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Posts Tagged ‘threatened’

Traditional handicrafts threatened by oblivion

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

Traditional handicraft products sold during Tet holidays such as fruit jams, flowers and ceremonial bronze incense burners have not yet gained popularity with people in Ho Chi Minh City.

Workers are casting incensories in Thong Tay Hoi handicraft village in Go Vap District. (Photo: SGGP)

The village of Thong Tay Hoi in Go Vap District which is famous for bronze casting of incense burners is usually busy at this time of year. However, the village is gradually witnessing a disappearance of this hundred year old craft. Most artisans have closed their workshops and moved on to other careers.


More than a decade ago Go Vap village was reputed for its seasonal flowers. Nowadays, most of the local people have switched to growing the more profitable ornamental flowers and bonsai trees. Besides, bonsai do not require much land to grow and farmers earn a substantial income from an area of only 100 sqm. Go Vap village currently provides a large variety of bonsai throughout the country even though bonsai trees only sell to those who can afford their high price.


Duong Sat (Railway) housing estate on Ly Thai To Street in District 3 which was once a jam manufacturing village is also facing hard times. Once a cottage industry it now has hundreds of its households switching to other businesses compelled by  increasing  raw material prices and lack of funds to modernize their units.


Old traditional handicrafts have lost their appeal in the new urban society of high-rise buildings. The question remains, should local authorities make efforts in restoring and preserving craft villages for future generations in Vietnam?

Source: SGGP

France fuel supply threatened by pensions standoff

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

PARIS (AFP) – France faced the threat of fuel shortages on Thursday, a day after a wave of strikes against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reform plans shut down 70 percent of its oil refining capacity.


The closure of the refineries carries the threat of further disruption if fuel stocks in depots and filling stations run low in coming weeks.

(AFP) An employee of French oil giant Total makes a victory sign after a meeting to decide on further strike action at the group’s refinerie in Donges

But Sarkozy remained determined to resist pressure to back down over his plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.


He told a meeting of right-wing lawmakers he would “go no further” in terms of concessions, according to allies present at the lunch.


“Until the end of my mandate, I will put new ideas and reforms on the table,” he said, promising to stay the course in the run-up to his expected 2012 re-election bid.


On Wednesday, a day after a massive nationwide protest brought more than a million workers and students into the streets, dozens of follow-on strikes erupted around the country, disrupting transport, schooling and services.


In some sectors the total number of strikers had declined since Tuesday.


But eight of France’s 12 refineries were in the course of shutting down operations — a process that can take 48 hours to complete — and another three saw their output severely disrupted by strike action.


“We are hardening our stance,” warned Charles Foulard, head of the CGT union’s branch at the French oil giant Total, confirming that members had voted for an open-ended strike.


A Total spokesman confirmed the shutdowns, but the chairman of the oil industry association said France’s network of fuel depots had enough stocks to keep its 12,500 filling stations running for the moment.


However Jean-Louis Schilansky warned that “If the situation continues as it is now, we’ll have to take a serious look at the problem of strategic stocks.”


There were scattered reports of panic buying causing tail-backs at filling stations and local shortages, and — as more fuel will have to be imported rather than refined in France — price rises were expected.


One Total refinery near Nantes in the west voted to continue its strike until Monday. Another near Rouen in the north, run by Petroplus, rolled over its strike into Thursday.


As the petrochemical industry complained it was losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to the refinery strike, unions pledged more protests on Saturday. Bernard Thibault, leader of the CGT, said they were “looking for new ways to pressure the government.”


Tuesday’s day of action saw students and school pupils join the rallies for the first time, swelling the marchers’ numbers to between 1.2 and 3.5 million across the country, according to rival police and labour estimates.


On Wednesday only one high-speed intercity link in three was operating and only four in 10 regional expresses, according to the SNCF national train firm.


International rail services such as the Eurostar to London and the Thalys to Belgium and the Netherlands were unaffected, and flights from Paris’s main airports returned to normal after Tuesday’s disruption.


Sarkozy’s supporters have stepped up moves to push the pensions reform bill through parliament, gambling that protests will subside once it is passed.


But the vote on the bill in the French senate, which had been expected on Friday or Saturday, has been pushed back until October 20 to allow more time for debate, a lawmaker told AFP.


The right-wing president insists that with people living longer and France’s public deficit at record levels, the French will have to work longer in order to help stem the shortfall in the social security account.


Unions and the Socialist opposition object that Sarkozy is making workers pay an unfair share of the bill for the financial crisis and have vowed to resist any attempt to abandon the cherished age-60 retirement age.

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Source: SGGP

NY car bomb threatened ‘very deadly event’: officials

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

A car bomb that threatened a “very deadly event” failed to go off Saturday in the heart of New York‘s Times Square, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday.


“We are very lucky… (to) avoid what could have been a very deadly event,” Bloomberg said at an impromptu press conference. “The bomb squad confirmed that the suspicious vehicle indeed did contain an explosive device.”


Bloomberg also said the bomb was homemade and “looked amateurish” but “certainly could have exploded.”


New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the device consisted of three propane tanks, consumer-grade fireworks, two gasoline containers, wires and two clocks.


Times Square, one of the busiest areas of New York, remained under police lock down hours after the incident as security forces entered a huge manhunt for the driver of the dark green Nissan Pathfinder.


“We do not know who drove the car,” Bloomberg said. “We have no idea who did this or why.”

Police seal off Times Square. A car bomb that threatened a very deadly event failed to go off Saturday in the heart of New York’s Times Square, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday

Kelly said that the Nissan with tinted windows had license plates belonging to a different vehicle and had been caught driving in the area just before the incident.


Police began “observing white smoke inside and coming out of the rear of the vehicle,” Kelly said, and “began to clear pedestrians.” Fire fighters, then bomb squad staff were called in.


No detail was given on how the components were meant to have fitted together and whether the clocks were used as timers.


The bomb scare raised tensions across the United States where security forces have been on edge since a Christmas Day alleged attempt by a Nigerian man to set off a bomb on a US airliner.


The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed “on the excellent work by the NYPD in relation to the incident in Times Square” at about 10:45 pm Saturday (0245 GMT Sunday).


“The president commended the quick action by the NYPD and asked John Brennan to communicate to NYPD that the federal government is prepared to provide support,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.


New York City police are on constant alert after a string of terrorist plots and alleged plots in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Source: SGGP

People’s health threatened as climate changes, say experts

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2009 at 10:15 am








The conference is held by Vietnam and Hungary to share experiences in the fight against climate change and newly appeared diseases on November 4-5 in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Scientists, at a conference held in Hanoi November 4-5, said climate change would affect around ten percent of Vietnam’s population due to flooding, cause a loss of ten percent in the county’s gross domestic product and bring several fatal infectious diseases.


According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 percent of all diarrhea cases around the world, and six percent of malaria cases in low and average-income countries would be caused by climate change.


Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu said climate change threatened people’s health, especially poor people in Vietnam.


Tens of thousands of people contracted digestive diseases, including cholera, typhoid and diarrhea every year.


The minister said some fatal diseases have also appeared recently like SARS, A/ H5N1 influenza (bird flu) and H1N1 influenza (swine flu).


In addition, the number of people contracting existing epidemic diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria, were increasing year by year.


The country had 30,000 cases of dengue fever in 2000, but it rose to 80,000 cases this year.


Climate change is also expected to widely spread zoonotic diseases, diseases transmitted from animals to humans.


The conference was held by Vietnam and Hungary to share experiences in the fight against climate change and newly appeared diseases.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share