improved more than we had expected,” said JP Morgan economist Masamichi Adachi.

But “it looks too early to judge that the households are now gaining strength,” he added, noting that the effect of stimulus measures would eventually fade.

Pedestrians are seen crossing a street in downtown Tokyo

While the job market slump appears to be easing slightly, conditions remain tough for people looking for work, with only 42 offers for every 100 jobseekers in August, matching a record low set in July.

There are concerns that unemployment could worsen again later this year as firms continue to restructure and as the effect of pump-priming measures such as government incentives to buy cars in Japan and overseas begin to wear off.

The jobless rate may rise to as high as 6.0 percent by the end of the year, said Susumu Kato, chief Japan economist at the Calyon investment bank.

“August labour market indicators appeared to stop worsening but this can’t be understood as a turnaround in job market conditions,” he warned.

However, “recent sustained gains in industrial production could help to increase employment among some manufacturing sectors,” he said.

Japan’s factory output rose for a sixth straight month in August, the longest unbroken expansion in 12 years, earlier data showed.

Many Japanese companies, particularly exporters, moved swiftly to cut jobs and production in response to a slump in demand caused by the global economic downturn.

Some companies are now starting to hire again after the economy grew in April-June for the first time in five quarters.

Toyota Motor said this week that it would take on 1,600 temporary workers because sales were recovering more strongly than expected.

But deflation remains a worry for Japan and domestic demand is relatively subdued, weighed down by weak wages and people’s fears of losing their jobs.

Average household income fell 2.0 percent in August from a year earlier, following a 0.2 percent rise in July.

The results of the Bank of Japan’s closely watched Tankan business survey showed Thursday that corporate executives were less gloomy for a second straight quarter but the outlook for profits and investment remains bleak.

Source: SGGP