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Posts Tagged ‘PM’

Former New Zealand PM denies Iraq troops-for-contracts claim

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:33 am

WELLINGTON, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark on Wednesday denied sending non-combat troops to Iraq in 2003 to ensure one of her country’s largest companies retained lucrative UN contracts.


A US diplomatic cable released by the WikiLeaks website this week reportedly cited New Zealand defence officials saying Clark opposed the Iraq deployment until she was told dairy giant Fonterra might lose UN “oil-for-food” contracts.


Clark, whose left-leaning Labour government was defeated in 2008 and who now heads the UN Development Programme, told Radio NZ she was “flabbergasted” at the “ridiculous” claim.


“I am absolutely incensed at the suggestion that some defence ministry personnel seem to have made to various diplomats that there was any connection between my support for sending engineers to do humanitarian work in Iraq with the interests of Fonterra,” she said.


“I mean this is simply preposterous.”


Two rotations of 61 New Zealand military engineers spent a year in Basra from September 2003 performing engineering and humanitarian tasks.


Clark said she always opposed the war in Iraq and would never allow commercial considerations to sway her decision-making on the issue.


She said the engineers were sent to Iraq in response to a UN Security Council request for help in reconstruction efforts following the US-led invasion.


Clark also defended the decision to keep secret a move to tighten military ties with the United States in 2007 following a rift dating back to the 1980s over New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy.


She said she did not want to create expectations in New Zealand that the country was resuming the full military alliance with the United States that was in place before the anti-nuclear row erupted.


The former prime minister supported her conservative successor John Key’s choice to maintain the secrecy when New Zealand and Washington restored full intelligence ties last year without telling the public.


“There’s always secrecy around intelligence relationship and I guess that’s where I part company with the founder of WikiLeaks (Julian Assange) and others,” she said.


“I actually believe that you do have to have areas of communication between governments and officials which aren’t on the front pages of newspapers.”


Questioned about WikiLeaks revelations that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked US officials to spy on UN officials, Clark said the international organisation “takes a very a dim view” of such activities.


However, she was not concerned such snooping would reveal anything that was personally embarrassing to her.


“My life is an open book, it has been for so many years. If there’s anything more they can find out, good luck to them,” she said.

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Source: SGGP

PM wants stable prices and supply of goods during Tet

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:34 am

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on November 30 called on ministries, sectors and local agencies to continue to boost production of goods and supply, and ensure a stable market during Tet (Lunar New Year) next February and the first quarter of 2011.

Shoppers at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City during Tet last year.

The PM said though the Government has adopted many measures to step up production and ensure price stabilization and the balance of supply and demand for goods and services since the beginning of this year, the consumer price index (CPI) rose to 9.58 percent in November, impacting production and people’s lives.


The CPI of November increased by 1.86 percent over the previous month. This figure was an increase of 11.09 percent over the same period last year.


The national average CPI in 11 months exceeded the annual forecast with a year-on-year increase of 8.96 percent.


At the beginning of this year, the Government targeted a nationwide CPI of eight percent.

PM Dung said the cause of the problem was a few organizations and individuals that did not take price management seriously.


Speculation and groundless rumors about goods shortage and financial situation haven’t been controlled and prevented promptly, affecting implementation of the Government’s measures against inflation and for ensuring social welfare.


He instructed ministers and local authorities to focus on removing legal barriers and create favorable conditions for enterprises to expand production and business to ensure smooth provision of essential commodities like rice, poultry, meat, vegetables, milk, construction materials, medicines and travel services.


He wanted producers to forecast demand to ensure adequate supply nationwide before, during and after the festival.


The Ministry of Finance was assigned to co-ordinate with other relevant ministries and localities to maintain the prices of coal, electricity and petrol.


He wanted the ministry to reschedule adjustment of prices of goods and services that are subject to the State’s pricing control. 


He told the State Bank of Vietnam to take strong measures to stabilize the prices of gold and foreign currencies as well as interest rates.


The bank was asked to keep watch on the market and give severe punishments to those who speculate or corner gold and foreign currencies on the market.


The Ministry of Industry and Trade was ordered to adopt solutions to ensure sufficient supply of goods, and encourage enterprises to attend the price stabilization program and expand their distribution systems to rural and remote areas.


He also instructed market agencies to keep a close eye on things to prevent speculation, smuggling, and trade fraud, and apply criminal prosecution if necessary.

Source: SGGP

Irish bailout talks accelerate as PM faces new setback

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

DUBLIN, Nov 26, 2010 (AFP) – Ireland’s government was Friday awaiting the results of a by-election expected to cut its already slim majority, as talks on an international bailout for the country’s ailing economy gathered pace.


As polls closed Thursday, Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail party was widely expected to lose its seat in County Donegal in northwest Ireland to the nationalist Sinn Fein party.

Protesters hold a demonstration in Dublin on November 24.(AFP)

If they did lose the seat it would cut the coalition government’s majority to just two seats.


A day after publishing a four-year package of austerity measures designed to smooth the way towards huge loans from the EU and IMF, Cowen warned Thursday that everyone would have to tighten their belts if Ireland was to recover.


Cowen told parliament the plan — unprecedented in Irish history — gave people a chance to see the sharp “adjustment” necessary to shore up the national finances and “plan ahead for the future”.


“People in their own household experience know that you can’t go on with a situation if your revenues are back to what you were earning in 2003 and that your spend is right up to date in 2010 terms.


“People know that is not a sustainable position,” he said.


Having built up a deficit equivalent to 32 percent of gross domestic product this year, Ireland is in talks to borrow about 85 billion euros (114 billion dollars) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.


Negotiations on the bailout are set to wrap up on Sunday, diplomatic sources in Brussels told AFP.


The international intervention to help Ireland has failed to remove doubts about its ability to stabilise its shattered finances.


That concern, and fears of contagion spreading to Portugal and the far larger Spanish economy, continued to hurt the euro, which was worth 1.3360 dollars at 0100 GMT.


Nor was the austerity plan enough to calm the bond markets: the yield on benchmark 10-year government bonds jumped to record highs above 9.0 percent as markets remained nervous.


The draconian austerity plan and a budget on December 7 are crucial steps to show Ireland’s fellow eurozone members that it is putting its finances in order.


The 15-billion-euro series of austerity measures include slashing 25,000 jobs, raising VAT, or sales tax, to 23 percent, and cutting the minimum wage.


Ireland has however managed to preserve its ultra-low 12.5 percent corporation tax rate, a key reason that foreign companies have invested there.


Economists supported Ireland’s tax stance.


“This will send out a clear statement that Ireland, despite its economic difficulties, is still very committed to incentivising the creation and maintenance of high value jobs,” Ernst and Young’s Kevin McLoughlin said.


The government’s decision to turn to the EU and IMF has enraged Cowen’s opponents, who accused him of humiliating the country.


The anger surfaced in the by-election in Donegal South West, a rural area of northwest Ireland where resentment towards the EU runs high. Polls opened at 0600 GMT and closed at 2200 GMT with the result set to be declared late Friday.


Turnout for the poll was expected to be well down on the 66 percent seen in the last election as mistrust in the political system convinced voters to stay at home.


In Donegal town, butcher Ernan McGettigan said he saw a grim future ahead.


“The way our country is going at the moment we will have to declare ourselves bankrupt.


“There are only four million people and we have incurred a debt of around 4,000 euros for every person.”


President Mary McAleese recognised the nation’s rage. “I want to acknowledge the understandable distress and dismay being experienced by people all around the country who feel fearful about their future,” she said.


Finance Minister Brian Lenihan acknowledged there was “no denying the reputational damage Ireland has endured” in the economic crisis.


But writing in the Financial Times, he argued that the country had the attributes to pick itself up and stressed that the country still ranked second in Europe for productivity.


“The government faces many challenges but we have the necessary support to pass the budget in December,” Lenihan insisted.

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Source: SGGP

Maliki to be named Iraq PM to end eight-month impasse

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 5:21 am

BAGHDAD, Nov 25, 2010 (AFP) – President Jalal Talabani was to officially name Nuri al-Maliki to a second term as Iraq’s premier on Thursday, giving him 30 days to form a cabinet after an eight-month impasse since a general election.


The move, delayed to give Maliki as much time as possible to negotiate with his rivals, signals an end to the protracted political battle between Iraq’s factions.

AFP file picture shows Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) with President Jalal Talabani

The tussle has seen Iraq shatter the world record for the longest period without a new government after polls.


Talabani is expected to name Maliki, who first took the top job in 2006 at a time of brutal sectarian conflict, as prime minister-designate in a ceremony at the president’s office, a parliamentary official said, on condition of anonymity.


Under Iraq’s constitution, Talabani was allowed 15 days to appoint a prime minister following his re-election by MPs on November 11.


He had earlier been expected to name Maliki as premier last Sunday, immediately after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but delayed the decision to give the incumbent more time to negotiate ministerial posts.


The re-selection of Talabani, a Kurd, and Maliki, a Shiite, to their posts and the naming of a Sunni Arab as speaker of parliament came after a power-sharing pact was agreed on November 10.


The accord also established a new statutory body to oversee security as a sop to ex-premier Iyad Allawi, who had held out for months to regain the top job after his Iraqiya bloc narrowly won the most seats in the March 7 poll.


The support of Iraqiya, which garnered most of its seats in Sunni areas of the predominantly Shiite country, is widely seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of inter-confessional violence.


The Sunni minority which dominated Saddam Hussein’s regime was the bedrock of the anti-US insurgency after the 2003 invasion.


Despite being lauded by international leaders including US President Barack Obama, the power-sharing pact has looked fragile ever since.


A day after it was agreed, about 60 Iraqiya MPs walked out of a session of parliament, protesting that it was not being honoured.


The bloc’s MPs had wanted three of its senior members, barred before the election for their alleged ties to Saddam’s banned Baath party, to be reinstated immediately.


Two days later, however, Iraq’s lawmakers appeared to have salvaged the deal after leaders from the country’s three main parties met and agreed to reconcile and address the MPs’ grievances.

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Source: SGGP

New Zealand PM demands answers as nation mourns miners

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 1:20 am

GREYMOUTH, Nov 25, 2010 (AFP) – New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Thursday he wanted answers on what went “terribly wrong” in a colliery blast that killed 29 men in the nation’s worst mining disaster for almost a century.


He also warned it could take “months” to recover the bodies of the workers who died underground in one of the country’s worst mining disasters, as the grieving mining community pleaded for the return of their loved ones.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key speaks at a press conference in Wellington on November 24, 2010 after authorities said all the 29 men missing in the coal mine have died after a powerful second blast tore through the pit. AFP

As flags across New Zealand flew at half-mast, Key said the nation was struggling to understand the tragedy at the Pike River colliery, where miners trapped by an explosion last Friday were confirmed dead after a second blast Wednesday.


“We need answers to what happened at Pike River. Clearly something’s gone terribly wrong and it’s now claimed the lives of 29 people,” said Key, who has travelled to Greymouth on New Zealand’s South Island to be with the families.


“The nation is grieving and mourning alongside them,” he said.


“It’s only right and natural and fair that the family members would want to have the bodies recovered so that they can have some closure.”


However, a lethal cocktail of volatile gases remained in the mine and Key said this would delay recovery attempts.


“That (recovery) has to occur in a way that is safe to those that would undertake that mission,” he told reporters. Previous international experience had shown the operation could take “quite some months”, he said.


As messages of condolence poured in from around the world, Key praised the rescue efforts, which some relatives of the miners have criticised after the gas threat stopped emergency workers from going underground.


“It wasn’t for the want of trying, or the willingness, or the courage or the bravery of those that would have gone in to undertake the rescue — it was just the reality of the situation,” he said.


“A mine in this condition is a highly volatile environment, liable to explode at any time without any notice.”


Authorities have launched at least four inquiries into the disaster, whose victims ranged from a 17-year-old on his first shift to a 62-year-old veteran, and included two Australians, two Britons and a South African.


“This is a mine that’s claimed the lives of 29 men and they (the families) are are entitled to honest answers about what went wrong, what lessons we can learn,” Key said.


Mine owner Pike River Coal said it would cooperate fully and was holding its own investigation into the disaster at the colliery, a new facility that sent its first shipment of hard coking coal for steelmaking to India only this year.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Australia’s prime minister, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II — who is also the head of state of New Zealand — and other dignitaries in expressing their “heartfelt condolences”.


New Zealand has lost “29 brave and hard-working men who will be mourned around the world”, Clinton said as the queen said she was “deeply saddened” by the deaths.


“My heart goes out to the families and friends of these 29 brave miners and to all who have been touched by this national disaster,” she said in a message to Key released by Buckingham Palace.


Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn, who declared the incident the “darkest hour” of the South Island’s rugged West Coast region, said the focus has turned to the grim task of recovering the bodies for the grieving families.


“They won’t feel closure until they’re (with) their loved ones,” he told TVNZ.


New Zealand’s other major mining company, Solid Energy, has suspended underground operations at its Spring Creek mine near Pike River and its Huntly mine in the North Island as a mark of respect, chief executive Don Elder said.


A number of specialist mine rescue staff from Spring Creek and Huntly were involved in the Pike River rescue operation.

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Source: SGGP

PM answers NA deputies’ queries at the Q & A session

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm




PM answers NA deputies’ queries at the Q & A session


QĐND – Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 20:31 (GMT+7)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung answered NA deputies’ queries at the 8th session of the 12th National Assembly on November 24.


The PM presented six major issues including the bauxite exploitation project in the central highlands, the restructuring of Vinashin and the development of the electricity sector.


Regarding the Tan Rai and Nhan Co bauxite exploitation projects, PM Dung said that during the project’s pilot phase, he directed relevant ministries, the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Group (Vinacomin) and localities to strictly implement the Party and State policies. He also directed the construction, evaluation, processing and use of bauxite ore in the 2007-2015 period.


Vinacomin is the main investor of both projects Tan Rai and Nhan Co. China Aluminum Group is the EPC contractor and will hand over the factory to Vinacomin when construction is completed in two years’ time.


PM Dung added that the exploitation of bauxite will create favourable conditions to improve soil for commercial crops and forests in the central highlands.


After the red mud incident in Hungary, the PM asked relevant ministries and agencies to supervise the project’s construction and solutions for red-mud reservoirs.


The government has also asked Vinacomin to employ foreign consultants to re-evaluate the project and perfect the design of its red-mud reservoirs. At the same time, he also directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to send a team to conduct a survey at the red-mud spill in Hungary.


The PM said that the survey team has delivered a report which says that technological and management solutions at Tan Rai red-mud lake have been assessed as very modern and safe. He will make a decision on how to go ahead with project once environmental safety is confirmed by foreign consultants.


Regarding the Vinashin Group, the PM said, the government inspectors are urgently trying to complete a comprehensive conclusion on Vinashin. Independent auditors are checking this year’s business results and the group’s leaders are also supervising and updating the group’s financial accounts and assets, related data to ensure accuracy.


The government has also reviewed and analyzed reasons and responsibilities of related agencies and mapped out a detailed plan to create favourable conditions for Vinashin to stabilise and recover production and business activities. The government also focused on perfecting a mechanism for increasing the responsibility and efficiency of State management for state-owned enterprises to avoid such incidents as Vinashin.


As head of the government, the PM is responsible for Vinashin’s shortcomings and he is seriously considering every responsibility for clarification along with his deputies and other ministers involved.


The PM also said that it is difficult to implement a restructuring plan for Vinashin and the government needs the support and supervision of NA deputies.


To strengthen management and improve the efficiency of economic groups and state corporations, the PM will continue to improve the management mechanism for investment and the use of State capital and property to help businesses take responsibility for their activities.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

‘Every chance’ missing NZealand miners alive, says PM

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

New Zealand PM expresses hope for trapped miners

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 at 6:13 am

PM urges state-run businesses to improve operational effectiveness

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm

The Deputy PM congratulates General Giap on the Teachers’ Day

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm