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Nation claims more silvers at Asian Games

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Nation claims more silvers at Asian Games

QĐND – Thursday, November 25, 2010, 20:54 (GMT+7)

Vietnam earned two more silver medals at the Asian Games on the 12th day of the competition in Guangzhou , China on Nov. 24.

Defending champion Vu Thi Nguyet Anh failed to keep her karate title in the women’s under-50kg class after losing 0-2 to host rival Li Hong in the final clash.

Anh met no difficulty on her way to the final as she dominated three rivals from Iran , Chinese Taipei and the Republic of Korea . However Anh, who recently recovered from an injury, was unable to surpass Li.

Valentina Velena of India and Yasina Torrattanawathana of Thailand each walked away with bronze.

Another Vietnamese defending champion lost their crown on Nov. 24 in the sepak takraw regu final after a 15-21, 21-14, 11-15 defeat to Thailand , which is known to have the world’s strongest competitors.

Sepak takraw was one of Vietnam ‘s highest hopes for Asian Games gold, but as with several other sports, they failed to reach their target.

Before leaving for Guangzhou , the Vietnam sport delegation set a target of winning four to six titles to put them within the world’s top 20 strongest countries. But now that the Games are only three days away from over and most of Vietnam ‘s strongest athletes have already finished with their competitions, the target seems far out of reach.

Track and field athletes are currently the country’s best hope for top honours.

Southeast Asia’s fastest woman, Vu Thi Huong, won a berth in the 200m final with a time of 24.05sec in Nov. 24’s semis.

Huong’s teammate Truong Thanh Hang will kick off her second final competition later on the afternoon of Nov. 25 in the women’s 800m event.

Hang, who won silver on Nov. 23 in the 1,500m, is expected to reach even higher in the 800m as she has practised a lot for this event.

She will face Magarita Matsko of Kazakhstan , Tintu Lukka from India and Bahrain ‘s Isa Jamal Maryam Yusuf.

On the men’s side, iron man Vu Van Huyen on Nov. 24 took part in five events of the men’s decathlon. He earned 4,002 points to rank fourth, some 243 points less than the leading athlete.

Women’s chess masters are another final hope for Vietnam , as they entered the semi-final round with eight points after seven matches.

 Karate artists will also share the heavy task of seeking gold in the final competition of the Games.

Six fighters are set to compete in the last three days of the event, including two-time SEA Games champions Bui Thi Trieu in the women’s under-61kg category, Nguyen Ngoc Thanh in the men’s 67kg pool and Le Bich Phuong who won a gold in the women’s 55kg class at the Indonesia Open.

The delegation has won 14 silver, 12 bronze medals and is ranked 26th.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Swine flu claims 8 lives in Vietnam this year

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Indonesian volcano claims another 35 lives

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

Tokyo urges Japan and China to avoid tit-for-tat claims

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

 Japan and China should focus on the big picture and avoid tit-for-tat recriminations, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said on Friday, as public protests and sharp comments by senior officials suggested mounting tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Messages on the Chinese Internet in recent days have called for protests in Chongqing, a sprawling city in China’s southwest, and a smaller city, Deyang, also in the southwest, after thousands of protesters marched last week in both countries.

A Shinto priest prepares for a visit by a group of Japanese lawmakers at the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead in Tokyo August 15, 2010, on the 65th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War Two

China’s distrust of Japan resurfaced on Thursday when Beijing refused to say whether the leaders of the two countries would meet at a regional summit this month and accused Tokyo’s foreign minister of rekindling ill-will.

“Neither side should be nitpicking over particular comments and then overreacting,” Yoshito Sengoku, the de facto No. 2 in Japan’s cabinet, told a news conference.

He said the two sides should take a broad, generous approach and give each other leeway as he reiterated calls for building mutually beneficial strategic ties.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply last month after Japan detained a Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese patrol ships near a chain of disputed islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Concerns remain in Japan that Beijing is holding back shipments of rare earth minerals, vital for electronic goods and auto parts, following the dispute.

Thousands of protesters marched last week in both countries, venting anger and underscoring their fragile ties, strained by bitter Chinese memories of Japan’s wartime aggression and Japan’s worries about growing Chinese economic and military might.

The two governments are trying to arrange a meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of the end-October gathering in Vietnam, but the outlook is unclear.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said last week that there was no need to rush into holding a meeting. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said on Thursday that whether the meeting will take place depends on whether Tokyo can create a “suitable atmosphere.”

Source: SGGP

Typhoon Megi claims 10 lives in the Philippines

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in years killed at least 10 people as it generated waves as big as houses and destroyed swathes of vital rice crops, authorities said Tuesday.

Many areas in the north of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon remained without power and communications facilities, a day after Super Typhoon Megi ripped over the region with wind gusts of 260 kilometres (161 miles) an hour.

The strong winds had subsided by Tuesday as Megi headed out to sea and towards China, although heavy rains continued to fall across large parts of Luzon for a second straight day.

Rescuers were also struggling to reach isolated areas, particularly in the heavily hit coastal communities of Isabela province that bore the brunt of the typhoon, officials said.

A resident carries his dog while wading through floodwaters as super Typhoon Megi, known locally as Juan, hits Cabangan City, Isabela province, northern Philippines October 18, 2010.

“The waves in Maconacon were as big as houses and swamped the town plaza facing the Pacific Ocean,” Isabela governor Faustino Dy said over DZBB radio as he appealed for help.

Dy said water, food and medicine were desperately needed in Maconacon, a village of about 4,000 people that remained isolated and only accessible by helicopter or by small boat.

Three people in Maconacon drowned in the storm surge and many others were wounded on Monday, he said.

Dy said he could not give a full report of the damage to all coastal areas because the 240-kilometre northeastern shoreline of Isabela remained difficult to reach.

But he said nearly 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of rice and corn crops had been destroyed across Isabela, one of the Philippines’ key farming regions.

Elsewhere in Luzon, four people were reported killed in Pagansinan province, three of them by a collapsed structure and the other by lightning, the Red Cross said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Manila had earlier reported three people killed elsewhere in Luzon.

However, after thousands of people had been evacuated well before Megi struck as part of intense preparations that involved the military, there were hopes the death toll would not climb substantially.

The northern parts of Luzon are mostly agricultural and fishing areas, with a few million residents who are well-drilled in preparing for the many storms that hit each year.

“We are hoping that the casualties remain low,” Red Cross secretary general Gwen Pang told AFP.

Motorists drive past a filling station which was toppled by typhoon Megi (local name ‘Juan’) Monday Oct.18, 2010 at Cauayan, Isabelaprovince in northeastern Philippines

“We can’t say it will not go up, but people were more prepared this time.

“What we are expecting is more reports of heavy damage. There are still many areas without power and communications, while some roads are cut off by landslides.”

About 7,900 people in the northern regions of Luzon remained in evacuation centres on Tuesday, the government said, and many areas remained inaccessible because of debris littering the roads.

Megi exited the Philippines’ western coast at midnight (1600 GMT) on Monday, and on Tuesday morning was heading towards Hong Kong and China with wind gusts of up to 195 kilometres an hour, according to the Philippine weather bureau.

Preparing for the storm, China issued a national early disaster warning for regions along the southern coast — Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan.

Hainan island had already been hard-hit by heavy rains in recent weeks.

Authorities called on officials in the Chinese provinces to ensure that people in low-lying areas are evacuated early.

Manila’s state weather bureau said Megi was the strongest typhoon since Typhoon Durian triggered deadly mudslides in the Philippines’ eastern Bicol region in 2006, killing over 1,000 people.

The Philippines is hit with an average of 20 typhoons a year.

Source: SGGP

Thousands in China, Japan rally over island claims

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 at 10:24 am

 Thousands of Chinese marched in the streets in sometimes violent protests Saturday against Japan and its claim to disputed islands, a show of anger far larger than past protests over the competing territorial claims.

The Chinese government said the protests were “understandable” but that patriotism should be expressed in a rational way.

Photos from the southwestern city of Chengdu and the central city of Zhengzhou showed hundreds of people marching with banners and signs protesting Japan’s claim on what China calls the Diaoyu islands. Japan calls them the Senkaku islands.

A man holds a banner while marching during an anti-Japan protest in downtown Zhengzhou, in central China’s Henan province, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010.

Japanese retailers Ito-Yokado and Isetan said protesters in Chengdu broke windows and showcases in their stores, Kyodo News agency reported.

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said more than 2,000 people protested in Chengdu and thousands of college students gathered in the northern city of Xian.

The report was in English only. The protests were not reported in Chinese-language state media, and many comments and photos were quickly removed from mainland websites.

Protests in China are often quickly shut down or heavily controlled. It was not clear whether the organizers had permission to demonstrate Saturday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry’s website late Saturday that China and Japan were important neighbors to each other and should resolve their differences through dialogue.

“It is understandable that some people expressed their outrage against the recent erroneous words and deeds on the Japanese side,” Ma said. “We maintain that patriotism should be expressed rationally and in line with law.”

The Chinese demonstrations appeared to be in response to online reports about a planned protest in Tokyo, where about 2,500 people held flags and marched near the Chinese Embassy to protest China’s claim to the islands. Some also called for the release of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Chinese dissident who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion.

Ma said China had contacted Japanese officials to “express serious concern” over the Tokyo protest, according to a separate statement.

At the time, tensions were high over a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese coast guard ships near the islands in the East China Sea. China repeatedly demanded the return of the detained fishing boat captain. Japan eventually released the captain, but Beijing shocked Tokyo by demanding an apology.

Earlier this month, the tensions seemed to calm after the prime ministers of the two countries held an impromptu after-dinner meeting in the corridor of an Asia-Europe summit.

Police in the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Xian and Zhengzhou would not confirm Saturday’s protests, saying they would not talk to the media.

Source: SGGP

Dengue epidemic grips Vietnam, claims 59 lives

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm

So far this year the mosquito – borne disease has sickened 80,000 people across the country, 59 of whom have died, said the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Health.

Children with dengue fever are treated at HCMC Children Hospital No.2 (Photo: SGGP)

Although the number of infected people this year decreased 6.3 percent as compared to last year, the dengue fever situation still is complicated and at risk of spreading on a large scale, said the Health Ministry.

The worst affected region was the southern provinces with 43,844 cases.

Meanwhile, health officials from the central region and central highlands have reported an increase of 168% in cases with 21,638 infected people.

Dengue is decreasing in Hanoi and northern provinces but dengue among adults is often accompanied by unexpected complications.

The ministry says dengue virus type D1 accounts for 74 percent of the cases nationwide. It predicts that the epidemic will continue into November with many complications, and is asking all localities to take urgent steps to curb the spread of the disease.

The municipal health department is trying to clean up the ‘hot spots’ and will spray chemicals to prevent the disease on a large scale.

The Preventive Medicine Department said it was working with relevant agencies to take preventive measures in key localities since early this year, focusing on cleaning the environment and killing mosquitoes.

Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian countries.

Source: SGGP

South Asian superbug claims first fatality

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 7:21 am

BRUSSELS, Aug 13, 2010 (AFP) – A Belgian man became the first known fatality of a drug-resistant “superbug” originating in South Asia, reinforcing fears the germ could spread worldwide after infecting dozens of people in Britain and Australia.

The unnamed patient became infected while hospitalised in Pakistan and died in June, a doctor from the Brussels hospital where he had been treated told Belgian media on Friday.

“He was involved in a car accident during a trip to Pakistan. He was hospitalised with a major leg injury and then repatriated to Belgium, but he was already infected,” the doctor said.

Specialist in microbiology and virology at the University hospital of Brussels professor Denis Pierard, holds up a dish of bacteria culture at the microbiology lab of the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussels, university hospital, on August 13, 2010. AFP

Despite being administered colistin, a powerful antibiotic, the patient died, the doctor said.

A second Belgian picked up the bug after being hospitalised following an accident during a trip to his native Montenegro, but recovered with treatment back in Belgium in July, another expert said Friday.

“The epicentre of the presence of this bacteria seems to be India and Pakistan, but it appears through contact and travel, its spread is becoming wider,” Youri Glupczynski, a bacteriologist from the University of Leuven, told AFP.

The superbug comprises a bacterium containing an enzyme gene called New Delhi metallo-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) that makes it impervious to treatment by almost all antibiotics.

These include drugs known as carbapenems, which are often used as a last resort.

A British journal, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, reported this week that bacteria containing the NDM-1 gene had been found in 37 Britons who had received medical treatment in South Asia.

It said health tourists visiting South Asia risked infection and warned the superbug could spread.

Three cases have been identified in Australia among people who had travelled to India for surgery, said Professor Peter Collignon, Canberra Hospital’s head of infectious diseases department.

“We found this multi-resistant, untreatable bug in their urine, luckily not causing too many problems to that person. But it’s a real problem if it spreads to others,” he said.

“The germ we had was untreatable — there were no drugs we had that could treat it,” he added.

Collignon said one of the patients caught the bug in intensive care in an Indian hospital after plastic surgery went wrong. But he said another picked up the bug in the general community, indicating the extent of the problem.

He described the cases as just the “tip of the iceberg”.

“It probably is killing lots of people but it happens in the developing world and there’s no way of measuring it.”

Patrice Nordmann, who heads a unit specialising in antibiotic resistance at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), agreed that the number of real cases was bound to be “certainly higher” than the notified tally.

“There is a large potential reservoir,” given the huge population of southern Asia, he said.

The NDM-1 gene is a special worry because it is found in plasmids — DNA structures that can easily be copied and then transferred promiscuously among different types of bacteria.

These include Escherichia coli, the commonest cause of urinary tract infections, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which causes lung and wound infections and is generated mainly in hospitals.

The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) said no new antibiotics to treat NDM-1 infections were likely to be available for at least 10 years.

National health watchdogs had to step up monitoring efforts and pool data to track where the infections were occurring and respond to the threat, it said.

The Lancet study sparked a furious response from India.

“To link this with the safety of surgery in hospitals in India and citing isolated examples to show that… India is not a safe place to visit, is wrong,” the health ministry said in a statement Friday.

But it also emerged that a team of Indian researchers had warned of the superbug in March.

Researchers from the private Hinduja hospital in Mumbai studied 24 infection cases between August and November last year and said they found 22 incidents of NDM-1 bacteria.

Source: SGGP

Hewlett-Packard boss resigns amid sexual harassment claims

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

NEW YORK, Aug 7, 2010 (AFP) – Hewlett-Packard chief executive Mark Hurd resigned Friday after an accusation of sexual harassment uncovered subterfuge with company expenses, the computer giant announced.

(AFP FILES) Hewlett-Packard president, CEO and chairman Mark Hurd

“Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd has decided with the board of directors to resign his positions effective immediately,” the company said in a statement.

HP had brought in outside counsel to investigate allegations that Hurd had violated HP’s sexual harassment policy in his dealings with a former marketing contractor.

The probe found that Hurd had not broken harassment rules, but was in breech of “HP’s standards of business conduct.”

“I realized there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP and which have guided me throughout my career,” Hurd said in a statement.

“This is a painful decision for me to make after five years at HP, but I believe it would be difficult for me to continue as an effective leader at HP and I believe this is the only decision the board and I could make at this time.”

Company officials said Hurd, 53, had made “inaccurate expense reports,” designed to hide the relationship.

The original accusation involved Hurd having an affair with a contractor and then putting outings or gifts on the HP tab as business expenses, according to analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.

“You don’t muck with expenses when you’re a CEO,” Enderle said. “If he had paid for this with his own money, he’d still be there.”

It was evidently after the relationship ended that the woman accused Hurd of sexual harassment.

A Los Angeles law firm claiming to represent the contractor released a brief statement late Friday stating “we want to make it clear that there was no affair and no intimate sexual relationship between our client and Mr. Hurd.”

Hurd’s severance package will tally about 12.2 million dollars not including stock-related benefits, according to a filing with US regulators.

A boardroom spying scandal roiled the company about four years ago and consolidated power in the office of the HP chief executive, setting a stage for missteps to go unchecked, according to the analyst.

The controversy about unethical tactics used to expose a board member who had been leaking secrets to news reporters caused a series of resignations and left HP with a “passive” board.

Another factor in the equation was that HP has been performing strongly as a company, with division heads doing well.

“HP is in great shape and he didn’t need to be there every day,” Enderle said of Hurd.

“You give someone with a lot of power a lot of time and control over a lot of money, I will usually guarantee you they will do something stupid. This seems to be a case of that.”

Hurd’s departure is not expected to hurt HP as long as a talented replacement is chosen within a few months.

“Hurd was relatively invisible in terms of a public face, which helps HP now,” Enderle said.

“A stronger board probably would have replaced him sooner.”

Hurd’s temporary replacement was named as current chief financial officer Cathy Lesjack.

“As I step into the role of interim CEO, I have never been more confident in the company’s future,” Lesjack said in a hastily arranged conference call with the press.

HP stock price slumped almost 10 percent in after-hours trading on the news.

Source: SGGP

Pakistan leader to raise British PM’s terror claims on visit

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 at 7:19 am

PARIS, Aug 3, 2010 (AFP) – Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is set to address David Cameron’s “uncalled for” criticism of Islamabad’s stance on terrorism during a visit to Britain which kicks off Tuesday, officials said.

After wrapping up a two-day visit to France, Zardari heads to London and in talks with the British prime minister this week will raise his claims that some elements in Pakistan back the Taliban, said a spokesman for the president.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari delivers a speech after a meeting with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy on August 2, 2010 at the Elysee Palace in Paris. AFP PHOTO

The spokesman said that “Cameron’s uncalled for remarks and the fact that these were made in India had disappointed the people of Pakistan,” according to a statement released Monday after Zardari held talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

Zardari’s office said he told Sarkozy it was “unfortunate if some people continued to express doubts and misgivings about our will and determination to fight the militants to the finish,” according to the statement.

Relations between London and Islamabad soured last week when Cameron said Pakistan must not “look both ways” in secretly promoting violent extremism while pretending to seek regional stability.

Britain is the second largest troop contributor to a NATO force in Afghanistan, which faces daily attacks from Taliban fighters who intelligence analysts say draw operational support and funding from Pakistan.

The Pakistani leader is due to meet the British prime minister on Friday at his country retreat outside London, despite calls from some in Pakistan for him to cancel the visit in protest at Cameron’s criticism.

Zardari’s office rejected this idea, arguing that the trip gives Pakistan a chance to make its case, according to Monday’s statement, which cited presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar.

Following Cameron’s remarks, it was now “all the more important that the president’s visit to the UK went ahead as planned to raise this and other issues with the British prime minister,” said the statement.

Despite the storm over Cameron’s accusations — which were made during a trade visit to Pakistan’s arch-foe India — London has refused to back down. A spokesman for the prime minister insisted earlier Monday he stood by his remarks but made it clear Cameron had been referring to elements within the Pakistani state and not to the policies of Zardari’s government.

The terror row threatened to deepen Monday, when Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi hauled in Britain’s high commissioner — the Commonwealth equivalent of an ambassador — for a dressing-down over the Indian speech.

Criticising Pakistan in Bangalore last Wednesday, Cameron said: “We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror.”

In contrast to the tensions surrounding his forthcoming visit to Britain, Zardari’s time in France was shaping up to be free of controversy.

After talks with Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace on Monday, the Pakistani leader vaunted Islamabad’s relationship with France.

“France feels that Pakistan is a responsible partner with them in the world,” Zardari told reporters, adding that Sarkozy had said he would visit Pakistan later in the year.

Before heading to Britain late Tuesday, Zardari was to meet French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner for a working lunch expected to address regional issues and European humanitarian aid in the wake of this week’s deadly Pakistani floods.

After his official schedule, Zardari was to make a brief private visit to Normandy in northern France where his family owns a holiday home: the 16th century Chateau de la Reine Blanche in the hamlet of Mesnil-Lieubray.

Zardari is not an all-powerful figure in Pakistan, where the military still retains massive political influence and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has more day-to-day authority over government affairs.

Outside Pakistan, Zardari is best known as the widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and by his nickname “Mr 10 Percent”, a reference to the corruption allegations that have dogged his career.

Source: SGGP