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North Thien Cam tourist area to be constructed

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

North Thien Cam tourist area to be constructed

QĐND – Monday, January 10, 2011, 20:44 (GMT+7)

The Ha Tinh Provincial People’s Committee has allowed Thien Cam Development and Investment Joint-stock Company to build the North Thien Cam Tourist Area.

Under the project, a number of structures, including a trade area, coastal service and shopping site, art performance area, family hostels, hi-class villas, entertainment area, hotels and resorts, will be built at a cost of VND 11trillion, of which VND 289 billion will be for the first phase (2010-2013), while the remainder for the second phase that ends in 2017.

Construction of the North Thien Cam Tourist Area within the national standards requires land clearance and detailed planning to be promptly implemented.

Source: DDDN

Translated by Mai Huong

Source: QDND

Schools near empty as freeze hits north

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:05 am

Schools near empty as freeze hits north

QĐND – Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 21:36 (GMT+7)

Primary schools and kindergartens in the capital are struggling to maintain normal operations during the current cold spell.

Hanoi’s schools saw massive student absences on Jan. 10 despite the temperature staying above the 10 degree Celsius benchmark, below which children are not required to attend primary schools and nurseries.

Trang An Kindergarten in Thanh Xuan district, for instance, welcomed only a quarter of its students. And Vu Thi Hang, a teacher at Hoa Tra My Kindergarten in Cau Giay district, said only half of her students had turned up.

Le Minh Khanh, the mother of an 8-year-old girl, said she still took her daughter to school although 27 of 50 children in the class had not shown up.

“It was very cold; I just wanted to let her stay home but unfortunately the weather forecast at 6.30am today said it was 11.3 degree Celsius, which meant she had to go,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Ha said he preferred to keep his 4-year-old son at home as the boy was already suffering from a cough caused by the weather.

Dinh Thuy Duong, principal of Thanh Xuan Trung Primary School, said almost one sixth of her students had not come to class on Jan. 10, a much higher than normal absentee rate but still lower than other schools in the area.

She said the students staying home would make it hard for teachers to keep up with the curriculum given that a new academic term had started.

Teachers would have to work more to help those absent children catch up with the rest of the class, she explained.

She also said that school activities had been adapted to minimise the effect of the current cold weather on children.

Changes included cancelling outdoor activities, turning on heaters, providing warm drinking water, and warm blankets and mattresses for children when taking naps, Duong said.

Nguyen Thi Dong, principal of Hoa Sen Kindergarten in Ba Dinh district, said her school was now serving meals that would give children more energy in the cold.

Hanoi ‘s Education and Training Department has also allowed schools to stay open later than usual in cold weather.

“I hope parents don’t panic. Children are being kept warm in class,” said Duong.

“Please trust us. Bring your children to school so that they won’t fall behind with their schoolwork.”

The Department’s office head Nguyen Hiep Thong said the 6.30am forecast were used to decide if children had to go to school.

While children at primary school and kindergarten level were not required to attend if their local day temperature fell below 10 degree Celsius, the benchmark for lower secondary school students was 7 degree Celsius.

However schools had to take care of students who still turned up despite temperatures lower than these benchmarks, said Thong.

“It is a good, flexible decision as not all parents can afford to have their children at home. They still have to go to work no matter how cold it is,” said Khanh.

The temperature on the peak of Mau Son mountain in the northern province of Lang Son dipped to -1 degree Celsius on Jan. 10 morning, the lowest this winter, while temperatures in other northern provinces were between 1 and 11 degrees Celsius after the arrival of a new cold spell on Jan. 9.

Meteorologists said another cold spell was going to northern Vietnam on Jan. 11, keeping temperatures low.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

North Korea may have new atom test to boost heir: South

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 6:26 am

 North Korea could conduct a third atomic test next year to boost the credentials of its leader-in-waiting, while prospects for bilateral talks with Seoul are slim, a South Korean foreign ministry report said on Friday.

The regular report from a ministry research institute was published a day after Pyongyang vowed a nuclear “sacred war” after the South vowed to be “merciless” if attacked, and held a major military drill near the border.

A North Korean Scud-B missile (C) and South Korean Hawk surface-to-air missiles are seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, December 24, 2010.

The North, which carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, has yet to show it has a deliverable weapon as part of its plutonium arms program, but a third test would raise tensions further on the divided peninsula and rattle global markets.

Nuclear experts have also said they expect a third test soon, while South Korean media reported earlier this month that the North was digging a tunnel in preparation for one.

“There is a possibility of North Korea carrying out its third nuclear test to seek improvement in its nuclear weapons production capability, keep the military tension high and promote Kim Jong-un’s status as the next leader,” the report said, referring to Kim Jong-il’s youngest son.

“Tension between the two Koreas will remain high with chances of additional North Korean attacks on the South staying high. Chances of a summit meeting between leaders of the two sides look slim,” the institute said, according to a summary of the report.

The analysis for 2011 was written by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, run by the Foreign Ministry.


Hostilities have escalated to their worst levels since the Korean war in the early 1950s, after a deadly naval clash in March and the North’s shelling of a South Korean island last month.

Still, the risk of an all-out war is low, and the North’s threats of destruction are largely rhetorical.

The North’s tactic of boasting about nuclear advances is a ploy aimed at restarting talks between itself, the South, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, from which it hopes to wring concessions, analysts say.

“Some form of meeting between six-party members could be held during 2011 to discuss North Korea’s uranium enrichment, but chances are very low for any meaningful progress being achieved,” the institute said.

Those involved in the six-party process say they want to resume it, but among them are widely differing starting points.

China, the North’s only major ally and vital financial backer, sees the forum as the best place to begin dialogue, but Seoul, Washington and Tokyo say they first need proof that Pyongyang is committed to dismantling its nuclear work.

“North Korea has displayed national strength and diplomatic skills that exceed its actual capacity. Kim Jong’s mental strength must be exhausted, and it is about time that China loses its patience,” Seoul’s Joongang Daily said in a commentary.

“The time has come for Seoul to strategically manipulate the North Korea-China alliance to encourage estrangement.”

Source: SGGP

CNN: North Korea agrees to return of UN nuclear inspectors

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 6:27 am

SEOUL, Dec 20, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea has agreed with US troubleshooter Bill Richardson to permit the return of UN nuclear inspectors as part of a package of measures to ease tensions on the peninsula, CNN reported Monday.

CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer, who is travelling with Richardson in Pyongyang, said the North Koreans had agreed to let inspectors from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency go back to its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (L) speaks during a meeting for a duties report on Ministry of Public Administration and Security at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on December 20, 2010. South Korea ordered civilians on five border islands to take shelter ahead of a live-fire exercise on December 20. AFP

They had also agreed to allow fuel rods for the enrichment of uranium to be shipped to an outside country, and to the creation of a military commission and hotline between the two Koreas and the United States, Blitzer said.

Source: SGGP

Sunshine Policy failed to change North Korea: report

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 6:56 am

China stops blocking harsh North Korea report: U.N. envoys

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 6:21 am

North Korea heads for new food crisis: UN

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:55 am

North Korea is heading for a “chronic” new food crisis with drought and floods in different parts of the country exacerbated by cuts in international aid, the United Nations said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern “that the acute humanitarian needs” of at least 3.5 million women and children in North Korea would worsen because of food shortages.

Even though North Korea is considered by many to be the world’s most isolated state, Ban said in a report to be discussed Friday that “the global economic crisis is further increasing the levels of hardship” adding to the “chronic food insecurity”.

File photo of North Korean workers in a field behind a barbed-wire fence which separates China and North Korea.

North Korea suffered famine like conditions in the 1990s in which several hundred thousand people died, according to aid groups. There are worries now as the North heads into its notoriously long and biting winter.

There has been a shortage of rainfall in some parts of the country but in August torrential downpours caused floods in the north, near the Chinese border.

The UN predicted that the cereal yield would be nearly a fifth lower than in 2009.

It said the country needs 3.5 million tons of cereals a year to feed its population and would have to import 1.1 million tons. In addition, UN agencies had raised only 20 percent of the 492 million dollars they estimated in 2009 would be needed for the North.

Ban quoted the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as saying that each year, some 40,000 children under five become “acutely malnourished” in North Korea, with 25,000 needing hospital treatment.

“The lack of maintenance of water and sanitation systems increases rates of diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections, which are leading causes of child death.

“In addition, one third of women of childbearing age suffer from anaemia, a nutrition deficiency that is also a major cause of maternal mortality.”

The poor diet across the country leads to widespread “infectious diseases, physical and mental development disorders, poor labour productivity and an increased risk of premature death,” said the grim report.

A survey carried out by the government with UN support showed that about one third of the population suffer from stunting — below normal body growth. In some regions the figure was 45 percent.

The report was intended to be on human rights in North Korea and the UN chief said there was an “urgent need” for Kim Jong-Il’s regime to take steps to provide the basic right to food, water, sanitation and health.

The UN reported little change in the “comprehensive restrictions” on freedom of speech, religion and opinion in the tightly policed state. “The government’s control over the flow of information is strict and pervasive.”

Ban highlighted the difficulty in getting reliable information on events in the North.

But he said: “There are a number of reports concerning public executions, the use of torture, forced labour and the ill-treatment of refugees or asylum-seekers repatriated from abroad.”

His report said North Korea’s UN delegation had acknowledged that public executions were carried out for “very brutal violent crimes.”

It added that the UN envoy on rights in North Korea had raised concerns with the North’s mission about conditions in six prisons and detention centers reportedly used for political prisoners.

With the North embroiled in a dispute with South Korea over the sinking of a warship and in a nuclear arms standoff with the international community, Ban said humanitarian aid should not be restricted “on the basis of political and security concerns.”

Source: SGGP

Festival stampede at north Indian temple kills 10

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 at 10:25 am

A stampede in a packed temple during a Hindu festival in northern Indian killed 10 people and injured 11 on Sunday, police said. About 30,000 people offering prayers to the goddess Durga had packed into the Tildiha village temple in Bihar state on the last day of the Navratri festival, Banka district police director Neelmani said.

Four women and six men died in the stampede, and another 11 people were injured and are being treated at nearby hospitals, Neelmani said. Three are in critical condition.

It was not immediately clear what caused the stampede.

The 10-day Navrati festival is marked by ritual prayers and sacrifices of goats to Durga, the Mother Goddess in the Hindu religion.

The village in Banka district is about 124 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Bihar’s state capital, Patna.

Source: SGGP

North sunny, south rainy

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm

The weather in north Vietnam is sunny and fresh, advantageous for the ongoing events of the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi on Sunday. The fine weather is forecast to continue in the next couple of days with temperatures stringing between 23-32 degrees Celsius in Hanoi

Hanoi weather is quite fine for events of the millennium anniversary on October 3 (Photo: SGGP)

Meanwhile, it is gloomy with rains in the southern and central regions, according to the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center.

In the central region, a cold front and tropical low pressure zone would continue bringing downpour to provinces from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan.

The depression on Saturday late afternoon was centered off Khanh Hoa – Ca Mau provinces’ coast and moving westward from the position of about 10.5-11.5 degrees north latitude and 110.5-111.5 degrees east longitude.

The waters off central and southern regions would experience stiff thunderstorms due to the depression’s circulation and easterly winds, strongly operating in the middle and southern parts of East Sea including Truong Sa (Spartly) Islands.

Heavy rains have surged floodwaters on rivers in central provinces from Thua Thien Hue to Ha Tinh.

By Sunday afternoon, the floods on several rivers will top alarming level 2 and 3, with Gianh River in Quang Binh Province to see highest flood crest of 6.3 meters.

The national weather bureau cautioned localities to prevent landslides caused by heavy rains and inundation in low-lying portions of Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

Source: SGGP

France ‘at war’ with Al-Qaeda in North Africa: PM

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 7:17 am

PARIS, July 27, 2010 (AFP) – France is “at war” with Al-Qaeda and will step up military involvement in North Africa after the regional branch of the jidahist group killed a French aid worker, the prime minister said Tuesday.

“We are at war with Al-Qaeda,” Francois Fillion said in a radio interview.

“The fight against terrorism continues and it is going to strengthen, particularly against AQIM,” he said, using the acronym for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (L) meet with Niger’s leader, general Salou Djibo (R) on July 27, 2010 at the presidential palace in Niamey, Nigeria. AFP

But officials and experts said any action would stop short of a full-scale armed intervention and would probably involve closer working ties with local anti-terrorist forces.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to respond to the killing of Michel Germaneau, 78, who was kidnapped in April in Niger, and on Tuesday officials met to discuss possible French action in the region.

Axel Poniatowski, head of a parliamentary foreign affairs commission, said after meeting Fillion that France would offer “logistical assistance” to operations by national armies in Sahel countries.

Asked if France was contemplating air strikes, Poniatowski said: “I don’t think so… (because) these are camps of about 20 men who are very mobile and change location every day or very regularly.”

“We can’t talk of reprisals. We can’t talk of vengeance. But it is clear that France will offer its support to actions that could be carried out by Mauritania, Mali or Niger,” he said.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner visited the three countries on Monday and Tuesday and said France stood by their fight against the militants but was not aiming for a “military escalation” in the region.

“It is not a military escalation that France is pursuing. Simply, a deadly escalation has been carried out by the people of AQIM,” he said, referring to the killing of the hostage.

“There is a military option that was imposed on us,” he said in Niamey. “We will be alongside our Nigerien, Malian, Mauritanian friends.”

Asked if French military bases would be established in the region, he said: “We are not going to install bases. We have very clear defence agreements.”

A source in the prime minister’s office said that the French military would step up “cooperation in training the armies” of the Sahel region countries but would not send extra troops itself.

AQIM said Sunday it executed Germaneau in revenge after French and Mauritanian soldiers killed six of its militants in a failed bid to rescue him in Mali last week. Mauritanian officials said seven were killed.

Some French officials had suggested privately that the aid worker’s captors may have already killed him weeks before the raid, and on Tuesday Fillon became the first to do so in public.

France had joined the raid by Mauritanian forces against AQIM on Malian soil “because we hoped that Michel Germaneau might be in the camp,” Fillon told Europe 1 radio.

“I think the hostage’s life was condemned from the day we received this ultimatum on July 12,” he added, however. “We might think Michel Germaneau was already dead at that time. But that is just a supposition.”

France is the former colonial ruler of most of the Sahel, a desert region along the south of the Sahara running through Mauritania, Mali, Niger and southern Algeria, and retains influence with regional leaders.

Paris already has military cooperation agreements with its former West African colonies, and helps to train and coordinate local anti-terror forces, in an area which receives around 30,000 French tourists per year.

Some experts said France’s scope for military action in the vast desert region is limited.

“I think they will make a big show of doing something, carry out an air raid to destroy a tent and a few camels,” said one French anti-terrorism specialist, who asked not to be named.

“They’ll lay hold of two or three poor idiots who are hanging around and say, ‘There, job done.'”

Source: SGGP