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WHO list reveals pandemic flu advisors with industry ties

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

GENEVA, Aug 11, 2010 (AFP) – Five of the 15 experts that advised the World Health Organisation about swine flu pandemic alerts had received support from the drugs industry, including for flu vaccine research, the WHO revealed on Wednesday.

This handout screen capture provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on August 10, 2010 in Geneva shows WHO Director General Margaret Chan speaking during a televised press release annoucing the end of the swine flu pandemic. AFP

The agency released for the first time a list of the 15 members of the Emergency Committee headed by Australian tropical diseases professor John Mackenzie, who was the only member publicly named during the outbreak.

They came from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, the list posted on the WHO’s website showed.

Most were scientific researchers and epidemiologists, along with a Senegalese diplomat, public health officials from Thailand and Chile as well as two specialists on international air travel and health. The list can be seen at

Critics had raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest that might have helped the drugs industry influence decisions on huge orders for special vaccines against A(H1N1) flu.

The WHO has repeatedly denied those claims, underlining that it had vetted members and maintained secrecy over their identities to protect them from undue pressure while the outbreak of swine flu was underway.

Six people declared interests to the UN health agency, including five researchers who disclosed past or current support from pharmaceutical firms, according to the WHO list.

Nancy Cox, from the US Centers for Disease Control, disclosed financial support from a drugs industry group, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) for flu vaccine research and work on viruses in her unit.

US professor Arnold Monto declared current and past consultancies on pandemic or seasonal influenza research for GSK, Novartis, Roche, Baxter and Sanofi Pasteur.

He also declared a grant from Sanofi for a clinical trial in 2007-2008 related to influenza vaccines.

John Wood’s research unit at Britain’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), had undertaken research for Sanofi Pasteur, CSL, IFPMA, Novartis and Powdermed on influenza vaccine.

Professor Maria Zambon’s laboratory at the UK Health Protection Agency Centre for Infection received funding from several vaccine makers, including Sanofi, Novartis, CSL, Baxter and GSK.

British professor Neil Ferguson, an advisor to the committee, had acted as a consultant for Roche and GSK Biologicals until 2007, according to the list.

The WHO said those interests “do not give rise to a conflict of interest such that the experts concerned should be partially or totally excluded from participation in the Emergency Committee.”

The panel provided expert advice to the WHO Director General Margaret Chan about the new swine flu virus, allowing her to raise the alert when it was first uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April 2009.

It was also instrumental in the declaration of a pandemic with global spread of the disease in June 2009, triggering a chain of public health precautions including development and production of an influenza vaccine.

However, swine flu turned out to be less severe than feared.

As the virus petered out in North America and Europe in late 2009, governments sought to offload costly and huge stocks of unused vaccines and some European parliamentarians claimed the scare was unjustified.

Chan announced on Tuesday that the A(H1N1) influenza pandemic was officially over after more than 18,500 people died.

The WHO estimated that about 300 million people had been vaccinated worldwide.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam appears on list of top honeymoon destinations

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Vietnam appears on list of top honeymoon destinations

QĐND – Sunday, June 20, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

Virtuoso, a leading luxury travel network in the United States, has unveiled Vietnam and Cambodia as among the 30 Top Honeymoons because of their rich history, culture and romance based on the selection by its experienced honeymoon specialists.

Virtuoso also posts ‘Romantic Southeast Asia’ honeymoon packages at the luxury resort The Nam Hai in the central province of Quang Nam and the high-end hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in the capital city.

“We’re in the midst of a remarkable journey,” said Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, general manager of The Nam Hai. “From all over the world, people are dropping into this region for a distinguished honeymoon.”

The nine-night promotion journey to Vietnam and Cambodia including stays at The Nam Hai and the  Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, and Hotel de la Paix in Cambodia’s Siem Reap cost US$8,096 per couple.

Available through December 19, 2010, the package includes nine nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast for two, experience a traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony performed by local monks that

reside in the beautiful pagoda of Wat Damnak that is said to bring good fortune to married life, sightseeing with local English speaking guides, all transfers.

The trip is arranged by TravelCorp International’s Luke Breaux, one of 24 featured Virtuoso honeymoon specialists and the U.S.-based consultant with 15 years of arranging memorable itineraries for visitors to Southeast Asia. Regional tour operator, Trails of Indochina, takes care of the ground transportation.

Laubichler-Pichler said Vietnam and Cambodia possessed a kind of cultural and exotic appeal that people were unable to find anywhere else. “Between its abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, dramatic beaches and world-class accommodation, the region has everything a couple could want.”

Located on 35 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens, The Nam Hai is a GHM-managed property featuring 60 one-bedroom villas and 40 pool villas ranging from one to five bedrooms, each with its own infinity pool.

Opened as early as in 1901, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi reigns as the Grande Dame of Vietnamese hospitality and one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic hotels. Last year, the hotel became the first in the Sofitel portfolio to acquire Accor’s Legend brand distinction.

Source: VietNamNet Bridge

Source: QDND

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi on hot list of famous travel magazine

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi on hot list of famous travel magazine

QĐND – Monday, May 10, 2010, 22:19 (GMT+7)

Conde Nast Traveler, one of the world’s most prestigious travel magazines, has recognized the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi on its 2010 Hot List.

After four years of renovation to upgrade its facilities, an investment of US$20 million, the hotel has been voted on the annual 14th compendium of the most compelling hotels in the world.

In addition, Le Spa du Metropole is also nominated as ‘One of the World’s Top Spas’ in 2010. It is the only spa in Vietnam to be voted in this year.

With the long history and high quality of service, the Metropole Hanoi has gathered a lot of international prizes through out the years.

It was voted among the best hotels in the world and was included in the Conde Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Source: HNM

Translated by Duy Minh

Source: QDND

Vietnamese finance company to list on Singaporean exchange

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm

PetroVietnam Finance Corporation (PVFC) recently announced it was going to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange by the third or the last quarter this year.

According to Nguyen Dinh Lam, chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, the State Bank of Vietnam had approved its proposal and PVFC was in progress to complete procedures involving to listing form.

In the first quarter, the company’s revenue reached VND1.72 trillion, up 138.5 percent year on year, and pre-tax profit was at VND44 billion.

It is expected that the revenue in the second quarter will be around VND1.52 trillion.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam Airlines delays new price list

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 5:47 am

A ticket office of Vietnam Airlines.
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on March 1 said its new price list would take effect from March 10 instead of March 1 as previously announced.

It delayed the start of its new prices list, so it could offer passengers more diverse and flexible rates.

The new price list, offers passengers 14 price levels for business class, and economy class, as well as for passengers travelling in groups or tourism programs. Passengers can buy tickets at a price lower than the maximum price, the carrier said.

The top price on the Hanoi – HCMC route is VND1.8 million, but passengers can buy the tickets at the lowest rate of VND860,000, depending on flight times and periods.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Ha Long Bay slides to 27th in ‘natural wonders’ list

In Vietnam Travel on September 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Ha Long Bay has moved down to 27 in the global vote for ‘seven natural wonders of the world,’ organized by the NewOpenWorld, the management board of the bay announced September 3.

A view of Ha Long Bay

Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is currently first, at the second and third places respectively are Jeju Island, South Korea, and the mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan.

Within the last 15 days, Ha Long has fallen 23 spots from its peak of fourth to stand at 27, coming nearly bottom in a list of 28 landscapes.

The voting for the New 7 Wonders of Nature will continue until 2011 when the results will be announced.

Source: SGGP

Bao Viet insurance company waits to list on exchange

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2008 at 3:46 pm

HA NOI — The biggest local insurer, Bao Viet Corporation, has announced it will delay listing shares on stock exchange until 2009.

According to the latest report posted on Bao Viet’s official website, about 99 per cent of a total of 2,508 investors were in support of the decision to delay.

Detailed information about the delay would be publicised in the next few days, said an anonymous Bao Viet official.

The insurer may have delayed listing shares this year, due to needing more preparation time along with concerns about the current state of the stock market, said securities experts.

In addition, Bao Viet Insurance was considered a big firm. This meant its share offering in an official bourse would have a certain impact on investors, as well as the development of the stock market. The four remaining months of this year were not long enough to ensure that Bao Viet gets the best results from listing, securities experts said.

The corporation was formerly known as Viet Nam Insurance Corporation and has been officially renamed, Bao Viet Insurance. The corporation started issuing OTC shares already on July 10, 2007.

When it became an equitised firm, the total assets of the corporation were worth VND27.35 trillion (US$1.66 million). State capital in this corporation was VND4.44 trillion. —

Container shipping firm list shares on HOSE

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2008 at 6:04 pm

The South Vietnam Container Shipping Joint Stock Company (Viconship Saigon) on Sept. 18 listed more than 11 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE).

The shares, coded VSG, were traded at 20,000 VND (around 1.2 USD) per unit on the first trading session.

Viconship Saigon is the stock exchange’s 160th member, right after the Cuu Long pharmaceutical company (Pharimexco) that went on bourse on Sept. 17.

Viconship Saigon has a charter capital of 110.44 billion VND (6.7 million USD), 30 percent of which is owned by the State represented by the Vietnam Shipping Corporation (Vinalines).

HOSE Deputy General Director Le Nhi Nang said all 160 firms listed at the bourse are currently valued at 200 trillion VND (over 12 billion USD).-

State Bank allows PVFC to list on HOSE

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2008 at 4:07 pm

PetroVietnam Finance Corporation (PVFC), the financial arm of petrol giant PetroVietnam, has received the State Bank of Vietnam ’s approval to list shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE).

The decision came on September 10 and noted the corporation must also receive permission from the management board of the HCM Stock Exchange (HOSE) for this listing.

PVFC’s spokesman Tran Van Hoa said the corporation was carrying out the final procedures for the listing.

”The listing is expected to be implemented in early October,” said Hoa. However, he did not say how many shares would be listed or their offering price.

According to the domestic press, the corporation could list all of its chartered capital of 5 trillion VND (303.03 million USD) after receiving permission from HOSE.

PVFC made its initial public offerings (IPO) last September. The average winning price of its share was 70,600 VND a piece. The finance corporation has successfully worked with US-based financial group Morgan Stanley, which is PVFC’s sole strategic partner.

PVFC has recently inked a deal for PetroVietnam Oil (PV Oil) to implement capital management services at PV Oil. Under the deal, the finance corporation is allowed to use part of the capital in PV Oil’s non-resident account to invest in PVFC’s projects.

The finance institution must also pledge to pay a higher interest than that offered for non-resident accounts by commercial banks, and ensure enough capital to PV Oil from this account.

This service which PVFC will provide to PV Oil by the end of 2009, is regarded as an effective use of idle capital in non-resident accounts.

In the first eight months of this year, PVFC earned a pre-tax profit of 352 billion VND (21.3 million USD), as well generating a turnover of 2.45 trillion VND.-

Vinaconex to list almost 150 million shares

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Vietnam Construction and Import-Export Corporation (Vinaconex) will soon list 149,985,150 shares worth nearly 1.5 trillion VND (90.9 million USD).

In the first half of this year, Vinaconex earned 6.25 trillion VND, 26 percent more than the same period last year, and made a pre-tax profit of 280.37 billion VND, an increase of 57 percent.-