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Drug addicts decrease but trafficking swells

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 11:31 am

The number of people addicted to drugs is slowly reducing, but drug trafficking is on the increase, this was the estimation from the National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution, which was held at a ceremony in Hanoi on Friday.

The ceremony was held in order to review the ‘fight on drugs’ over the last ten years.

Since 2007, the number of drug addicts has dropped to 146,000 people nationalwide. Most of them are unemployed and have left school at an early age.

However, younger addicts have increased. In 2001, the number of the addicts below 30 years of age accounted for nearly 58 percent. It has now skyrocketed to over 68 percent. Additionally, the number of people injecting drugs has also increase from 46 to 85 percent.

Furthermore, drug trafficking in Vietnam has changed with now the appearance of new types of ‘crystal synthetic drugs’. This is causing authorities some difficulty in detecting this new form of drug.

Attending the ceremony, Truong Tan Sang, Politburo member and permanent member of the Party’s Central Committee Secretariat, has ordered relevant authorities to increase the fight against the HIV/AIDS, drugs and prostitution.

He said, more investment should be made in building rehabilitation centers and job-training centers should assist in the reintegration, of those that had drug problems, back into the community.

Source: SGGP

La Nina blamed for weather upset, but climate link unclear

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:11 am

PARIS, Jan 7, 2011 (AFP) – Experts pin the floods that have ravaged northeastern Australia on a weather phenomenon known as La Nina but are cautious whether the peril could be amplified by climate change.

La Nina, or “girl child,” is the counterpart of El Nino, or “boy child,” together comprising a pendular swing of extreme weather that affects the Pacific Rim but can be disruptive as far as the coast of southern Africa.

El Nino occurs when the trade winds that circulate surface water in the tropical Pacific start to weaken.

A mass of warm water builds in the western Pacific and eventually rides over to the eastern side of the ocean.

The outcome is a major shift in rainfall, bringing floods and mudslides to usually arid countries in western South America and drought in the western Pacific, as well as a change in nutrient-rich ocean currents that lure fish.

Eventually, El Nino peters out, sometimes when a cold phase — La Nina — starts to dominate.

At that point, the reverse happens: countries in the eastern Pacific face drier weather and those on the west, such as Australia’s Queensland, get drenched.

An Army Chinook helicopter leaves Australia’s Rockhampton transporting an electricity generator to the flood disaster area of Theodore on January 6, 2011. More heavy rains were forecast for Australia’s northeast, threatening to worsen flooding after besieged Rockhampton cut supplies to “irresponsible” residents refusing to leave. AFP

“2010 began with El Nino conditions in the Pacific followed by a rapid transition into La Nina during (the southern hemisphere’s) autumn,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says on its website.

“(…) By July, La Nina conditions were well established and most areas of Australia experienced very much above average rainfall. The second half of the year (July to December) was the wettest on record for Australia.”

In the 20th century, scientists identified 25 moderate or strong El Ninos and 17 episodes of La Nina. The toll to human life and property, in droughts and floods, has sometimes been huge.

The back-and-forth cycle — formally known as the El Nino/La Nina-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO — occurs every two to seven years.

Because sea temperature plays such an important role, some climate experts are keen to determine whether man-made global warming might make it more frequent or vicious.

Prudence, though, is the watchword. ENSO is a complex mechanism and reliable oceanographic data reaches back only a century or so, which is minute given that climate history spans billions of years.

“There is no consistent indication at this time of discernible changes in projected ENSO amplitude or frequency in the 21st century,” the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crisply announced in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.

In an interview with AFP, Baylor Fox-Kemper, an oceanographer at the University of Colorado, explained: “Many models indicate that there is a link between El Nino and climate change, but they don’t agree as to what that change should be.

“Furthermore, El Nino is so noisy [a term meaning complex] that it takes many centuries of data to be sure that a change has occurred.

“Since we have only a limited amount of trusted real-world data, we are unable to validate which of these models is closest to the truth.”

Others say that despite the unknowns, logic dictates that global warming is bound to have an impact on ENSO.

“With a warmer world, one would expect the atmosphere to hold more moisture, so that when it does rain, it is heavier,” said New Zealand specialist Jim Salinger.

“So La Nina rainfall events are expected to be more intense… (although) at this stage, it is not known whether La Nina events will become more frequent.”

Source: SGGP

Moody’s downgrade imprecise, but helpful, economist say

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Moody’s cutting the foreign currency deposit ratings of six Vietnamese banks to B2 from B1 is not precise, but it is a helpful warning, said Dr. Le Xuan Nghia of National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC).

(Photo:Minh Tri)

Nghia said Moody’s rating is based on four factors, including the heightened risk of a balance of payments crisis, accelerating inflation, a falling currency and debt distress from the state-run shipbuilder Vinashin.

“The rating is imprecise as the country’s trade deficit this year will likely to reach US$10-11 billion, much lower than last year’s $13.5-14 billion,” the NFSC’s vice chairman told Dau Tu Tai Chinh newspaper.

“Export turnover grew around 25 percent, already higher than this year’s target of 12 percent. The balance of payments deficit was reduced sharply to $2.3-2.5 billion so far this year, compared with last year’s $8.8 billion,” he said.

Moody’s expected Vietnam’s inflation would likely to climb to 10-11 percent, but the figure actually was around 8.6 percent this year, Nghia noticed.

“The debt from the state-run shipbuilder Vinashin was reportedly up to $4.4 billion, but the amount was actually much lower, equal to one fourth of the reported figure or less in accordance with Vietnam’s debt measuring method,” the vice chairman said.

NFSC’s Nghia also added that Vinashin didn’t go bankrupt and the debt would be paid in mid-term.

“Moody’s downgrade will surely make bad impacts to Vietnam’s bond market. Enterprises will have to be cautious on their plans to issue bonds at foreign markets in early next year. Both foreign direct and indirect investments into Vietnam will be also hit,” Nghia noticed.

He said three out of six lenders mentioned by the US-based credit rating agency are in Vietnam’s ten best banks, so their risks of foreign currency deposits remain at low levels. They include Bank for Investments and Developments of Vietnam, Asia Commercial Bank and Techcombank.

“There are shortcomings in the agency’s rating in term of Vietnam’s actual situation. However, it is a warning that policy makers should take into consideration”

Moody’s Investors Service last week cut the foreign currency deposit ratings of six Vietnamese banks to B2 from B1 with a negative outlook, after cutting the country’s sovereign rating, according to Reuters.

Moody’s also lowered by one to two notches the Baseline Credit Assessments and the associated Bank Financial Strength Ratings of all six banks, Reuters quoted the rating agency as saying.

All the banks are based in Hanoi, except for the Asia Commercial Bank, which has its headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial centre.

The move came after Moody’s lowered Vietnam’s sovereign bond rating to ‘B1’ from ‘Ba3’ and the foreign currency bank deposit ceiling to ‘B2’ from ‘B1’ last week.

Source: SGGP

NZealand rescue possible, but needs to be quick: experts

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

Two year old girl lost in flooding night but still alive!

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 6:56 am

Japan’s economy expands in Q3, but risks remain

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 6:30 am

Disfigured but alive: Zimbabwe cuts horns to save rhinos

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 at 7:40 am

 The roaring chainsaw sends fingernail-like shards flying into the baking Zimbabwean bush as it slices through the slumped black rhino’s foot-long horn.

The critically endangered female loses her spikes in just seconds, after being darted from a helicopter.

Doctor Chris Forging cuts a rhino horn in Chipinge National Park, 360km west of Harare

A few minutes later, she leaps up and escapes — disfigured but alive — in a dramatic attempt to deter the poachers who have unleashed a bloodbath on southern Africa’s rhinos.

“De-horning reduces the reward for the poacher,” said Raoul du Toit of the Lowveld Rhino Trust which operates in Zimbabwe’s arid southeast.

“Poaching is a balance between reward and risk. It may tip the economic equation in the situation to one where it’s not worth the poacher operating.”

Rhino poaching reached an all-time high in Africa last year, according to the International Rhino Foundation.

In Zimbabwe, where just 700 rhinos remain, anti-poaching units face military-like armed gangs who ruthlessly shoot the animals to hack off the distinctive horns for the Asian traditional medicine market.

“These poachers in this part of the world here will shoot on sight. They operate in very aggressive units,” Du Toit told AFP.

“They adopt patrol formations when they are after rhinos to detect any anti-poaching units that are deployed against them and they will open fire without hesitation.

“So there’ve been many gunfights — a number of poachers killed, not so many on law enforcement side but that’s mainly through luck.”

Asian demand for rhino horn, believed to treat anything from headaches to sexual woes, has lured highly organised criminal syndicates.

Zimbabwe’s black rhino were poached to a low of 300 in 1995 but recovered and levelled off to nearly double this before plummeting again to reach around 400 last year, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

“It was at this time, 2006-2007, when we actually saw the steep escalation in poaching which is related to syndicate kind of poaching orchestrated out of South Africa,” said WWF’s African rhino manager Joseph Okari.

“It is what makes a big difference between the poaching of today… and the poaching of the ’80s and the early ’90s,” he said.

“That was not highly organised and well co-ordinated like what we are seeing today.”

South Africa and Zimbabwe are rhino poaching hotspots, accounting for nearly all of the 470 rhinos killed in Africa between 2006 and 2009. Half of those killed were in Zimbabwe.

The slaughter this year has intensified in South Africa, where rhino poaching has doubled. Okari puts the shift down to the slashed population in Zimbabwe, particularly in state parks, and hardline controls that include poachers being shot dead.

The result is that the Lowveld region which lost 60 animals last year is now seeing more rhinos born than killed.

“If it was to continue at this level, we could see our population increase in time,” said Lowveld Rhino Trust operations co-ordinator Lovemore Mungwashu.

In addition to de-horning, conservationists in Zimbabwe are fitting rhinos with microchips or transmitters to track them, while mounting foot patrols armed in some areas with AK-47 assault rifles. They’re also conducting intelligence work to infiltrate the gangs.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority — which has a five-tonne store of severed rhino horns in Harare — estimates the country now has 400 critically endangered black and 300 less threatened white rhinos.

“At peak, we had close to 3,000 rhinos — that was in the early ’80s,” said national rhino coordinator Geoffreys Matipano who estimates the horns can fetch up to 20,000 dollars per kilogramme (2.2 pounds).

“If you compare it with the past few years, we have managed to contain rhino poaching in the country.”

The painless de-horning is seen as a deterrent but is short-term, expensive, time-consuming and risky with the notoriously unpredictable animals having to be supported with oxygen and sprayed with cooling water.

The trade is so lucrative that poachers will kill a rhino for two inches of horn, which grows back like a fingernail.

“De-horning is not a stand alone strategy. It has got to work with other strategies,” said Matipano.

For privately run reserves, the fight to protect Zimbabwe’s wildlife is relentless.

“We’ve got guys out 24/7 and monitoring things all the time,” said Colin Wendham of the Malilangwe reserve near Chiredzi, shortly before a furious rhino mother tried to attack his vehicle.

“It’s the only way that we’re keeping on top of things.”

While saying state parks still face continual declines, Du Toit believes agressive law enforcement alongside good monitoring can win the fight against the poachers.

“We’re dealing with very aggressive criminals,” he said as the team ear-notched a young female.

“These are not just impoverished local people out to just make a little money — these are focused professional criminals.”

Source: SGGP

Rice prices go up but enterprises commit to meeting domestic demand

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Rice prices go up but enterprises commit to meeting domestic demand

QĐND – Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 22:14 (GMT+7)

The information about the rice price increases in the world market has promptly pushed the domestic prices up. Meanwhile, enterprises have been told to get ready to stabilize the market, in case the “price fever”, the thing that once occurred in 2008, returns.

Sales agents in HCM City have raised the retail prices by 3,000-10,000 dong per kilo for every five-kilo bag. Especially, Thai sticky rice is now selling at over 30,000 dong per kilo, or 8,000 dong per kilo higher than previously. Scented sticky rice is being sold at 60,000 dong per kilo, an increase of 12,000 dong per kilo.

Huynh Cong Thanh, Director of Foocosa Company in HCM City, said that the domestic prices have increased because of the higher input materials. For example, first class rice (5 percent of broken rice), which was traded at 7,000-7,100 dong per kilo, is being sold at 7,450 dong. Meanwhile, it is now the time for Vietnamese exporters to deliver products to importers. Some countries are pushing up rice purchases, including Iraq (60,000 tons) and Cuba (200,000 tons).

Thanh said the demand has increased sharply recently. Previously, the shops of Foocosa chain sold 12-15 tons a day, while they sell 25 tons a day now.

Chair of the Vietnam Food Association Truong Thanh Phong said the world market seems to be stable but the imbalance in supply and demand can be seen in some regions. It is now clear that some countries plan to import rice in big quantities, namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and African countries.

The sharp rice price increases have raised the worry that the “rice fever” which once occurred in 2008, may return. At that time, people, fearing that the rice supply would become short since enterprises boost exports, rushed to purchase rice to store up. As the result, some big cities seriously suffered from the lack of rice, while enterprises could not carry rice from other provinces at once.

“You should learn the lesson from the 2008 rice price fever. Not only the enterprises in Hanoi and HCM City but also the ones in rural areas have to get ready to stabilize the market when troubles occur,” said Phong.

Thanh has reassured the public that Foocosa is still selling normal rice at no more than 8,000 dong per kilo as it has committed, while scented rice price is being at 10,500 dong per kilo. Foocosa still has 5,000 tons of rice in stocks to be provided to the shops in the city. If troubles occur, Foocosa will carry rice from other provinces to HCM City.

Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Deputy General Director of Saigon Co-op, said the prices of food and necessities available at Saigon Co-op chain remain stable. The prices of some products such as canned food, drinks have just increased slightly.

Le Ngoc Dao, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the city’s authorities are following a plan to stabilize the market. To date, the prices of the most essential goods remain stable, while the supply remains profuse.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND

VN-Index corrects but stays below 500

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Movement of VN-Index on July 8. (Photo:’s benchmark VN-Index recovered on July 8 as global stock markets rallied. However, it did not surpass the 500 mark over concern that global markets would make sharp correction after big gains.

The shares of 246 companies and four mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange finished at 498.55 points, climbing 1.64 points, or 0.33 percent.

Low buying demand pushed down liquidity on trading floor to 42.4 million shares, worth VND1.16 trillion.

On the index, 100 stocks gained, 87 fell, and 63 were unmoved.

Sugar producer Société De Bourbon Tay Ninh (SBT), with 1.97 million shares changing hands, took the top spot with most active shares in volume, replacing Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB), which came in second today with 1.59 million shares.

PetroVietNam Transportation Corporation (PVT) followed with 1.28 million shares traded.

Construction and Materials Trading Joint Stock Company (CNT) advanced for second consecutive day, gaining 4.95 percent to VND33,900.

From July 9 to September 9, Tran Cong Quoc Bao, deputy general director of Construction and Materials Trading Joint Stock Company (CNT), registered to sell 20,000 shares, reducing his holdings to 15,610 shares, claiming personal financial need.

Godaco Seafood Joint Stock Company (AGD) rose 4.94 percent, going from VND38,500 to VND40,400.

Electronic consumer products manufacturer Son Ha International Corporation (SHI) added 4.9 percent.

Ha Tien Transport Joint Stock Company (HTV) capped its winning streak of seven straight trading sessions, losing the maximum allowed limit of 5 percent to fall to VND22,800.

Dinh Vu Port Investment & Development Joint Stock Company (DVP) fell 4.89 percent to VND38,900.

Cao Thi Thuy Van, wife of Pham Hong Minh – member of Board of Directors of Dinh Vu Port Investment & Development Joint Stock Company (DVP), sold 2,000 shares between May 5 and June 5 without making an announcement.

Danang Construction Building Materials and Cement Joint Stock Company (DXV) gave up 4.87 percent.

Hanoi’s HNX-Index gained 0.49 points, or 0.32 percent, to end at 155.58. Trading volume was just around 27.12 million shares, worth VND851.22 billion.

The UPCoM-Index of the unlisted shares shrunk 1.81 points to 54.99 as of 11 am local time. A total of 468.557 shares were traded at a value of VND8.36 billion.

Source: SGGP

Cham Island attracts tourists but room for improvement exists

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Cu Lao Cham (Cham Island), in Hoi An town of the central province of Quang Nam, received recognition as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO one year ago, is regarded as a biological tourist heaven, attracting large numbers of visitors.

Cu Lao Cham is well-known for its wildness, seafood and hospitality  (Photo: Sggp)

The archipelago, with eight big and small islands covers an area of 15 square kilometers.

According to scientists, Cu Lao Cham is home to over 947 species, of which 170 are sea organisms, 50 are fish, and many other species classified as endangered by Vietnam’s Red Book.

The area is also home to 135 species of coral, including six that are new to Vietnamese seas.

“Travelers are very interested in visiting Cu Lao Cham because of its wilderness, seafood and hospitality. Visitors can also explore hidden beauty underwater with thousands of splendid coral with scuba diving tours,” said Nguyen Son Thuy, Director of Hoi An Travel.

However, so far, the Cham Island has no hotels. Visitors have to spend the night in residents’ houses or camp in tents on the beach.

“The local authorities are very careful about developing the island in such a way that does not affect the nature. The biggest problem in development strategy and calling investors to the island is energy resource. Electricity is provided from small diesel generators that pollutes the air and water,” said Mr. Le Van Giang, Chairman of Hoi An People’s Committee.

The local government is cooperating with scientists of the Vietnam Energy Institute to find solutions to create clear energy resources from the sun, bio-fuel and others with a cost of more than VND300 billion (US$15 million).

A lack of transportation is another problem.  New forms of transport are needed to link the island to the mainland. Currently, the only method of transportation are high-speed boats and wood fishing vessels, which can not be used during rainy season.

The government should provide a long-term plan with strong investment to develop the UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserve in a way that is environmentally friendly.

Source: SGGP