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VND 2,600 billion to build Thanh Hoa Airport

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

VND 2,600 billion to build Thanh Hoa Airport

QĐND – Sunday, January 09, 2011, 22:17 (GMT+7)

The project to build Thanh Hoa Airport was officially announced on January 8th by the Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee and the Vietnam Aviation Department.

Under the plan, the project will be implemented in two phases with the first oneto be completed by 2020 and the second one to be completed by 2030 at a cost of 2,600 billion VND in aggregate.

The airport will be erected in Hai Ninh Commune, Tinh Gia District, 30 km south of Thanh Hoa City, and 1.3 km away from National Highway 1A.

The airport is designed to carry 250,000 passengers and 10,000 tons of cargo per year after the first phase is completed. The designed capacity for the second phase is 1 million passengers and 20,000 tons of cargo per year. The airport will then be able to serve both regular domestic and international flights. 

Source: VnExpress

Translated by Thu Nguyen

Source: QDND

Children’s fund looks to $2 million funding for the needy

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

The National Fund for Vietnamese Children has said that it will try to raise VND40 billion (US$2 million) in order to carry out programs and help disable children of Vietnam this year.


Representatives from the National Fund for Vietnamese Children offer gifts to disable children in flood-hit region. (

The fund will organize three programs which will be broadcast live on television. The event on television hopes to raise money, from various individuals and organisations, in order to help disadvantaged children.

In another ceremony, which will be held at the Presidential Place in Hanoi, 55 outstanding children that have faced extreme hardship, will be honoured.

Furthermore, the fund will offer 2,500 scholarships to children in 63 cities and provinces, and in addition, give away 5,000 lifebuoys to children that live near rivers and waterways.

The fund also hopes to build 10 new projects and provide fresh water in over 10 cities and provinces around Vietnam. The project will also build five new schools and support 70 individuals that need heart operations in Vietnam.

Last year, the fund raised over VND90 billion ($4.5 million) and helped one million poor and disable children across the country.

Source: SGGP

2,500 cruise ship tourists visit Vietnam

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

The luxury cruise ship Costa Classica brings foreign visitors to Vietnam.(Photo: Vietnamplus)

Saigontourist Travel Service Co. received the luxury cruise ship Costa Classica bringing around 2,500 visitors and crew in Ha Long City, the northern province of Quang Ninh, on November 23.

The visitors, mostly from France, Spain, the UK and Germany, are in a six-day trans-Viet route to popular tourist spots in Ha Long, Hanoi, Danang, Hue, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City from November 23 to 28.

The cruise liner is scheduled to make another trip to Vietnam on January 22, 2011.

Source: SGGP

Hanoi to build Long Bien Bridge 2

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm

2,500 cruise visitors tour Vietnam

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm

2,500 cruise visitors tour Vietnam

QĐND – Saturday, October 30, 2010, 20:57 (GMT+7)

The Saigontourist Travel Service Company (Saigontourist) welcomed 2,500 cruise visitors, mainly from European countries, on the Costa Romantica cruise that docked in Ha Long Bay on October 29th.

During the 6-day tour, the tourists will visit popular tourist sites in Vietnam, such as Ha Long Bay, Yen Tu Mountain and Bai Chay beach in the northern province of Quang Ninh; the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and old quarters in Hanoi; Thanh Ha pottery village, My Son Sanctuary in Danang city; the Thien Mu pagoda, Minh Mang Tomb and Hue Royal Palace in Thua Thien Hue provinces, to name a few.

On November 2nd, Saigontourist will receive another 2,500 cruise visitors on the Costa Classica to tour Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi – My Tho – Danang – Hoi An and Thua Thien Hue.

From the beginning of this year, the company has welcomed more than 45,000 foreign tourists, mainly from European countries traveling on cruise ships.

Source: HNM

Translated by Duy Minh

Source: QDND

Iran releases American held for 2 years in Tehran

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 at 10:23 am

 Iran on Saturday set free an American businessman jailed in Tehran for more than two years on suspicion on ties to an allegedly violent opposition group.

Reza Taghavi, 71, hadn’t been charged with a crime and denied knowingly supporting the organization, known as Tondar.

“He admitted to nothing and he continues to maintain his innocence,” his lawyer, Pierre Prosper, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Tehran after his client’s release from Tehran’s Evin prison. He’s not expected to return to Southern California before the middle of next week.

Iranian officials are “comfortable that he was in fact used by this organization, and comfortable that he does not pose a threat to them and that he can leave and go back to the United States,” Prosper said.

Iran had accused Taghavi of passing $200 in cash to an Iranian man tied to Tondar. Taghavi, who regularly visits Iran to conduct business and see family, had received the money from a friend in California with instructions to pass the cash to an Iranian, according to Prosper.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. Someone just asked me take this money to help someone,” Taghavi told ABC News.

“Sometimes I feel relief, sometimes, I feel angry. What happened? Two-and-a-half years for what?” he said.

His family had said he has diabetes and was in poor health, and his lawyer has asked Iran to free him on humanitarian grounds.

Prosper said Taghavi won’t able to leave until this coming week because of conditions attached to his release. While Taghavi never was charged formally or presented with paperwork indicating a charge, Prosper said there is a case within the Iranian justice system. He plans to meet with a judge in the next week in hopes of getting that case dismissed.

The best way to describe the situation, he said, is that the case is suspended and Taghavi is free to leave.

“We welcome the release of Reza Taghavi from detention in Evin Prison in Iran, and are pleased that he will soon be reunited with his family. We urge Iranian authorities to extend the same consideration to Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, and other detained Americans by resolving their cases without delay,” said State Department spokesman Noel Clay.

Fattal and Bauer are two American hikers jailed in Iran since they were arrested near the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009. The Iranians released Bauer’s fiancee, Sarah Shourd, a month ago.

Prosper said he and Taghavi will visit the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, site of an April 2008 bombing at a mosque that killed 14 people. Iranian authorities blame the group that Taghavi is suspected of being involved with, and told Taghavi to meet with victims of the attack.

“He feels aggrieved. He feels used” by his friend back home who provided the cash, Prosper said.

Prosper had five direct meetings with Iranian officials since Taghavi was jailed. Three were in Iran, one in New York and one in Europe.

A family representative, Ric Grenell, said Taghavi planned to hold a news conference upon his return to the United States.

Source: SGGP

Paula becomes Cat. 2 hurricane, threatens Cancun

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

A strengthening Hurricane Paula roared toward Mexico’s resort-dotted Yucatan Peninsula late Tuesday as authorities ordered evacuations on two small islands.

The storm was expected to hit the islands of Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Holbox as it passed just off Yucatan’s southern coast Wednesday morning, officials said.

The hurricane smashed homes and forced schools to cancel classes in Honduras early Tuesday, then grew into a Category 2 storm with top sustained winds of 100 miles per hour (160 kph) on its way to the Yucatan, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Moving north at near 9 mph (15 kph), Paula’s center was expected to pass just to the east of Cancun, then decrease in forward speed after that, the center said. It said the hurricane could get close to western Cuba by Wednesday night or early Thursday.

Fishermen try to secure a boat as before the estimated arrival of hurricane Paula to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010

The center warned that preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

Authorities of the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located, ordered the evacuation of 1,500 residents of Isla Holbox and 60 fishermen from Isla Contoy. The evacuees were taken to the town of Kantunilkin, on the Yucatan peninsula.

More than 1,800 tourists remained on Cozumel late Tuesday after authorities suspended all sea transportation. City officials said three shelters were available on the island but that only a family of six had arrived at one of them Tuesday night.

Quintana Roo state prosecutors said in a statement that a U.S. man drowned when he went swimming in heavy surf near his hotel. Mickey Goodwin, a 54-year-old Texas resident, ignored warnings and red flags alerting the dangerous waves, prosecutors said.

In Cancun, 15 flights were canceled Tuesday and seven international flights for Wednesday would be canceled, Cancun airport commander Jose Chavez said.

Dozens of boat owners in Cancun hauled yachts and other vessels to shore, while sea tour operators canceled reservations. At least one company, Transbordadores del Caribe, canceled ferry trips from Playa del Carmen to the resort island of Cozumel south of Cancun, though others were still operating while the still-mild weather.

Armando Galmiche closed down his water-skiing tour business in Cancun and canceled 15 reservation he had for Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s already low season for tourism and, with this hurricane, things are going to get worse,” he said, lamenting the loss of revenue.

Along Cancun’s popular strip of night clubs and discotheques, workers took down billboards and other large objects ahead of heavy winds.

Peter Bruin, a 25-year-old tourist from Rotterdam, Netherlands, was taking a stroll along the city’s hotel zone, unaware that a hurricane was heading to Cancun.

“I hadn’t heard anything but I’m not afraid,” Bruin said. “It will be my first hurricane experience.”

Early Tuesday, heavy rains and high winds destroyed 19 homes in northeastern Honduras, said Lisandro Rosales, head of Honduras’ emergency agency. Officials closed schools along the country’s Atlantic coast and some airports were reported closed.

Tuesday afternoon, the hurricane was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) south-southeast of Cozumel.

Paula was expected to dump from 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain on Honduras, northern Belize, eastern portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and parts of western and central Cuba.

The government of Mexico issued a hurricane warning for the country’s Caribbean coast from Punta Gruesa north to Cabo Catoche, including the island of Cozumel. Warnings are issued when hurricane conditions are almost certain to occur.

A hurricane warning also was in effect for Cuba’s westernmost province of Pinar del Rio.

Forecasters warned of possible flooding and landslides and suggested residents avoid fishing trips or water sports.

Source: SGGP

World No. 2 economy ‘still developing’, says China

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 11:22 am

China on Tuesday hailed the country’s economic might after it overtook world number two Japan in the second quarter but said it still had tens of millions of people living in poverty.

Thirty years after opening its doors to the world, China has claimed the titles of world’s biggest exporter, auto market and steelmaker in recent years.

Many expect China will this year become the world’s number two economy, just behind the United States — taking the title Japan has held for 40 years and underscoring its emergence as an economic force.

While China has for years stormed ahead with double-digit expansion in gross domestic product, Japan’s growth rates have been comparatively low.

On Monday, Japanese data showed that while Tokyo stayed ahead of its Asian rival in the first half, its second-quarter GDP was smaller than China’s.

File photo shows workers at a hi-tech factory in Shenzhen, southern China’s Guangdong province.

But a commerce ministry official pointed out that in per capita terms, China lags far behind its rivals, and has a long way to go to becoming a world-class power.

“We should not only care about GDP data but also more importantly should pay attention to the per capita figures,” commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters at a regular briefing.

He said China’s per capita GDP was 3,800 dollars, around 105th in the world, and added that 150 million of the country’s 1.3 billion people live below the poverty line, according to UN standards. Japan’s per capita GDP is more than 10 times that of China.

“The quality of China’s economic growth still needs to be improved, no matter whether it is in terms of people’s quality of life or in terms of science, technology and environmental protection,” the spokesman said.

“We still have an enormous gap to make up.”

The country’s newspapers insisted that China, while contributing to global growth and helping to drive the world’s recovery from the financial crisis, was still transforming itself into a world-class economic power.

“China’s economic strength is also still at the level of a developing nation. So the world’s second-largest economy is not the equivalent of the second-largest economic power,” the People’s Daily said in a commentary.

In just three decades, China has leapfrogged Britain, France and Germany on its economic ascent and has won developing countries a bigger say in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

However, the official China Daily said in an editorial: “The Chinese economy still has a lot more room to grow and can contribute even more to the global recovery.

“But for those who expect China to assume greater international responsibilities just because of the size of its economy, they should take a hard look at the enormous development challenges that the country still faces.”

A columnist for the People’s Daily, Li Hong, offered an optimistic outlook, claiming China could overtake the United States in 15-25 years.

“Our ultimate goal is, naturally, to reach the pinnacle by surpassing the United States and, once again, becoming the largest economy,” Li wrote in the paper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party.

Source: SGGP

China mudslides leave 96 dead, 2,000 missing

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

At least 96 people were killed and 2,000 missing Sunday after mudslides swept away homes and destroyed roads in northwestern China as the nation battled its worst flooding in a decade.

Rescuers clear up stones and mud on a road after a landslide destroyed a village of more than 300 families in Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, August 8, 2010. (Photo: Xinhua)

At least one village was buried entirely and deep rivers of sludge and rocks were hampering rescue efforts in the devastated region of Gansu province, where more than 20,000 people have been evacuated, state media said.

Authorities have sent nearly 3,000 soldiers and about 100 medics to help in search and rescue efforts after the landslides in the remote ethnically Tibetan region triggered by a deluge of rain late Saturday, reports said.

Premier Wen Jiabao was also travelling to the mountainous region, as both he and President Hu Jintao urged rescuers to spare no effort to save lives in the latest natural disaster to strike the country, the official Xinhua news agency said.

At least 50,000 people have been affected by floods which submerged half of Zhouqu county at one point, Xinhua said, citing Mao Shengwu, the head of the affected Gannan prefecture.

The landslides swept mud, houses, cars and other debris into a river running through the county, blocking the waterway and triggering flooding in the valley, the government said.

One village was buried as floodwaters reached as high as three storeys at one point, Xinhua said.

State television broadcast images of local residents walking through streets clogged with mud and debris and pictures of buildings swept off their foundations or destroyed by the mudslides and flooding.

Other images showed buildings and vehicles partly submerged by muddy water and soldiers frantically shovelling mud as they searched for the missing. Reports said more than 680 people had been rescued so far, including five who had been stranded on top of a building.

So far rescuers have not been able to use heavy machinery in the search due to the sludge and wreckage, relying instead on shovels and their bare hands to search for survivors, Xinhua said.

Reports said 76 people had also been injured.

Torrential rains that started Saturday had now stopped, reports said, but the local weather bureau has forecast more heavy rain in the upper reaches of the Bailong River on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The water of the Bailong River flowed into the county seat and many people were trapped,” said Diemujiangteng, the head of Zhouqu county.

“Now the sludge has become the biggest problem to rescue operations. It’s too thick to walk or drive through.”

Some streets were covered with sludge as deep as one metre (three feet), Xinhua said.

As many as 300 houses were buried in the landslides which destroyed roads and bridges while telecommunications, water, electricity and transport links have been cut in the region, reports said.

“Someone said the fifth floor of my residential building has been submerged. People are busy looking for their family members and friends,” local resident Li Tiankui was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Floodwaters have receded by 40 centimetres after authorities used explosives to blast the debris blocking the river, China News Service and Xinhua said.

According to government figures issued before the latest disaster, the number of people killed or missing in devastating floods across China this year had risen to more than 2,100.

China’s civil affairs ministry said Friday 1,454 people had died, another 669 were still missing and more than 12 million had been evacuated from their homes.

Large swathes of China have been hit by summer deluges that have triggered the worst floods in a decade, caused countless deadly landslides and swollen many large rivers to dangerous levels.

According to the ministry, 1.4 million homes have been destroyed by the floods that have also caused 275 billion yuan (41 billion dollars) in direct economic losses for the year.

China’s northeast is the worst-hit area, with entire towns flooded and rivers bordering North Korea swollen to critical levels, prompting fears of deluges in both countries.

China has suspended shipping and tourist boat traffic on the Yalu River, which forms the border with North Korea, over fears of flooding.

In North Korea, floods had also washed away homes, roads, railways and farmland in the deeply impoverished nation, state media said, but gave no casualty figures.

In August 2007, the country’s worst floods in a decade left at least 600 people dead or missing.


Source: SGGP

Search on for 2 US soldiers missing in Afghanistan

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 11:18 am

A US soldier from 1st Platoon Bravo Troop of 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry walks past Afghans on a three-wheeler vehicle during a patrol in the Dand district of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.

An extensive ground and air search was underway Sunday for two American soldiers who went missing in Taliban territory in Afghanistan, military officials said, amid fears one of them had been killed.

Nothing had been heard of the two, an official from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told AFP.

“They are still missing, we have had no contact with anybody so far, so we cannot confirm what has happened to them,” the official, who asked not to be indentified, told AFP.

“There is no confirmation that they are dead or have been kidnapped,” he said, adding: “There are rumours that one of them is dead.”

Another ISAF official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier there were reports one of the pair had been killed and his body removed from the scene, in eastern Logar province where Taliban have a solid presence.

US media reports suggested the two may have left their base, in Charkh district, without permission.

They had been missing since about 8 pm (1530 GMT) on Friday and their car had been recovered in an area it should not have been, the officials said.

Local radio stations in Logar, south of Kabul, broadcast descriptions of the pair and offered rewards of ten thousand dollars for information leading to the safe recovery of each man, an AFP correspondent in the province said.

An ISAF statement issued almost 24 hours after the pair disappeared said they had left their compound late Friday “and did not return”.

“Nobody has been found but there are reports that there may be a casualty and that the body has been removed from the scene,” one of the ISAF officials said.

All reports were unsubstantiated, he added.

A Taliban spokesman denied the insurgents were behind the disappearance of the soldiers, though earlier he had contacted media outlets with detailed descriptions of the soldiers and the equipment they were carrying.

Speaking to AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location, the Taliban’s eastern Afghanistan spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said: “So far, we are not aware of it and cannot confirm this”.

A spokesman for Logar’s provincial governor said the two soldiers left their base in Charkh district late Friday “and went to opposition territory”.

“One of them has been killed and the other has been detained by the opposition,” Din Mohammad Darwaish told AFP, referring to the Taliban.

The BBC quoted Darwaish as saying the pair had been warned not to venture into what was known Taliban territory, and had found themselves in a gun battle with insurgents, after which they were captured.

Kidnappings of foreign soldiers are rare in Afghanistan, where a nine-year insurgency has been escalating in recent months, particularly in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

Most kidnappings in recent years have been by criminals for ransom, though targets identified as high value have in the past been sold on to insurgent groups, who then use them as political pawns.

A 24-year-old US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared on June 30, 2009 is believed to have been the first American snatched by militants in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl’s captors have released at least two videos showing him to be alive, most recently in April.

The Taliban warned earlier this year they would target foreign military and government installations and staff, as well as Afghans working for them or for the Kabul government.

NATO said four US soldiers were killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan on Saturday while a fifth American died in a later attack.

Both attacks involved improvised-explosive devices, or IEDs, the main weapon deployed by the Taliban in their insurgency.

The deaths bring to 397 the toll of foreign soldiers killed in the war so far this year, compared with 520 for all of 2009.

An AFP tally based on that kept by the website puts the number of soldiers to have died since the Afghan insurgency began in 2001 at 1,965, with 1,205 of them Americans.

The US and NATO have almost 150,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the surge of an extra 30,000 Americans ordered by US President Barack Obama almost fully deployed, most of them in the hotspots of Kandahar and Helmand.

Source: SGGP