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Assange due in UK court over Swedish extradition

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:08 am

WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange is due to appear in a London court on Tuesday as lawyers draw the battle lines in his fight to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sex crimes.


The mainly procedural hearing at the top security Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court, due to start at 1000 GMT (3 p.m. EST), is likely to confirm the date for a full extradition hearing which is expected in early February.


The 39-year-old Australian computer expert, who has infuriated Washington by releasing details of secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his website, has protested his innocence over claims of sexual misconduct against two women.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange attends a seminar at the Swedish Trade Union Confederation headquarters in Stockholm August 14,

“The hearing on Tuesday is to ensure that the real issues in the case are identified and that preparation of the case is progressing in a timely fashion,” said a spokesman for Britain’s courts service.


It will also decide elements of the legal process, such as which documents the prosecutors and defense lawyers should provide and whether any witnesses should be called up.


British police arrested Assange last month on a European warrant issued by Sweden following allegations made by two WikiLeaks’ volunteers.


After spending nine days in jail, he was released on bail on December 16 after his supporters raised a surety of 200,000 pounds ($312,000).


As part of his bail conditions, Assange must stay at a mansion in eastern England, abide by a curfew, report to police daily and wear an electronic tag. Assange has described the curbs on him as “hi-tech house arrest.”

Source: SGGP

Floating restaurant sinks with over 200 people

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

The floating restaurant shown submerged in water after the incident

A two storey floating restaurant, My Khanh, in district Phong Dien of Can Tho City sank on January 8 with approximately 220 people atop.


More than 200 people were celebrating a new year party on the first floor of this floating restaurant whilst 10 restaurant staff prepared food on the ground floor.


As the floating restaurant began to sink panic rose amongst the people on the first floor who tried to find ways to go ashore.


However, waiters and other staff members on the ground floor escaped death as they could get away easily.


It took about 15 minutes for the floating restaurant’s ground floor to totally sink into the river. One is still not certain if anyone from the first floor survived. The case is under investigation.


According to the police, the restaurant had just recently been built and was awaiting a license. With a length of over 20 meters and width of 10 meters it was supposed to carry a capacity of around 200 people.

Source: SGGP

Over 150,000 young people join blood donation event

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

A festival for young people to donate blood was held in 13 cities and provinces nationwide on January 9. The festival attracted over 150,000 young people, in which more than 82,000 registered to donated blood. A total number of blood units collected was 20,000 units.

Young people register to donate blood in Hanoi on January 9. (Photo:VOV)

The festival launched by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union to cerebrate Student’s Day (January 9) and the Youth Year of 2011 was held in the following areas: Hanoi, Tuyen Quang, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa, Nam Dinh, Ha Tinh, Thua Thien – Hue, Khanh Hoa, Kon Tum, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Can Tho and Kien Giang.


In Hanoi, the festival was held at Thong Nhat Park, in the Hai Ba Trung District. The event attracted more than 120,000 young people and representatives from ministries and various departments.


At the opening ceremony, 61 outstanding students, that had donated blood more than five times, were specially honoured for their blood donations. On the January 9, 15,000 young people registered in Hanoi to donate blood.


It is estimated that 2,000 units of blood was collected yesterday in the capital.


Dr. Nguyen Anh Tri, director of the Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, said the number of blood units collected would be used for emergency cases at hospitals.


Dr. Tri said the institute receives 10,000-20,000 units of blood on average per month, which meets about 60 percent of our demand; therefore, these events save people’s lives.


In Ho Chi Minh City, on the same day a similar event took place. This event was sponsor by the Committee of HCMC Communist Youth Union, with the Cho Ray Hospital and the city’s Haematology and Blood Transfusion Centre.


The event attracted more than 1,000 young people, who donated 1,000 units of blood.


In conclusion, the number of young people registering to give blood for 2011 is expected to be over 68,800 units of blood in the city.

Source: SGGP

Russia tightens checks on meat imports over dioxin crisis

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

Russia said Saturday it had heightened checks on meat from Germany and other European countries and threatened an import ban after Germany closed thousands of farms over animal feed tainted with dioxin.

Eggs suspected to be contaminated with dioxin, are pictured at a laboratory of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s food control institute in Muenster January 4, 2011

The Russian agriculture watchdog said in a statement sent to AFP on Saturday that it had “taken the decision to heighten control of food of animal origin imported from Germany and several other European Union countries”.


It did not specify which European Union countries fell under the tougher rules.


The watchdog also threatened that Russia could ban meat imports if it did not receive official information on the situation as soon as possible and if it were not satisfied by European measures to control the situation.


The watchdog “retains the right to introduce restrictions on supplying food of animal origin to the Russian market from the regions of heightened risk”, it said in the statement.


German officials said Friday they had shut 4,700 farms and destroyed more than 100,000 eggs after tests showed dangerous levels of dioxin, a poisonous chemical compound, in fatty acids used to make industrial animal feed.


The Russian agency complained of its “serious concern” that it had not received any information from Germany or the executive European Commission on the situation and said it had sent an official request.


“The European Union still lacks a system to react urgently to cases that could be dangerous for animals and humans,” the watchdog’s spokesman Alexei Alexeyenko told the Interfax news agency.


 

Source: SGGP

Over 100 workers hospitalized after food poisoning

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:25 am


More than 100 workers in a Can Tho- based company were hospitalized due to food poisoning on December 23.


The workers suffered stomachache, nausea and vomiting after eating the food. Most of them have already recovered, but 61 people are still being treated in hospital.


The company ordered food from a restaurant in Chau Thanh District, Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang in the neighborhood of Can Tho City.


Each portion of food included meat, braised pork, fried fish and soup, for price of VND9,000. 


Agencies in the province are taking food samples for testing, so that they can investigate the cause of the food poisoning outbreak.

Source: SGGP

Report: Over 20% of foreign visitors return to Khanh Hoa for 3rd time

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:16 am

According to a survey from Khanh Hoa Province’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, more than 20 percent of 600 international visitors return to the central coastal province for the third time.

Foreign travelers visit Nha Trang City in Khanh Hoa Province. (Photo: Sggp)

In addition, 23 percent (138 travelers) visit the province for a second time.


Khanh Hoa received over 390,000 foreign visitors last year, presenting an increase of about 30 percent.

The visitors mostly come from the UK, France, Russia, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Seventy-four percent of tourists spend their holidays at the seaside and visiting friends. The other type of visitor is looking for business opportunities.

Every visitor spends about VND8.2 million (over US$400) on accommodation, restaurants and shopping, and entertainment services.

Source: SGGP

Over 7,200 public, private hospitals do not have wastewater treatment system

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

Over 7,200 public and private hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City do not have standard wastewater treatment systems, the Department of Health has reported.

These medical clinics have only rudimentary systems at the best and discharged their wastewater into septic tanks, which are then released into the sewerage system.

The old waste water treatment facilities of the Traumatic Orthopedic Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Over 7,200 public and private hospitals do not have wastewater treatment system or the old facilities can’t meet the increase in usage

Approximately 45 central, city and district hospitals and private clinics, have not improved their wastewater treatment systems and the old systems cannot satisfy the increase in usage. The wastewater system is overloaded.

Hospitals said they are short of skill personnel in dealing with the issue, while the relevant agencies have yet to penalize any hospital or clinic that do not meet the requirements of a modern waste treatment system.

However, the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment has fined the Mental Hospital in District 5. The hospital was fined VND6 million and was forced to quickly construct a modern standard wastewater treatment facility.

Hospitals in the city have dumped thousands cubic meters of wastewater into the river environments every day.

Source: SGGP

Toyota to pay $32.4 mln in extra fines over recalls

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:32 am

 Toyota has agreed to pay 32.4 million dollars in fines over its handling of two auto recalls, bringing total penalties levied on the firm to 48.8 million this year, officials said.


“Toyota will pay the maximum fines allowable under the law — 16.375 million dollars in one case and 16.050 million in the other — in response to the department’s assertion that it failed to comply with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act for reporting safety defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.


The two penalties come on top of Toyota’s record 16.4-million-dollar fine assessed in April to settle claims the automaker hid accelerator pedal defects blamed for dozens of deaths.

Toyota has agreed to pay 32.4 million dollars in fines over its handling of two auto recalls, bringing total penalties levied on the firm to 48.8 million this year, officials said.

Toyota issued a series of mass recalls of around 10 million vehicles worldwide in late 2009 and early 2010 that undermined the company’s once stellar reputation and triggered US congressional investigations.


“Safety is our top priority and we take our responsibility to protect consumers seriously… I am pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty and I expect Toyota to work cooperatively in the future to ensure consumers’ safety.” said LaHood.


The 16.375-million-dollar fine was tied to an investigation completed Monday over Toyota’s recall of nearly five million vehicles with accelerator pedals that can become entrapped by floor mats, the Department of Transportation said.


“NHTSA’s investigation led the agency to believe that Toyota had not fulfilled its obligation to report a known safety defect within five days, as is required under the law,” it added.


The 16.05-million-dollar fine stems from an NHTSA probe into whether the automaker properly notified the agency of a safety defect in several Toyota models in 2004 and 2005 that could result in the loss of steering control.


The defect led to a 2004 recall in Japan for Hilux trucks that Toyota initially said did not extend to US models. In 2005, Toyota informed NHTSA that the steering relay rod defect was present in several models sold in the United States and conducted a recall for nearly one million vehicles.


NHTSA said it learned in May of complaints from US consumers and others that Toyota had not disclosed additional information.


“Automakers are required to report any safety defects to NHTSA swiftly, and we expect them to do so,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.


Both fines levied against Toyota are the maximum in civil penalties for each of the two violations stemming from the pedal entrapment and steering relay rod recalls.


In 2008, Toyota ended the 77-year reign of General Motors as the world’s largest automaker but the road has been a bumpy one for the Japanese giant, facing the impact of the economic crisis, recalls and recently a strong yen.


Sales are falling in the United States, with the automaker slipping from second to third place this year behind reviving giants Ford and market leader GM.


Toyota reported a 7.3 percent sales drop in November and its market share could fall by 17 percent to just over 15 percent in 2010, according to IHS Automotive.


To stem the bleeding, the automaker has added an extra four weeks to new vehicle testing, sped up its decision-making process and appointed regional quality control officers.


Analysts say Toyota has become more aggressive in catching possible defects as part of a campaign to improve its consumer image, but warn that continued frequent recalls damage its branding as a quality carmaker.


Only a week ago, Toyota recalled some 94,000 of its 2011 Sienna minivans in the United States to replace a brake bracket that could get stuck.

Source: SGGP

Over 200 workers hospitalized after food poisoning

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

More than 200 workers of the Sametex International Company Limited were hospitalized due to food poisoning in Long An Province on December 16.


Doctor Vo Cong Luan, director of the Long An General Hospital, said that the workers suffered stomach ache, nausea and vomiting after having lunch and dinner at the company.  Most of them have already regained health, but 65 are still being treated at the hospital.


Agencies in the province are taking food samples for testing, so that they can investigate the cause of the food poisoning outbreak.

Source: SGGP

VN-Index slumps over bad news

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:08 am

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index plummeted for two consecutive day on December 8 due to bad economic news and profit-taking.


Lending interest rates raised to 17.6 percent per annum at some commercial banks this morning.


Foreign creditors disapproved of Vinashin’s proposal to delay the payment of its debts.


The gauge of of 270 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange gave up 1.72 percent, or 7.93 points, to close at 452.83 points.


Of the index, only 20 stocks gained, 234 dropped, while 21 treaded water.


Trading volume reached 72.5 million shares worth VND1.6 trillion, a decrease of 14.73 percent in volume and nearly 19 percent in value.


Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), the country’s largest brokerage, was the most active share in volume with 5.36 million shares changing hands.


It was followed by Investment and Trading of Real Estate Joint stock Company (ITC) with 3.01 million shares traded.


Viet – Han Corporation (VHG) tagged along with 2.81 million shares changing hands.


Binh Duong Construction and Civil Engineering Joint Stock Company (BCE) nose-doved 21.3 percent. The company will issue 10 million additional shares, of which 9.4 million shares will be sold to its current shareholders at a ratio of 100:47, 300,000 shares to its employees, and the rest to strategy investors at a price of VND10,000 per share.


Other losers on the city bourse included Southern Rubber Industry Joint Stock Company (CSM), Ha Tien 1 Cement Joint Stock Company (HT1), and Long Giang Investment and Urban Development Joint Stock Company (LGL).


Becamex Infrastructure Development Joint Stock Company (IJC) revived 4.94 percent to VND17,000.


TMT Automobile Joint Stock Company (TMT) advanced for five straight days, adding up 4.76 percent to VND17,600.


Sugar producer Société De Bourbon Tay Ninh (SBT) also surged the fifth day, closing up 4.58 percent to VND13,700.


Meanwhile, the Hanoi’s HNX-Index contracted 3.23 percent, or 3.69 points, to close at 110.5 points. Around 66.7 million shares changed hands at VND1.3 trillion.


The UPCom-Index adjusted by 0.84 points to 39.83 points this morning. A total of 200,000 shares changed hands at a value of VND2.4 billion as of 11:10 am local time.

Source: SGGP