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Posts Tagged ‘troubled’

Five shot dead in troubled Thai south: police

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

NARATHIWAT, Thailand, July 28, 2010 (AFP) – Suspected Islamist insurgents have shot dead four Muslim men while one militant was killed by security officials in Thailand’s restive southern provinces, police said Wednesday.

A 50-year-old villager was shot dead at his home late Tuesday in Narathiwat province while in neighbouring Yala province a 26-year-old security volunteer was killed in drive-by shooting.

Meanwhile, in Pattani province, two Muslims aged 27 and 34 were gunned down in separate attacks on Tuesday evening, police said.

(AFP file) A Thai security guard checks security at a shopping mall, near the site of a bomb blast that occured on July 25, in Bangkok on July 26, 2010.

Earlier the same day in Yala a 39-year-old suspected militant was shot dead in a confrontation with Thai soldiers.

Thailand this month extended emergency rule in three troubled southern provinces until October as it struggles to quell unrest that has left more than 4,100 people dead in six years.

The shadowy militants, whose exact goals are unclear, have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims, including many civilians.

Source: SGGP

Troubled Kyrgyzstan holds poll despite warnings

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Kyrgyzstan’s interim leaders on Sunday hailed a strong turnout in a referendum on a new constitution, held in defiance of warnings that it risked inflaming ethnic tensions after deadly clashes.

People cast their ballot papers into mobile voting box in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Sunday, June 27, 2010 during a referendum on a new constitution.

With five hours of voting left on the constitution which would make Kyrgyzstan a parliamentary democracy, turnout nationwide was already 42.98 percent, the central election commission said in a statement.

The interim authorities have defiantly pressed ahead with the vote despite horrific clashes between minority Uzbeks and majority Kyrgyz earlier this month that killed hundreds and sparked fears the country faced collapse.

Respectable numbers were showing up to cast their ballots in the southern city of Osh — the epicentre of the violence — with the situation calm and no reports of unrest, an AFP correspondent reported.

The turnout “rejects the myth that Kyrgyzstan is collapsing, that there is a civil war,” said deputy interim government leader Omurbek Tekebayev.

The new constitution would slash the powers of the president and is the centrepiece of the interim government’s blueprint for a new Kyrgyzstan after it came to power amid April riots that toppled president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Bakiyev, who has taken sanctuary in Belarus, was blamed by the authorities for last month’s bloodshed but has denied any involvement. Initial results are expected in the next two days, officials said.

“We will show the world that Kyrgyzstan is united,” said interim leader Roza Otunbayeva as she cast her vote in Osh. “We want to heal ourselves from the pain that struck as a result of the tragic events.”

The authorities temporarily lifted a curfew in the south — imposed in the wake of the violence — so that the vote could go ahead. It will be reimposed after the vote and run from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am, Otunbayeva said.

“I voted ‘yes’ so that the situation gets better. Many Uzbeks have suffered and several members of my family died. I am scared but I came to vote,” said Dlora Kazakbayeva, an Uzbek woman, after voting in Osh.

The new constitution — if adopted — will make the former Soviet republic ex-Soviet Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy in a region notorious for authoritarian leaders.

The referendum will set the stage for parliamentary elections that authorities have scheduled for early September to bring in a permanent government.

But several international observers warned the referendum is a premature step so soon after the violence.

Human Rights Watch said the referendum threatened to make the situation “even more volatile” while the International Crisis Group urged the government to reconsider the holding of the poll.

The list of voters was the main problem for the referendum and up to 16 percent of the electorate in some regions would not be able to vote, a total of some 200,000 people nationwide, Tekebayev admitted.

But he said the outside fears were unfounded and also slammed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other world leaders for suggesting that the country risked breaking up and “Afghanization”.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the West’s main election monitoring body, scrapped a planned mission of 300 observers to oversee the vote because of security concerns.

However large-scale violence has ceased and authorities said Saturday that all 75,000 people who fled the violence to neighbouring Uzbekistan had now returned.

The clashes, which killed 283 people according to the latest toll, were the worst ethnic violence to hit impoverished Kyrgyzstan since it gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago.

Victims of the unrest have told AFP that the violence was a brutal and orchestrated campaign by armed Kyrgyz militias targeting Uzbeks, who make up about 14 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s population of 5.3 million.

Officials have said the true death toll could have been as high as 2,000.

Source: SGGP

Inspection team reports troubled universities

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

Priority should be given to the establishment of private universities that have intensive investment or operate on a non-profit basis, while poor-quality ones should be shut down, an education supervisory team has said.

The National Assembly Standing Committee’s supervisory team made the statement at a meeting April 9 in Hanoi with related agencies to hear feedback on its report on Vietnam’s higher education quality.

The meeting was attended by NA Deputy Chairperson Tong Thi Phong and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan.

National Assembly Deputy Chairperson Tong Thi Phong (C) presides over an April 9 meeting in Hanoi to discuss the results of a recent inspection of higher education institutions by an NA supervisory team (Photo:

Poor standards reported

The team’s investigation showed that many private universities failed to meet requirements in terms of instructors and teaching facilities.
A lack of teachers was found at several schools, despite numerous offers of employment issued, according to the schools.

For example, the private Dong Do University has only 53 full-time instructors while it says it has offered jobs to as many as 375 lecturers.

The investigation also found that many instructors were overloaded, sometimes working up to 1,000 hours per year at different universities, while national regulations stipulate that teachers should work no more than 260 hours annually.

Overworked instructors thus have little or no time to update their professional skills and knowledge, let alone conduct their own research, experts said.

“Many private universities pay teachers on an hourly basis and even hold the view that the more the teachers teach, the better they become,” said Le Van Hoc, deputy head of the supervisory team.

Regarding teaching facilities, the team said most universities’ premises are too small or they have to pay rent to operate, which affects their operational efficiency.

Moreover, some schools use their profits to invest in other realty, rather than expanding school facilities, the team said.

Despite such problems, however, many schools have still seen enrollment increase year after year, at 13 percent on average, the team said.

For instance, the private Quang Trung University increased its enrollment from 700 students in 2006 to 3,300 in 2009. The same year at the private Hung Vuong University, students increased from 1,000 to 2,100.

More seriously, universities have even admitted students into faculties that have not yet been approved to operate, the team said.

Unqualified schools need stricter treatment

The supervisory team recommended that the Government limit the establishment of public universities in provinces and cities that fail to meet national requirements.

Students attend class at a university in Vietnam. Experts say the Government should prioritize evaluation and classification of universities to help improve management of training quality (Photo: VTC)

The Government should accelerate the evaluation of universities’ quality to form a basis for classification of schools for better management and control, the team added.

It also called for stricter punishment, including closures, of universities that fail to adhere to commitments related to training quality and that violate education management regulations.

Nguyen Quan, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, along with other experts, added it is unacceptable for universities not to earmark money for scientific research.

“If research is not undertaken, there will be no improvements in training quality,” he said.

Experts called the Ministry of Education and Training’s lack of determination to close unqualified universities “unacceptable.” They further urged the ministry to change its policies towards such universities.

Deputy PM Nguyen Thien Nhan said that poor standards at a number of universities were undeniable, but that it was excessive to say the ministry’s management was lax.

In fact, in recent years the Government and ministry have tightened regulations on university establishment and enrollment and applied several measures to improve higher education quality, he said.

Source: SGGP