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Posts Tagged ‘steps’

Ouattara offers unity government if Gbagbo steps down

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara would form a unity government with members of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo’s party, as long as Gbagbo steps down first, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations said.


World powers and African states have heaped pressure on Gbagbo to cede the presidency to Ouattara after the provisional results of a November 28 election showed Ouattara won with an 8 percentage point margin.


Gbagbo “has followers, he has competent people in his party. Those people, we are prepared to work with them in the framework of a wide composite cabinet,” said Ivory Coast’s U.N. envoy Youssoufou Bamba in an interview with the BBC’s HARDtalk television news program.

File photo of Ivory Coast’s internationally recognised leader Alassane Ouattara at the Golf hotel in Abidjan

But he said the formation of a unity government was only possible if Gbagbo stepped down first.


“What I am saying is Mr. Ouattara should be recognized by Mr. Gbagbo that he is the legitimate president,” he said in the interview, a transcript of which was released by the BBC on Monday.


The proposal comes amid mounting pressure on Gbagbo, who has ruled the world’s top cocoa producer since 2000, to leave power and end a standoff that has killed more than 200 people and threatens to rekindle a civil war.


West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened Gbagbo with force if he does not leave power, while the United States and the European Union have imposed travel bans on Gbagbo and his inner circle.


SANCTIONS CALL


In an effort to add pressure, Ouattara’s government on Monday listed 16 Ivorian treasury, banking and cocoa officials it wants sanctioned for backing Gbagbo.


“The government of (Prime Minister) Guillaume Soro … (wants) the leaders of these institutions in the banking sector which collaborate with Gbabgo’s illegal regime to be brought under … sanctions,” it said in a statement.


Gbagbo’s access to state accounts at West Africa’s central bank has already been frozen, but he still controls taxes, customs and the lucrative oil and cocoa sectors.


The list included the head of the cocoa regulating body, the head of the local branch of the West African central bank, four treasury officials and local directors of several other banks, including Ecobank Cote D’Ivoire and Standard Chartered.


The election was meant to reunite the former “pearl of West Africa” after the 2002-3 civil war split it into a rebel north and Gbagbo-controlled south, but has instead deepened divisions and raised the specter of a return to open conflict.


ETHNIC CLASHES


Fighting broke out between rival tribes seen as being pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara in volatile west Ivory Coast last week, although local officials say it is now calm and there is nothing to suggest it was directly related to the election.


“The final death toll from these battles is pretty heavy: three deaths in hospital and about 30 outside it,” said Dr Teki Moise, in charge of the main hospital in the town of Duekoue.


“We also have 75 wounded, many of them still in hospital in serious condition.”


The clashes between Ouattara’s Dioula tribe and the Guere, seen as pro-Gbagbo, raised the alarm amongst U.N. mission workers who have long feared an electoral dispute could degenerate into ethnic violence in west Ivory Coast, a tinderbox of militia groups and rival tribes.

Some 15,000 have been internally displaced by the fighting, said a local priest who was sheltering people in his church.

“There are a lot of women and children, including some pregnant women,” said Father Cyprien Ahoure, head of Duekue Catholic mission. “We have a shortage of food, clothing and medicines. Living conditions are very difficult.”

More than 20,000 Ivorians in the west have fled across the border to Liberia since the dispute flared up, fearing a return to civil war.

Source: SGGP

World Bank steps up support for Vietnam’s higher education

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

The World Bank and the State Bank of Vietnam on Thursday signed a financing agreement and related legal documents for the Higher Education Development Policy Credit valued at US$50 million.
 
The credit is provided by the International Development Association, the arm of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries.


The program as a whole is designed to support implementation of the Vietnamese government’s higher education reform agenda. This operation aims to strengthen governance and accountability, rationalize financing, improve quality of teaching and research, and enhance transparency in financial management within the higher education sector. 


Addressing the signing ceremony, Ms. Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said: “Further progress in  access to, and quality of education and training at all levels is critical for achieving Vietnam’s development objectives and in particular its objective to build the skills needed to raise the competitiveness of its economy.”

Source: SGGP

WB steps up support for Vietnam’s higher education reform agenda

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:39 am

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$50 million for Vietnam’s higher education development policy program.


WB agreed November 30 additional support for the sustained implementation of the government’s reform agenda for the second operation in a programmatic series of three credits.

Students at a lecture hall. WB decides to give additional support for Vietnam’s  higher education development policy program

The credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA) – the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries.


The program as a whole is designed to support the Government’s implementation of its “Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006-2010” and its “higher education reform agenda”. 


This operation aims at to strengthen governance, rationalize financing, improve the quality of teaching and research, improve accountability for performance, and enhance transparency in financial management within the higher education sector. 


“The operation supports a number of policy measures that are being put in place by the Government, aimed at modernizing and improving the efficiency of Vietnam’s higher education system,” said Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam. “The reform program will help tertiary institutions in Vietnam begin to meet growing demand for better quality higher education, including through greater private participation in higher education provision.”


The education sector in Vietnam has expanded rapidly, with the fastest growth taking place at the upper levels of education.  As a result of these enrollment and demographic trends, gross and net enrolment rates have continued to increase for all education levels.  Higher education coverage, though, remains relatively low.

Source: SGGP

Northwest region steps up investment

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

City in first steps of biological development

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:54 am

Ho Chi Minh City has started construction of a 23 hectare-biotechnology center in District 12 with a total capital of US$100 million, aiming to take the city become the country’s center in the field.
 

BIMA bio-product made by the HCMC Biotechnology Center (Photo: SGGP)

The HCMC Biotechnology Center will comprise 12 advanced laboratories with estimated cost of US$2 million each. Six of them, for the study in agriculture and seafood fields, will be built by 2012 while construction of the rest, in medicine and environment, is scheduled to complete by 2015.


Equipment for the facility will just be bought if the center has enough skilled researchers to use them, said the center director Duong Hoa Xo, adding several laboratories in HCMC, invested with millions of dollar, now are blanketed due to a lack of human resources.


To operate the laboratories, the center will need 200-300 scientists. Since early 2007, it has appointed 17 staff to study master’s and doctoral degrees abroad. As of the third quarter of 2010, another 6 will come to Canada, Korea and Japan for training.


Achievements


The center has built and operated three laboratories specializing in molecular biology and technologies of plant cell and microorganism from 2006 to 2009


The three laboratories have generated PCR (polymerase chain reaction) kits, discovering four kinds of diseases on shrimps. The kits have helped the researchers to analyze disease samples with prices half lower than imported items.


The center is now studying to produce Lamp kits, which are cheaper and easier to use, to replace PCR kits.


Besides, the center also has a 2,500-square-meter conservatory for growing orchids and ornamental plants.


Moreover, it has produced BIMA bio-product containing antagonistic fungi Trichoderma which are able to annihilate and prevent fungus harmful to plants.

Source: SGGP

VN takes firm steps against money laundering

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm




VN takes firm steps against money laundering


QĐND – Saturday, August 14, 2010, 20:50 (GMT+7)

The Government has promulgated a National Action Plan on Anti-money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism for the period from August 2010-August 2011.

A decision to this effect coded 1451/QD-TTg was signed on August 12 by Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Accordingly, the Steering Committee for Anti-money Laundering was assigned to instruct and coordinate relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to implement the plan. Relevant ministries, sectors and agencies were assigned to study the practical plan and coordinate with the State Bank of Vietnam to carry out their tasks.

Under the national action plan, the Public Security Ministry will issue a circular to give instructions to relevant ministries and sectors to implement the Penal Code’s Article 251 on anti-money laundering.

The Finance Ministry will create a circular with instructions on the implementation of the Government’s Decree on Anti-money laundering in securities, insurance, rewarded games and entertainment.

The Justice Ministry will submit to jurisdiction levels the ratification of the convention on anti-transnational crimes.

The State Bank of Vietnam will check against limitations on regulations relating to high-risk customers and requirements of beneficiaries.

The Ministry of Information and Communications will disseminate information on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

In August 2011, the Justice Ministry will review and make proposals for revising (if necessary) the Penal Code, to be in line with the Article 2 of the international convention on combating financing of terrorism and special recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Source: VNA/Vietnam+

Source: QDND

Russia steps up battle to contain fire near nuclear site

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

MOSCOW, Aug 12, 2010 (AFP) – Russia on Thursday sent a special firefighting train to join over 3,400 firefighters battling to douse wildfires close to its top nuclear research centre, officials said.


While no blazes had been registered on the territory of the nuclear research centre in Sarov in central Russia itself, a nearby nature reserve has been on fire for around a week.


Authorities on Thursday were boosting firefighting teams to more than 3,400 people to keep the fire from spreading to Sarov, a town in the Nizhny Novgorod region still closed to foreigners as in Soviet times.


The nature reserve is located in nearby region of Mordovia and tree leaves and pine needles on the surface — and not the trees themselves — now are burning and smouldering, said Mikhail Turkov, a spokesman for the emergencies ministry’s Volga regional branch.

“Two planes and two helicopters are currently circling over Sarov,” Turkov told AFP. “Reconnaissance is being constantly conducted from the air.”


More than 3,400 people and a firefighting train were involved in putting out the fires, while a second train was currently on its way to the scene. The firefighting trains contain vast amounts of water and special hoses.

Volunteers relax as they prepare for extinguishing a fire at a forest near the village of Tokhushevo ,some 50 km outside Sarov on August 11, 2010. AFP

A new fire in the area broke out late Wednesday when lightening hit a pine tree, the local emergencies ministry said.


A spokeswoman for the Sarov nuclear center confirmed to AFP there were no fires on the centre’s territory and said its staff was not being evacuated. She declined to give further details.


Two soldiers were killed by blazing trees as they strove to put out a fire close to the centre on Monday.


Russia is battling what experts say is the worst heatwave in its millenium-long history which has affected nearly all areas of life and may shave off one percent from Russia’s gross domestic product, according to some estimates.

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Source: SGGP

UN aid push for Pakistan as US steps up relief

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 at 7:20 am

SUKKUR, Pakistan (AFP) – The UN has appealed for 460 million dollars in urgent aid to cope with Pakistan’s devastating floods as a US carrier joins the relief operation and medics warn of a wave of disease.


UN humanitarian chief John Holmes on Wednesday said the funds would be used for food, clean water, shelter and medical supplies for the millions affected by the natural disaster in a nation already beset by extremist violence.

Pakistani flood survivors evacuate a flooded area near Muzaffargarh. AFP

“We have a huge task in front of us to deliver all that is required as soon as possible,” he told donors in New York.


US Defence Secretary Robert Gates announced the deployment of an amphibious assault ship, taking the number of US helicopters available for the relief effort to 19.


“The flooding in Pakistan has the potential to be significantly more disastrous for the country than the earthquake several years ago,” he said, referring to a 2005 quake in Kashmir that killed more than 73,000 people.


US President Barack Obama “wants to lean forward in offering help to the Pakistanis”, Gates said, as Islamic charities step up a highly visible aid effort with the Islamabad government admitting to being overwhelmed.


The biggest challenge for doctors is injuries from collapsing buildings or other trauma, said one medic from Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).


“The second is skin infections. We receive a lot of patients with scabies, fungal infections, mostly because of overcrowding (in relief camps),” said the doctor, who gave his name as Waheed.


And the bigger challenge now building is water-borne disease and nutritional problems, he said.


“There’s a need of proper water supply and proper food supply because they have a water supply over here but it’s not up to the international standards.”


Pakistan’s government says 14 million people face direct or indirect harm from the floods, while the United Nations has warned that children are among the most vulnerable.


The UN believes 1,600 people have died in the floods, while Pakistan has confirmed 1,243 deaths.


Millions of displaced and hungry Pakistanis who watched flood waters swallow up their homes and crops face further challenges when the dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan starts Thursday.


Authorities promise to provide cooked meals to flood victims during Ramadan and compensate families of those killed, but few on the ground expect much assistance.


Officials in Punjab province said more than 90 percent of the town of Kot Addu had emptied and that thousands of factories had shut because of electricity and gas cuts.


The chief minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, said that up to 3.5 million people could be affected in the southern province.


“Up to 40 kilometres (25 miles) of Indus Highway is inundated and has been closed. The initial rough estimates show that losses of 35 billion rupees (411 million dollars), excluding crops, have been suffered by Sindh,” he said.


“What we need is substantial foreign aid and not peanuts. The aid being pledged so far is peanuts and not enough to meet the enormous challenge ahead.”


The World Food Programme said it was trying to get help to up to six million survivors at a cost of 150 million dollars.


Richard Holbrooke, US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said the enormous scale of the suffering in Pakistan was difficult to comprehend.


“Although the deaths are far less than they were in the (2004 Indian Ocean) tsunami, and in the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and in Haiti, the overall number of people affected is much larger than all of those combined,” he said.


“The international recognition of this disaster has not yet been sufficient to its dimensions,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations, warning that Pakistan faced “rolling crises” for a long time to come.

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Source: SGGP

Oil and gas group steps up restructuring plans

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 8:36 am




Oil and gas group steps up restructuring plans


QĐND – Thursday, June 17, 2010, 20:59 (GMT+7)

The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) is boosting its restructuring to increase its competitiveness in the market while limiting any competition from its subsidiaries. 


According to the head of PVN’s Board of Internal Controllers, Phan Thi Hoa, PVN will only hold 51 percent of the shares of its subsidiary companies that produce strategic products which can affect the national economy.


The group will also reduce its holdings in the PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation and the Drilling Mud Joint Stock Corporation to 36 percent, said Hoa. PVN also plans to cut its capital stake in the PetroVietnam Insurance Joint Stock Corporation to 25 percent by 2015.


Moreover, the group is set to complete its transformation from being a holding company to becoming a single-member limited liability company on July 1 in line with the Business Law.


It also plans to turn the PetroVietnam Gas Corporation and the Petec Trading and Investment Corporation into joint stock companies, finish a project to change the Vietsovpetro Joint Venture’s forms of operation and list the shares of several of its subsidiaries on the stock market.


Under the plans, PVN will gradually curb its external investments and focus more on production, said Hoa.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Obama steps up fight against oil spill

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 at 5:13 am

President Barack Obama stepped up the battle against a massive slick lapping the Gulf of Mexico coast, vowing never to abandon those imperiled by the worst US oil spill.


As BP pleaded for patience to allow time for its risky, complex “top kill” to work and plug the massive leak, Obama pledged “to continue to do whatever it takes to help Americans whose livelihoods have been upended by the spill.”


The US president, clad in hiking boots and with his sleeves rolled up, ordered the number of workers feverishly trying to contain and clean up the spill along the southern US coastline to be tripled.


He toured an oil-slicked Louisiana beach, picking up tar balls to examine them, as he outlined his administration’s “historic response” to the disaster which has spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.


His second trip to the region since an April 20 explosion tore through the Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles (80 kilometers) off shore, came as experts and residents hold their breath, hoping BP can stop the oil flowing from a fractured pipe.


Government scientists estimate some 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of crude a day have been gushing into the Gulf since the rig sank two days after the blast which killed 11 workers.


“I think the key element here is to exercise patience,” said BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles, adding the operation would last another 24 to 48 hours.


The British energy giant is using robotic submarines to pump heavy drilling fluids down the wellhead, hoping to drown the leak long enough to allow engineers to then seal it with cement.


“We’ll have periods where we’re pumping. We’ll have periods where we’re monitoring results of that pumping. We’ll have periods where we actually pump in this, what we call junk,” Suttles said, seeking to allay concerns over why BP had stopped the pumping several times since it began on Wednesday.


The disaster has already closed stretches of coastal fishing waters, endangering livelihoods which are also dependent on tourism, and threatening a catastrophe for Louisiana marshes, home to many rare species.


“To the people of the Gulf Coast, I know you’ve weathered your fair share of trials and tragedy,” Obama said, in a reference to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina which triggered a botched response by the former Bush administration.


“I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind,” Obama vowed. “We are on your side and we will see this through.”


He said 20,000 people had already been deployed to contain and clean up the spill, but that he had ordered Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Coast Guard chief Admiral Thad Allen to “triple the manpower in places where oil has hit the shore or is within 24 hours of impact.”


Allen, who has been charged with overseeing the government’s response, said initial signs suggested BP’s “top kill” was succeeding.


“They have been able to push the hydrocarbons down with the mud. The real challenge is to put enough into the well to keep the pressure where they can put a cement plug over the top,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


Government data released Thursday would mean between 18.6 million gallons and 29.5 million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf — far more than the roughly 11 million gallons of crude spilled in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.


Amid the environmental catastrophe, there were also growing fears for the health of cleanup workers exposed to the oil and chemical dispersants.


Two more crewmen aboard ships helping burn off surface oil were evacuated to hospital late Friday after falling ill, a day after the US Coast Guard announced that seven workers were evacuated for medical emergencies.

Obama said three million feet (910,000 meters) of hard boom had already been deployed in an effort to stop the oil spill reaching wetlands and beaches. But he admitted “there’s a limited amount” available.

“We’re going to try to get more boom manufactured, but that may take some time,” he said.

The commander of a federal research ship who has spent five days out at sea on the edges of the slick said a heavy smell of oil hung over the area.

“It’s a strong smell out there,” said commander Shepard Smith of the Thomas Jefferson, a 204-foot survey vessel. “It smells like freshly creosoted railroad ties.”

BP said Friday the oil spill had cost the firm about 930 million dollars, while the company’s market value has also dropped by billions.

Source: SGGP