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From bathroom to bedroom, homes get ‘smart’

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Mobile phones aren’t the only things getting smart. Home appliances are too.

GE’s Nucleus™ energy manager with Brillion™ technology serves as home-energy command center

On display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here along with the latest smartphones and touchscreen tablet computers are ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and other products for the “connected” home.


South Korea’s LG Electronics is displaying its “Thinq” home appliances which are connected to a home Wi-Fi network and can be controlled by a smartphone or a computer.


They include washing machines that can be instructed from the office to run at the most cost-effective times and a camera-equipped robot vacuum cleaner, the Hom-Bot, which can be instructed remotely to clean the floor.


The camera embedded in the robot can also be used to keep an eye on the house while the owner is away.


Also from LG Electronics are refrigerators with touchscreen LCD displays that let users keep tabs on where items are located in the refrigerator and when they expire.


An owner can access the information while shopping via a smartphone and check whether they have enough milk or orange juice, for example.


In case of a problem such as a door left open, the LG refrigerator can send an alert to an owner’s smartphone or computer.


Tom deSalvo, a spokesman for Kenmore, the appliance brand of retail titan Sears, said the company is researching the possibilities of being able to turn an oven or a clothes dryer on or off using a smartphone.


Safety questions have not made this a reality yet, he said, but as of next year, the temperature of a Kenmore oven, for example, can be regulated from a distance using a smartphone.


US home appliance giant General Electric is making its first appearance at CES to show off its home energy management solutions including “Nucleus,” which gives consumers information about electricity consumption.


Nucleus, which is expected to be available later this year, works with smart meters, smart appliances, programmable thermostats and software applications to help homeowners monitor their usage and reduce their electricity bills.


Joseph McGuire, the president of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, said US government energy standards — and tax credits for energy efficient appliances — were a big driver for innovation in the sector.


Ultimately, though, it’s consumers who will decide, he said, with the ability to cut down on electricity bills a prime motivating factor.


It’s not just the standard household items such as washers and dryers which are taking advantage of the latest technology, other products on display here are too.


Cedric Hutchings, co-founder of Withings, a French start-up showing off a baby monitor, a blood pressure monitor and other products at CES, said smart devices are opening up all kinds of new possibilities for the home.


The Withings baby monitor features a camera equipped with night vision that can send pictures and audio to an iPhone or any other device with a connected screen.


A microphone allows parents to talk to the child from another room and they can set alarms to be awoken if a baby’s sleep is disrupted.


 

Source: SGGP

Hanoi receives 215 objects excavated from Thang Long Citadel

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:19 am

The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences on Tuesday handed over 215 objects excavated from the Thang Long Citadel archaeological site, to the Hanoi People’s Committee.

A view of the handover ceremony of the 215 objects, excavated from Thang Long Citadel archaeological site, to Hanoi People’s Committee on January 4 (Photo: Hanoimoi)

The objects are displayed in a showroom on the first floor of the Department of Operation’s headquarter in Hanoi.


Dr Bui Minh Tri, chairperson of the citadel excavation project, said that the objects found at the site, 18 Hoang Dieu, had up to a million items.


The above 215 items, are the most typical for each historical phase of the citadel, through many centuries of dynasties, he said.

Source: SGGP

Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Tuy Hoa increase for Tet

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:17 am

Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO) announced a plan to increase nine flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Tuy Hoa (Phu Yen Province) and back, during the Tet holiday.

The flights using the ATR72 airplane are scheduled for January 24, 25, 27,29,30,31 and February 1 and 3. So far, VASCO has operated one flight on this route per day.


The provincial authorities have just proposed to Vietnam Airlines to add 7 flights from Hanoi to Tuy Hoa for the Tet holiday. The route has currently five flights a week.


In related news, visitors to the Hoi An ancient town, increased substantially at the New Year, said the Hoi An Department of Commerce and Tourism on December 3.

Most hotels were ‘booked out’ and more than 4,000 tourists visited the UNESCO World Heritage site. Many tourists visited handicraft villages and local sightseeing areas.


 

Source: SGGP

Obama to regulate carbon from power plants

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 5:56 am

 US President Barack Obama’s administration said it will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a climate change battle with a skeptical new Congress.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would set standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries, which together emit nearly 40 percent of the gasses blamed for climate change in the United States.


The decision comes after a bill to set up a “cap-and-trade” program to restrict emissions in the world’s second largest polluter died in the Senate, although the EPA insisted it was not trying to replace action by Congress.


“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans and contributes to climate change,” EPA chief Lisa Jackson said in a statement.

US President Barack Obama’s administration said Thursday it will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a climate change battle with a skeptical new Congress

“These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home,” she said.


The EPA did not go into specifics about the new standards, saying it would make a proposal in the new year and finalize it in 2012 after public comment.


The regulator suggested it would not impose an outright figure for emission standards but instead would ask companies to embrace cleaner technologies.


“This is not about a cap-and-trade program,” senior EPA official Gina McCarthy told reporters on a conference call.


“It is not in any way trying to get into the areas in which Congress will be establishing law, at some point in the future we hope,” she said.


McCarthy did not say which technologies would be favored, although the Obama administration has been promoting wind, solar and other low-emission renewable energies. Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are much dirtier.


Representative Darrell Issa, who is set for a prominent role in the Republican-led House of Representatives that takes over next month, was “disappointed” by the EPA decision, said his spokesman, Kurt Bardella.


“The fact is there are serious questions about the wisdom of EPA’s recent efforts to impose multiple job-killing regulations that only serve to raise costs on a manufacturing industry trying to overcome a bad economy,” he said.


The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, an industry group, vowed to fight the EPA move and accused the Obama administration of usurping the authority of Congress.


“Regulations can’t create technology that doesn’t exist or change the laws of physics and economics, so the only way to comply with EPA’s proposals would be to inflict massive increases in energy costs and massive increases in unemployment on families across our nation,” it said.


But advocates of action on climate change believe that the United States can open up a new green economy, creating jobs, if it moves away from fossil fuels.


Joe Mendelson of the National Wildlife Federation criticized “polluters that want to hold hostage America’s clean energy future and our public health with bullying and unfounded threats of doom and gloom.”


The upcoming rules could also trigger a battle with oil-producing Texas, which emits far more greenhouse gases than any other state and has adamantly opposed Washington restrictions.


Obama last year pledged that the United States would curb emissions by 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. The goal is modest compared to the actions of other developed economies, particularly the European Union.

Most scientists say the world is far off track at meeting a goal — codified at UN climate talks in Mexico this month — of keeping temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam welcoming third investment flow from the U.S

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




Vietnam welcoming third investment flow from the U.S


QĐND – Monday, December 20, 2010, 21:48 (GMT+7)

“Vietnam is expecting to have the third investment flow from the U.S.A. in the forthcoming time”, said Mrs Jocelyn Tran, Chairwoman of AmCham Vietnam.


According to Ms Tran, American businesses have been successful in doing business in Vietnam. Two-way trade between Vietnam and the U.S rose to around US$18 billion in 2010 from almost US$1 billion in the 1995-2000 period. Several large American companies such as Nike, MAST Industries and Target have made considerable contributions to this trend by increasing the volume of imported goods from Vietnam.


“I am confident to say that in the next ten years, the two countries’ trade turnover will reach US$35 billion and Vietnam will become one of the most important trading partners of the U.S.A. in ASEAN”, Ms Tran added.


However, at present only few big US manufactures are investing in Vietnam?


The U.S. investment in Vietnam can be divided into three main stages. The first stage is from 1995 to 2000, mostly in consumer goods to explore Vietnam’s market. The second stage started from 2001 to 2005 after the two countries had signed the bilateral trade agreement. The investment mostly came from foreign companies that cooperated with the American partners to build factories to manufacture textiles and garments, footwear and wooden furniture for export to the U.S.


The third investment flow, starting from 2006, came from the modern manufacturing industry with the construction of Intel Group’s assembling factory in Vietnam at the cost of  USD1 billion


During the first months of this year, 25 of the biggest companies in the U.S.A. in the list of top 500 Fortune companies with total turnover of around US$675 billion, set up their business in Vietnam, focusing on services,  energy, chemical and auto manufacturing.


Vietnam at present can attract foreign investment in modern manufacturing industries, however it should have more open policies in energy, transportation, telecommunications, retail trade and education.


Source: TTO


Translated by Vu Hung


Source: QDND

Australia says little hope of more survivors from boat wreck

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 8:57 am

SYDNEY, Dec 17, 2010 (AFP) – Australia said Friday there was little hope of finding more survivors from a people-smuggling boat which smashed into Christmas Island two days ago and that the full death toll may never be known.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard said divers had recovered two more bodies, bringing the official death toll to 30, as air and sea searches continued for survivors after their wooden fishing boat sank early Wednesday.


“We do need to face the grim reality that it is becoming increasingly unlikely, an increasingly remote possibility, that survivors will be found at this stage,” she told reporters in Sydney.


“It remains unclear exactly how many people were on the vessel and we may never know that number with precision,” she said, adding that three Indonesian crew were among the 42 survivors.


The wooden fishing boat crowded with up to 100 Iraqi, Kurdish and Iranian asylum seekers and their families was dashed against jagged rocks in dangerous seas at the remote Indian Ocean outpost early on Wednesday, throwing all on board into the churning water.


Of those pulled alive from the sea, five were evacuated to Perth for medical treatment while the rest were being treated on Christmas Island, which lies 2,600 kilometres (1,612 miles) from the mainland.


Australia has a policy of mandatory detention of boat people and uses Christmas Island as its main processing facility to determine whether they are legitimate refugees.


While boats are often picked up as they attempt to make their way to the island, Gillard said authorities had not been aware that this particular boat was approaching.


“The people smuggling vessel was not sighted until it was sighted from Christmas Island itself by residents,” she said, adding that Australia’s sea patrols covered a massive area.


“If we look at the amount of ocean that lies to our north, the area that we seek to keep under watch, the area in which we are most likely to see asylum seeker vessels, that area is more than 1.4 million square nautical miles.


“Consequently I think people would understand, with such a big area, that it is possible for a boat to get to Christmas Island and not be detected.”


The tragedy has sparked renewed debate on Asia’s people smuggling trade, which has brought more than 5,000 asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka to Australia this year, mostly on unseaworthy vessels from Indonesia.


Gillard said that Australian authorities were working closely with the people smuggling task force from the Indonesian National Police, but did not specify where she believed the boat had come from.


Indonesian police said there was no criminal element to the boat wreck, while Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Michael Tene said Jakarta had no comment on the latest loss of life involving asylum seekers in the waters between Java and the Australian mainland.


Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to get tough with the smugglers during a visit to Australia earlier this year, and Gillard raised the issue when she visited Jakarta last month.


Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the government would stick to its strategy of attempting to create a regional processing centre, possibly in East Timor, aiming to break the people-smuggling rings operating in Asia.


Australia has said Wednesday’s accident will be the subject of a criminal investigation and a coroner’s probe.

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Source: SGGP

First commercial flight from Far East lands at Cam Ranh

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm




First commercial flight from Far East lands at Cam Ranh


QĐND – Thursday, December 16, 2010, 21:3 (GMT+7)

The first commercial flight from Vladivostok city, Russia , by the Russian carrier Vladivostok Air landed at the Cam Ranh international airport in the central province of Khanh Hoa on Dec. 15.


Another flight left Cam Ranh for Vladivostok the same day, marking the launch of a direct air route between the two cities.


The airline said two similar flights will be conducted between another Far East city, Khabarov and Cam Ranh on Dec. 16.


According to Vladivostok Air, 14 flights will be conducted on the two routes from mid-December through to March, with two flights every two weeks in the immediate future. The airline will use TU 240 aircraft on the routes, which target Russian tourists who want to escape from serve winter in the Far East . Khanh Hoa boats the famous resort city of Nha Trang with warm weather and sunny beaches.


Cam Ranh Airport ’s authorities pledged to halve the charges on landing and services for Vladivostok Air in the initial period.


Nearly 10 four and five star hotels and resorts in Nha Trang have also agreed to reduce their prices by between 20-50 percent for Russian tourists flying to Nha Trang on the new routes.


Cam Ranh Airport became an international airport in December 2009 and has recorded an average annual growth rate in passenger numbers of 21 percent, the highest rate in Vietnam.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

State Bank tries to prevent banks from increasing their interest rates

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

The State Bank of Vietnam has ordered its branches to monitor all other banks that have an interest rate higher than 14 percent a year.

The State Bank is trying to prevent banks increasing interest rates

On Wednesday, Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) raised its one month interest rate to 17 percent per year, which will apply from 8-10 December with deposits of more than VND100 million.  As soon as this happen, other joint stock banks, also changed their interest rates to 17.5 and 18 percent a year.


Specifically, the floating interest rate of 36 month deposit of a bank was rebounded up to 18 percent a year, for all deposits over VND5 million.


Ho Huu Hanh, director of the State Bank of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, said he has asked four delegations to investigate the banks about the skyrocketing interest rate.


This discision immediately made some banks reduce their interest rate from 17-18 to 14 percent a year.


An official from Techcombank said, “That it had not increased the interest rate of savings deposit to 17 percent, but it was only a promotional program for those long term customers”.


Furthermore, the State Bank in Hanoi has expressed their disagreement with the rising interest rate, saying it that it gave some banks an unreasonable advantage, which may lead to unfair competition.


Techcombank’s action had lead to a movement of deposits from other banks, forcing them to elevate their interest rates.


Meanwhile, Nguyen Duc Vinh, general director of Techcombank, admitted his bank had not being able to anticipate this affect, and has promised to cancel the program.


After the meeting, thousand of banks, agreed to lower their rate to 14 percent a year.


A spokesperson from the State Bank said, “The inflation rate this year will not exceed 12 percent, so, there is no reason for banks to raise their interest rate to 17-18 percent a year”.


In a related move, the State Bank has pledged to provide loans to smaller banks. All these banks require is to present their credit contracts, to the State Bank, to approve their for loans.


However, a joint stock bank’s leader said, “Some small banks are afraid to borrow capital, because they will be closely monitored by the State Bank, and this will lead to the larger banks raising their interest rates again”.

Source: SGGP

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar suspended from parliament

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:42 am

AFP file – Anwar Ibrahim puts on his jacket as he arrives at the court in Kuala Lumpur on August 16, 2010 to attend his ongoing sodomy trial.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16, 2010 (AFP) – Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and three of his allies were suspended from parliament for six months on Thursday in votes that triggered pandemonium and an opposition walkout.


Anwar, who is also facing trial on sodomy charges that he says are a political conspiracy, was this week found guilty of misleading members in a row over a national unity slogan.


He had criticised the government’s “One Malaysia” slogan aimed at uniting the multiracial nation, which he said had been copied from the “One Israel” political alliance of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak in 1999.


The charge is highly sensitive in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel and is a supporter of a Palestinian state.


The government on Wednesday cited three senior opposition MPs for contempt for criticising the parliamentary disciplinary probe against Anwar, and demanded that they also serve six-month suspensions.


“It’s so clear, it’s blatantly biased,” Anwar said after the suspension votes against the four were carried in parliament, where the ruling coalition has a clear majority. “It’s a mockery of the entire proceedings.”


The votes were held after chaotic scenes in the house where debate was drowned out by a half-hour shouting match, and opposition lawmakers unfurled placards reading “Save the Parliament”.


They later staged a walkout, chanting “Shame on you”.


Anwar was once a deputy prime minister in the ruling coalition but was sacked and jailed a decade ago on separate sex and corruption charges widely seen as politically motivated.


He spent six years in jail before the original sex conviction was overturned, and returned to parliament at the helm of a reinvigorated opposition which made huge strides in 2008 elections.


New polls are expected to be held early next year, but although the suspension will bar Anwar from attending parliamentary debates, his party says it will not sideline him or affect its election preparations.

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Source: SGGP

Farmers earn big time from selling catfishes to US

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:33 am

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill problem rocketed price of exported catfish fillet to the US market, helping local farmer to gain big profits.

(Photo: http://www.dangcongsan.vn)

“We are taking pretty good profits from the surging catfish prices,” said Nguyen Van Mung, a catfish farmer in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.


Local seafood producers exporting catfish fillet to the US market bought small catfishes with an average weight of 750-850 gram strongly at very high prices, he said.


“Farming costs this year was reduced significantly as we sold young catfish,” Mung said, adding that this year’s harvest time was 1-2 months sooner than previous years.


Mung gained a net profit of more than VND2 billion (US$100,000) from selling 700 tons of catfishes at the price of VND22,000 ($1) per kilogram, the highest gain in the last three years.


It usually takes farmers 6-7 months to farm catfishes for European and Asian markets. The US people preferred small catfishes, which are around 4-5 months old, so the profit from this market is better, Mung said.  


“Catfish farmer can make a profit of VND3,000-4,000 per kilogram from the current price offered by seafood exporters,” said veteran farmer Nguyen Van Thanh in the adjacent province of An Giang.


Statistics showed that export turnover of Vietnam’s seafood in October rose 20 percent year-on-year to $532 million. The turnover in the first 11 months of the year reached to the highest ever of $4.5 billion, only $3 billion lower than the year’s target. Analysts said the exported catfish fillet price of $4-4.2 per kilogram would ensure a booming harvest to local farmers.


However, the Mekong Delta Agriculture and Rural Development Department warned that farmers still have to deal with many problems after this year’s harvest time, including the lack of reinvestment and the increase in costs of fish foods and medicine.


Farmers said most of them had to borrow money from banks as it cost a huge investment of VND18-20 billion to breed 1,000 tons of catfishes. Borrowers can now expect to pay 16-18 percent interest on loans, up from 13-14 percent just a few weeks ago.


Banks favor co-operatives
The current lending rate of 16-18 percent is the biggest obstacle for local exporters, said Nguyen Van Dao, director of the seafood maker Go Dang. Some exporters said many lenders were not willing to offer loans to them.


Asia Commercial Bank (ACB)’s Can Tho Province branch, meanwhile, said they still loaned catfish exporters. But they restrained to provide loans for individual farmers, who they struggled to supervise.


The branch said they could consider to loan farmers, who cooperate with co-operatives outsourcing for seafood producers. 

Source: SGGP