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Hanoi, Beijing youths sign cooperation deal

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:04 am




Hanoi, Beijing youths sign cooperation deal


QĐND – Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 21:34 (GMT+7)

Youth unions of Hanoi and Beijing signed an agreement on bilateral cooperation for the 2011- 2013 period, following their talks in the Vietnamese capital city on Jan. 10.


Under the terms of the agreement, the two sides will join hands in training young activists and organising cultural exchanges, seminars on the youth union building work and voluntary activities.


As many as 50 young people from each country are expected to participate in annual exchanges in Hanoi and Beijing, where they will share experiences in youth work and strengthen their solidarity and friendship.


Later in the day, the delegation from the municipal Beijing Committee of the Communist Youth League of China was received by Ngo Thi Doan Thanh, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairwoman of the People’s Council of Hanoi.


Thanh spoke highly of the exchanges and cooperation between the two cities’ youth unions, and expressed her hope that their relations would be developed to a new level.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Obama to sign end to military gay ban

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 8:27 am

 The United States stood on the cusp of letting gays serve openly in its military for the first time, as the US Congress sent President Barack Obama a bill to bring about the historic shift.


Senators voted 65-31 to approve House-passed legislation to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise of 1993 requiring gay soldiers to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face dismissal.


“It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed,” said Obama, who vowed during his 2008 White House bid to lift the ban.


Obama was expected to sign the measure this week with great fanfare, launching a White House and Pentagon certification process to ensure the smoothest possible transition at a time when Washington is fighting two wars.


Eight of the White House’s Republican foes backed the change — perhaps the biggest such shift in the US military since racial integration began in 1948 — while three Republicans and one Democrat missed the vote.


The measure, its passage assured when it cleared a procedural hurdle by a 63-33 margin earlier, fueled bitterly divisive debate in the already polarized Senate.


“The first casualty in the war in Iraq was a gay soldier. The mine that took off his right leg didn’t give a darn whether he was gay or straight. We shouldn’t either,” Democratic Senator Carl Levin said before the ballot.


“We cannot let these patriots down. Their suffering should end. It will end with the passage of this bill. I urge its passage today,” said Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee.


“It isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” countered Senator John McCain, the top Republican on Levin’s panel and Obama’s defeated 2008 White House rival and a fierce foe of lifting the ban.


“To somehow allege that it has harmed our military is not justified by the facts,” McCain said. “Don’t think that it won’t be at great cost.”


Passage triggered a time-consuming process that calls for lifting the ban only after the president, the secretary of defense, and the top US uniformed officer certify that doing so can be done without harming military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention.


Republicans have scoffed that the leaders involved have already stated their support to ending the policy.


“They have already made up their minds,” said Republican Senator James Inhofe.


The Pentagon issued a study this month that found a solid majority of troops were not bothered by the prospect of lifting the ban and that the military could implement the change without a major disruption or upheaval.


The repeal effort enjoyed broad support from the US public, as well as from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and US Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen.


Gates — who had warned that US courts would step in and perhaps force a hasty end to the policy unless lawmakers acted — said the Pentagon would “carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully.”


Mullen, whose emotional February testimony to Congress in favor of repeal has been credited as a signal moment, said ending the ban was “the right thing to do.”


“No longer will able men and women who want to serve and sacrifice for their country have to sacrifice their integrity to do so,” he said, promising: “We will be a better military as a result.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband Bill had enacted the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy when he was president, said the repeal would strengthen US support for human rights internationally.

Activists listen during a rally on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on Capitol Hill, December 10.

“This is a historic step forward for all Americans, a step toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values,” she said.

In the years since the ban was enacted as a compromise, some 13,000 US troops have been ousted, and critics have pointed out that many were trained at great expense, like fighter pilots, or had hard-to-find skills, such as Arabic translators.

But opponents of the legislation have cited testimony from US military service chiefs who warned against a quick repeal, citing concerns about unit cohesion.

General James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps and an opponent of lifting the ban, has warned repeal could jeopardize the lives of Marines in combat by undermining closely knit units.

Newly minted Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senators Jim Bunning, Judd Gregg, and Orrin Hatch did not vote on repeal.

Source: SGGP

US and China sign trade deals, Beijing seeks more

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:41 am

WASHINGTON, Dec 15, 2010 (AFP) – The United States and China agreed Wednesday to pursue free trade in areas from agriculture to technology, but Beijing insisted that Washington needed to loosen its own export controls.


Top officials from the world’s two largest economies met for two days in Washington to try to iron out persistent tensions — including over the value of China’s currency, which the United States says is artificially low.

AFP file – The United States and China agreed to pursue free trade in areas from agriculture to technology

President Barack Obama’s administration, which has been hit hard by economic worries, offered an upbeat take on the talks and highlighted China’s willingness to restart talks on resuming US beef imports.


The United States said China also pledged to remain “neutral” on the technological standards for third-generation telephones along with smart grids, so as to permit market access for American companies.


“We were able to make progress on significant issues in a number of areas, and on other issues we have established channels that will allow us to continue our robust engagement and pursue timely solutions,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.


Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who headed the 100-strong Chinese delegation, said the two sides had a “candid exchange of views on China-US economic cooperation.”


“We’ve reached many agreements and produced positive outcomes,” he told reporters.


But the Chinese side also called for the United States to relax its export controls — turning the tables on the United States, which frequently presses Beijing to open its markets.


“In our efforts to increase our imports, we very much hope that those countries still having a trade deficit vis-a-vis China could lift or relax export controls towards China,” Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said.


“Therefore if the United States could offer substantial export facilitation to China, and allow an increase of its exports to China, this would be a help against the high unemployment rate in the United States today,” he said.


The United States restricts a range of goods to China that are “dual-use” — meaning that the technology could be put to military use. US businesses have also long worried about counterfeiting of products in China.


US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that China agreed to do more to crack down on theft of intellectual property theft.


“We expect to see concrete and measurable results, including increased purchase and use of legal software, steps to eradicate the piracy of electronic journals, more effective rules for addressing Internet piracy and a crackdown on landlords who rent space to counterfeiters in China,” Kirk said.


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pointed to “progress” over US beef, which was banned by China among other countries in 2003 over concerns about mad-cow disease.


“Technical talks will resume as soon as possible with the goal of reopening China’s market in early 2011,” Vilsack said.


US officials said that China also pledged to keep off the books rules on “indigenous innovation,” which state that high-tech goods must hold Chinese intellectual property rights. China rescinded such guidelines early this year after an international outcry.


Topping other concerns, US officials — and particularly members of Congress — have pressed China to let its currency appreciate, accusing Beijing of keeping its yuan low to pump out more exports.


Chen said China “has stated again and again its firm position” that it will reform its yuan “to improve the flexibility of the exchange rate regime and also to stabilize the value of the currency.”


But Chen questioned if the size of the US trade surplus had been overestimated, saying that China often exports back finished products made of components imported from the United States.


Such trade “is hardly affected by the fluctuations of currencies,” he said.


Many analysts believe that China is determined to move methodically on its currency rates, fearing that any sudden revaluation would jolt its manufacturing hubs and trigger social instability.

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Source: SGGP

VinaSecurities, Macquarie sign deal

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm




VinaSecurities, Macquarie sign deal


QĐND – Thursday, October 28, 2010, 20:45 (GMT+7)

VinaSecurities and Macquarie Capital Securities Limited, an affiliate of global financial institution Macquarie Group ( Macquarie; ASX:MQG), have signed a wide-ranging agreement that will benefit customers of both companies.


The agreement will give Macquarie clients access to Vietnam , one of Asia’s fastest-growing markets, and allow VinaSecurities clients access to Macquarie’s leading presence in global financial markets.


The initial scope of the agreement enables Macquarie clients to receive co-branded equity research focused on Vietnam and to trade Vietnamese equities, according to Hunt


Macnguyen, CEO of VinaSecurities.


The agreement also includes exclusive partnering arrangements between VinaSecurities and Macquarie in relation to in-bound and out-bound equity capital-market transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate finance advisory work.


The agreement covers both the HCM City and Hanoi stock exchanges.


Mark Duncan, head of Macquarie Securities Group, Asia, said: ” Vietnam is an important market to us and the world’s institutional investors as they look to expand their investment horizon.”


VinaSecurities, established in 2007, is part of the asset management group VinaCapital.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

China and Taiwan sign historic trade pact

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

CHONGQING, China, June 29, 2010 (AFP) – Taiwan and China signed a historic trade pact Tuesday.

The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, hailed by both sides as a milestone and a commercial imperative in an era of strong regional cooperation, was signed by senior delegates in the southwest Chinese city of Chongqing.


The signing of the agreement, by far the most sweeping ever between the two sides, marks the culmination of a policy introduced by Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou after assuming power in 2008.

Chen Yunlin (R), the head of a semi-official Chinese agency, toasts with his Taiwan counterpart Chiang Ping-kun, chairman for the Taiwan’s Strait Exchange Foundation, during the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signning ceremony in Chongqing, Sichuan in China on June 29, 2010. AFP photo

“Signing this agreement is not only an important milestone in economic ties between the two sides,” said the leader of the Taiwanese delegation, Chiang Pin-kung.


“It’s also a huge step forward for the two amid the trend of regional economic integration and globalisation.”


China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, its largest investment destination, and now also home to a growing number of Taiwanese.


It is estimated that about one million people from the island live in China, especially in the Shanghai area.


The trade pact looks set to push interaction between the two sides to a new level.


The deal will confer preferential tariffs, and in some cases zero tariffs, on 539 Taiwanese products from petrochemicals and auto parts to machinery — representing 16 percent of the island’s total export value to China.


At the same time, only about 267 Chinese items, or 10.5 percent of China’s export value to Taiwan, will be placed on the “early harvest” list enjoying zero or falling tariffs.

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Source: SGGP

Australia, China sign billion dollar deals

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Australia and China signed new deals worth 10 billion dollars (8.8 billion US), mostly in resources and energy, Monday after talks between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and visiting Vice President Xi Jinping.

Iron ore is loaded onto a train in Western Australia. China and Australia have signed new deals worth 10 billion dollars (8.8 billion US), mostly in resources and energy, following talks between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and visiting Vice President Xi Jinping

Rudd said the 10 agreements reflected the strong and growing cooperation between Canberra and its top trading partner, a key consumer of Australian raw materials.


“This demonstrates the dynamic relations between the two countries in this sector, and the strong complementarity of the two economies,” Rudd said in a statement.

Source: SGGP

Medvedev to visit US, sign trade deals: Kremlin aide

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

 President Dmitry Medvedev plans a visit to the United States to sign trade deals and possibly tour Silicon Valley in his drive to diversify Russia’s hydrocarbon-dependent economy, a top aide said Tuesday.


“This visit will have an innovative character and will be aimed at intensifying trade and economic cooperation between Russia and the United States, first and foremost in hi-tech areas,” Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev’s seniormost foreign policy aide, told reporters.

President Dmitry Medvedev, pictured on June 5, plans a visit to the United States to sign trade deals and possibly tour Silicon Valley in his drive to diversify Russia’s hydrocarbon-dependent economy, a top aide said Tuesday.

The Kremlin aide declined to give the date of the visit or details of the contracts to be signed, saying only it will be a “solid set of documents” on economics, including high-tech and science, and several trade contracts.


His US tour may include a trip to Silicon Valley, Prikhodko said.


Medvedev is expected to travel to North America in late June when he’s set to take part in the Group of Eight and Group of 20 summits in Canada.


Medvedev is seeking to modernise the Russian economy and one of his most recent initiatives includes building a high-tech hub near Moscow.


Dubbed the Russian Silicon Valley, the project aims to entice leading Russian and foreign scientists to focus their energies on nuclear and bio-medical technologies, energy and telecommunications.


A large Russian business delegation will accompany Medvedev on the trip, which is expected to kick off several large projects, Prikhodko said, without elaborating.


“There are a lot of interesting ideas and proposals,” he added.


Russian-US ties are enjoying a renaissance after Medvedev and his US counterpart Barack Obama signed the long-awaited landmark Cold War-era nuclear disarmament treaty in Prague in April.


“There will certainly be talks on issues of strategic stability,” Prikhodko added, noting that the two nations had demonstrated political will by signing the new START arms control treaty.


“We are ready to continue these efforts,” he added.

Source: SGGP

US airlines sign deal to form world’s biggest carrier

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm

CHICAGO (AFP) – United Airlines and Continental Airlines announced on Monday they have agreed to merge, creating the world’s biggest carrier in an all-stock transaction approved by the boards of both companies.

A United Airlines plane takes off from Los Angeles International Airport in June 2008. (AFP file)

The transaction, which has been approved unanimously by the boards of directors of both companies, still needs to be approved by the shareholders.


But the companies said they expected to complete the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The new merged giant, which will keep the United name and maintain its headquarters in Chicago, will account for seven percent of global airline capacity, ahead of US rival Delta, which currently leads with six percent, US media reported.


It will also have a 21 percent share of the huge US air market.


Under the agreement, Continental shareholders will receive 1.05 shares of United common stock for each Continental common share they own.


United shareholders would own approximately 55 percent of the equity of the combined company and Continental shareholders would own approximately 45 percent, including convertible securities.


The combined company would have annual revenues of approximately 29 billion dollars and an unrestricted cash balance of approximately 7.4 billion as of the end of first quarter 2010, officials said.


The merger is expected to deliver between one billion and 1.2 billion dollars in net annual gains by 2013, including between 800 million and 900 million dollars of incremental annual revenues, the companies projected.


Glenn Tilton, president and chief executive officer of UAL Corp., will serve as non-executive chairman of the combined company’s board of directors while Jeff Smisek, Continental’s CEO, will be chief executive officer.


“This combination will provide a strong platform for sustainable, long-term value for shareholders, opportunities for employees, and more and better scheduled service and destinations for customers,” Tilton said in a statement.


Smisek pointed out that the merger would create “a world-class airline with tremendous and enduring strengths.


“Together, we will have the financial strength necessary to make critical investments to continue to improve our products and services and to achieve and sustain profitability,” Smisek argued.


In their combined effort, Continental and United will serve more than 144 million passengers per year as they fly to 370 destinations in 59 countries, the joint announcement said.


The combined company promised to offer enhanced service to Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East from 10 well-placed hubs on the East Coast, West Coast, and Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States.


The merger is seen as part of an industry-wide move by airlines to survive in the crisis-stricken industry. British Airways is going through a tie-up with Spanish carrier Iberia to avoid being sidelined by European rivals Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.


US Airways broke off merger talks with United last month, but said it expected consolidation of the fragmented airline sector in the near future.


“It remains our belief that consolidation makes sense in an industry as fragmented as ours,” said US Airways chairman Doug Parker.


Parker stressed that consolidation would lead “to a more efficient industry, better able to withstand economic volatility, global competition and the cyclical nature of our industry.”


The economic crisis has driven airline alliances and steep cost cutting, as the sector has buckled under the global economic downturn, which has slashed demand for air travel and persuaded many cash-strapped travellers to fly with cheaper low-cost carriers.


Shares of both airlines are expected to climb in Monday trading.

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Source: SGGP

Contractors sign $2.1 bln thermal power project

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm




Contractors sign $2.1 bln thermal power project


QĐND – Friday, April 23, 2010, 21:24 (GMT+7)

Five contracts to build the US$2.1 billion Mong Duong thermo-power plant No 2 in the northern province of Quang Ninh were signed on April 22.


The project is co-sponsored by American Electric Supply, Inc (AES) and the Vietnam National Coal and Minerals Industries Group (Vinacomin-TKV), with an estimated capacity of 1,200 MW. The US group has contributed 90 percent of the capital and Vinacomin, 10 percent, to form the joint-venture, Mong Duong AES-TVK.


The Mong Duong 2 is the first power project in the form of BOT which has been signed since 2001, said Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang at the signing ceremony.


US Ambassador to Vietnam Michael W. Michalak said the signing of the BOT contract for the project significantly manifests the rapid growth of economic cooperation between Vietnam and the US. It also proves AES’s long-term commitment to Vietnam’s energy development via the public-private partnership (PPP) model, he added.


The ambassador also said he hopes the Ministry of Planning and Investment will soon make laws on PPPs to create equal competition for foreign investors in Vietnam.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

BA, Iberia sign merger deal to create global giant

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

LONDON (AFP) – British Airways and Spanish flag carrier Iberia on Thursday announced a merger deal to create one of the world’s biggest airlines to compete more effectively in the fast-consolidating aviation sector.


The tie-up would create Europe’s second-biggest airline by market capitalisation after Lufthansa, combining Iberia’s strong position in Latin America with BA’s presence in Africa, Asia and North America.

British Airways and Spanish flag carrier (AFP file) Iberia announced a merger deal to create one of the world’s biggest airlines to compete more effectively in the fast-consolidating aviation sector.

“British Airways and Iberia have today taken a further step towards creating a new leading European airline group by signing their merger agreement,” the two loss-making airlines said in a joint statement.


“The new company will be one of the world’s largest airline groups with 408 aircraft flying to 200 destinations and carrying more than 58 million passengers per year.


“It has been structured so that it can take advantage of further consolidation in the global aviation industry,” they said, adding that it would benefit both airlines’ customers, employees and shareholders.


The landmark deal would create annual savings of around 400 million euros (533 million dollars) by the fifth year of the deal.


The tie-up, which requires regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to be completed by late 2010 and follows a preliminary accord in November.


“The merged company will provide customers with a larger combined network,” said BA chief executive Willie Walsh.


“It will also have greater potential for further growth by optimising the dual hubs of London and Madrid and provide combined investment in new products and services.”


Iberia chairman Antonio Vasquez also hailed the deal as a major step forward, as both airlines seek to avoid being sidelined by rivals Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.


“This is an important step in the process towards creating one of the world’s leading global airlines that will be better equipped to compete with other major airlines and participate in future industry consolidation,” Vasquez said.


Under the agreement, BA and Iberia will be grouped under a new holding company, known as International Airlines Group, which will be quoted on stock exchanges in London and Madrid.


However, both airlines will retain their current operations and individual brands.


Iberia will keep the right to terminate the merger deal if BA’s pension recovery plan is deemed to be “materially detrimental to the ecomomic premises of the merger.”


The BA-Iberia merger comes as the global downturn and the rise of low-cost airlines drives airline alliances and steep cost cutting.


Both groups have suffered steep losses as the global recession slammed the brakes on demand for air travel.


At the same time, BA has faced industrial action from cabin crew over its cost-cutting plans that are aimed at stemming losses.


The pair had signed a preliminary deal last November after lengthy negotiations — but Iberia said at the time it would back out of the agreement if BA’s giant pension deficit problem were not resolved.


Under the initial agreement set out in November, BA will own 56 percent of the new company while Iberia will hold 44 percent. Walsh would retain his position as chief executive, while Iberia would secure the chairmanship.


In addition, the new company would be headquartered in Madrid, but its operational base would be in London.


Rival groups had reacted in anger to the deal, with Ryanair comparing the merger to “two drunks trying to prop each other up.”


Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, had argued that it will increase BA’s dominance at London’s Heathrow airport.


News of the BA-Iberia merger comes after US media reported late Tuesday that United Airlines and US Airways were in merger talks that could lead to the creation of one of the world’s largest airlines.

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Source: SGGP