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Icham sends love towards Central provinces

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:30 am

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, shortly known as Icham, had a successful charitable trip on December 4 at Vinh City in the central province of Nghe An with full of heart-loving donation to the local flood victims

Icham members posing with Cua Nam 2 Primary School pupils on Dec 4 (Photo: Courtesy of Icham)

Early Saturday morning, the chamber’s delegation led by Chairman Tomaso Andreatta was accompanied with Vinh City Communist Youth Union to visit local families who suffered damages from two latest dangerous floods and also the pupils of the Cua Nam 2 Primary School.

Besides expressing deep sympathy to the people, the chairman donated VND82 million (US$4,200) with expectation to help them recover and get back to normal life.

The donation was mostly collected from two Italian companies of Intesa Sanpaolo and Rino Mastrotto Group. The others from the chamber; including Academia, Datalogic Scanning, Giovanni Ronchi, Interglobal, Studio DAG and Viet Y Trading; also joined hands in raising the donation.

Icham was established on November 5, 2008 with objectives to advance and develop the bilateral trade between Vietnam and Italy. The chamber already has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh so far.

Source: SGGP

Super typhoon roars towards Philippines

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 at 2:24 am

MANILA (AFP) – Typhoon Megi gathered strength as it barrelled towards the northern Philippines on Monday, with authorities evacuating thousands of villagers to safer ground hours before it was to hit land.

Military rescuers and volunteers prepare life-saving equipment at Camp Aguinaldo in Manila. AFP

State weather forecasters said Megi has developed into a super typhoon and was expected to slam into the extreme northern Philippines by Monday and then cut westwards towards the East Sea (Vietnam).

It was then expected to hit China, becoming the country’s strongest typhoon this year and prompting the weather agency to issue its second-highest level of alert, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China warned its vessels to take shelter in ports and urged local authorities to prepare for emergencies caused by wind and rain, the report said.

Megi could uproot trees, blow away houses made of light material, trigger landslides and cause storm surges in coastal areas, Philippine authorities said as they began evacuating people from vulnerable areas.

It is expected to hit the northern province of Cagayan on Monday, and as of Sunday afternoon was already 450 kilometres (388 miles) east of the area, the state weather bureau said.

The storm was packing maximum winds of 195 kilometres an hour near the centre and gusts of up to 230 kilometres an hour, making it a super typhoon, forecasters said.

“Some are still gauging the situation, but those who are living in low areas have voluntarily gone to higher ground,” said Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

He said thousands of people have already temporarily relocated from communities along the Cagayan river system, which had overflowed during previous typhoons.

President Benigno Aquino ordered all government agencies to be on high alert to prevent casualties, while the coast guard was instructed to ban all fishing vessels from setting off to sea in the north.

“The president is reiterating that all agencies concerned should be ready for the approaching super typhoon Juan (Megi),” said Abigail Valte, a deputy spokeswoman for Aquino.

She warned the public against complacency, amid reports that the weather in some northern provinces remained clear as of early Sunday.

But Norma Talosig, regional chief of the Office of Civil Defence, said the government was not ruling out forced evacuation for those who refused to leave their homes despite being told to do so.

“If we have to conduct forced evacuations, we’ll do it for their safety,” Talosig said over national radio. “Our main objective is the safety of the community, the safety of the responders.”

In Manila, disaster officials said food packs, medicine and rescue equipment, including rubber boats, were ready in areas expected to be lashed by the typhoon.

National police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said additional search and rescue teams from Manila were en route to the north to bolster forces there.

“We have also declared a full alert status all over the country,” Cruz said.

Relief charities were also mobilising in preparation for any damage by the typhoon.

“We have prepositioned goods as well as a standby supplier for rice in case people will be evacuated here in Isabela. We will continue to monitor the typhoon,” said Fe Olonan, World Vision program manager in Isabela — a province of Luzon which is on high-alert.

The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 typhoons a year, some of them deadly.

Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma struck the northern Philippine island of Luzon within a week of each other in September and October last year, triggering the worst flooding in recent history.

The twin storms killed more than 1,000 people, affected nearly 10 million and caused damage worth 4.3 billion dollars according to the World Bank and international humanitarian agencies.

The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in its latest advisory Sunday said Megi had undergone “rapid intensification”, but could weaken as it moves across mountainous terrain after hitting Luzon.

Megi would then begin to steadily re-intensify as it leaves the country heading for the East Sea (Vietnam), it said.

Source: SGGP

Super typhoon roars towards Philippines

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 at 10:24 am

Typhoon Megi gathered strength as it barrelled towards the northern Philippines on Sunday, authorities warning of possible forced evacuations and the threat of landslides.

Megi, which has developed into a super typhoon, was expected to be the strongest typhoon of the year in China, forecasters there said, according to the state Xinhua news agency.

The Philippine state weather bureau said Megi, likely to make landfall in the country by Monday, could uproot trees, blow away houses made of light material, trigger landslides and cause storm surges in coastal areas.

A pedestrian jumps over a puddle in a flooded street in Manila on October 16, 2010

As of 11:00 am (0300 GMT), the typhoon was located 520 kilometres (322 miles) east of Cagayan province, on the northeastern coast of the main island of Luzon.

It packed maximum winds of 195 kilometres per hour near the centre and gusts of up to 230 kilometres per hour. Public storm alert warnings have already been hoisted over several northern Philippine provinces.

Norma Talosig, regional chief of the Office of Civil Defence, said the weather was deceptively calm over Cagayan on Sunday, although they expect it to change drastically within the day.

She said residents in low-lying areas as well as those in coastal communities were being advised to move to safer areas and if they refused they would be forcibly evacuated.

“If we have to conduct forced evacuations, we’ll do it for their (residents’) safety,” Talosig said over national radio. “Our main objective is the safety of the community, the safety of the responders.”

In Manila, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said food packs, medicine and rescue equipment, including rubber boats, are ready in areas expected to be lashed by the typhoon.

Council chief Benito Ramos said “preemptive evacuations” were being carried out in some townships in Cagayan, including near rivers that could overflow their banks.

National police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said additional search and rescue teams from Manila were en route to the north to bolster forces there.

“We have also declared a full alert status all over the country,” Cruz said.

The Philippines is battered by an estimated 20 typhoons a year, some of them deadly.

Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma struck Luzon within a week of each other in late September and early October last year, triggering the worst flooding in recent history.

The twin storms killed more than a thousand people, affected nearly 10 million and caused damage worth 4.3 billion dollars according to the World Bank and international humanitarian agencies.

China’s National Meteorological Center said Megi was expected to enter the South China Sea on Monday and could cause wild winds and huge waves in the next three days, Xinhua said.

Source: SGGP

Land of nine dragons looks towards Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 4:00 am

Land of nine dragons looks towards Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday

QĐND – Sunday, October 03, 2010, 20:36 (GMT+7)

Together with provinces and cities across the country, the Mekong Delta is looking towards the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.

Most localities in the region have carried out activities to celebrate the capital’s 1,000th birthday.

My Tho City in Tien Giang province got a facelift: Roads have been upgraded, widened and decorated with posters, flags and flowers to celebrate the grand event.

Three other projects in My Tho, the Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Rach Gam and 30/4 Roads, have been completed and put into operation to welcome national and provincial political events, particularly the capital’s birthday.

Teams of workers had to work day and night to finish these projects before the grand ceremony. Huynh Ngoc Vuong, director of the Quoc Vuong Ltd Company, says that the company encouraged its engineers and workers to try their best to finish the project 15 days ahead of schedule.

Tien Giang province has also put many key projects into operation, including 34 bridges on Road 865 to promote socio-economic development in Dong Thap Muoi; the Tien Giang Maternity Hospital; Road 863; Xuan Hoa canal; and Binh Minh Kindergarten. These projects were built at a cost of more than VND500 billion.

Ben Tre province has chosen 157 special ornamental plants to display in Hanoi, including 2 18m-dragons made by ficus trees, 140 bonsai in pots and two models of hexagonal houses. Artisans made great efforts to carefully cut and design their work to make it perfect for the grand celebrations.

The Dong Thap province prepared many art and cultural performances to celebrate the event, including a mobile information festival about the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.

The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is also attending the Thang Long-Hanoi International Tourism Festival and exhibition in Hanoi to promote its tourism potential. Four tourism sites are considered keys to communal development, including Dong Giang Sa Dec Islet, Tan Hoi Trung Lotus and Weaving villages and Long Khanh – Hong Ngu Beach.

More than 1,000 books, newspapers, magazines and e-documents about the Communist Party of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh and the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi are being displayed at the provincial library, and art and cultural performances are being held all across the province from October 1 to 10.

Activities to mark the Party congress at the grassroots level as well as the capital’s birthday are also being held in the southernmost provinces of Kien Giang and Ca Mau. Meetings were held with heroes of the people’s armed forces, heroes of labour and Vietnamese heroic mothers in most Mekong Delta provinces before they left for Hanoi to attend the grand ceremony.

Along with people all across the country, people in the land of nine dragons are celebrating with special activities to share their happiness and pride with Hanoians on the special occasion of the capital’s 1,000th anniversary.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

‘Yes’ vote edges towards victory in Kenya referendum

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

Supporters of Kenya’s proposed new constitution have mustered twice as many votes as its opponents with more than six million ballots already tallied on Thursday, provisional results showed.

No victor was yet declared by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) but the “yes” camp of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga looked to be headed for a comfortable win.

The IIEC did not announce turnout but polling officials put the figure at around 70 percent after polling stations closed on Wednesday.

With 12.4 million registered voters in the country, a 70 percent turnout would mean the “yes” camp needs around 4.3 million votes to secure victory.

A Kenyan poll worker helps count votes at a local polling station in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret.

The latest provisional figures early Thursday showed it already had 4.1 million to the “no” camp’s two million.

A dispute over the results of the December 2007 election which led to deadly violence started amid suspicion over the transparency of the tallying process, which lasted three days, and the independence of the electoral commission.

The electoral board’s members were subsequently changed, its methods modernised under international guidance and the results came in fast on Wednesday.

The provincial breakdown of the provisional results showed that the Rift Valley, which saw some of the worst 2007-2008 violence, voted overwhelmingly against the new constitution.

Led by Higher Education Minister William Ruto, the “no” camp has criticised the proposed constitution over clauses on abortion and land but promised to accept the outcome of the referendum.

Source: SGGP

Haiti moves towards first post-quake election

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm

PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 31, 2010 (AFP) – Election candidates in Haiti are jockeying this week ahead of a registration deadline for key November polls, the first since January’s deadly earthquake.

Haitian President Rene Preval (C) and Dominican President Leonel Fernandez (L) place the first stone for the construction of a university campus on July 31, 2010 in Ouanaminthe, 346 km north of Pört-au-Prince. AFP

The vote is seen as a key step towards rebuilding the country and its political institution, and has attracted speculation that hip hop star Wyclef Jean may make a run for president.

The UN meanwhile said it would guaranteeing security for the vote and other international bodies also promised a strong monitoring presence.

“Everything is ready. We are perfectly capable of giving the necessary assistance to Haitian authorities,” Edmond Mulet, the UN secretary general’s representative in Haiti, said ahead of the August 7 registration deadline

Some 70 political parties and coalitions have registered so far for the national elections, originally scheduled for February 28 and March 3, to choose a successor to President Rene Preval, along with all 99 members of the Chamber of Deputies and one third of the members of the Senate.

The vote was postponed after the devastating January 12 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless.

Among potential candidates is Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean, who has been coy about whether he intends to stand.

A statement released by his family Friday said Jean, who grew up and lives in the United States, would make a public announcement later in the week.

“At this time, (Jean) remains committed to helping people in his homeland of Haiti and has not made a final decision on whether to seek elected office,” the statement said.

A UN Goodwill Ambassador for Haiti, Jean has worked since January to bring much-needed attention to the poverty-stricken nation, holding fundraisers in the United States and escorting Hollywood stars on visits around the ravaged capital Port-au-Prince.

Six months ahead of the end of his term in February 2011, some here are calling for the incumbent Preval to step down early, accusing him of trying to hold onto power or manipulating the electoral council.

Preval, who also served as president from 1996 to 2001, is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

On Thursday, the Organization of American States (OAS) and regional umbrella group for Caribbean nations (CARICOM) promised a thorough observer mission to monitor the electoral process, from candidate registration until the proclamation of results.

“This is the largest, longest and most expensive mission ever undertaken by both organizations,” OAS and CARICOM diplomats said.

The elections are being held as Haiti — which has suffered political turmoil for decades — tries to recover from the chaos caused by the January earthquake.

The Caribbean nation — the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — has had a long history of dictatorship followed by years of political turmoil and civil unrest.

In 2004, some 1,000 US Marines followed by thousands of UN peacekeepers brought order to Haiti after a bloody rebellion against president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s rule. A provisional government was then installed.

Quake survivors say poor governance, corruption and shoddy construction magnified the effects of the 7.0-magnitude January quake, which was much less powerful than an 8.8-magnitude quake in Chile in February, but cause far more damage and loss of life.

Source: SGGP

New tropical depression heading towards East Sea

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:30 am

A new tropical low-pressure system is set to move from the waters off the Philippines and is to the East Sea by the evening of July 18, according to the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center.

As of 7am this morning, the tropical depression laid centered 16 degrees north latitude and 122 degrees east longitudes, east of Luzon Island. Strongest winds near the storm’s center reached 39-49 kilometers an hour.
In the next 24 hours, the system will move west-northwestward at a speed of 15 kilometers and is likely to intensify.

Affected by the tropical depression, the eastern East Sea will be rough with winds up to 61 kilometers an hour.

Source: SGGP

US attitude towards Agent Orange more positive

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm

US attitude towards Agent Orange more positive

QĐND – Friday, July 16, 2010, 21:20 (GMT+7)

Tran Xuan Thu, General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), said US attitude towards solving the AO/dioxin dilemma in Vietnam has become more positive.

Tran Xuan Thu, who is also VAVA Vice President, said at an interview with VNA on the threshold of the third hearing on Agent Orange to be held by the US House of Representatives on July 15.

The hearing session aims to consider steps to be taken to meet demand from Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims and those exposed to the toxic chemical sprayed by US troops during the war in Vietnam.

Thu told VNA that the campaign in support of Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims that has been running in all the four available channels has contributed to a shift in the US attitude towards the problem, not only in words but also in action.

The campaign, involving the Vietnamese and US governments, Vietnam-US Dialogue Group on AO/dioxin, the VAVA and progressive world forces, has helped bring about modest changes to the attitude of not only the US public but also politicians, he said.

First of all, the US side, for example, including politicians, has acknowledged and talked about AO victims more openly and no longer considers them as simply the disabled. Secondly, the US side has offered technological and financial solutions to detoxify a hotbed of dioxin in the central city of Danang.

Most recently in June, the Vietnam-US negotiation team has worked out a plan of action with a budget of some US$300 million for 10 years to prioritize healthcare for AO victims and clean up the environment.

Representing three million victims in Vietnam, VAVA expressed thanks to the negotiation team for their tireless efforts in contributing to solid solutions to this legacy in Vietnam, said the AO watchdog leader.

Thanks were expressed not only for humanitarian reasons but also in an effort to boost relations between the two countries, Thu added.

“The $300 million plan is worthy of respect at a point when Vietnam is poor and victims’ need is huge,” he said.

However, he emphasized the scheme is far from meeting what is needed for the problem in relation to human beings and the environment.

“Vietnamese AO victims are looking for the deployment of the program as soon as possible,” Thu emphasized.

Charles Bailey, Director of the Ford Foundation Special Initiative on Agent Orange/dioxin, and Susan Berresford, former Ford Foundation President, both confirmed that it was quite possible to solve the AO impact on humans and the environment in Vietnam.

However, they acknowledged the need for significant financial resources. They asked the US government to play a key role in meeting this financial demand and work with other donors to help the Vietnamese government and people address the problem.

Tom Harkin, who chairs the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, shared sympathy with AO victims on their sufferings and losses during his visit to Vietnam in early July. He also emphasized that the US should consider solving the AO problem in Vietnam because of the issue of moral responsibility of those who had caused the problem.

The AO issue was not only the pain of Vietnam but also of many families in the US , said the US senator.

Hearing sessions held by the US House of Representatives and the International People’s Tribunal of Conscience as well as the consistent support raised by progressive world forces have contributed considerably to AO victims’ struggle for justice.

Eni F. H. Faleomaveaga, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who summoned the upcoming hearing, also launched and chaired the previous two sessions in May, 2008 and June, 2009.

Unlike the previous two sessions, the upcoming hearing will include VAVA representatives and the victims themselves. They are medical doctor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, VAVA Vice President, and Tran Thi Hoan, a second generation victim, who lost two legs and one hand. The 23-year-old girl is a student of the Ho Chi Minh City Foreign Language and Information Technology University.

Thu concluded the interview by expressing wishes on behalf of three million Vietnamese AO victims that the hearing with the first-ever presence of Vietnamese AO victims would promote a US sense of responsibility towards the problem and push the US to take another step forwards in finding a solution to the problem.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

‘Significant advances’ made towards AIDS vaccine

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

After decades of trying to develop a vaccine against AIDS, global health authorities are finally beginning to make “significant advances” towards their goal, Anthony Fauci, head of the US institute of infectious diseases, told AFP.

“Up to a few years ago, even though we have been trying for a couple of decades to develop a vaccine, unsuccessfully, we have not even had a small clue that we were going in the right direction,” Fauci told AFP.

But two key events that have taken place in the past few years have changed that and led to “significant advances in the development of a vaccine,” said Fauci, who is head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).

Dr. Sanjay Phogat, a scientist at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative laboratory, looks over test results in New York

The first of those key turning-point events was a clinical trial of an HIV/AIDS vaccine which was conducted last year in Thailand on 16,000 people.

“The results showed a small to modest positive effect on the acquisition of HIV — not good enough to be able to distribute a vaccine but good enough to tell us that it was a conceptual advance that at least makes us feel now that a vaccine is possible,” Fauci said.

Then, last week, scientists at NIAID published a paper in the journal Science about research that had helped them to identify two antibodies in an HIV-positive individual, which, when put together “block 90 percent” of HIV strains, Fauci said.

“What that is telling us is that you can identify the portion of the virus that you would like to use as a vaccine, because we know that when the antibodies bind to that portion, it knock down the virus,” he said.

The next step will be to try to inject that part of the virus into an individual to produce a protective response against HIV infection, said Fauci in an interview with AFP days before the 18th international conference on AIDS, to be held in Vienna, Austria.

The Thai study and the report in Science have left scientists feeling “much more confident that ultimately we will have a vaccine” against HIV/AIDS, although it was still impossible to say exactly when that would be, said Fauci.

An AIDS vaccine was probably several years away, which means that in the meantime, the fight against HIV/AIDS must continue to focus on prevention by using tried and true tactics such as condom distribution, male circumcision, blocking mother-to-baby transmission and offering syringe exchange programs, he said.

Ways have to be found, too, to improve access to these preventive measures, especially in developing countries where only 20 percent of “populations who would benefit” actually have access to them, he added.

Along with improving access to the preventive methods, Fauci urged global health authorities and governments to continue to work to develop other forms of prevention, such as microbicides.

And he recommended “treating as many people as we possibly can because we know that when you treat more people, you lessen the probability that they would infect other people.

“You could almost have what we call treatment as a form of prevention,” until a vaccine is finally developed, said Fauci.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam makes great strides towards MDGs

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Vietnam makes great strides towards MDGs

QĐND – Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 22:13 (GMT+7)

Vietnam has made considerable achievements in the field of healthcare, education and poverty and hunger combat, announced a senior Vietnamese diplomat.

At the opening session of the 14th annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva on May 31, Vu Anh Quang, Minister of the Vietnam mission to the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and other international organisations in Geneva, affirmed that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are also part of Vietnam ’s socio-economic development strategies.

“Vietnam regards the right to food and food security, and the right to education and access to basic healthcare, especially for women and children as primordial aims while implementing the MDGs”, he said.

High on the meeting’s agenda is human right issues in the implementation of the MDGs. The issues will also be discussed at the Summit on Human Rights, scheduled to take place in September.

Source: Vietnam+

Source: QDND