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Big toe crew bags Asian hip-hop competition prize

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 at 10:25 am

A Vietnamese hip-hop dance crew has bagged the first prize at Southeast Asia’s Battle of the Year (BOTY) contest in Singapore.

             The hip-hop dance crew Big Toe

The 11-member crew, which belong to the top hip-hop dance group in Viet Nam , Big Toe, vied with five other hip-hop crews from Thailand , Malaysia , Laos , Singapore , and Indonesia for the prize.

The crew will now have the chance to compete at the World BOTY, which will take place in Montpellier , France , next month.

“Although we have sent our members to compete at BOTY every year since 2005, this is the first time a Big Toe crew has won the contest,” said Big Toe’s leader, Nguyen Viet Thanh.

The nine-day contest in France will draw 19 crews from five continents, including representatives from the Republic of Korea , France , Brazil , and Taiwan , who are considered to be Big Toe’s closest competitors.

Founded in 1992 with seven original members, Big Toe currently has 60 members, divided into four dance groups. They are widely recognised as Vietnam ‘s first hip hop dance troupe.

With a number of top prizes won at a variety of international competitions, Big Toe were awarded the Certificate of Merit on Oct. 12 by the Vietnam Electronic Sport and Recreational Sport Association under the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

Big Toe are planning to tour around France and Germany next year to present their hip-hop theatre production, Cam Xuc Thay Doi (Change of Emotion).

Source: SGGP

Big hole appears on Ham Luong Bridge surface

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:48 am

A big hole with 1.5 meters diameter and 4 meters deep on October 2 suddenly appeared on the surface of the Ham Luong Bridge, which connects three islands of the southern province of Ben Tre.

The breakdown fortunately did not cause any accident for people and transport. The province transport department blocked the scene and alerted to people.

It also is investigating the cause of the breakdown.

Ham Luong Bridge was opened to traffic on April 24 this year. The 8,216-m bridge, which links Ben Tre City and Mo Cay Bac District, has a span of 150m, the longest span in Viet Nam, and four lanes in a width of 16m.

The bridge, costed at VND787 billion (US$39 million) in total was built by Vietnamese engineers.

Source: SGGP

Big farms told to increase fertile herds of swine in wake of blue ear epidemic

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:27 am

Large livestock farms in Ho Chi Minh City should increase, not reduce, their stock of fertile pigs for later use after the danger of blue ear disease has passed, a senior official said.

The statement came even as the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) – also known as blue ear disease – hit pigs heavily in neighboring provinces as well as the districts of Binh Chanh, Cu Chi, 9 and 12.

Vets  take dead pigs to bury in the central province of Quang Nam

Due to the serious outbreak of the blue ear pandemic in southern provinces and the threat posed to other provinces, city People’s Committee deputy chairman Nguyen Trung Tin instructed relevant agencies to ensure the safety of herds of over 30,000 fertile pigs in big farms.

However, Mr. Tin also said that governments should not let small household farms engage in breeding and selling pigs.

The city’s Department of Animal Health reported that 29 slaughter houses butchers over 7,500 pigs a night but only 1,000 come from farms in the city.

The remaining come from southern provinces including Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Long An and Tien Giang, all of which have announced severe epidemics of the blue ear disease.

Moreover, tests of pigs in slaughterhouses have shown that 70 percent of pigs in southern provinces are positive for the dangerous virus. The city is therefore at high risk of suffering a severe epidemic as well. Vets in the outlying districts of 9, 12, Binh Chanh and Cu Chi have decided to immediately kill diseased pigs on detection to curb spreading.

Meanwhile, Van Duc Muoi, General Director of Vissan, a major producer and trader in processed meat, fresh frozen meat and meat-related foods, expressed concern that consumers would turn their backs on safe pork because of wrong information about the disease.

The disease is not believed to be transmittable to humans.

Markets in the city and other localities have seen housewives opting to buy fish and poultry instead of pork, local reports say.

Meanwhile, enterprises who’d pledged to keep the prices stable until next March fretted that the reduced supply of pork would push up prices in the upcoming lunar new year season.

Vissan said it has taken proactive steps to buy more pigs for stockpiling, from 2,200 to 2,800 pigs a day, as instructed by city People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan.

Chairman Quan has asked lower level administrations to raise public awareness about the disease as well as prepare herds of safe fertile pigs for breeding after the danger has passed.

Fresh outbreaks of blue ear disease at the Co Do Agriculture Company in Mekong Delta City of Can Tho’s Co Do District have so far infected 108 pigs, the Department of Animal Health reported on August 16, bringing the number of affected provinces in Vietnam to 22. The disease has spread widely in central and southern Vietnam.

The southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau has seen two further outbreaks in districts Xuyen Moc and Dat Do while the central province of Nghe An has reported a fresh outbreaks in district Dien Chau. Nghe An has so far killed 7,379 pigs with the disease.

The southern province of Tay Ninh has reported new outbreaks in the districts of Go Dau, Tan Bien, Tan Chau, Ben Cau, Duong Minh Chau and Hoa Thanh that have infected a total of 12,911 pigs.

Source: SGGP

Photo exhibitions of life in big cities

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm

A photo exhibition titled “Colors of life” featuring around 65 pictures of Chinese Vietnamese photographer Tran Quan Lai is being held at the Ho Chi Minh City Photography Association’s office.

                      A photo is on the display “Colors of life”

It is the fourth solo exhibition of the photographer at the age of 72. He has spent 35 years for taking art works of the land and people in the country.

The display will run until August 20 at 122 Suong Nguyet Anh Street in Ho Chi Minh City.


In addition, another exhibition called “Hanoi in me” opened at the Information and Exhibition House, 45 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi on August 17.

Photo titled “In front of the statue of King Ly Thai To” in the exhibition “Hanoi in me”

The display introduces to audiences 90 color, black and white pictures of the landscapes and daily activities of the people in the capital.

They are selected from photos which have been taken since 2000 by Tat Binh who was born and grow up in Hanoi.

The show is organized by the Hanoi Information and Exhibition Center and Hong Ha Photography Club.

Source: SGGP

Tourism sees big growth this year

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Tourism sees big growth this year

QĐND – Thursday, July 29, 2010, 20:39 (GMT+7)

Vietnam welcomed around 410,000 foreign tourists in July, bringing the total number of foreign visitors to the nation in the first seven months of the country to more than 2.9 million, a year-on-year rise of almost 35 percent.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said the number of foreigners coming to Vietnam for work increased by 46 percent, followed by those for vacation, up by more than 44 percent.

The number of foreign tourists from China recorded an impressive growth of 95.4 percent; followed by Cambodia (up 93 percent), Thailand (32 percent) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) (31 percent).

HCM City took the lead in attracting foreign tourists in the first seven months of the year, with over 1.6 million arrivals, a rise of 13 percent from last year.

Experts say the increase in foreign holidaymakers to Vietnam was attributable to the world’s economic recovery that helped boost tourism demand.

Vietnam has organized tourism promotion programmes and cultural exchanges in China, Japan, the RoK and Cambodia in addition to road shows in Australia, Norway and West European countries.

The country is expected to receive 4.5-4.6 million foreign tourists this year, a year-on-year rise of more than 17 percent.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Tourism sector sees big increases

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

Vietnam welcomed around 410,000 foreign tourists in July, bringing the total number of foreign visitors to the nation in the first seven months of the country to more than 2.9 million, a year-on-year rise of almost 35 percent.

A volunteer (R) of the Tourist Information Center helps foreign visitors cross a street in the heart of HCM City. (Photo: KK)

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said the number of foreigners coming to Vietnam for work increased by 46 percent, followed by those for vacation, up by more than 44 percent.

The number of foreign tourists from China recorded an impressive growth of 95.4 percent; followed by Cambodia, up 93 percent, Thailand, up 32 percent and the Republic of Korea, up over 31 percent.

HCM City was the leading locality in attracting foreign tourists in the first seven months with over 1.6 million, a year-on-year rise of 13 percent.

The increase in foreign holiday makers to Vietnam was attributable to the world’s economic recovery that helped boost tourism demand, said experts.

Vietnam has organised tourism promotion programmes and cultural exchanges in China, Japan, Korea and Cambodia in addition to roadshows in Australia, Norway and West European countries, they added.

The nation has targeted 4.5-4.6 million foreign tourists this year, a year-on-year increase of more than 17 percent.

Travel agencies will continue with tourism promotion and sales discount programmes in August and September in a number of key tourism cities and provinces.

Hanoi plans to organise tours to a number of ancient Vietnamese capitals, museums and homestays to attract more tourists to the city on the celebrations of its 1,000th birthday.

Source: SGGP

VN-Index corrects after big gain

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Movments of VN-Index on July 14. (Photo: VN-Index finished in the red on July 14 as investors’ bullishness gradually eroded during the trading session.

The shares of 246 companies and four mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange finished at 507.34 points, dipping 0.34 percent, or 1.74 points.

Of the index, 61 stocks gained, 149 fell, while 40 remained unchanged.

Liquidity on the city bourse increased by 15 percent over the previous session as trading volume reached 53.2 million shares, valued at VND1.58 trillion.

Dong Hai Joint Stock Company of Ben Tre (DHC) lost 14.78 percent to end at VND19,600.

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam allowed the company to issue 4,999,969 additional shares to increase its chartered capital to nearly VND150 billion. The shares will be sold to its current shareholders at a price of VND10,000 per share at a ratio of 2:1.

Chuong Duong Beverages Joint Stock Company (SCD) fell 4.95 percent to VND28,800.

Ha Tien Transport Joint Stock Company (HTV) declined 4.85 percent to VND21,600.

Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) and Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI) remained in the top two positions of most active share by volume with 2.98 million shares and 2.28 million shares changing hands respectively.

Ocean Group Joint Stock Company (OGC) was next with 2.08 million shares being traded.

House Viet Nam Joint Stock Company (NVN) shot up 4.97 percent to VND38,000.

Hanoi-based Vinafco Joint Stock Corporation (VFC) climbed 4.95 percent to VND15,000.

From July 13 to September 13, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, member of Board of Directors of Vinafco Joint Stock Corporation (VFC), registered to sell 50,000 shares, sending her holdings to 77,790 shares, for family expenses.

From June 28 to 30, Nguyen Thi Thu Hien, sister of Nguyen Thi Thu Ha – member of Board of Directors of Vinafco Joint Stock Corporation (VFC) registered to sell 10,000 shares and sold 2,000 shares.

From July 13 to September 13, Ms. Hien will sell 8,000 shares for family expenses.

Hoang Long Group (HLG) added up 4.85 percent to VND36,500 from VND34,800 yesterday.

From May 10 to July 9, Pham Thuy An, daughter of Pham Phuc Toai – chairman of Hoang Long Group (HLG), sold 200,000 shares, reducing her holdings to 805,000 shares, for personal expenses.

From May 13 to July 5, Chau Minh Dat, member of Board of Directors of Hoang Long Group (HLG), had registered to sell 24,000 shares and sold 14,000 shares.

In contrast, Hanoi-based HNX-Index rose 0.52 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 162.42. Around 52.27 million shares, worth VND1.46 trillion, were traded.

The UPCoM-Index of unlisted stocks sank 0.06 points to 57.8. A total of 472,007 shares changed hands at VND8.11 billion.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam Airlines offers big discount on route to Nagoya

In Uncategorized on July 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Vietnam Airlines offers big discount on route to Nagoya

QĐND – Friday, July 02, 2010, 21:53 (GMT+7)

Vietnam Airlines will resume direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Nagoya of Japan twice a week from August 13 and offer a discount up to 60 percent on the resumed route.

The flight will serve passengers every Monday and Friday on Airbus A321. The airline began the route in 2005, but suspended it in December 2007 due to low demand.

As a result, the national flag carrier will operate eight direct routes with the total of 45 flights a week from Vietnam to four major Japanese cities – Tokyo , Osaka , Fukuoka and Nagoya.

On the occasion, the airline offers a discount up to 60 percent to 299 USD, excluding taxes and other charges, for flights coded VN968 and VN969 from HCM City to Nagoya and vice versa.

The promotion programme is only applied for ticket sold from Vietnam from July 25 through August 4 on flights departing from August 13 to the end of December 31.

Also in the period, Vietnam Airlines carries a promotion programme on the HCM City-Hong Kong route with a one-way ticket priced at 198 USD, a nearly 20 percent discount. The discount price is applied for ticket sold from Vietnam on flights departing from July 1 to October 31.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Big volcanic eruptions in Guatemala, Ecuador

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Explosive eruptions shook two huge volcanos in Central and South America on Friday, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and disrupting air traffic as ash drifted over major cities.

Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks Thursday afternoon, blanketing the country’s capital with ash and forcing the closure of the international airport. A television reporter was killed by a shower of burning rocks when he got too close to the volcano, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of Guatemala City.

In the village of Calderas, close to the eruption, Brenda Castaneda said she and her family hid under beds and tables as marble-sized rocks thundered down on her home.

“We thought we wouldn’t survive. Our houses crumbled and we’ve lost everything,” Castaneda said while waiting for rescue teams to take them to a shelter at a nearby school.

A woman cries as she uses a cell phone after the Pacaya volcano erupted in the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010. The Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thursday afternoon

Meanwhile, strong explosions rocked Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano, prompting evacuations of hundreds of people from nearby villages.

Ecuador’s National Geophysics Institute said hot volcanic material blasted down the slopes and ash plumes soared 6 miles (10 kilometers) above a crater that is already 16,479 feet (5,023 meters) above sea level.

Winds blew the ash over the country’s most populous city, Guayaquil, and led aviation officials to halt flights out of the Pacific port and from Quito to Lima, Peru.

Neither of the eruptions was expected to disrupt airports in neighboring countries like Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano did in Europe.

In Guatemala, the ash billowing from Pacaya has been thick and falls quickly to the ground, unlike the lighter ash that spewed from the volcano in Iceland and swept over much of Europe, disrupting global air travel, said Gustavo Chigna, a volcano expert with Guatemala’s institute of seismology and volcanos.

In Ecuador, the ash cloud drifted out over the Pacific Ocean and was tapering off Friday evening.

Sandro Vaca, an expert at Ecuador’s National Geophysics Institute, said Tungurahua’s latest eruption was not in the same league with Iceland.

“The ash stretched for hundreds of kilometers, while the plume of ash from the volcano in Iceland covered nearly all of Europe for thousands of kilometers,” Vaca said.

In Guatemala, at least 1,910 people from villages closest to the Pacaya volcano were moved to shelters. Some 800 homes were damaged in the initial eruption late Thursday. A second eruption at midday Friday released ash in smaller amounts from the 8,373-foot (2,552 meter) mountain, according to the Central American country’s Geophysical Research and Services Unit.

The unit reported an ash plume 3,000 feet (1,000) meters high that trailed more than 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the northwest.

In Guatemala City, bulldozers scraped blackened streets while residents used shovels to clean cars and roofs.

The blanket of ash was three inches (7.5 centimeters) thick in some southern parts of the city. The government urged people not to leave their homes unless there was an urgent need.

The capital’s La Aurora airport would be closed at least until Saturday, said Claudia Monge, a spokeswoman for the civil aviation agency. Flights were being diverted to Mundo Maya airport in northern Guatemala and Comalapa in El Salvador.

The television reporter who was killed, Anibal Archila, had appeared on Channel 7 broadcasts standing in front of a lava river and burning trees, talking about the intense heat.

David de Leon, a spokesman for the national disaster committee, confirmed his death.

The most active of Guatemala’s 32 volcanos, Pacaya has been intermittently erupting since 1966, and tourists frequently visit areas near three lava flows formed in eruptions between 1989 and 1991.

In 1998, the volcano twice spewed plumes of ash, forcing evacuations and shutting down the airport in Guatemala City.

Eruptions at Tungurahua, 95 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of the Ecuadorean capital of Quito, buried entire villages in 2006, leaving at least four dead and thousands homeless.

Source: SGGP

Cuban academic says corruption island’s big threat

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 10:28 am

Corruption at the highest levels of government — not the meddling of a small band of dissidents — is the greatest threat to Cuba’s communist system, a leading academic said in a highly unusual opinion posted Thursday on a state Web site.

The article by Esteban Morales — a historian who has written extensively on race and relations with the United States — crossed a number of red lines in tightly controlled Cuba, including openly discussing corruption rumors surrounding the dismissal of a top government aviation official who had fought alongside Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the Castros in the 1950s.

In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, left, speaks with Cuba’s President Raul Castro upon arrival to Jose Marti airport in Havana, early Thursday, April 15, 2010

Morales said some top Cuban officials are preparing to divide the spoils if Cuba’s political system disintegrates, like the shadowy oligarchs that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

“In reality, corruption is much more dangerous than so-called internal dissent,” Morales wrote in the piece, which appeared on the Web site of the state National Artists and Writers Union of Cuba. “The latter is isolated … but corruption is truly counterrevolutionary because it comes from within the government and the state apparatus, which are the ones that really control the country’s resources.”

Members of the artists union have been surprisingly critical of the government in the past, but often with little effect. Criticism can also appear in government newspapers, but rarely on such hot-button issues as corruption among senior officials.

Morales is a prominent intellectual who only Monday appeared on a state television program defending the government on another topic. The frank assessment on the Web site went far further than what is normally tolerated.

Morales never singled out Fidel or Raul Castro for blame, but he said cronyism is rampant in the system that has developed 51 years after their revolution won power and said some officials are waiting for a chance to grab the country’s resources.

“It has become evident that there are people in government and state positions who are preparing a financial assault for when the revolution falls,” Morales wrote. “Others likely have everything ready to produce the transfer of state property into private hands, like what happened in the former Soviet Union.”

Meanwhile, the government early Friday announced preliminary results of an autopsy on Roberto Baudrand, a top Chilean executive who was found dead in his Havana apartment on Monday after being detained by Cuban authorities investigating his company, which is owned by a businessman who was a close friend of Fidel Castro. The autopsy revealed that Baudrand died of a lack of oxygen, and that unnamed drugs and alcohol were found in his blood, the government said in a statement sent to foreign journalists.

It did not say whether the death was considered a suicide, but noted that the investigation would continue.

Chile’s diplomats have pushed Cuban officials for information on the businessman’s death.

Baudrand, 59, was general manager of Alimentos Rio Zaza SA and served as liaison in Cuba for Max Marambio, the former head bodyguard of Chilean socialist President Salvador Allende, who was toppled in a 1973 military coup. The company makes “Tropical Island” brand juices and other food products sold in hard-currency stores catering to foreigners and tourists. The company is joint-owned by Cuba’s government and Marambio, but has been shuttered for months as part of an investigation.

In his scathing opinion piece, Morales brought up another prominent case — the abrupt March 9 firing of veteran revolutionary Rogelio Acevedo, who had overseen the country’s airlines and airports since the 1980s. The government gave no reason for his dismissal, but the island has been awash with speculation that he has been placed under house arrest for corruption.

Exile Web sites have reported that a large amount of cash was found hidden at Acevedo’s house and that he is suspected of operating a private airline, among other things. The government has not commented on the allegations.

“There must be some truth to these reports, because this is a small country where everyone knows each other,” Morales wrote of the speculation over Acevedo. He said the government owed people a fuller account because the same sort of corruption is happening in other state-run institutions.

“Whether it be to vindicate or condemn Acevedo, the people must be told what happened,” he said.

While complaints of low-level corruption are not uncommon in state media, allegations of wide-scale, top-level malfeasance are very unusual and the fall of party officials has usually been seen as an anomaly rather than a symptom of broader rot.

When Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Vice President Carlos Lage were dismissed last year, Fidel Castro wrote that “the honey of power … awoke in them ambitions that led to an undignified role.”

Officials gave few public details of what they had done wrong, though Communist Party members said they were shown a video showing both making disparaging comments about the government and Miami journalist Maria Elvira Salazar released photos showing them partying with a Spanish business representative.

Morales appeared to refer to that case Thursday, when he complained of “favoritism, cronyism, certain acts of corruption” that led to information being passed to Spanish intelligence.

Source: SGGP