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Limiting building houses to fight overpopulation, experts say

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:12 am




Limiting building houses to fight overpopulation, experts say


QĐND – Monday, January 03, 2011, 20:38 (GMT+7)

The Ministry of Construction has made an adequate suggestion of allocating the country’s land fund to apartment buildings and limiting the amount of houses in an attempt to cope with the overpopulation, property experts said.


The Ministry of Construction has just suggested allocating the country’s land fund to apartment buildings and limiting the amount of houses in an attempt to cope with the overpopulation.


Statistics from the ministry show there are more than 22 million residential properties nationwide, with houses making the largest part.


“People struggle to buy houses in cities as the amount of available lands is getting low with price surging too high. Therefore, building more houses will waste money and the country’s land fund,” said a property expert.


“Most of local people tend to speculate on property, considering it as the best asset class. People in developed countries, in contrast, only rent houses or pay by installments for a house in many years.”


The expense for building a house remains pretty high. Therefore, allocating the land fund to apartment buildings is the most adequate solutions to lower apartment prices,” said Nguyen Van Hiep, vice director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Construction.


The number of apartment buildings in Vietnam just increased steeply in the last 10 years, according to house builders. Among the most comfortable factors apartment dwellers enjoy is the green areas at every buildings.


However, some analysts said local people prefer houses, which are considered as a better investment than apartments.


“Front houses on main streets can be good places to open shops and offices. Some apartment buildings meanwhile are not quite safe and modern. Many apartment dwellers complaint builders set up too many unreasonable fees,” said a director of a HCMC-based property firm.


The Ministry of Construction should improve town planning, instead of restraining the amount of houses, said property experts and residents dissatisfied with apartment building.


“There should be various types of residential properties in a city. The government should encourage apartment building builders, as well as support property firms building houses for low income earners,” a property expert said.


In related news, public lands including dock warehouses and factories alongside Tau Hu and Doi channels in HCMC’s District 8 will be removed to make space for apartment buildings, according to the People’s Committee.


Around 16,000 slum housings of the district will be relocated to new apartment buildings in the period between 2011 and 2020, the committee said.

Source: SGGP

Source: QDND

Europe airports fight to clear Christmas backlog

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

LONDON, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – European airports fought to clear a backlog of thousands of stranded Christmas travellers on Wednesday as arctic conditions gripped the continent and sparked fresh delays and cancellations.


Weary passengers faced another day stuck in terminals amid fresh snowfalls and continued freezing temperatures which have hit airports in Britain, Germany, France and Ireland.

People skate on a rink in the western German city of Essen on December 21, 2010. AFP

Britain has offered to send in troops to end the disruption at London Heathrow, while Frankfurt and Dublin airports faced severe disruption.


Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic supervisory body, said about 3,000 flights had been cancelled across Europe on Tuesday, with similar numbers of cancellations for each of the past four days.


The cold snap chaos also hit Europe’s rail network with long queues snaking outside the London terminal for the Eurostar train link between Britain, France and Belgium.


There was a glimmer of hope for angry passengers who have spent four nights sleeping under foil blankets at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, as its second runway reopened late Tuesday.


But the huge backlog at one of the busiest times of year meant services will not immediately return to normal, and the airport planned to run about two-thirds of flights Wednesday.


“It is good news to see aircraft taking off and landing from two runways,” Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA told Sky News.


“But it’s really important that passengers understand that doesn’t mean the full schedule is going to be restored instantly.”


Airport officials were under increasing pressure to resolve the crisis Wednesday after the EU lashed out at the “unacceptable” disruption caused by the heavy snows.


“I am extremely concerned about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow. It is unacceptable and should not happen again,” European transport commissioner Siim Kallas said.


British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had offered to use the military to help BAA resolve the crisis at Heathrow, but this offer was refused.


“The people stuck there are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely,” Cameron told a press conference.


Anger was meanwhile mounting among passengers queuing in the cold outside the terminal buildings at Heathrow.


“I think this hurts the reputation of the whole country. The airport is the first experience you have and this is not a good experience,” Gustaf Malmstrom, 23, told AFP as he tried for a fifth day to get a flight to Stockholm.


Most of Heathrow’s five terminals were only letting in people who were flying on Tuesday morning, mainly on flights to Asia, while others had to queue outside. Workers handed out silver foil blankets and set up two heated tents.


Eurostar said it was running a restricted service and asked all customers booked to travel before Christmas to refund or exchange their tickets free of charge if their journey was not essential.


The queue of passengers stretched for more than a kilometre around the imposing St Pancras station, and Eurostar warned the chaos looked set to continue.


“It’s too early at the moment to say when we will get back to normal,” a spokeswoman told AFP.


In Germany fresh snowfall caused gridlock at the country’s main airport Frankfurt with no flights taking off or landing for around three and a half hours in the morning.


Many internal flights were cancelled because of the arctic conditions, prompting German train company Deutsche Bahn to announce additional services on major routes across the country to help stranded travellers.


Dublin airport grounded all flights until 0800 GMT on Wednesday after Ireland was hit by more than 15 centimetres (six inches) of snow.


In France authorities allowed the two main airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, to remain open around the clock to clear the backlog of delayed flights.

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Source: SGGP

Vietnam yields achievements in fight against HIV/AIDS: Misniter

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:01 am

Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu said Vietnam has yielded remarkable achievements in the fight against the pandemic HIV/AIDS.


The minister spoke this at a conference to review 20 years of HIV/AIDS prevention and control in Vietnam held in Hanoi on Dec. 1 by the Ministry of Health and the National Committee for HIV/AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control. He said the country has been successful in containing the rate of HIV infection transmission under 0.3 percent of the population.

Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan hands medals to Earmon Murphy and Mitchell Wolfe

The Southeast Asia nation has implemented prevention and control programs, healthcare services and support to HIV infected people.


However, the country still faces some challenges and high risk of outbreak because more people have unsafe sex relations. In addition, the rate of infected women and children has increased.


Speaking at the meeting, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan applauded the efforts and the contributions of relevant agencies, individuals and international organizations in the fight. Doan pointed out the entire machinery of state and people must raise their awareness about the epidemic.


At the meeting, individuals and organizations received Labor certificates and merit certificates of the President and the Prime Minister for their great contributions in the fight. Moreover, on the behalf of Vietnamese government, Ms. Doan  handed the Friendship Medal to Earmon Murphy, Country Director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS in Vietnam , and Mitchell Wolfe, Country Director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Vietnam.


The country now has 228,680 people infected with HIV/AIDS, including 48,368 people who have died of the disease. Vietnam reports 15,000 new infected HIV people each year. Ho Chi Minh City has high rate of HIV infections in the country.


To prevent the spread of the fatal disease, in 2010, 43 cities and provinces distributed safe syringes and needles and 60 cities and provinces distributed free condoms.

Source: SGGP

ADB: 3 nations to get additional $49 mln to fight tropical diseases

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 am

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending US$49 million to expand surveillance response systems to help control dengue outbreaks, and prevent the spread of communicable and tropical diseases in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the bank announced Tuesday.


“Preventing these diseases requires better local participation and much more intensive regional cooperation,” Vincent de Wit, who leads health professional in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said in the announcement.

SGGP file – Volunteers clean up a canal in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 12 during a 2009 summer campaign designed to clean up the environment.

The bank added that the Second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Regional Communicable Diseases Control Project, which is an offshoot of the first GMS Regional Communicable Diseases Control Project, would also target improvements in the capacity of health services and communities involved in disease control in border districts of the three countries.


The community-based communicable disease control systems funded by the project are aimed at around 1.7 million people living in 116 border districts. About one-third of the population in the target areas belong to ethnic minority groups, according to the Philippines-based lender.


ADB said the new project would build on earlier successes, from the earlier GMS Regional Communicable Diseases Control Project, to strengthen surveillance and response mechanisms.


Financing will come from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund with a loan of US$27 million for Vietnam and grants of $10 million for Cambodia and $12 million for Laos. The three countries will provide counterpart support totaling US$5 million equivalent, said ADB.


The Ministry of Health in each country will be the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in June 2016. The regional coordination unit will be based in Vientiane of Laos.

Source: SGGP

Sushi wars: fight looms over bluefin tuna

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

Fight against illegal posters ‘difficult’

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm




Fight against illegal posters ‘difficult’


QĐND – Saturday, August 07, 2010, 22:7 (GMT+7)

The HCM City authorities are trying to eliminate the popular, long-term illegal adverts on walls and electricity poles around the city by setting up small billboards for a low fee.


In April, the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism requested that authorities erect a billboard to collect all adverts for better management and add to the State coffers.


“Advertisement demand is huge, and many residents and companies don’t have enough money for TV adverts, newspapers or leaflets. These kinds of billboards at a very small fee are necessary,” Le Quang Vinh, senior official of the department, said.


However, before implementing the plan, districts have asked the department to impose fines on violators.


“We have tried to stop the situation by imposing cash penalties for those who made illegal adverts,” an official of Phu Nhuan District said. “Most of them were disadvantaged people who didn’t have any money, so we had to search for the owners to issue fines.”


“It took a long time and didn’t work well because with such a small fine for illegal adverts, the owners continued,” he said.


Another solution was to suspend all telephone numbers on illegal ads, but the practice continued until recently.


It is difficult to stop the use of the phone numbers because official reports are first needed from the department.


In the past, billboards were erected for free at District 1’s Tu Du Hospital at Tan Binh District’s Hoang Van Thu Park and headquarters of Ward 11, but no one put up ads.


To end the practice, residents in Tan Binh District’s Ward 11 took stronger action by strictly punishing those who made illegal ads. They immediately removed or painted over all the ads as well.


Local authorities gave awards of VND200,000–500,000 (US$10-30) for those who caught the illegal admakers. After that, the violators had to pay high fines and remove the adverts.


The district was able to get rid of the illegal ads without any help from the city.


Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News


 


Source: QDND

Elite US cyber team courts hackers to fight terror

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

An elite US cyber team that has stealthily tracked Internet villains for more than a decade pulled back its cloak of secrecy to recruit hackers at a DefCon gathering.


Vigilant was described by its chief Chet Uber as a sort of cyber “A-Team” taking on terrorists, drug cartels, mobsters and other enemies on the Internet.


“We do things the government can’t,” Uber said on Sunday. “This was never supposed to have been a public thing.”


Vigilant is an alliance of slightly more than 600 volunteers and its secret ranks reportedly include chiefs of technology at top firms and former high-ranking US cyber spies.


The group scours Internet traffic for clues about online attacks, terrorists, cartels and other targets rated as priorities by members of the democratically run private organization.


Vigilant also claimed to have “collection officers” in 22 countries that gather intelligence or coordinate networks in person.


“We go into bars, look for lists of bad actors, get tips from people…” Uber said.


“But, a significant amount of our intelligence comes from our monitoring the Internet. We are looking at everything on websites, and websites are public.”


He was adamant that Vigilant stays within US law while being more technologically nimble than government agencies weighed down by bureaucracy and internal rivalries.


“Intelligence is a by-product of what our research is,” Uber said. “Our research is into attacks, why they happen and how we can prevent them.”


Vigilant shares seemingly significant findings with US spy agencies, and is so respected by leading members of the hacker community that Uber was invited to DefCon to recruit new talent.


Uber said that Vigilant came up from underground after 14 years of operation in a drive to be at “full capacity” by adding 1,750 “vetted volunteers” by the year 2012.


“We are good people not out to hurt anybody,” Uber said. “Our one oath is to defend the US Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”


Anything that can be looked at legally on the Internet is fair game for Vigilant, with email and encrypted transactions such as online shopping off limits.


The holy grail for Vigilant is finding out who is behind cyber attacks. Inability to figure out who launches online assaults routinely leaves companies or governments without targets to fire back at.


“This is a completely unsolved problem,” Uber said. “We’ve probably been working on it as long as the government has.”


Vigilant has developed its own “obfuscation” network to view “bad actors” on the Internet without being noticed.


He told of uncovering evidence of fraud in the latest presidential election in Iran while testing a way for people to slip information out of countries with oppressive regimes.

The information obtained was given to US officials.

“They expected fraud but they didn’t expect the wholesale fraud that we passed along,” Uber said.

Vigilant’s network claimed a role relaying Twitter messages sent by Iranian protestors in the aftermath of the election.

The group is bent on gathering intelligence by any legal means and then putting the pieces together to see bigger pictures.

“The wholesale tapping of the Internet around the world can’t be done,” Uber said. “We are looking at what people write, how people attack, how attacks happen…we don’t care who that person is.”

Uber is working on a mathematical model to spot when terrorist organizations are recruiting teenagers online. The group has 100 projects in the works.

“Our end goal is to provide software as a service to government agencies so we can get out of

 Skull and crossbones reflected in a computer screen

 the business of intelligence,” Uber said.

Along with technology savants, Vigilant is recruiting sociologists, psychologists, and people with other specialties.

The wall between “feds” and hackers has been crumbling at DefCon, which has become a forum for alliances between government crime fighters and civilians considered digital-age “ninjas.”

Source: SGGP

Clinton seeks more from Pakistan in terror fight

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:26 am

ISLAMABAD, July 19, 2010 (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday announced major aid projects for Pakistan as she sought tougher action from Islamabad to combat militants ahead of a key donor meeting in Afghanistan.


Clinton is bidding to build on a shaky alliance with Pakistan, whose mountainous western border shields Taliban militants fighting the insurgency next door, as well as groups responsible for attacks in the United States.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) discusses with Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holebrooke (R) in Islamabad, on July 18, 2010. AFP

The aid, focused on water and energy needs, is part of US efforts to deepen engagement with the Asian nuclear power and overcome rife anti-Americanism after years of perceived neglect of bilateral relations.


Washington believes Pakistan is integral to any result in the Afghan war and has long voiced concern that Pakistan’s powerbrokers were supporting Taliban insurgents, despite crackdowns by the military in some border areas.


Clinton met Pakistan’s prime minister and president on Sunday and in a media interview acknowledged greater joint efforts on terrorism, but called for “additional measures” from Islamabad to combat militants on its soil.


“There are still additional steps that we are asking and expecting the Pakistanis to take,” she told the BBC.


“… there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that should an attack against the United States be traced to be Pakistani it would have a very devastating impact on our relationship,” she added.


A Pakistani-American arrested over the botched car bombing in New York’s Times Square in May allegedly received explosives training from experts linked to the Pakistani militant group the Tehrik-e-Taliban.


The group operates from the tribal zones of Pakistan, considered by Washington to be the global headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban and their allies in Al-Qaeda, as well as a base camp for the Afghan Taliban.


Clinton confirmed that Washington planned to formally designate Pakistan’s Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation.


The network, which is battling coalition troops in Afghanistan and is thought to have close links with Pakistan’s intelligence services, is one of the toughest foes faced by foreign forces in Afghanistan.


A senior US official speaking on condition of anonymity said closer ties with Pakistan’s powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani were helping in the struggle against the militant Haqqani network.


“The amount of engagement we have with General Kayani… is unprecedented. We feel that we’re making some slow but steady forward movement (on Haqqani),” the official said.


Clinton was due to meet Kayani for closed-door discussions later Monday before travelling to Kabul for a key international conference focused on charting a course for the war-torn country’s future involving less dependency on its Western backers.


Pakistan and the United States had been allies throughout the Cold War years as both played a key role in arming Islamist insurgents who ousted Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989.


Ties then cooled until the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.


On Monday, Clinton hailed progress in relations.


“We have moved beyond a stand-off where we are engaged in a most important dialogue… I’m pleased and impressed to see the leadership of Pakistan tackling some hard problems,” she said.


Pakistan has been hard hit by Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence, with attacks killing more than 3,500 people across the country since government troops besieged a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.


A suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in the eastern city of Sargodha Sunday evening, wounding at least 12 people, officials said.


Opening Monday talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Clinton said she hoped the aid projects would “lay the foundations for an enduring partnership” with Pakistan.


They include two energy dams, various drinking water and irrigation projects, as well as the building of health centres and schemes to improve agriculture and private sector income.


They are part of a five-year 7.5-billion-dollar funding approved by the US Congress last year.


Clinton also lauded a new transit trade deal signed between Afghanistan and Pakistan on Sunday that officials said could boost cross-border trade from an annual 1.5 billion dollars to five billion.

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Source: SGGP

Central provinces fight scorching weather

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 4:49 pm




Central provinces fight scorching weather


QĐND – Monday, June 28, 2010, 22:7 (GMT+7)

Vast rice fields in the central region are suffering from serious drought and the losses are estimated to reach 2.5 trillion VND.


In Nghe An province, farmers cannot grow rice on more than 26,000 ha due to the shortage of water.


The scorching heat has dried out many major reservoirs in Nghe An, some losing as much as 60-70 percent of their water.


Local people in mountainous areas of the province have also grappled with a severe shortage of water for daily use.


Similar to Nghe An province, Ha Tinh province has also reported that 14,000 ha of paddy fields are affected.


Ha Tinh predicts that its rice paddies will be devastated if rain does not come in July.


The province plans to grow rice on 41,000 ha and subsidiary crops on another 17,000 ha, however, it fears that the lack of water will restrict this.


At least 120,000 people in Huong Khe and Huong Son districts are struggling with insufficient water supplies and tankers have been deployed to transport water from Ke Go reservoir to them.


The Central Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre predicts that the drought could be worse in July as it has seen no sign of upcoming torrential rain.


If rain does not come very soon, the amount of agricultural land affected by the drought in the central region has risen to 71,000 ha of summer-autumn rice crop out of 240,000 ha, according to the Irrigation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


One June 25, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development met with these central provinces to look at ways of addressing the situation, saying that the Government will provide assistance to help these localities deal with the drought.


Source: VNA/ Photo: Vnexpress


Source: QDND

Philippines launches kidney register to fight trafficking

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 4:51 am

MANILA, June 25, 2010 (AFP) – The Philippines said Friday it is setting up a nationwide organ donor register in a bid to stop the practice of its poor selling their kidneys to make ends meet.


Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said she hoped the project would help provide donor organs for the estimated 9,000 Filipinos who suffer kidney failure every year.


“We seek not only to improve an important service for many patients… but also to assure that the illegal traffic of organs that has victimised many of our countrymen for many years until 2008 will not be repeated,” she added.


Over the past decade the Philippines has gained an international reputation as a hub for the illegal traffic in human organs from living donors, with some hospitals catering for wealthy foreign patients requiring kidney transplants.


In some poor communities many of the men carry surgical scars on one side of their torsos, after selling a kidney for as little as 3,000 dollars.


In 2008 the government banned the traffic in human organs involving living donors who are not related to the transplant patients, right after signing two international conventions on organ trafficking and transplant tourism.


Cabral said in a statement that the latest move complements the ban by increasing the number of transplants from dead donors, which she said has proven to be effective in other countries.


“Hopefully, with this programme, the international medical community will once again recognise that our country is indeed serious in curtailing illegal organ donation,” she added.

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Source: SGGP