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Ouattara offers unity government if Gbagbo steps down

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara would form a unity government with members of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo’s party, as long as Gbagbo steps down first, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations said.

World powers and African states have heaped pressure on Gbagbo to cede the presidency to Ouattara after the provisional results of a November 28 election showed Ouattara won with an 8 percentage point margin.

Gbagbo “has followers, he has competent people in his party. Those people, we are prepared to work with them in the framework of a wide composite cabinet,” said Ivory Coast’s U.N. envoy Youssoufou Bamba in an interview with the BBC’s HARDtalk television news program.

File photo of Ivory Coast’s internationally recognised leader Alassane Ouattara at the Golf hotel in Abidjan

But he said the formation of a unity government was only possible if Gbagbo stepped down first.

“What I am saying is Mr. Ouattara should be recognized by Mr. Gbagbo that he is the legitimate president,” he said in the interview, a transcript of which was released by the BBC on Monday.

The proposal comes amid mounting pressure on Gbagbo, who has ruled the world’s top cocoa producer since 2000, to leave power and end a standoff that has killed more than 200 people and threatens to rekindle a civil war.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened Gbagbo with force if he does not leave power, while the United States and the European Union have imposed travel bans on Gbagbo and his inner circle.


In an effort to add pressure, Ouattara’s government on Monday listed 16 Ivorian treasury, banking and cocoa officials it wants sanctioned for backing Gbagbo.

“The government of (Prime Minister) Guillaume Soro … (wants) the leaders of these institutions in the banking sector which collaborate with Gbabgo’s illegal regime to be brought under … sanctions,” it said in a statement.

Gbagbo’s access to state accounts at West Africa’s central bank has already been frozen, but he still controls taxes, customs and the lucrative oil and cocoa sectors.

The list included the head of the cocoa regulating body, the head of the local branch of the West African central bank, four treasury officials and local directors of several other banks, including Ecobank Cote D’Ivoire and Standard Chartered.

The election was meant to reunite the former “pearl of West Africa” after the 2002-3 civil war split it into a rebel north and Gbagbo-controlled south, but has instead deepened divisions and raised the specter of a return to open conflict.


Fighting broke out between rival tribes seen as being pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara in volatile west Ivory Coast last week, although local officials say it is now calm and there is nothing to suggest it was directly related to the election.

“The final death toll from these battles is pretty heavy: three deaths in hospital and about 30 outside it,” said Dr Teki Moise, in charge of the main hospital in the town of Duekoue.

“We also have 75 wounded, many of them still in hospital in serious condition.”

The clashes between Ouattara’s Dioula tribe and the Guere, seen as pro-Gbagbo, raised the alarm amongst U.N. mission workers who have long feared an electoral dispute could degenerate into ethnic violence in west Ivory Coast, a tinderbox of militia groups and rival tribes.

Some 15,000 have been internally displaced by the fighting, said a local priest who was sheltering people in his church.

“There are a lot of women and children, including some pregnant women,” said Father Cyprien Ahoure, head of Duekue Catholic mission. “We have a shortage of food, clothing and medicines. Living conditions are very difficult.”

More than 20,000 Ivorians in the west have fled across the border to Liberia since the dispute flared up, fearing a return to civil war.

Source: SGGP

Quota for sugar imports cut down

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:06 am

Quota for sugar imports cut down

QĐND – Saturday, January 08, 2011, 20:36 (GMT+7)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has recently decided the quota for sugar imports in 2011 in Circular 45/2010/TT-BCT.

Under the circular, Vietnam will import 250,000 tons of sugar in aggregate in 2011, down 50,000 tons from 2010.

The circular states that domestic businesses will be allowed to import 150,000 tons of fine sugar and 100,000 tons of crude sugar as materials for domestic sugar processing in the year.

The quota will then be distributed to importers, including both businesses and traders.

According to estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the total 2010-2011 sugar production would reach 1 million tons and the market should need another 250,000 tons.

Alongside the sugar import quota, the Ministry of Trade and Industry also defined the quota for salt imports.

Accordingly, the permitted total salt imports in 2011 will be 100,000 tons, including salt for cooking and industrial purposes.

Source: Vneconomy

Translated by Thu Nguyen   

Source: QDND

Cautiousness sends market down

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:27 am

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index failed to extend its winning momentum to the third day, tumbling on December 29 as investors switched to bearish sentiment.

The measure of 275 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange lost 0.12 percent, or 0.58 points, to finish at 478.75 points.

Among the index members, 84 surged, 141 dropped, while 55 remained unchanged.

Trading volume sharply fell over the previous trading session; however, it still stayed on high level. Around 62.37 million shares changed hands at a value of VND1.47 trillion.

Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), the country largest brokerage, continued to be the most active share in volume with 3.56 million shares changing hands.

Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) was still behind with 3.23 million shares traded.

Vietnam Mechanization Electrification & Construction Joint Stock Company (MCG) came next with 2.4 million shares.

IDICO Infrastructure Development Investment Joint Stock Company (HTI) nosedived for seven consecutive sessions, eroding 9.62 percent to VND14,100.

Sieu Thanh Joint Stock Corporation (ST8) dumped 8.68 percent to VND22,100. The company will pay dividends for the second term of this year to its current shareholders in cash at a ratio of 10 percent.

Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank or Eximbank (EIB) adjusted 7.83 percent to VND15,300.

Imexpharm Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (IMP) sank 7.26 percent to VND57,500. The company will issue 2,331,964 additional shares to its current shareholders at a price of VND20,000 per share, and a ratio of 10:2.

Cosmetics producer S.P.M Corporation (SPM) enhanced 4.96 percent to VND63,500.

Long Giang Investment and Urban Development Joint Stock Company (LGL) closed up 4.9 percent to VND21,400.

Tan Binh Import – Export Joint Stock Company (TIX) grew for four straight days, earning 4.73 percent to VND42,100.

The smaller bourse in the north made sharp correction as the Hanoi’s HNX-Index slashed 1.64 percent, or 1.88 points, to close at 112.93 points. Trading volume improved over the previous session, climbing to 50.7 million shares worth VND1.15 trillion.

Meanwhile, the UPCom-Index strongly jumped, gaining nearly 3 points to 44.75 points this morning. A total of 163,100 shares changed hands at a value of VND1.78 billion.

Source: SGGP

U.N. chief offered Mugabe deal to step down: WikiLeaks

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan offered Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a deal to step down and live in a safe haven, but the veteran leader rejected the offer, according to U.S. documents obtained by WikiLeaks.

A confidential document dated September 2000 showed that a source from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party told U.S. officials in Harare the party had been told that Annan, the former U.N Secretary General Annan, had made the offer to Mugabe during a U.N. summit in New York.

The source said the MDC did not know the details of the deal, reported to it by a businessman, but that it likely guaranteed Mugabe a financial package from Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi and a safe haven, the cable showed.

“Kofi Annan, in the recent meeting in New York during the Millennium summit, offered Mugabe a deal to step down,” according to the document.

“The opposition party heard that Mugabe turned down the offer the following day after discussing it with the first lady.”

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe addresses a meeting of the ZANU-PF party in Mutare 275km east of the capital Harare, December 17, 2010.… Read more »

A spokeswoman for Annan declined to comment.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and although there has been talk of several plans to ease him from office in the last decade, the 86-year-old has rejected the idea, saying he would never live in exile.

According to another confidential U.S. cable published by WikiLeaks dated October 2009, a senior MDC official suggested that the U.S. should contribute to a fund to buy off security service chiefs.

Elton Mangoma, a senior member in the MDC and minister in the unity government, told U.S. officials that the military men were frustrating reform and did not want to leave office fearing that they had not made enough money and could be prosecuted.

“Mangoma asked for consideration of U.S. contribution to a ‘trust fund’ that could be used to negotiate the service chiefs’ retirement. He said he planned to approach the UK and Germany with the same request,” the documents said.

The service chiefs have in the past publicly backed Mugabe during elections, saying they would not acknowledge a leader who had not fought in the independence war, a reference to Tsvangirai.

Source: SGGP

Down time

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

Down time

QĐND – Monday, December 20, 2010, 21:26 (GMT+7)

Office staff in Vietnam rarely work all day, preferring instead to put their computer access to their own use.

When people think of office staff what springs to mind is usually nicely dressed men and women coming in and out of tall office blocks where they spend their days hard at work. Many are, indeed, very responsible employees and even spend more than their normal eight hours a day at the office to complete unfinished tasks. It’s also true, though, that many others adopt bad habits at their place of work, which lower productivity and cost their employer. Accessing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, playing games or browsing through shopping websites are among the most common. This occurs with office staff in nearly all companies in Vietnam, as they generally have access to computers and their bosses can’t keep an eye on them all day every day.

Cimigo – an independent team of marketing and brand research specialists – recently completed a survey on net citizens among nearly 3,000 internet users in six cities in Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho, and Nha Trang). It revealed that the most common occupations of internet users are executives, office staff, professionals, and factory and retail workers. Some 40 per cent of internet users can be classified as white-collar workers and 13 per cent blue collar. The Cimigo report also shows that internet users in Vietnam spend considerable time online. During weekdays, the average user is online for 2 hours and 20 minutes. The most common place to access the internet is from home, but access at work has increased in recent years and become the second most common place for users, according to the report.

Moreover, in a pocket survey conducted by VET of more than 30 office staff in Hanoi, all said they never spend the full eight hours working. Ms Nguyen Thi Ngan, who works for a research centre in Hanoi, said she usually works for about six hours a day. “The other times I socialise with other staff, eating and drinking, or access Facebook and other social networks to relax,” she said. Her colleagues and even her manager were the same. “My friend posted her wedding photos on Facebook a few days ago and I spent hours looking at them and posting comments before taking care of some urgent work,” Ngan admits.

Ms Le Thi Chi, a staff member at a tea company in Thai Nguyen province, also only works about six hours a day. There isn’t much for her to do, she explained, and her salary is not high, so “I don’t want to spend too much time working,” she said. “I have a baby now so I usually look at websites on taking care of children or at shopping websites to find nice and original clothes. Facebook is also a favourite, because I can chat with friends.” She added that sometimes she spends nearly all day shopping online and leaves her work for the next day.

Though their choice of websites may differ, men are no better when it comes to spending time at the office not working. They tend to play games and download films, software, and songs. Mr Nguyen Van Hien, an assistant to the director of a construction company in Hanoi said: “I usually have to translate documents for my director from Vietnamese to Korean and vice-verse, and this is very stressful. I can’t focus on translating all the time, so I often play games online to relax or watch funny videos or listen to music. I don’t know what the other staff here do, but I’m sure they also don’t spend the whole day working.”

“This is a real problem in every office, not only in Vietnam but also around the world,” said Ms Nguyen Thi Dinh, Head of the Personnel Department at a company distributing foreign wine. “I know that the staff at my company don’t work all day. But it is very difficult to watch them all the time. I think companies have no other choices but to ‘live’ with the situation and accept it.” Her company has blocked access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, but staff always find a way around it and, besides, there are other websites they can access and it’s simply not possible to block all of them.

It’s very difficult for companies to monitor their staff’s every move, so the opportunity will always be there for them to spend time on personal pursuits. “I think the most important solution is for companies to have polices to raise awareness and responsibility among staff about doing their job, as well as giving them more work to do on a higher salary,” suggested Ms Dinh.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND

Cambodia revises stampede death toll down to 347

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 2:19 am

PHNOM PENH, Nov 25, 2010 (AFP) – The official death toll from a festival stampede in the Cambodian capital now stands at 347, the social affairs minister said Thursday, after earlier putting the figure at 456.

“The total number of dead victims is 347,” said a letter signed by Social Affairs Minister Ith Samheng, who sits on a committee investigating the disaster.

It said 221 of the victims were women.

The toll was revised following a late-night meeting between committee members, Prime Minister Hun Sen, Phnom Penh and provincial authorities.

Cambodian First Lady Bun Rany Hun Sen wipes away tears as she attends a mourning ceremony with her husband, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, on November 25, 2010 in front of the bridge in Phnom Penh. AFP

“We took out the overlapping figures” from some provinces, senior minister Om Yentieng, who sits on the investigating committee, told reporters at a mourning ceremony for the victims in the capital.

Source: SGGP

Dollar up, gold down following central bank’s announcements

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 7:25 am

Asia stocks mostly down, Japan gains on GDP report

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 6:29 am

Australia to crack down on ‘arrogant’ banks

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 5:12 am

Qatar Airways flight touches down in Hanoi, network expands

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 1:41 am