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Posts Tagged ‘forces’

Cold weather forces schools to close in northern region

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:02 am

The prolonged cold weather has forced a lot of schools to close, forcing thousands of students to stay at home in northern Vietnam.

Since January 7, Lai Chau Province alone has notified over 15,000 students to stay at home, while Lang Son Province schools have told over 11,000 students not to come to school.

Local authorities have called on residents and parents to help students cope with the cold weather.

In Sa Pa town of Lao Cai Province, parents have donated money in order that schools can purchase heating equipment. Meanwhile, some residents have made wood fires in order to keep children warm in the poorer areas.

The Lai Chau Province Department of Education and Training, has presented 1,500 extra thick clothes to students in districts of Sin Ho, Phong Tho and Tam Duong.

In addition, money donated by the Red River Delta provinces of Thai Binh, Hung Yen and Hai Duong, is helping to make heating mantles for poor students that live in remote lying areas.

Hoang Kim Giao, head of the Livestock Production Department said because of the cold weather, the number of cattle died has increase dramatically, from 900 on Monday to over 2,500. The worst hit provinces include Son La, Ha Giang, Cao Bang and Lao Cai.


Buffaloes find shelter from the cold weather, which has killed thousands of cattle in the north (Photo: SGGP)

On Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development sent another urgent dispatch to northern and central provinces asking them to prevent any more cattle related deaths due to the extreme cold weather.

The Ministry also instructed local authorities not to let cattle in the fields and the forest when the temperature drops below 12 degree Celsius. If possible, farmers should stockpile more grass to feed their herbs.

Related article:
Primary schools to shut as temperatures drop

Source: SGGP

Korean, US forces lower alert status: report

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:10 am

SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea has lowered its military alert status, prompting similar moves by Seoul and US forces as tensions on the Korean peninsula showed signs of easing, a report said Friday.

The apparent moves came as South Korea held its latest war games to simulate an infiltration by North Korean troops across the disputed Yellow Sea border, officials said.

Tensions have been high since the North shelled South Korea’s frontline Yeonpyeong island on November 23.

Yonhap news agency quoted unidentified South Korean government sources as saying that the North recently lifted a special alert it issued on November 21 for its military forces on the coast near the tense sea border.

“The North Korean military recently withdrew an order for special military readiness it had issued in connection with our Hoguk military drills (in November),” a source was quoted as saying.

The South Korean military and US forces in South Korea had consequently reduced their own alert status by one notch to a normal level, the source said.

A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report.

But he told AFP the computerised military exercise involving the South Korean navy and marines “began as planned”, declining to give details.

Navy officials said Friday’s manoeuvres were designed to enhance the South’s capability to repel a surprise landing on islands.

Command posts were involved in the simulated war games but it was unclear whether troops were involved in any physical manoeuvres.

Besides the shelling in November, the North also raised security fears that month by disclosing a uranium enrichment plant to visiting US experts.

But after a difficult year on the Korean peninsula, 2011 started on a more peaceful note.

The North began the year calling for improved relations with Seoul, while South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak Monday also reached out, saying he was open to talks and offering closer economic ties.

Efforts to resume long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks with the North also gained momentum as Beijing urged dialogue and Pyongyang signalled it was willing to return to the negotiating table.

In an unusually cordial statement, carried by its KCNA agency, North Korea said Wednesday the communist nation “courteously proposes having wide-ranging dialogue and negotiations”.

But South Korean officials were dismissive of the comments.

Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-Sik said on KBS radio that the North should show seriousness of purpose by acting on its obligations under a 2005 agreement on denuclearisation and apologising for the November shelling and the sinking of a South Korean warship last year.

Amid the more positive tone, Japan’s foreign minister called for renewed dialogue on the divided Korean peninsula in Washington on Thursday, but said the North should first take “concrete actions” to lower tensions.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. AFP

“The nuclear and missile development issue of DPRK (North Korea) is a cause for major concern,” Seiji Maehara said in a speech to a Washington think tank before meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“What is most important is that a North Korea-South Korea dialogue be opened up,” Maehara said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Source: SGGP

Joined forces help the poor

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Joined forces help the poor

QĐND – Saturday, October 23, 2010, 23:12 (GMT+7)

The Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee launched a “Month for the poor” on October 14. Millions of poor people across the country have been assisted by the group’s Fund for the Poor.

A VOV reporter interviewed Ms Ha Thi Lien, Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee. 

VOV: Could you please tell us about the Fund for the Poor? 

Ha Thi Lien: Over the last 10 years, the Fund has received VND5,120 billion from donations and the Government assistance. More than 1 million houses for the poor were built or repaired by this fund. It also provided poor people with production materials, disadvantages pupils with books and the poor patients with fees.  

Groups and individuals nationwide have donated thousands of billions of VND for social security programmes and other activities to help the poor and victims of natural disasters.

VOV: Who ragulates the Fund? 

Ha Thi Lien: The foundation of funds for charity is regulated by Decree 148 of the Government. Since the Fund was founded, we annually report its operation publicly. All the assistance is proved to go to real recipients. 

VOV: How is the money delivered to the poor? 

Ha Thi Lien: Along with members of local Fatherland Front Central Committees, the staffs of relevant ministries, departments and organisations nationwide are involved in the campaign. They help to match assistance to the appropriate targets. They are responsible for the Fund in their localities. 

Various programmes are often launches by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee in the closing months of the year, such as “Joining hands for the poor” from December 25-30, which receive strong support from businesses.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Lang Son border forces seizes VND100 million face-value of fake money

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Lang Son border forces seizes VND100 million face-value of fake money

QĐND – Wednesday, August 04, 2010, 20:41 (GMT+7)

PANO – Border soldiers of the Tan Thanh Border Force Station have just apprehended fake money case, according to Deputy-Commander of the station, Senior-Lieutenant Duong Van Thang.

At 20.30 hours on August 1st, a working group of the Tan Thanh Border Force Station caught red-handed, a man carrying VND100 million of fake Vietnamese currency, which he was trying to bring into Vietnam via a path across the border between Vietnam and China in the northern province of Lang Son.

After initial inquiries, the man was found to be Be Van Trinh, born in 1978 in Chi Lang, Lang Son. He said he was hired to carry the fake money to a person in Bac Giang Province to get VND 5 million.

On August 2nd, the command of the Tan Thanh Station handed over the case to the Lang Son Provincial Command to expand the investigation further.

Translated by Thu Nguyen 

Source: QDND

US resumes ties with Indonesian special forces: Pentagon

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

JAKARTA, July 22, 2010 (AFP) – The United States said Thursday it would resume ties with Indonesian special forces after a 12-year hiatus, as part of efforts by Washington to reach out to the world’s largest Muslim nation.

The announcement, made during a visit by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to Indonesia, comes as Washington seeks to resume training for the Kopassus unit as part of growing anti-insurgency and intelligence cooperation.

Secretary of Defence Robert Gates (L) greets South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (R) at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on July 21, 2010. AFP

“We will begin a gradual, measured process of working with Kopassus,” a senior US defence official said, referring to the elite Indonesian military unit with which Washington suspended ties in 1998.

The decision was made “in light of the progress that Indonesia and its military… has made in terms of reform and professionalisation since the fall of Suharto as well as recent pledges of reform,” he said.

The move is controversial as the Kopassus unit has been implicated in human rights abuses, including in East Timor, and some figures in the US Congress have opposed embracing the force before it has accounted for its past.

The United States broke off ties with the Kopassus under a law banning cooperation with foreign troops implicated in rights abuses.

The Indonesian special forces are accused of committing abuses in East Timor and Aceh under then dictator Suharto in the 1990s.

The senior US defence official played down fears that senior figures in the special forces had been implicated in past rights violations.

“Individuals who had been convicted in the past for human rights violations have in the past several months been removed from Kopassus,” he said.

The administration of President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, sees the country as an increasingly important player in East Asia and key ally in the Muslim world.

Gates, who arrived from a visit to Seoul, was due to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro later Thursday.

Ernie Bower, a Southeast Asia expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the Obama administration needed to handle its relationship with the Indonesian military carefully.

“I think it’s the view of the Indonesian military that without the ability to engage and train Kopassus, the American engagement and normalisation of the military-to-military relationship would be incomplete,” he said.

“If you don’t have the relationship with the Indonesian military normalised, you can’t really participate and be the leading partner in this architecture,” he added. “Gates needs to get it right with Indonesia.”

However, the Pentagon needs to find an acceptable compromise to seal the deal without encountering too many objections in Washington.

“We’ve been working for some time both within the US government and with the government of Indonesia to try to figure out how and under what conditions we can pursue reengagement with Kopassus,” said one senior US defense official.

He noted improvements made by Jakarta since the end of the Suharto regime.

However, leading voices in Washington such as Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy as well as human rights groups have opposed a normalisation of military ties until Kopassus commanders have faced justice for past rights violations.

“Before resuming military cooperation with the Kopassus, Robert Gates must make sure that there’s no senior military officers implicated in the past abuse who hold a structural position in the military,” said activist Usman Hamid.

Hamid, a prominent rights activist from the Indonesian Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said any troops involved in abuses had to face trial.

“Those implicated in the rights violations should be removed from the Indonesian military and… should be tried in a public court or a special human rights crime court.”

Source: SGGP

Afghan president gives nod to local police forces

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

 Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his national security team endorsed a U.S.-backed plan to set up local police forces around the country, allowing villagers to protect themselves in areas where international and Afghan forces can’t be spared.

The new Local Police Force initiative will be overseen by the Afghan government. That was a key demand of Karzai who fears that simply arming villagers without government oversight would essentially create local militias that could undermine his administration and possibly fuel a new civil war.

Karzai’s office offered no details about the plan, other than a statement released Wednesday evening saying the Local Police Force would be under the direct supervision of the Interior Ministry.

In this June 29, 2010 file photo, an Afghan policeman stands guard at the site of a demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the plan was designed to fill the gaps in security in remote areas and empower opponents of Taliban domination to fight back — while also providing jobs.

“This is about putting locals to work, so that they can be on watch in their communities, for people who shouldn’t be there, and then work with the established security organizations — the army, the police, the coalition — to make sure (insurgents) don’t menace their communities,” Morrell told reporters Wednesday in Washington.

He stressed the local defense forces would not be militias, but “government-formed, government-paid, government-uniformed local police units who would keep any eye out for bad guys.”

NATO officials declined to publicly comment on the program, even though NATO Commander Gen. David Petraeus has been intimately involved in discussions about it in recent days at the presidential palace. However, a coalition official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed U.S. backing for the plan.

“The challenge we’ve got is that we’ve got a huge area,” British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, a NATO commander of troops in southern Afghanistan, said earlier this week. “We’ve got a large quantity of population and we can’t be everywhere. And what the village stability operations allow us is the opportunity to give the Afghans the courage to take protection into their own hands so we don’t have to put conventional forces there.”

Carter said local police forces have to be set up cautiously.

“What you don’t want to do is disconnect those population centers from the government,” Carter said. “What we’re trying to do throughout everything we do in this campaign is connect the government to the population.”

There have been several local defense initiatives tried around the country, now, the statement said, these forces would be swept into the Local Police Force.

The local policing plan in Afghanistan is somewhat akin to the Awakening Councils in Iraq where Petraeus, the former top commander in Iraq, reached out to Sunni sheiks — a move credited for helping oust militants from key areas and sharply decreasing attacks.

In Afghanistan, however, there are fears local police forces will fall under the control of local warlords. Critics question the wisdom of handing out weapons to Afghans in the middle of a war. And they fear the plan could stoke rivalries between ethnic groups in a country that has been in conflict for 30 years.

Earlier reports hinted at friction between Karzai and Petraeus over the issue, although the coalition denounced the reports as being untrue. “There is no rift,” NATO spokesman Josef Blotz said Sunday when the meetings were ongoing.

A military source in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to share information about NATO’s discussions with the government, said Karzai and Petraeus had been “forthright” with each other about their concerns over certain aspects of the local defense initiative.

At Karzai’s request, advisers for both the president and the commander met to discuss ways to address “very understandable issues” associated with local security initiatives, the source said. NATO officials have been working with the ministers for the past week to resolve the issues, he said.

The NATO official said not all the Afghan officials back the idea for Local Police Forces. He said the past few days of discussions have been about building consensus on how the program would work since the main strategy of both the Afghan government and the international community continues to be the buildup of more formal Afghan army and police forces.

In the end, the Local Police Force emerged as the best way to help secure areas where community policing makes sense, he said. The local police would be equipped and trained to defend their areas, not go on the offensive against the Taliban, but rather work deterring threats, maintaining order and reporting unlawful activity to the government.

Local police forces will likely be seen only in communities around the country where it is needed, he said. Using the Afghan National Police remains the preferred solution to providing security, but where that’s not possible, the local police forces will be a “bridge solution” until they can be merged into the Afghan national security forces, he said.

Source: SGGP

Russian forces storm oil tanker, 1 pirate killed

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm

 A Russian warship hunted down an oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates and special forces rappelled on board Thursday, surprising the outlaws, who surrendered after a 22-minute gunbattle. Twenty-three Russian sailors were freed.

The dramatic Indian Ocean rescue came a day after pirates seized the tanker, which was heading toward China carrying $50 million worth of crude. One pirate was killed and 10 others were arrested, officials said.

The Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov had rushed to the scene following Wednesday’s seizure of the Liberian-flagged tanker, Moscow University.

After spotting the hijacked vessel early Thursday, the warship fired warning shots from its large-caliber machine gun, undeterred by the tanker’s flammable cargo of 86,000 tons of crude.

In this April 6, 2003 file picture Russian anti-submarine ship Marshal Shaposhnikov of the Pacific Fleet, is ready to leave Vladivostok harbour in the Russian Far East, to head to the Indian Ocean.

Oil tankers don’t even allow crew members to smoke on board because of the risk of igniting the cargo, but the Russian navy decided to move in with weapons after determining the crew had taken refuge in a safe room.

“The Marshal Shaposhnikov came near the tanker and after establishing contact with the crew, who were taking cover in the machine area of the ship, opened warning fire from large-caliber machine guns and a 30mm artillery complex,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Special forces troops then rappelled down to the tanker from a helicopter, Rear Adm. Jan Thornqvist, the EU Naval Force commander, told an Associated Press reporter aboard the Swedish warship Carlskrona, which was patrolling 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the rescue site.

The startled pirates opened fire and a gunbattle ensued that killed one pirate and wounded three before the hijackers surrendered, the Russian state news channel Rossiya-24 said. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Kuznetsov said a large weapons cache was seized.

The operation’s success was due to the surprise factor, said a Russian military officer aboard the warship. “The pirates were taken by surprise. They did not expect such resolute measures from us,” Capt. Ildar Akhmerov told RUA Novosti news agency.

The decision to free the ship was made knowing “that the crew was under safe cover inaccessible to the pirates” and that sailors’ lives were not in danger, said the ship’s owner, Novoship, which is a subsidiary of a government-owned company, Sovcomflot.

Safe rooms, where crews seek shelter, are typically stocked with food, water and communications equipment and have reinforced doors that can only be opened from the inside. Still, at one point, the crew had reported that they believed the pirates were trying to enter the engine room, Thornqvist said.

The raid shows that some governments are taking a more robust stand against pirate attacks, especially when their citizens are involved, said Graeme Gibbon Brooks of Dryad Maritime Intelligence in Britain.

Rescue attempts are easier when crews are locked away and not among the pirates, he said, though military action on oil tankers can be dangerous.

“As for whether live ammunition and oil tankers mix, really it’s obvious there’s a risk,” Brooks said. “In terms of the decision to conduct the assault, these things are always a balance of risk versus benefit.”

International military forces have been more aggressively combating piracy, which has flourished off the coast of lawless Somalia into a multimillion-dollar industry.

EU Naval Force ships are disrupting pirate groups and destroying their ships at a much higher rate than in previous years. U.S. warships have fired back on pirates and destroyed their boats in several skirmishes in the last several weeks.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the special forces for a job done “correctly, professionally, quickly,” and sailors’ relatives praised the rescue effort.

“It all ended so well that one has a warm feeling of pride for our country,” said Ludmila Kotzenko, a sailor’s mother.

The pirates were to be taken to Moscow to face criminal charges and Medvedev hinted at tough punishment.

“Perhaps we should get back to the idea of establishing an international court and other legal tools” to prosecute pirates, he said. “Until then, we’ll have to do what our forefathers did when they met the pirates.”

Cmdr. John Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force, called Thursday’s rescue “an excellent operation all around.” He said the EU force had been working at a tactical level with the Russians, and had talked to the Russian crew by VHF radio and offered support.

In February, Danish special forces prevented the hijacking of a ship after pirates boarded it. Special forces from the Danish Absalon boarded the Ariella while the crew locked themselves in a secure room.

Still, pirates are holding more than 300 hostages taken from ships off East Africa in the last several months.

The U.N. office on Drugs and Crime said this week that the island nation of Seychelles would establish a regional center for the prosecution of piracy. The court will accept the transfer of suspects from the EU Naval Force, while a joint EU-U.N. program will help ensure the country’s police, prosecutors, courts and prisons have adequate resources.

Source: SGGP

Iceland volcano forces VN to cancel flights

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Iceland volcano forces VN to cancel flights

QĐND – Saturday, April 17, 2010, 21:48 (GMT+7)

Vietnam Airlines has cancelled flights to and from Europe due to ash from a volcano in Iceland that has forced the temporary shut-down of two major international airports in France and Germany.

The closure of the airports–Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt–prompted the national flag carrier to cancel four flights on April 16 on the routes Paris-Ho Chi Minh City, Frankfurt-Hanoi, HCM City-Frankfurt and Hanoi-Paris, Le Hoang Dung, Vietnam Airlines spokesman, said.

Two other flights scheduled for April 17–Frankfurt to Ho Chi Minh City and Paris to Hanoi –will also be cancelled.

The airline will continue announcing timetable information for the upcoming regular and additional flights from Hanoi and HCM City to Europe.

For the latest information, passengers may visit or dial 04 38320320, 08 38320320 and 0511 3811111 in Vietnam or +31 676779875 in France or +49 15116119824 in Germany.

Source: VietNamNet/VNA


Source: QDND

Red Shirt leaders flee as Thai forces surround hotel

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

Thai security forces surrounded a hotel Friday where leaders of the “Red Shirt” protest movement were holed up, but failed to make any arrests after the suspects fled, officials said.

Television footage showed one of the protest leaders climbing down a rope to escape from the SC Park Hotel as Red Shirt demonstrators massed outside.

Special forces surrounded the building, where “terrorists” and leaders of the red-clad protest movement were hiding, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban announced in a nationally televised address.

One Red Shirt leader, Arisman Pongruangrong, was seen descending a rope to leave the hotel in Bangkok‘s northern outskirts and the movement said all its leaders had managed to escape.

A government spokesman admitted that the operation was “unsuccessful.”

Red Shirt anti-government leader Arisman Pongruanrong is helped by others as he flees arrest on April 16, at the SC Park Hotel in Bangkok

Arisman, who led the protesters’ storming of parliament earlier this month, told supporters by megaphone he had escaped an assassination attempt.

“He wanted to kill me. The policeman tried to kill me,” Arisman told the assembled Red Shirts amid chaotic scenes outside the hotel.

The authorities, meanwhile, urged thousands of protesters massed in the commercial district to leave the area, warning that they were ready to take “decisive measures” following the worst civil violence in almost two decades.

“Innocent people should leave the protests because the authorities have to take decisive measures against terrorists,” Suthep said.

Red Shirts later gathered outside the hotel, scuffling with riot police who were guarding the building.

“If today is the end, we’re ready,” Reds leader Nattawut Saikuar said from the rally stage in the commercial hub, urging protesters to go to the hotel.

The hotel is believed to be owned by fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, political icon of the red-clad protest movement that has been rallying for more than a month in Bangkok to demand immediate elections.

Arrest warrants have also been issued for leaders of the Red Shirt protesters, some of whom stormed parliament earlier this month.

The Reds charge that the government is illegitimate because it came to power in 2008 after a court ousted Thaksin’s allies from power.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has blamed “terrorists” for inciting last weekend’s violent street clashes, which left at least 23 people dead and more than 800 wounded.

Saturday’s clashes erupted as the army tried unsuccessfully to clear an area in Bangkok‘s old city, sparking street battles involving soldiers, red-clad protesters and unidentified gunmen described as “terrorists” by the government.

The Reds have challenged the government’s assertion that there were M16 and AK47 assault rifles among the protesters.

The army has said live shots were fired only in the air or by troops providing cover for soldiers who were themselves under fire.

The authorities have said they will not try to put down peaceful rallies but have urged the Reds to leave the commercial district, where they have disrupted traffic and caused major shopping centres to close.

Leaders of the red-clad movement have said there is no point in further talks, demanding immediate elections.

Negotiations last month between the two sides ended in stalemate after the Reds rejected the government’s offer to hold polls at the end of the year.

The government, which imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas a week ago, has accused Thaksin of stoking the unrest.

Eighteen civilians, including a Japanese cameraman, and five soldiers were killed in the clashes, with more than 800 injured, according to the Erawan emergency centre.

Source: SGGP

Thousands of young people join the armed forces

In Politics-Society on March 4, 2010 at 8:29 am

Thousands of young people join the armed forces

QĐND – Wednesday, March 03, 2010, 20:56 (GMT+7)

Many young people from Hanoi, Danang, and the central provinces of Quang Nam and Phu Yen have enthusiastically signed up for military service.

In Hanoi, nearly 1000 youths joined the armed services on a voluntary basis on March 3. More than 90 percent of the recruits were Youth Communist League members aged 18-21. About 80 percent of conscripts have good health at level A or B.

The same day, more than 1,400 conscripts in Quang Nam province left their homes to do their military service. The recruitment was assessed to be of high quality as there were no desertions and no opposition to conscription.

On March 2, more than 500 young people from Danang joined the army. As many as 65 percent of them had previously graduated from high school, college or university.

On the same day, 710 youths from Tuy Hoa city and some districts of Phu Yen province joined the army.

Source: VOV – Photo: PANO

Source: QDND