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Posts Tagged ‘unveils’

Ireland unveils 15-bln-euro austerity plan to secure bailout

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 5:20 am

DUBLIN, Nov 25, 2010 (AFP) – Ireland unveiled a 15-billion-euro austerity package Wednesday required to unlock an international bailout, slashing public sector pay and pensions but refusing to raise corporation tax.

With the eyes of Europe on his debt-ridden nation, Prime Minister Brian Cowen said his four-year package of cuts and tax increases would restore shattered confidence, calling it a signpost on the road to recovery.

A women looks at works of art for sale from the Bank of Ireland auction in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, on November 24, 2010. AFP

“We can and we will pull through this as we have in the past,” Cowen told a news conference.

“We are a smart, resilient, proud people and we are going to come through this challenge because we love our country.”

The 20-billion-dollar plan, to be followed by a budget on December 7, is an essential step towards Ireland receiving a bailout of up to 85 billion euros (114 billion dollars) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The aim is to slash the public deficit to below three percent of gross domestic product, in line with EU rules, after it ballooned to 32 percent of GDP this year.

Among the key points of the package, sales tax will be raised to 23 percent from 21 percent by 2014, but the 12.5-percent corporation tax rate — a key attraction for foreign companies to invest in Ireland — will be maintained.

The government said it expected unemployment to be brought below 10 percent by 2014, from its current level of over 13 percent.

The minimum wage will be cut by one euro to 7.65 euros an hour, but the government said it would still be one of the highest rates in the EU.

The EU’s economic commissioner Olli Rehn said the package was “a sound basis for the negotiations” on the international bailout.

As Ireland strove to prove it was trying to get its house in order, another heavily-indebted eurozone country, Portugal, was paralysed by a general strike on Wednesday called to protest against deep spending cuts.

The EU fears Portugal will be the next eurozone nation to require a bailout after Greece and Ireland.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany was prepared to help Ireland, but its support was conditional on Dublin “making clear what steps (it) must take to get back on a path of stabilisation”.

Cowen meanwhile fought off calls from the opposition Tuesday to call a snap election, insisting the budget must be passed first.

Irish lawmakers are unlikely to vote on the budget until January, meaning that an election could not take place until February or March.

The EU has told the main Fine Gael opposition party that while the plan’s fiscal targets are non-negotiable it will re-negotiate specific details with an incoming government, finance spokesman Michael Noonan said.

Noonan insisted the plan was “disappointing in its poverty of ambition and detail.”

Experts warned that the plan would not immediately ease Ireland’s problems.

“Uncertainty caused by the collapse of the government… will continue to hang over Ireland in the coming weeks,” National Irish Bank economist, Ronnie O’Toole, said.

IHS Global Insight economist Sonia Pangusion predicted “the downtrend in consumer confidence will accelerate,” adding that the plan for an export-based recovery “increases Ireland’s economic risk.”

The government has been under pressure since caving in and agreeing to accept the bailout on Sunday night.

Despite reports that it is worth 85 billion euros, Cowen told parliament earlier Wednesday the amount had still to be decided as negotiations were ongoing.

The international loans to Dublin are in part intended to shore up banks left with huge debts from the collapse of an overheated property market.

But the bailout is also designed to stem fears of contagion in other eurozone nations such as Portugal and even the far larger Spanish economy, which came under pressure on the markets.

Spain’s deputy finance minister Jose Manuel Campa insisted that “an abyss separates us from Ireland”.

Despite the efforts to shore up the single European currency, the euro fell slightly below 1.34 Wednesday after sinking below 1.33 dollars earlier because of fears over the eurozone and the Korean crisis. 

Source: SGGP

China unveils jet to rival Boeing and Airbus

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 7:30 am

UK unveils spending cuts to tackle huge deficit

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

LONDON (AFP) – Britain will unveil billions of pounds in public spending cuts Wednesday in a sweeping review of government expenditure expected to trigger half a million job losses as it tackles a huge deficit.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition wants to cut spending by 83 billion pounds (130 billion dollars, 95 billion euros) by 2014-15, and the review will reveal exactly where the axe will fall.

A job seeker (R) attends a work-finding workshop in east London. AFP file

In its biggest challenge since taking power in May, the coalition wants to eliminate Britain’s 154.7-billion-pound deficit — a legacy of the previous Labour government and the recession — over the next five years.

Finance minister George Osborne is expected to say his plans, which will see departmental spending reduced by an average of 25 percent, will map out “a hard road to a better Britain,” according to reports.

Osborne is set to brace the public sector for nearly 500,000 jobs to be culled over the next four years — a fact unwittingly revealed by a Cabinet minister who was photographed reading confidential briefing papers.

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, was snapped Tuesday with the documents on his lap as he was driven away from his office.

Britain’s welfare and justice systems are expected to be hard hit, and the BBC is braced for a 16 percent cut to its budget in real terms over the next six years, the broadcaster’s website reported.

The coalition started the process Tuesday, announcing that it would shrink the country’s armed forces and scrap key assets like its flagship aircraft carrier in a defence review that forms part of the wider programme of cuts.

Cameron said 17,000 service personnel would go from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy by 2015 — but vowed there would be “no cut whatsoever” to the level of support for forces in Afghanistan.

The harshness of the measures has worried some economists who fear they could plunge Britain’s economy back into recession, a concern shared by the opposition Labour party, which was ousted from power in the May election.

The International Monetary Fund has enthusiastically endorsed Osborne’s plans, and European governments are watching closely.

Trade unions have reacted with anger and thousands of union members and protesters rallied in London Tuesday, waving placards that said “Don’t Break Britain” and “No more cuts”.

Labour’s finance spokesman, Alan Johnson, has also warned that the cuts were being made “too deeply and too quickly”.

The scale of the cuts has provoked disquiet among some Liberal Democrats, the junior coalition partners, who fear they could cause lasting social damage.

Source: SGGP

Billion-VND crown unveils its glamorous beauty in city

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

The crown for the most-anticipated beauty pageant Miss Vietnam Global 2010, which cost approximately VND1 trillion (US$52,000), officially come out to public, not in the pageant’s venue – Nha Trang city but in Ho Chi Minh City.

The billion-VND crown will find out its life-time owner on Aug 21 (Photo: ZELA)

The crown is inlaid with 606 diamonds and Amethyst of 2-12 carats.

The design was inspired with the lotus image, which is well-known to the Vietnamese culture. The lotus represents the innocent and passionate elegance of the Vietnamese young women.

In addition, every petal reminds people of the sea waves touching the beach. That is also a very common way to draw the whole description of the Vietnam country, a beautiful and peaceful place sitting next to the blue beach.

The biggest Amethyst which is placed at center of the crown, replicates the image of the third eye – a spiral culture that relates to intelligence.

The maker, ZELA Co – a branch of the Diamond Trading Company, told that their gem craftsmen had to work during 1,000 hours before completing the final product. 

The crown will be sent to  Nha Trang city before the final show of the Miss Vietnam Global 2010 on Aug 21 in Vinepearl Land.

Source: SGGP

Hanoi unveils electric coach tours of old quarter

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hanoi unveils electric coach tours of old quarter

QĐND – Saturday, July 17, 2010, 20:48 (GMT+7)

Hanoi tourism authorities have launched two new tours of the 1,000-year-old old quarter, home to 36 old streets named after guilds, by electric vehicles.

Coaches, begin rolling along Hanoi’s old quarter Saturday, is a brainchild of the Hoan Kiem District People’s Committee and Dong Xuan Joint Stock Company.

They will use 20 battery-powered coaches, each of which can carry 12 passengers, on two routes around the old quarter.

One will take people around Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Lake of the Returned Sword, and the other to some of the guild streets, food courts, and historical relics.

They will leave at 20-minute intervals from 8:30am to 11pm every day.

A ride costs from VND10,000 (53 US cents) to VND30,000.

The old quarter, situated near the equally historic Hoan Kiem Lake, was created in the 11th century, when the 100-hectare area was home to 36 guilds, each of which gave its name to a street. Thus, there is a Hang Bac Street which was once home to silversmiths and a Hang Mam Street named for fish sauce.

There are 4,000 houses here, a fourth of which are more than 100 years old.

Source: tuoitrenews

Source: QDND

Malaysia unveils new development plan to spur growth

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2010 at 10:42 am

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10, 2010 (AFP) – Malaysia on Thursday unveiled a 69-billion-dollar plan intended to spur growth and attract much-needed foreign investment as it faces increasing competition from regional neighbours.

The country is aiming to become a high-income economy by 2020 rather than continuing to rely on its low-cost structure to make it attractive.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak unveils a development plan in the parliament house in Kuala Lumpur on June 10, 2010.AFP photo

The 2010-2015 Tenth Malaysia Plan is Prime Minister Najib Razak’s first since taking office last year, where he also set new targets under the five-year blueprint to raise growth and trim a ballooning fiscal deficit.

Malaysia is aiming for 6.0 percent growth this year but as the region powers back to health, it is facing competition from Southeast Asian neighbours such as Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam that erode Malaysia’s attractiveness.

“The global economic landscape today has changed significantly and Malaysia can no longer depend on a low-cost structure to remain competitive internationally,” Najib said in a speech in parliament.

“Globalisation, liberalisation and the emergence of countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, the Middle East and countries in the region have intensified the competition for trade and investment,” he added.

The export-dependent country forecast average annual economic growth of 6.0 percent over the five years, and targeted to reduce its fiscal deficit from 5.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2010 to 2.8 percent in 2015.

Malaysia’s budget deficit widened to 7.4 percent of GDP in 2009 after the government introduced two stimulus packages worth 67 billion ringgit last year to pump-prime the economy as the downturn dried up demand for its exports.

Under the five-year plan worth 230 billion ringgit (69 billion dollars), Najib pledged the government would boost spending on infrastructure and to stimulate private sector investment.

He said the government would partner private firms in 63 billion ringgit of “high-impact” projects that include the construction of seven highways and two coal-powered electricity plants.

Najib said the government would continue to assist the majority Muslim Malays and indigenous groups — collectively known as “bumiputra” — but would roll out programmes to enhance their capabilities.

The decades-old affirmative action policy which hands bumiputras privileges in housing, education and business has been criticised as uncompetitive and improperly benefiting the elites.

Economist Yeah Kim Leng said the government was on the right track but warned that the biggest challenge it faces is to regain investor confidence.

“The other challenge will be to reduce the fiscal deficit while still spending given the adverse global environment and in carrying out government plans for privatisation,” the economist at ratings agency RAM Holdings told AFP.

Malaysia is one of Asia’s largest importers of labour with an estimated 1.9 million migrant workforce, and Najib said the government also aimed to improve the quality of the workforce and reduce its dependence on foreign workers.

Source: SGGP

Cotect unveils $79 mil resort plan for Vung Tau

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 at 9:08 am

The first five-star resort in Vung Tau will be built by Ho Chi Minh City-based company Cotect Investment with an estimated VND1.5 trillion (US$79 million).

An artist’s impression of Blue Sapphire Resort project in Vung Tau City

The Cotect Investment and Land House Development Joint Stock recently announced that the Blue Sapphire would include a 15 floor hotel, high class villas, restaurants, swimming pools, tennis courts, and a conference center.

The project will also feature a road along a 450-meter long beach in the resort area, about four kilometers from downtown Vung Tau and 120 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.

Cotect chairman Dao Duc Nghia said the complex would take three years to complete.

Source: SGGP

Calls for African unity as Senegal unveils controversial statue

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 5:14 am

DAKAR, April 3, 2010 (AFP) – Senegal’s controversial African Renaissance statue was unveiled Saturday, with leaders from across the continent calling for unity and the realisation of a “United States of Africa”.

The African Renaissance Monument to mark Senegal’s 50 years of independence is pictured during its inauguration ceremony on April 3, 2010 in Dakar. AFP photo

President Abdoulaye Wade called for the continent to unite in an address to a large crowd and 19 African leaders at the foot of the bronze statue, built by North Korea and higher than the Statue of Liberty.

“The time to take off has arrived,” he said of the continent, split into 53 states, which is increasingly courted for the rich minerals beneath its soil and its market of over one billion inhabitants.

While African leaders vaunted the statue as a symbol for all black people around the world and its inauguration as a historical moment, thousands of local opponents protested at a wasteful extravagance in hard economic times.

Riot police patrolled nearby streets earlier Saturday as demonstrators held up banners demanding the resignation of Wade, 84, who has been in power since 2000.

Deputy opposition leader Ndeye Fatou Toure said the statue was an “economic monster and a financial scandal in the context of the current crisis,” in a country where half the population lives below the poverty line.

Championed by Wade, the 52-metre (164-foot) monument whose cost is estimated at more than 15 million euros (20 million dollars) has caused a mixture of anger over its price tag, and bewilderment over its style.

The inauguration of the statue is the highlight of Senegal’s 50 years of independence from France on April 4, 1960.

It depicts a muscular man emerging from a volcano with a scantily clad woman in tow and holding a baby aloft in his left arm, pointing West towards the Atlantic Ocean.

The depiction of a woman with a whisp of fabric covering her breasts and skirting her thighs has baffled many in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, where women dress demurely, and drawn criticism from Islamic leaders.

Calling for unity, Wade said that “only a political integration of the United States of Africa will shelter us from potentially fatal marginalisation” on the world’s poorest continent, which holds rich economic potential, he added.

After “five centuries of ordeals, slavery, Africa is still there, folding sometimes, but never breaking. She is upright and resolute to take her future in hand,” Wade said.

“The slave traders have left, the last colonialist has left. We have no more excuses. We must seize this opportunity so that history does not repeat itself.”

Former Nigerian president and African strongman Olusegun Obasanjo who cut a ribbon in the colours of the Senegalese flag, said the statue was “a monument for black people all over the world”.

“We have a symbol to remind us, to inspire us” of and against years of slavery and abuse. “A united union of Africa can make it not happen again.”

African Union chief Bingu wa Mutharika, the president of Malawi, called for a new African unity: “We have more things that unite us, than those that divide us… Let us return to our countries with a new hope of a new Africa.”

A 100-strong African-American delegation included civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and Senegalese-American singer Akon.

The presidents of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cap Verde, the Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania and Zimbabwe were also present as well as the head of the African Union Commission Jean Ping.

“Africa has seized this monument. It is rare to have one country hosting more than a dozen heads of state for this kind of event. That testifies to their support,” presidential spokesman Mamadou Bamba Ndiaye told AFP.

Long on the table, a United States of Africa has been planned by the African Union by 2025, but doubts have been raised about the ability of the continent to unite amid widespread poverty and conflicts.

Source: SGGP

HCMC unveils country’s largest silk calendar

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

The Vietnam Record Book Center (Vietkings) under Vietbooks Group presented the country’s largest ever tear-off calendar made from silk March 25 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam’s largest tear-off calendar made of silk. The project was presented in HCMC on March 25 and will be displayed in Hanoi from October 9. (Photo: SGGP)

Titled “Vietnam History,” the calendar was created as part of efforts to celebrate the 1,000th Thang Long-Hanoi anniversary.

Made by Vietbooks and HCM City-based An Hao Limited Company, the 800kg calendar includes 365 silk sheets measuring 1.3m wide and 2m high. The sheets are enclosed within a sculpted wooden frame standing 2.5m by 3.7m.

It took 20 artisans from the An Hao Company two years to complete the project.

Each calendar sheet depicts a significant event in Vietnamese history with content revised by history Professor Nguyen Khac Thuan, who is head of the Vietnamese Study Faculty of Binh Duong University.

The record-setting calendar will be displayed at Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature) in Hanoi from October 9, 2010.

In addition, Vietkings has also introduced a miniature version of the huge calendar, which measures 1.2m wide, 1.7m high and weighs 80kg.

One thousand of the smaller versions are set to be produced, with the first 20 copies being presented to Vietnamese Embassies in countries around the world.

Source: SGGP

HCM City unveils top 100 attractions

In Vietnam Travel on March 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

HCM City unveils top 100 attractions

QĐND – Monday, March 01, 2010, 22:7 (GMT+7)

HCM City has announced a list of its top 100 attractions following a poll of visiting tourists in a campaign that lasted more than three months.

The 100 Excitements were short-listed from 150 candidates in 10 categories – places of cultural an historical interest, shopping venues, entertainment clubs, local dishes, cultural events, specialties, coffee shops, restaurants, boutique hotels, and city tour programmes.

The top two landmarks are markets – An Dong in District 5 and Ben Thanh in District 1.

They are followed by Can Tho District’s Eco Park, ‘China Town’ in District 5, the Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnamese History and War Remnants Museums, the Reunification Palace, Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Winners in the dishes category are banh cuon (wrapped steam rice pancake with meat), banh mi thit (Saigon-style sandwich), banh xeo (yellow pancake with shrimps and pork), ca kho to (braised fish in clay pot), canh chua ca loc (sour fish soup), cha gio (fried spring roll), com tam (boiled broken rice), goi cuon (fresh spring rolls), and goi ngo sen tom thit (lotus salad with shrimp and pork).

Ao dai (women’s traditional dress), cashew nuts, coffee, conical hats, dragon fruit, embroidered works, the Me Kong Delta’s Hoa Loc mango and Lo Ren star apple, laquerware, and tea top the list of tourists’ most desired souvenirs.

The most popular shopping venues include Ben Thanh Market, Diamond Plaza, Dong Khoi Street, Khai Silk shops, Tay Son Laquerware, Miss Ao Dai, Parkson, Saigon Co-op Mart, Saigon Square, and Tax Mall.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND