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Indonesia tsunami death toll tops 300

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

 The death toll from a tsunami which pummelled remote Indonesian islands soared to 311 on Thursday as questions mounted over whether an elaborate warning system had failed.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was heading to the disaster zone, where fears were growing for hundreds still missing after a huge wave triggered by a powerful earthquake Monday hit the Mentawais off the west coast of Sumatra.

Hundreds of kilometres (miles) away, a mass funeral is being held for those killed when the nation’s most active volcano erupted, the second natural disaster to strike Indonesia in as many days.

Disaster response officials said bodies were being found on beaches and coastal areas in the Mentawai island chain, which took the full force of the tsunami as it washed away entire villages.

“Three hundred and eleven people were killed and 379 are still missing,” West Sumatra disaster management official Agus Prayitno said.

Indonesian officials pray over recovered bodies of tsunami victims in North Pagai island, one of the Mentawai islands, on October 27, 2010

A ship bearing aid including food, water, medical supplies as well as body bags arrived Thursday at Sikakap, on North Pagai island, one of the two worst-hit islands in the Mentawai group.

An AFP photographer on board said hundreds of villagers were being treated at a medical clinic, many requiring stitches to open cuts suffered as they were tossed around in the surging sea.

Survivors said they had almost no warning that the three-metre (10-foot) wall of water was bearing down on them, despite the laying of a sophisticated network of alarm buoys off the Sumatran coast.

As the magnitude of the disaster became clear, many were asking whether the expensive warning system — established after the 2004 Asian tsunami which killed at least 168,000 people in Indonesia alone — had failed.

An official tsunami warning was issued after the 7.7-magnitude quake but it either came too late or did not reach the communities in most danger.

One survivor, 32-year-old farmer Borinte, said the wave slammed into his community on North Pagai island only 10 minutes after residents had felt the quake.

“About 10 minutes after the quake we heard a loud, thunderous sound. We went outside and saw the wave coming. We tried to run away to higher ground but the wave was much quicker than us,” he told AFP on Wednesday.

He said he managed to stay alive by clasping to a piece of wood. His wife and three children were killed.

Medical personnel were arriving on helicopters but boats bearing aid have been hampered by bad weather around the islands, which are about half a day’s ferry ride away from the port of Padang on Sumatra.

Troops and naval personnel had been dispatched to the area. Indonesian western fleet commander Marsetio said at least five warships were on their way.

The United States and several of Indonesia’s neighbours have pledged help for a nation which often finds itself battling calamity, although Jakarta said it did not see a need for foreign assistance.

On the central island of Java, rescuers have pulled the bodies of at least 32 people from a tomb of fine grey ash after Mount Merapi erupted on Tuesday, including the elderly spiritual gatekeeper of the “Mountain of Fire”.

Officials said more than 50,000 people had fled to cramped temporary shelters around the nearby city of Yogyakarta, but there were fears for the fate of thousands more who had refused to budge.

The slopes of the mountain were an eerie wasteland on Thursday, with houses burnt and flattened, trees scorched and stripped of leaves and the stench of rotting bodies filling the air, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

Soaring above the rice paddies of central Java, the 2,914-metre (9,616-foot) Mount Merapi is the most active of the 69 volcanoes with histories of eruptions in Indonesia. It last erupted in June 2006, killing two people.

Indonesia straddles a region where the meeting of continental plates causes high seismic activity. It has the world’s largest number of active volcanoes and is shaken by thousands of earthquakes every year.

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake last year in Padang killed about 1,100 people, while the 2004 Asian tsunami — triggered by a 9.3-magnitude quake along the same faultline — killed at least 168,000 people in Indonesia alone.

Source: SGGP

1,300 outstanding people to attend emulation congress

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm

1,300 outstanding people to attend emulation congress

QĐND – Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 20:41 (GMT+7)

1,300 people have been selected as delegates to attend the 8th National Patriotic Emulation Congress, which will take place from November 29th-30th, according to the organising board.

The delegates are people who have been creative at work or made large contributions to national development and society over the past five years.

The organising board unveiled on October 26th that 30 per cent of the delegates work in economic sectors, 20 per cent belong to defence and security and the remainder are related to education and training, health care and other sectors.

Especially, examples in fight against corruption and outstanding youths in movements will be honored at the congress.

Source: TT

Translated by Thu Nguyen

Source: QDND

Over 300,000 Mekong students to participate in essay contest

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 8:01 am

The 7th annual “Prudential – Good Essay, Good Writing” contest in the Mekong Delta has been launched in Can Tho on September 21.

A press conference of the “Prudential-Good Essay, Good Writing” contest is held in Can Tho.

The contest co-organized by the Life insurer Prudential Vietnam and Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper with supports of the education departments of the delta’s 13 provinces and cities is considered as a useful playing field for students of secondary high schools in the region.

The topic of the competition reflects the socio-cultural and economic development of the country, the thinking of teenagers and their passion for literature and good handwriting.

Teacher Tran Quang Khai, philological expert of the An Giang Province’s Department of Education and Training said that the “Prudential – Good Essay, Good Writing” contest has become a traditional competition which encourages literature study and good handwriting among students and arouses their perceptivity, sensitivity and creativity in literature.

Ca Mau Province’s students are usually eager to take part in the contest. They are much interested in topical questions of the life and society to prepare for the competition, added teacher Thai Thi Ngoc Bich, philological expert of the Department of Education and Training of Ca Mau Province.

This year’s contest will attract more than 300,000 junior high school students.

Source: SGGP

Over 1,300 tour guides apply for processional cards

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Over 1,300 tour guides apply for processional cards

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:30 (GMT+7)

More than 1,300 tour guides in HCMC have put their names down at the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to change their practicing cards for new professional ones, a tourism official said.

The official of the Travel Division under the department said that of the total, over 900 are holders of cards that allow them to guide international tourists, and over 400 tour guides who are serving local travelers without cards.

Under the law, the tour guide will receive the new card within 15 working days, though the official said, “We have yet to issue any new cards to the tour guides.”

According to the division, the city had 1,680 tour guides for foreign tourists and a big number of tour guides for domestic travelers. Under the new tourism law, these tour guides have to apply for new cards or lose their operation permits.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) early this month told provincial departments of culture, sports and tourism to issue new cards for professional tour guides to replace paper-based cards, and the change should be completed by August.

* In related news, the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism this Friday and Sunday will organize the final round of a contest to select best tour guides of the city.

A total 21 tour guides from 11 travel companies along with two freelance tour guides will compete in the final round. These tour guides have been selected from those of 300 travel companies in HCMC, and ten best tour guides of the city will compete in the national tour guide contest in Hanoi next month.

Source: VietNamNet/SGT


Source: QDND

About 300 dead in China quake

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2010 at 7:33 am

BEIJING, April 14, 2010 (AFP) – A strong earthquake rocked northwestern China on Wednesday, killing about 300 people and injuring another 8,000 as it toppled houses in a remote mountainous area, state media said.

Many houses have collapsed, roads have been damaged or blocked by landslides and telecommunications have been disrupted, local officials said after the quake, which was measured by the US Geological Survey at a magnitude of 6.9.

This frame grab taken off Chinese state CCTV shows Chinese military searching through the rubble of collapsed buildings following a strong earthquake in Yushu County in northwest China’s Qinghai province on April 14, 2010. AFP photo

Officials said the quake wreaked havoc on the flimsy earth and wood houses near the epicentre in the high-altitude area of Qinghai province on the border with Tibet.

Xinhua news agency quoted government officials in the area saying about 300 had been confirmed dead, with 8,000 hurt.

“The injured are everywhere in the street, a lot of people are bleeding from head wounds,” Xinhua quoted a local official, identified as Zhuohuaxia, as saying.

He said more than 85 percent of houses had collapsed in the town of Jiegu, located near the quake’s epicentre.

“There is a big crack in the Yushu Hotel, the four-storey meeting hall of the prefecture government has collapsed,” the official said.

At least part of a vocational school had also collapsed and “a lot of students are buried underneath,” he added.

Another local official, Huang Limin, told Xinhua that soldiers had been sent to the scene to comb through the debris for survivors.

“We have to mainly rely on our hands to clear away the debris as we have no large excavating machines,” said Shi Huajie, a paramilitary police officer working on the rescue operation.

“We have no medical equipment either.”

State television broadcast footage showing paramilitary police clearing the debris of a collapsed structure.

Rescue teams and equipment were being rushed to the area, Xinhua said, but noted they could be hampered by the infrastructure damage.

The China Earthquake Administration put the magnitude of the quake at 7.1. It said there was extensive damage to local structures in the area, including cracks in a dam.

The USGS said the quake hit at 7:49 am (2349 GMT Tuesday) and was centred 380 kilometres (240 miles) south-southeast of the city of Golmud, at a depth of 46 kilometres.

A series of aftershocks rattled the area shortly after the quake, with magnitudes of up to 5.8, the USGS reported.

Repeated calls by AFP to local government headquarters, businesses and the local airport in Yushu county, the quake’s epicentre, went unanswered.

Chinese media reports said telecommunications with the airport had been lost, and that roads leading to the terminal had been damaged.

Yushu county has a population of about 80,000 people, according to government figures.

“The houses here are almost all made of wood and earthen walls. Some collapsed when the quake happened,” Karsum Nyima, deputy director of the news department of Yushu TV, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The remote high-altitude region is prone to earthquakes. Home to ethnic Mongolians and Tibetan farmers and herdsmen, the area is dotted with coal, tin, lead and copper mines.

A 6.2-magnitude quake rattled Golmud in August last year, triggering landslides and the collapse of about 30 homes, but there were no reports of casualties.

A massive 8.0-magnitude quake in May 2008 in neighbouring Sichuan province devastated a huge area of southwestern China, leaving at least 87,000 people dead or missing.

The civil affairs ministry was to send 5,000 tents, 50,000 cotton coats and 50,000 quilts to the quake-hit region, Xinhua reported.

Source: SGGP

More than 300 killed in raid in DR.Congo: HRW

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

KINSHASA (AFP) – Ugandan LRA rebels killed at least 321 civilians in a previously unreported “well-planned” four-day attack on villages in the DR Congo last December, Human Rights Watch said Sunday.

In a report released in Kampala, HRW said 250 others, including at least 80 children, were abducted in the December 14-17 Lord’s Resistance Army attack in the remote Makombo area of northeastern Haut Uele district.

A general view of Tandala General hospital in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2009. (AFP/File)

A Catholic clergyman at Isiro-Niangara in the same district, speaking before the report was issued, confirmed that 30 members of the rebel LRA attacked a dozen villages of Haut Uele, which is in Orientale province.

“They killed at least 300 people. They also kidnapped between 200 and 400 others before disappearing,” clergyman Dieudonne Abakuba told AFP.

“During the well-planned LRA attack,” the rebel outfit “killed at least 321 civilians and abducted 250 others, including at least 80 children,” said the HRW report headed “Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo.”

“The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks.

“The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a three-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes,” said the report, written after a mission visited the region in February.

Between 25 and 40 rebels had walked for 100 kilometres (65 miles) during the operation which was aimed at killing, abducting and pillaging, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Makombo massacre is one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history, yet it has gone unreported for months,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, a senior Africa researcher for the rights watchdog.

“The four-day rampage demonstrates that the LRA remains a serious threat to civilians and is not a spent force, as the Ugandan and Congolese governments claim.”

Human Rights Watch said witnesses it interviewed said that “for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the ‘stench of death.'”

Children and adults who escaped gave similar accounts of the “extreme brutality”, it said.

“Many of the children captured by the LRA were forced to kill other children who had disobeyed the LRA’s rules.

“In numerous cases documented by Human Rights Watch, children were ordered to surround the victim in a circle and take turns beating the child on the head with a large wooden stick until the child died,” the report said.

The clergyman said the rebels were wearing military uniforms. “They killed a lot of people on the road and attacked them with bludgeons,” he said.

“They killed mainly men. They chopped some people’s heads off and kidnapped children on their way to school,” added regional lawmaker Jeannette Abakuba, confirming the more than 300 dead.

The villages that were raided are south of the Uele river, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of the town of Niangara, and include Mabanga, Makombo, Ngbiribi, Tapili and Kiliwa.

Some people fled and were slowly coming back.

“But the atmosphere is poisoned, people are scared the LRA might come back, they’re afraid of farming, so there’s a risk of famine,” said the clergyman.

Led by Joseph Kony, wanted along with two other leaders by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, the LRA took up arms in 1988 in northern Uganda and has acquired a reputation for brutality.

Since 2005, under pressure from the Ugandan army, the fighters pulled back from their bases in Uganda to move into the remote northeast of the DRC, where they were said to number fewer than 100 late last year, according to the UN mission in the DRC.

Source: SGGP

Nearly 300 wushu artists to compete at national tourney

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Nearly 300 wushu artists to compete at national tourney

QĐND – Saturday, March 27, 2010, 21:10 (GMT+7)

The sixth National Sports Festival will take place at the Quan Ngua Sports Complex in Hanoi from March 28 to April 7 with the participation of nearly 300 martial artists from nationwide.

111 athletes will contend in the Taolu (performance) events for 28 sets of medals, and 93 athletes in Shanshou (combat) for 46 sets of medals.

The World Wushu Federation has agreed that the difficulty levels of the competitions will be set higher to improve the precision of marking by arbitrators and create more excitement and diversity in the tournament.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

300 poor people given free health-care

In Politics-Society on March 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

300 poor people given free health-care

QĐND – Sunday, February 28, 2010, 20:56 (GMT+7)

PANO – Doctors and nurses from the B75 Air-Defence Corps helped poor people from the two communes of Hoa Bac and Hoa Son in Hoa Vang district, Danang city, receive free medical assitance.

Nearly 300 people of Co Tu ethnic group and Dao village were given free health-care check-ups and medicines.

In addition, the military doctors gave mothers advice on how to care for children and how to prevent malnutrition, especially in the coming summer.

Along with this, the B75 Air-Defence Corps hosted a get-together with the participation of the health-care workers, doctors and nurses of the past and the present.

The Corps also put a VND 2.6 billion clinic into operation.

Translated by Mai Huong

Source: QDND

Ministry raises $301,300 through SMS for Typhoon Ketsana victims

In Vietnam Society on November 28, 2009 at 3:31 am

The Ministry of Communication and Information said November 26 it has collected donations of more than VND5.725 billion (US$301,316) through SMS messages in a one-month charity program to assist victims of Typhoon Ketsana in the central region.

A house in Quang Ngai Province destroyed by Typhoon Ketsana (Photo: VnEpress)

Under the program that ended on November 10, people sent consolation messages to numbers 1401 to 1409 and their service provider billed them from VND2,000 to VND18,000 and sent the money to the ministry.

Viettel handed over VND2.23 billion followed by Mobifone with VND1.8 billion, Vinaphone with VND1.5  billion, EVN with VND94.2 million, and Sfone with nearly VND10 million.

Some subscribers sent a large number of messages — Quach Hong Nga of Ca Mau sent 280 messages to contribute VND3.5 million and Le Thi Hang of Hanoi contributed VND3 million.

On the same day officials from the ministry and Vietnam Fatherland Front handed over the money to representatives of four provinces worst affected by flooding last month in Central and Central Highland.

Quang Nam received VND1.8 billion, Kon Tum VND1.2 billion, Quang Ngai VND1.2 billion, and Phu Yen 1.525 billion.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Taxi driver returns VND 300 million to customer

In Social life on October 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Taxi driver returns VND 300 million to customer

QĐND – Monday, October 05, 2009, 20:27 (GMT+7)

On October 4 th, nearly VND 300 million was returned to a customer who forgot the money in a Saigon Sun taxi, a company under the Mai Linh Group.

In the evening of Oct 3rd, driver Nguyen Van Hiep found the money in the car while checking the vehicle. He then called the operation centre to report what happened; he drove to the office to place the money at the company’s Lost Property office.

The owner of the money was identified as a resident in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Van Hiep was awarded VND 3 million for his act of honesty and integrity by the Mai Linh Group and the company. He, however, donated the funds to flood victims in the central region.

Source: Thanh Nien

Translated by Hoang Anh 

Source: QDND