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Posts Tagged ‘welcome’

Hanoi prepares to welcome New Year

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:08 am

International and Vietnamese disc jockeys will burn up the capital in a special New Year’s Eve countdown at the Hanoi Opera House on the evening of December 31.

                       DJ Jonathan Glaser from SwedenJonathan Glaser from Sweden, Tempo from USA and Tuan Kruise from Vietnam are the three talented DJ’s expected to make fans go crazy with their music on New Year’s Eve. They will play from 9 pm until well after midnight to welcome the New Year.

Pop star My Linh and musician Nguyen Duc Cuong will also take part in this event.

The show titled “Heineken Countdown Party” is being organized for the first time in Vietnam and is bound to bring excitement to the city in the first moments of the New Year.

The countdown party in Times Square in New York City is already a very popular global event and Hanoi hopes to create similar magic.

Source: SGGP

Hero’s welcome in Lebanon for Iranian leader

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm

BEIRUT, Oct 14 (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received a hero’s welcome on his first official visit to Lebanon, where he hailed the country’s resistance against Israeli “aggression.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at Beirut’s international airport. AFP

And on Thursday he was due to defy his international critics by touring villages in the south of the country, just a few kilometres (miles) from the Israeli border, that were destroyed during the 2006 conflict.

Ahmadinejad was showered with rice and rose petals Wednesday by tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters who lined the streets and waved Iranian flags as his motorcade made its way from the airport to the presidential palace.

He can also expect a hero’s welcome in southern Lebanon Thursday, where Iran has been a major donor in reconstruction following the month-long 2006 war.

The two-day trip is viewed as a boost for the Shiite militant Hezbollah. Members of Lebanon’s pro-Western parliamentary majority however have criticised it as a bid to turn the country into “an Iranian base on the Mediterranean.”

In Washington, the White House described the official visit as “provocative”, while Israeli officials said it marked Lebanon’s transformation into an “extremist state.”

Source: SGGP

Gazans welcome UN war crimes report

In World on September 17, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Gazans who lost loved ones during Israel’s winter offensive against Hamas militants said Wednesday they’re taking some solace from a U.N. report that accuses both sides of committing war crimes, but they’re skeptical anyone will be brought to justice.

In Israel, the findings of the U.N. team sparked outrage and deepened a sense that the Jewish state is being treated unfairly by the international community.

While the U.N. investigation labeled Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli towns as war crimes, the bulk of the findings focused on Israeli actions during the three-week war.

The report echoed findings in a string of human rights reports released in recent months, but it could carry more weight, both because it was authored by a widely respected former war crimes prosecutor, Richard Goldstone, and because at least in theory it opens the way to charges against Israel before the International Criminal Court.

For technical and political reasons, however, putting Israelis or Palestinians on trial would be difficult under the present system of international justice.

Both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers rejected the U.N. team’s allegations. Israel’s government rebuffed the report’s call for an independent inquiry and immediately began a diplomatic offensive to block any attempt to bring its soldiers before the Netherlands-based court.

Israel is not a member of the tribunal, so to prosecute Israeli officials, the court would need an order from the U.N. Security Council. The U.S., Israel’s staunchest ally, would likely block such a request.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Wednesday that Goldstone’s mandate from the U.N. Human Rights Council was “one-sided,” adding that “at an initial reading we have concerns about some of the report’s recommendations.”

The self-rule government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas’ main political rival, has sought ICC membership, but the court has not ruled on its request. Normally, membership is only open to states, and Israel argues the Palestinian request is invalid. If the court were to accept the Palestinian membership, it could prosecute Israelis and Hamas members over the Gaza fighting without a Security Council order.

The ICC prosecutors office said Wednesday it was “examining all issues related to its jurisdiction” in the Gaza case, including the validity of the Palestinian membership.

Some 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in the December-January offensive, which sought to stop rocket fire by Gaza militants on southern Israeli towns. Thirteen Israelis also died, including four civilians.

Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray during Lilat al-Qader, also known as the Night of Power in a mosque in Gaza City, early Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009.

Goldstone’s 575-page report said Israel used disproportionate firepower and failed to avoid civilian deaths.

The report also criticized Israel for deliberately destroying nonmilitary targets, citing a flour mill, a chicken farm and water pumps. It said Israel’s wider policies toward Gaza over the last two years, including a border blockade imposed after the 2007 Hamas takeover of the territory, “might justify” a court finding of crimes against humanity.

The report also condemned the firing of thousands of rockets by Gaza militants at southern Israel, killing some two dozen Israelis since 2001. These cause psychological trauma, and firing them at civilians “would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity,” the report said.

The report detailed some of the war’s most shocking cases, including that of the Samounis, a clan that lives in a semi-rural area in eastern Gaza City, close to the border with Israel. During Israel’s ground offensive, which began in the second week of the war, some two dozen Samounis were killed.

Family members have said that at one point, about 100 of their relatives were herded into a building that was later shelled. Goldstone’s report said Israeli forces also prevented ambulances from reaching the area. Israel denies the account, but says the house may have been hit in crossfire with militants.

Arafat Samouni, 36, welcomed the report Wednesday but hoped for more.

“Unfortunately, it’s just a condemnation. We want follow-though,” he said. “We want them to try the soldiers and officers who committed these crimes.”

Many of his relatives’ homes and farms remain in ruins, and he said they’d like compensation, though they doubt they’ll get it. Still, he hoped the report would make some difference.

“A condemnation is like a drop in the ocean,” he said. “We want at least a glass of water.”

In Sderot, the Israeli town hardest hit by rocket fire, resident Shula Sasson said the U.N. drew the wrong conclusion.

“We feel that we are in a war for eight years already,” said Sasson, whose family built a makeshift shelter in their living room. “Eight years was enough.”

The report provoked furor in Israel, whose Foreign Ministry said it was “appalled and disappointed.” Radio stations devoted heavy chunks of air time to interviews with outraged officials and critical legal experts. “Classic Anti-Semitism,” blared the headline of an opinion piece in the Israel Hayom daily.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said the Goldstone report “makes a mockery of history” and “draws no distinction between the attacker and the attacked.”

In Gaza, Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, called on the U.N. to charge Israeli leaders with war crimes. At the same time, he rejected the accusations against his group. “The Palestinian people acted in self-defense,” he said.

In preparing the report, U.N. investigators visited Gaza twice. They said they conducted 188 interviews and sifted through 10,000 pages of documents. Since Israel refused to cooperate, the team could not conduct investigations in Israel, but it interviewed Israelis — including ones from southern Israel — by telephone or video link.

Residents of southern Israel felt the report slighted their suffering and downplayed Hamas rocket fire.

“The result today shows that we had no effect on the U.N. judges, and it was no surprise, and we did what was right by presenting this side of the story,” said Noam Bedein of the Sderot Media Center, who traveled to Geneva to meet with the commission.

In Gaza, Khaled Abed Rabbo, 31, whose story was detailed in the report, said he hoped justice would be served.

Abed Rabbo said that during the war he watched an Israeli soldier shoot his mother and three daughters, leaving two of them dead. His mother is still being treated in Gaza, and his remaining daughter is paralyzed and has been in treatment in Belgium for nine months, he said. The Israeli military denies its soldiers targeted civilians.

“Someone like me has nothing left but hope,” he said, standing before the rubble of his home, which was flattened during the war. “We hope that in the end justice will be served and the criminals will be punished,” he said. “And I hope I can see my daughter again.”

Source: SGGP

US importers welcome DOC’s decision on Vietnamese apparel

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Washington (VNA) – The US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (AITA) has welcomed the Department of Commerce (DOC)’s decision to conclude review of Vietnam’s certain textile and apparel products.

AITA Executive Director Laura Jones, who has been highly critical of the Bush administration’s monitoring programme from the outset 18 months ago, praised the DOC’s final conclusion, and said: “The fact that three Administration reviews have consistently found no evidence of dumping confirms that this programme never should have been established in the first place.”

She charged that the monitoring forced importers to change sourcing plans, adding to costs and undermining efficiencies and diverted apparel orders to other sources and “did not bring a single order or job to the United States.”

The AITA Executive Director urged the incoming Obama administration to “focus on positive initiatives and not make the mistake of thinking monitoring is a replacement for sound business decisions.”

In its Nov.21 press release, the DOC officially announced that there is insufficient evidence to warrant self-initiating an antidumping investigation into Vietnam’s certain textile and apparel products.-

Hanoi keen to welcome more tourists to historical sites

In Uncategorized on October 7, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Hanoi, with its abundance of beautiful landscapes, has attached great importance to developing both its historical and cultural tourist industry, according to a municipal official.

On the sidelines of the 7th annual conference of the Council for Promotion of Tourism in Asia (CPTA) taking place in Hanoi between Oct. 5-10, Deputy Director of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Cao Thi Ngoc Lan said Hanoi is home to more than 4,000 historical sites, of which 1,400 are certificated.
The capital city is also increasing its focus on developing other types of tourism such as MICE tourism, trade street tourism and festival tourism.

In August 2008, Hanoi’s area tripled from 920 sq.m to 3,200 sq.m with a total population of nearly 7 million people, becoming one of the 17 largest capitals in the world. This expansion has created opportunities for the capital city’s tourism sector to develop more types of tourism, including eco-tourism, relaxation breaks and trade village tourism.

Also at the conference, Vice Chairwoman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang affirmed that the tourism industry should become an important economic sector, adding that it is one of the city’s top priorities.

Hanoi’s tourism development plan is suitable for CPTA’s objective of launching a marketing campaign entitled “Welcome to Asia” and other related marketing activities that will further the prosperity and development of CPTA member cities’ tourism networks, she said.

Since 2001, Hanoi has enjoyed an annual growth in tourism of 10 percent and the number of international visitors to the city accounted for 30 percent of the country’s total foreign arrivals.

In the first nine months of this year, Hanoi has welcomed nearly 1 million foreign tourists and 5 million locals, representing respective increases of 5 percent and 15 percent over the same period last year.-

SMEs welcome rate cuts, increased stability

In Uncategorized on October 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

Customers at Maritime Bank. Reduced interest rates, more flexible lending policies and easier loan terms are helping local companies to stabilise their operations. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

HCM CITY — Reduced interest rates, more flexible lending policies and easier loan terms are helping local companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to stabilise their operations.

“In the latter part of each year, enterprises always need more capital. A cut in the lending rate will help enterprises access capital more easily and reduce capital costs,” said Cao Si Kiem, chairman of the Association for Small and Medium Enterprises.

Nguyen Hoang Vu, deputy director of the Import-Export, Economic Co-operation Joint Stock Company, said that over the last two weeks his company was able to continue borrowing from banks to develop his business because the rates on short-term loans were reduced by 1.3 per cent to 19.5 per cent per year.

The company’s business had been constrained for months because interest rates on loans were too high, Vu said.

Nguyen Tung Duong, deputy director of the GODACO Seafood Company in Tien Giang Province, also said that the company was using bank loans with the rate of 20.2 per cent on the Vietnamese dong, and the rate of 8 per cent on the US dollar as against 8.4 per cent in August.

A series of state-owned commercial banks and joint stock commercial banks have already cut their lending interest rates to between 17.5 and 20 per cent against the current ceiling of 21 per cent.

The Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) has set aside VND3 trillion (US$180.72 million) for loans with a preferential interest rate of 17.5 per cent to grant SMEs, the lowest rate so far. Lien Viet Bank is also offering an annual lending rate of 18 per cent.

The Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), another State-owned bank in Ha Noi, offers SMEs an annual rate of 17.8 per cent, compared to the average lending rate of 18 per cent among commercial banks.

Also from October 1, Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) spared VND3 trillion ($180.61 million) for SMEs at an unreleased interest rate. Another state owned bank, Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (Agribank) slashed its ceiling rate on loans provided for regular customers from 20 per cent to 19 per cent and lowered the rate from 20 per cent to 19.5 per cent for other enterprises.

Sai Gon Thuong Tin Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Sacombank) has announced an offer for exporters to set the lending rate of Vietnamese dong at 8.5 per cent per year – equal to the lending rate of the US dollar. In return, these borrowers have to commit to selling US dollars to Sacombank after export.

The Dong A Commercial Joint Stock Bank, or DongA Bank, has, meanwhile, resumed lending to enterprises involved in property projects at 20.4 per cent a year. The bank is lending at 19.2 per cent to enterprises involved in export activities and gives an 18.96 per cent rate to special clients.

In addition to the rate cut, many banks have also relaxed their lending conditions.

Do Minh Toan, deputy general director of the Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), said in the past the bank had provided loans only to enterprises that could make profits account for 15 per cent of their total capital. But now, it was ready to grant loans to any profitable company.

At present, the ACB is giving loans at 18.8 and 18.9 per cent a year to enterprises that have good payment history and/ or are demonstrably operating effectively.

“Cutting lending interest rates will lift difficulties for enterprises, especially for SMEs. However, enterprises should try to increase their equity and to cut input costs to produce a profit of 15 per cent per year, by themselves,” Kiem said.

At the same time, foreign banks in Viet Nam are also offering services for SMEs.

London-based Standard Chartered Bank has been offering special lending services for SMEs for over a year in HCM City and for two months in Ha Noi. Following that trend, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) has just introduced new services serving SMEs in the local market.

Thomas Tobin, director of HSBC Viet Nam, said the importance of SMEs in the Vietnamese market can not be denied. In many markets where HSBC operates, SMEs account for 97 per cent of the total enterprises and contribute a great deal to Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) was also preparing to begin special services for SMEs in Viet Nam, said a representative of ANZ who asked to remain anonymous.

According to independent market watchers, the banks’ moves are of great significance. They would help SMEs to partially settle their current serious capital shortage, thus stimulating them to continue producing and create stable commodity sources for markets at home and abroad.

The Business Development Institute under the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) released that most enterprises in all economic sectors were short of money and mainly use banks as the key source of funds.

Of 282 businesses polled in a recent survey, 85.6 per cent needed more capital for the rest of the year. The survey also found that 90.2 per cent of local private enterprises surveyed said they needed to borrow money, with state-owned enterprises accounting for 81.5 per cent and foreign invested companies, 57.7 per cent.

According to statistics of the Credit Department of the State Bank of Viet Nam released this week, 163,673 SMEs, or 50 per cent of total SMEs, now have credit relations with a bank.

Outstanding loans for SMEs have been increasing steadily year after year. Loans to SMEs by many joint-stock banks have accounted for up to 70 per cent of the banks’ outstanding loans; for some state-owned bank branches this figure is as high as 95 per cent of their total outstanding loans.

The total amount of outstanding loans given to SMEs, through July 31, 2008, had reached VND299.47trillion ($18.04 billion), accounting for 27.3 per cent of total outstanding loans in the national economy, an increase of 16.65 per cent compared to 2007 and 70.5 per cent compared to 2006. Of this amount, short-term loans accounted for 73.05 per cent, while medium and long-term loans were 26.95 per cent.

About 23 per cent of SMEs are operating effectively and 73.2 per cent have had average growth. Only 3.8 per cent had recognised capital difficulties. —