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Vietnam’s stock markets drop most since August after Moody’s lowers rating

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index, which tracks 271 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, slumped on December 16 due to bad news on financial markets.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Vietnam government’s bond rating to B1 from Ba3, citing the risk of a balance of payments crisis and a drop in foreign reserves as inflation accelerates and the nation’s currency weakens. Along with this decision, the credit rating agency also cut long-term foreign-currency rating of six Vietnamese banks to B2 from B1.

The gauge tumbled the most since August, slashing 2.69 percent, or 13.26 points, to close at 480.21 points.

Among the index members, 28 advanced, 208 retreated, while 40 remained unchanged.

Trading volume stayed on high level as around 80.79 million shares worth VND1.9 trillion changed hands.

Tan Tao Investment Industry Corporation (ITA) led the list of most active shares by volume with 5.54 million shares changing hands.

It was followed by Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), the country’s largest brokerage, with 5.29 million shares traded.

Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) ranked third with 3.24 million shares.

Tan Binh Import – Export Joint Stock Company (TIX) nosedived for five straight days, giving up 5.05 percent to VND39,500. The company will pay dividends for the second term of this year in cash at a ratio of 20 percent to its current shareholders on December 30.

Other losers on the city bourse included Binh Dinh Minerals Company (BMC), Southern Rubber Industry Joint Stock Company (CSM), and Dien Quang Joint Stock Company (DQC).

Among a few gainers, seafood producer Vinh Hoan Corporation (VHC) accelerated 4.83 percent to VND30,400.

Mirae Joint Stock Company (KMR) rebounded 4.76 percent to VND8,800.

Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade or Vietinbank (CTG) advanced the fifth day, enhancing 4.72 percent to VND22,200.

The Hanoi’s HNX-Index plummeted 4.29 percent, or 5.17 points, to close at 115.43 points. Trading volume dropped to 57.7 million shares worth VND1.1 trillion.

Meanwhile, the UPCom-Index tripped by 1.02 points to 41.14 points this morning. A total of 123,200 shares changed hands at a value of VND1.31 billion.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam among most favored hotspot

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Most of Dong Nai farmers agree not to sue polluter Vedan

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Most of farmers in the southern province of Dong Nai have agreed not to sue Taiwanese MSG company Vedan and accept its VND120 billion compensation for damage it caused to them by polluting the Thi Vai River.

The form to collect Dong Nai farmers’ opinions (Photo: Vietnam Net)

Tran Van Quang, vice chairman of the Dong Nai Province Farmers Association, said relative provincial agencies August 27 received back 2,000 forms which they had delivered to affected farmers in Phuoc Thai and Long Phuoc communes, Long Thanh District to collect their opinions on whether they want to sue Vedan or accept its compensation.

He said most of farmers accept the compensation and do not want to sue Vedan, only six said they want to.

About 4,000 forms would be delivered today to farmers in Phuoc An and Long Tho communes, Nhon Trach District, he added.

The province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment sent August 27 an official letter to the provincial People’s Committee to suggest rates for dividing the compensation among affected farmers in line with the figure in the assessment by the Institute for Natural Resources and Environment, in the case farmers take the compensation.

According to the suggested rates, Nhon Trach farmers will receive VND89 billion, and Long Thanh farmers will get over VND30.7 billion.

While Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau signed compensation agreements with Vedan on August 13, Dong Nai remains uncertain.
By August 16, nearly 5,000 affected farmers denied as victims of Vedan and over 3,000 lodged complaints against Vedan with the local court.

Dong Nai authorities had to organize a closed meeting to discuss the case on August 16, and after the meeting they decided to collect farmers’ opinions about Vedan’s compensation.

If Dong Nai farmers agree to the compensation, then they must stop their lawsuits.

Source: SGGP

Most communes in distant areas to have medical centers: MOH

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 11:21 am

The Ministry of Health (MOH) promised most of communes in distant regions have medical clinics, equipment and personnel in the next five years.

A medical center in district Vinh Cuu in the southern province of Dong Nai. MOH promises to build more hospitals in communes in distant regions

MOH made the pledge at the 20th congress of party committee in Hanoi on August 17 with the participation of To Huy Rua, Politburo member and head of the Party Central Committee Commission for Propaganda and Education.

The ministry said it will focus on developing healthcare system and raise medical service quality.

It will also strengthen social contribution to the sector including building district hospitals and upgrading provincial and central clinics.

Moreover, more hi-tech hospitals will be constructed in the capital Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and densely – populated regions.


Source: SGGP

Experts say most Gulf spill oil still in water

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:24 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Nearly 80 percent of the oil spilled from a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is still in the gulf, US scientists have estimated, challenging a more optimistic assessment by the US government earlier in the month.

In its August 4 report, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration found that half the 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled by the April 20 blowout had been evaporated, burned, skimmed or dispersed.

A ship is seen close to the site of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill zone in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. AFP

A team of five scientists from the University of Georgia did their own analysis of the government data and came to a different conclusion.

“We just reanalyzed this report…and then we calculated how much oil is still likely to be out there and that is how we came up to 70 to 79 percent that must be out there,” said Charles Hopkinson, a marine scientist at the University of Georgia.

“One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and therefore, harmless,” he told AFP.

“The oil is still out there and it will likely take years to completely degrade. We are still far from a complete understanding of what its impacts are,” he said.

Source: SGGP

Hope for Gulf as BP plugs well, most of the oil gone

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 at 7:22 am

An end to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was in sight as BP plugged its runaway well and US officials said most of the toxic crude has been cleaned up or dispersed.

Though undoubtedly the best day since the disaster began more than 15 weeks ago, US officials cautioned that a great deal of clean-up work remained and that the long-term impact could be felt for years, even decades, to come.

BP’s long-awaited “static kill” was conducted overnight as heavy drilling fluid was rammed into the busted Macondo well for eight hours, forcing the oil back down into the reservoir miles beneath the seabed.

We “have reached a static condition in the well that allows us to have high confidence that there will be no oil leaking into the environment,” US spill response chief Thad Allen told reporters at a White House briefing.

A Brown Pelican flies at the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station as the center prepares to transfer the birds after they were rehabilitated from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.

The breakthrough came 106 days after a devastating explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20 killed 11 workers and unleashed a torrent of oil into the Gulf.

“So, the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end. And we are very pleased with that,” US President Barack Obama said. “Our recovery efforts, though, will continue. We have to reverse the damage that’s been done.”

Allen later authorized BP to cement over the busted well, an operation that the British-based energy giant said would begin Thursday.

The US pointman also said, however, that he had “made it clear” to the company that the cementing should “in no way delay the completion of the relief well,” expected to be finished mid-August to seal the well sealed permanently.

At 4.9 million barrels — or enough oil to fill 311 Olympic-sized swimming pools — the disaster is the biggest maritime spill on record.

It threatened the fish and wildlife-rich US Gulf coast with environmental ruin and plunged residents of coastal communities into months of anguish over their livelihoods and the region’s future.

A government report released Wednesday found that a third of the oil was captured or mitigated through burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead.

Heat from the sun helped some of the chemicals in the crude evaporate. Waves and currents broke the slick up into smaller patches. Then the microbes which feed on natural oil seeps in the Gulf got to work, it said.

“At least 50 percent of the oil that was released is now completely gone from the system,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“And most of the remainder is degrading rapidly, or is being removed from the beaches.”

But Lubchenco was quick to stress that scientists will not be able to determine for a long time the full extent of the damage.

“The oil that was released and has already impacted wildlife at the surface, young juvenile stages and eggs beneath the surface, will likely have very considerable impacts for years and possibly decades to come,” she told reporters at the White House briefing.

The problem, she explained, is that oil is still toxic even when it has been broken down into very small droplets. And there was simply so very, very much of it.

About 24 percent of the Gulf’s federal waters remain closed to fishing, and even when fishermen are able to fill their nets they fear consumers might not believe the seafood is safe to eat.

With tourists likely to avoid Gulf beaches for years and oil industry jobs under threat from Obama’s moratorium on new deep sea drilling permits, the future remains bleak for many coastal communities.

BP, meanwhile, is hoping to rebuild its shattered reputation but must also meet the claims of thousands of individuals and businesses whose livelihoods have been washed away, while a mammoth civil trial looms.

BP senior vice president Kent Wells expressed relief that 20 days after the flow of oil in the sea was stemmed with a temporary cap “it’s very difficult for us to find any oil anywhere on the surface.”

He refused, however, to declare victory until the well is permanently sealed.

Source: SGGP

War Remnants Museum ranked in the top 10 Most Popular Tourist Attractions

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

The War Remnants Museum was voted as one of 10 Most Popular Ho Chi Minh City tourist attractions by local and foreign visitors in the “Ho Chi Minh City–100 Excitements” program, launched last year by the HCMC Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

Visitors contemplate pictures exhibited at the War Remnants Museum. (Photo: SGGP)

In the first six months of this year, three exhibitions including “Vietnam rising 35 years after war,” “President Ho Chi Minh’s aspiration for peace” and “War and Peace” was held at the museum and attracted 227,241 visitors, representing a year-on-year increase of 17.33 percent.

Among them, there were 169,248 foreign tourists and 57,993 domestic travelers. The museum’s management board also organized five mobile displays to serve thousands of teachers, students and visitors in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring provinces.

The museum received delegations from Algeria, Slovakia, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Australia, the UK, the US, Germany, Denmark and more.

Opened in September 1975, the War Remnants Museum displays shocking evidence of atrocities committed by the foreign aggressors during Vietnam’s two wars of national liberation.

Exhibits include collection of American weapons; model of the notorious tiger cages where Vietnamese revolutionaries were kept; photographs that illustrate the effect of Agent Orange and other chemical defoliant sprays, napalm and phosphorus bombs had on the Vietnamese people and land.

Source: SGGP

Environment taxes may hurt poor people the most: lawmakers

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Environment taxes may hurt poor people the most: lawmakers

QĐND – Sunday, June 06, 2010, 21:0 (GMT+7)

Many Vietnamese legislators said Saturday they were concerned that new taxes proposed for several products, including fuel and coal, will place more burdens on poor people.

The taxes would fall more heavily on the poor while they should be aimed at producers who pollute the environment, said Nguyen Lan Dung, a deputy from Dak Lak Province.

He was speaking at a National Assembly meeting held to discuss the Environmental Tax Law, under which the government plans to impose taxes on petrol, coal and other ozone-damaging substances, like hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), pesticides and plastic bags.

“I feel the bill is targeting farmers and poor people,” said Duong Thi Thu Ha of Lao Cai Province. “Fuel is an essential product in poor areas that don’t have electricity and farmers can’t farm without pesticides,” she said.

Danh Ut, a representative of the southern province of Kien Giang, said environment tax rates of VND2,000-4,000 per liter on petrol products, when combined with other taxes and fees, will have a huge impact on consumers.

Although people who harm the environment have to pay taxes,  the rates should be reasonable and must not hurt consumers, said Tran Hanh from the northern province of Vinh Phuc.

The taxes should not disrupt production activities as well, Hanh said. The bill has to make sure producers won’t think that they are allowed to pollute the environment as long as they have paid the taxes.

During Saturday’s meeting many lawmakers also suggested tobacco be included in the list of taxable items under the bill.

Le Dung, a deputy of Tien Giang Province, said despite a special consumption tax rate of 65 percent, tobacco prices in Vietnam are still at the lowest level in the world.

Tobacco is harmful to the environment and public health and thus should be subject to high tax rates, he said.

The Environmental Tax Law is expected to be passed next year.

Source: Thanh Nien


Source: QDND

Plane crash in India, most of 166 aboard killed

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2010 at 9:12 am

An Air India Express passenger plane crashed in flames after overshooting the runway in the southern city of Mangalore on Saturday, killing most of the 166 people on board.

Rescue personnel are seen among the smouldering wreckage of an Air India Boeing 737-800 aircraft which crashed upon landing in Mangalore on May 22, 2010. (AFP Photo).

The state-run carrier said at least eight people had been rescued from the burning wreckage of the Boeing 737-800 which was carrying 160 passengers and six crew on a flight from Dubai.

Eyewitnesses said the aircraft had touched down before careering off the end of the runway into a shallow gorge and bursting into flames at around 6:30 am (0100 GMT).

“As far as the information available with us is concerned, eight persons were rescued and shifted to local hospitals in Mangalore for treatment,” Anup Shrivasta, Air India personnel director, told a news briefing in Mumbai.

Television footage showed at least three survivors being stretchered into a nearby hospital.

One survivor, Umer Farooq, told the NDTV news channel from his hospital bed that he had heard a loud thud as the plane touched down.

“Then the plane veered off toward some trees on the side and then the cabin filled with smoke. I got caught in some cables but managed to scramble out,” said Farooq who had burns to his arms, legs, and face.

It was the first major plane crash in India since 2000, when 61 people were killed after a passenger plane crashed into a residential area near the eastern city of Patna.

Karnataka Home Minister V.S. Acharya called for local people’s cooperation in what he called “this hour of crisis” and urged them to stay away from the crash site.

“It is feared that most of the people have died,” Acharya told reporters.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

V.P. Agrawal, chairman of the Airport Authority of India told reporters in New Delhi that there had been no distress call to suggest a technical fault.

“The visibility was six kilometres (four miles) when the aircraft approached the runway which was more than sufficient,” Agrawal said.

Air India Express is a subsidiary budget airline operated by the state-run carrier.

Television images showed the plane had partially broken up, with smoke billowing from the main fuselage, as rescue workers sought to douse the fire with foam.

Rescue teams had to struggle down steep, wooded slopes to reach the plane, and were shown carrying body parts away from the site.

The airport is located some 20 kilometres outside the coastal city of Mangalore, which is around 320 kilometres west of the Karnataka state capital, Bangalore.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was due to fly to the site from New Delhi later Saturday.

Many Indians from Karnataka and other southern states work in Gulf cities such as Dubai as construction workers, domestic staff and in other low-paid jobs.

They send much of their earnings back to India as remittances, and return to India for their annual leave.

In a statement, US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing said it was sending a team of investigators to India to help in the crash inquiry.

“Boeing wishes to express its profound condolences to the friends and family of those lost… as well as its wish for the recovery of those injured,” it said on its website.

India’s worst aviation accident occurred in 1996 when two passenger planes collided in mid-air near New Delhi with the loss of all 349 on board both flights.

The crash was blamed on a Kazakhstan Airlines plane descending below its assigned altitude, putting it in the path of a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane that had taken off minutes earlier from the Indian capital’s airport.


Source: SGGP

Ban on sewage needed to keep most lakes clean

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Ban on sewage needed to keep most lakes clean

QĐND – Friday, May 21, 2010, 21:7 (GMT+7)

The Hanoi Committee has announced that the second phase of a mass clean up of the city’s lakes will start later this month.

“Most of the lakes have varying levels of pollution,” said Ngo Thai Nam, deputy director of the Hanoi Environment Protection Department (EPD).

Waste water and algae are just two of the problems currently affecting the nine lakes that have been earmarked for treatment in the phase including Giang Vo, Van Chuong, Thien Quang, Nghia Tan, Van Quan, Ho Vo, Den Lu, Giap Bat and Ao Lam Du.

Pollution has become a big problem for people living by the lakes. In March this year, local citizens were subjected to the smell of rotting dead fish in Truc Bach.

An investigation by the EPD showed that the fish died due to seriously polluted water and tens of other lakes were affected by the same problem.

To date, 65 lakes in Hanoi remain to be dredged and cleaned, but there are no plans for operations at 33 others, including Thuy Su, Kim Lien and Me Tri.

The project started in September 2009 with a total investment of VND2.6 trillion (136.8 million USD). It is planned to finish in September this year. In the first phase, 46 lakes were treated and the quality of water improved.

“Water quality is getting better but sometimes it is only a temporary fix. In some cases, the problems return due to a lack of preservation,” said Nguyen Le, general director of the Hanoi Water Drainage Company.

Professor Vu Hoan, chairman of the Union of Science and Technology Associations said that the city had tried a number of treatment techniques but the pollution still returned.

Nguyen Van Luong, director of the Hanoi EPD, said the best way to solve the problem was to ban the release of all untreated sewage into the city’s lakes.

“Comprehensive management of the lakes is needed but this is complicated at the moment as it involves local authorities, co-operatives and individuals,” he said.

Educating local people on how to protect the environment was also an important task, Luong added.

There are several waste water treatment facilities, but they do not have the capacity to deal with the city’s waste.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND