Vietnam airport denies claims that foreign passengers were beaten during delay

Passengers check in at Cam Ranh International Airport. Photo: Nguyen Chung The management of Cam Ranh International Airport in central Vietnam has dismissed online reports accusing its staff of beating Chinese passengers Monday after a flight delay sparked tensions here. Phan Le Hoan, the airport's director, told Thanh Nien that no act of violence from his staff occurred on Monday. Hoan said a Vietnam Airlines flight to Shanghai was delayed on Monday, and several passengers were angry after waiting for three hours. He said a Chinese passenger threw himself at a security officer and tried to grab a "work tool" from the officer, forcing the latter to pull it back. "Several passengers kept throwing tantrums although security officers asked them to stop. They could only use signals due to language barrier. "There was no beating of any passenger." Hoan made the comments after several Chinese websites said some Chinese passengers were beaten and demanded to pay bribes at the airport … [Read more...]

Dozens killed in Aleppo battle

People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen district, Syria, May 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail Dozens of people were killed in a day-long battle between Syrian rebels and government forces in western Aleppo that was still going on intermittently on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and combatant sources on both sides said. The combatant sources gave conflicting accounts of the outcome of the battle that began early on Tuesday in and around the Jamiyat al-Zahraa area of western Aleppo. A rebel said insurgents had managed to take some ground from the government side, while the army said the attack was repelled. The fighting threatened the army's defensive lines around government-held areas of western Aleppo. Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said dozens had been killed on both sides in what he described as the most intense battle in the area in a year. Government forces were reinforced … [Read more...]

Apple loses China trademark case for ‘iPhone’ on leather goods

Two fake Apple iPhone 6s, which run the Android operating system with an iOS look-alike interface, selling at RMB 580 ($91) each, are seen in a photo illustration taken in Shenzhen, China September 21, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Staff/Illustration/File photo Apple Inc has lost a battle for the use of the "iPhone" trademark on leather goods in China after a Beijing court ruled against the world's biggest technology company in favor of a local firm, state media reported. The Beijing Municipal High People's Court said Xintong Tiandi can continue to use the phrase "iPhone" on its leather goods, according to the Legal Daily, the official newspaper of China's Justice Ministry. Apple declined to comment. The U.S. tech supremo has repeatedly found itself tangled in intellectual property disputes in China where the sheer number of companies means trademarks are often taken by little-known players. Some enterprising firms are quick to snap up trademarks that are known overseas but not registered … [Read more...]

As Trump becomes presumptive nominee, China urges objectivity

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Century Center in South Bend, Indiana, U.S., May 2, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Kamil Krzaczynski China on Wednesday urged people in the United States to take a rational and objective view of the relationship between the two countries, after Republican front-runner Donald Trump became the party's presumptive presidential nominee. Trump has proposed that tariffs on imported Chinese goods be increased to up to 45 percent and asserted that China had waged "economic war" against the United States, taking American jobs. China is the United States' largest trading partner. Asked whether China was worried at the prospect of a Trump presidency, after his commanding win in Indiana and as top rival Ted Cruz bowed out of the race, Foreign Ministry spokesman said the election was as internal affair he could not comment on. "What needs to be pointed out is that the essence of Sino-US trade and business … [Read more...]

Vietnam eases liquid restriction for domestic flights

Passengers wait to check in at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on December 9, 2015. Photo: Kham/Reuters Passengers traveling within Vietnam are now permitted to take on board an unlimited volume of liquids and gels as the country has eased its restriction. Under a new circular issued by the transport ministry that went into effect on May 1, passengers on domestic flights are allowed to bring liquids, aerosols and gels in their carry-on luggage with no limitation on volume and container size. Passengers of course will still have to abide by airlines' regulations on cabin luggage size. The liquid restriction remains unchanged for international flights. Passengers to and from outside Vietnam are allowed to carry no more than one liter of liquids, aerosols and gels in total in their carry-on luggage, with each of their containers no larger than 100 ml. The limit is not applied to baby formula and food for children who fly with their parents, nor to prescription medicine. … [Read more...]

Driver crashes into policeman in northern Vietnam to avoid traffic fine

The traffic police officer being crashed while trying to pull over a scooter in Vinh Phuc Province on May 1, 2016 Police are tracking down a motorbike rider who has been caught on video crashing his vehicle into a traffic officer after being pulled over in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. The incident happened at around 4 p.m. on May 1 when the officer was trying to stop the vehicle. The man and the woman behind him did not wear compulsory crash helmets. In a video posted on the Internet, the driver can be seen turning his motorbike around and crashing it straight into the officer before speeding away, in an apparent attempt to avoid a traffic ticket. The officer appeared to suffer no serious injury. Several people attempted to chase after the couple but to no avail. A local man said he filmed the whole scene while waiting for a bus. In Vietnam, those opposing traffic police on duty can face criminal charges and jail terms of up to three years. … [Read more...]

Vietnamese man attempts to commit suicide after stabbing policeman

Officials of Can Tho City and Can Tho Police Department visit senior lieutenant Le Quoc Dung at Can Tho General Hospital on May 3, 2016. Photo: Mai Tram/Thanh Nien Doctors in southern Vietnam have saved a man who tried to poison himself after stabbing a police officer on Monday. Nguyen Anh Van, 52, reportedly turned himself in at a local militia station in Can Tho City following the assault in the evening. But right after he admitted to the crime, he fell unconscious and was rushed to hospital. His relatives later said he had poisoned himself with pesticide. Doctors successfully saved him. Van attacked senior lieutenant Le Quoc Dung with a knife when the officer was attempting to stop him from causing public nuisance, police said. The man was allegedly drunk and insulting others on a street in Cai Rang District. The officer was taken to Can Tho General Hospital in critical condition with a deep stab wound in his neck. Doctors said a vertebral artery was cut. Both of them are … [Read more...]

Taiwanese firm still under scrutiny as Vietnam tries to solve fish kill disaster

A working team of the environment ministry inspects the wastewater treatment facility of Formosa steel company in Ha Tinh Province on April 28, 2016. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered Ha Tinh Province authorities to tighten control over the discharge of wastewater by a Taiwanese steel plant, suspected to be responsible for mass fish deaths along the central coast. He asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the provincial government to set up a monitoring station to check wastewater discharged from the plant of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company, a major firm in Vung Ang Economic Zone. The station will automatically collect and analyze samples from Formosa’s sewage pipe and will be linked to existing stations managed by Ha Tinh’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, according to a government statement released on Tuesday. Phuc also ordered local authorities to provide rice and financial support to … [Read more...]

Indonesia to hold new round of executions; no word on foreigners

Filipino death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso shows her handicraft during a workshop at Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, April 12, 2016. Photo: Antara Foto/Rana Dyandra/via Reuters Indonesia is preparing to execute several prisoners, a police official said on Wednesday, though authorities have not said if foreigners will be among them, a year after the execution of foreign drug traffickers drew widespread condemnation. President Joko Widodo's administration has pledged to resume executions by firing squad at a prison on Nusakambangan Island, despite criticism from rights groups and foreign governments. "We have had a warning since last month to prepare the place," said Central Java provincial police spokesman Aloysius Lilik Darmanto. "We carried out some rehabilitation of the location like painting and repairs because there will probably be more people who will be executed," he said, adding that the firing squad had been training and receiving counseling. He declined to say … [Read more...]

Get carried away in Hue on a hot-air balloon ride

The hot-air balloon festival, which is part of the Hue Festival, brings together colorful balloons from India, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the UK and Vietnam. Photos: Dao Tuan/Zing The balloons are 25 meters tall and 18 meters in diameter. Each can fly four people at a time, including the pilot. Tourists can pay VND6 million (US$270) for a flight of between 30 to 45 minutes or five kilometers at around 150 meters above the former royal city. Hue was the capital of Vietnam’s last ruling family Nguyen between 1802 and 1945. Their flight time is between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. A three-minute flight costs VND150,000 a person. But that only brings you up and down. A tomb complex as seen from a flying balloon The tomb complex of King Tu Duc, the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty who reigned from 1847 to 1883, seen from more than 100 meters high Getting … [Read more...]

6 militiamen suspended after being filmed assaulting drunk drivers

A still image from the clip showing a militiaman locking the arms of a man. A Binh Duong military unit has suspended six militiamen after they were accused of assaulting four men in the southern province on April 30. "Though the group of young men were involved in wrongdoing, their handling by the militiamen was wrong and they have been suspended pending an investigation," said Le Phi Hung, who leads the Di An Town military unit. A neighborhood official was also suspended for involvement in the case, but none of the identities were revealed. On the evening of April 30 the militiamen found four drunk men on two motorbikes revving their vehicles and zigzagging on the road. When warned by them and the official, the young men began to insult them, and the militiamen began to hit them with their batons. Someone filmed the assault and it was posted on a Facebook page, attracting more than 773,000 views and hundreds of comments. Many said the men would not have been beaten if they had … [Read more...]

US, Vietnam complete first phase of dioxin cleanup in Da Nang

US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius (R) and Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh feel the soil that has been cleared of dioxin in the central city of Da Nang on May 3, 2016. Photo credit: Nguyen Dong/VnExpress US and Vietnamese officials on Tuesday announced that the first phase of a US$84-million dioxin cleanup project at a former US airbase in the central city of Da Nang has been completed. The toxic chemical was removed from 45,000 cubic meters of excavated soil and sediment at the site, US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius and Deputy Minister of Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh told the ceremony to mark the first phase’s success. The ceremony was attended by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam. That volume of treated soil and sediment will be given to Airports Corporation of Vietnam for being used as fill material for a project to expand Da Nang International Airport, heard the ceremony. Under the two-phase project in Da Nang, which started in August 2012 … [Read more...]

Vietnam among fastest-growing economies in Asia, driven by electronic exports: IMF

A garment factory in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang After recording a five-year high growth of 6.68 percent last year, Vietnam's economic expansion will slow down to 6.3 percent, but that is a "still-robust" rise, according to the International Monetary Fund. Strong rises in exports and foreign investment in the manufacturing sector will continue to accelerate Vietnam's GDP growth, the IMF said in its April update on Asia-Pacific economic outlook. In the region, only several frontier economies will see higher rates, including Myanmar's 8.6 percent, Laos' 7.4 percent and Cambodia's 7 percent. With a large labor force and generally low wages, Vietnam's manufacturing sector will remain a magnet for foreign investors, according to the report. Vietnam's foreign direct investment pledges grew more than 119 percent year-on-year to over US$4 billion in the first quarter, figures from the Foreign Investment Agency showed. More than 72 percent of the pledges were for 216 projects in the … [Read more...]

Canadian wildfire forces evacuation order for entire city

Wildfire is worsening along highway 63 Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. Photo courtesy CBC News/Handout via Reuters The Canadian province of Alberta raced to evacuate the entire population of Fort McMurray where an uncontrolled wildfire was taking hold in the heart of the country's oil sands region, with dry winds forecast for Wednesday that could fuel the blaze. Alberta appealed for military help to battle the fire and airlift people from the smoke-filled city after authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order for 80,000, but officials said army and air force assistance would take two days to arrive. About 44,000 people were estimated to be on the roads, fleeing the city, while approximately 8,000 had reached an evacuation center outside Fort McMurray, officials said. "Right now, we have fire burning within the city," Chief Darby Allen of Fort McMurray's fire department told reporters. "It is impacting communities as we speak. Homes are on fire as we speak." The … [Read more...]

Turkey approves law among final hurdles for EU visa deal

New skyscrapers under construction are pictured in Istanbul, Turkey April 10, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Murad Sezer Turkey's parliament has approved a law on setting up a panel to monitor discipline for law enforcement officials, one of the last hurdles remaining before the country wins visa-free access to Europe for its nationals. The 28-nation European Union depends on Ankara's cooperation to maintain a March pact that has helped stem the flow of refugees and migrants arriving from Turkey, from which more than a million people reached Greece and Italy last year. The European Commission is expected to declare on Wednesday that Turkey has broadly met the criteria for visa liberalization and to ask European Union governments and the European Parliament to approve the decision by the end of June. Late on Monday the Turkish cabinet approved waiving visas for visitors from all 28 EU member states, once Europe relaxes its own visa requirements for Turks, another of the 72 criteria for the … [Read more...]

Long holiday turns Vietnam tourist spots into garbage dumps

Quat Lam beach in the northern province of Nam Dinh littered with trash. Photo: Le Nam Quat Lam attracted tens of thousands of visitors during the four-day holiday starting with Reunification Day on April 30, 2016. Photo: Le Nam Food wrappings all over a square in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat. Photo: Lam Vien A beach in the central province of Nghe An fared little better. Photo: Pham Duc What’s left after some tourists had a party in a park in Da Lat. Photo: Gia Binh Trash and hyacinth turn a beach in Thanh Hoa Province in northern Vietnam into a mess, but it does not seem to put off tourists. Photo: Ngoc Minh … [Read more...]

Indonesia growth fails to pick up in setback to Jokowi reforms

Indonesia’s economy grew less than analysts expected in the first quarter, a setback to President Joko Widodo’s efforts to rejuvenate growth and implement reforms in Southeast Asia’s largest nation. Gross domestic product increased 4.92 percent in the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2015, down from a previously reported 5.04 percent in the fourth quarter, the statistics bureau said in Jakarta on Wednesday. That’s less than the 5.07 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 15 economists. Widodo, better known as Jokowi, took office in October 2014, vowing to make it easier to do business, implement economic reforms and boost spending on infrastructure to reboot an economy hard hit by plunging prices for the country’s commodities like palm oil and coal. The economy grew 4.79 percent last year, its slowest pace since 2009. "While the government is doing what it can to support growth, the gravitational pull of a … [Read more...]

Employee burgles HCMC electronics store, caught stealing $120,000

The Ho Chi Minh City police Tuesday arrested a man who allegedly broke into the store he works for and walked off with all the money in the safe. According to investigators, Nguyen Van Thanh, 22, a salesman at Xanh Electronics Supermarket in Tan Phu District, broke in Monday midnight through a ventilator on the roof. He reportedly cracked the safe and took away VND2.753 billion (around US$120,000). Store guards heard noises and caught him red-handed when he was about to flee. Thanh told the police he had noticed the large amount of money put into the safe earlier that evening and decided to steal it. … [Read more...]

ASEAN, partners begin military exercise in Brunei

Eighteen countries, including Vietnam, are taking part in an international military exercise focused on maritime security and counterterrorism that began in Brunei Tuesday. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus Maritime Security and Counterterrorism Exercise 2016 began with an opening ceremony at the Multinational Coordination Center in Muara, Brunei. The exercise aims to enhance cooperation between ADMM-Plus nations in maritime security and counterterrorism, while promoting information sharing in responding to relevant and contemporary training scenarios. Navies of the 10 ASEAN countries are taking part along with their counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US. Around 3,000 personnel, 18 ships, 16 helicopters, two maritime patrol aircraft and Special Forces from the participating ASEAN nations and its dialogue partners are currently deployed for the ADMM- Plus exercise, the Brunei Times … [Read more...]

Top prosecutor asks to investigate Brazil president

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends the launching of the new Family Agriculture plan at Planalto Palace in Brasilia , Brazil, May 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Adriano Machado Brazil's top prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation of President Dilma Rousseff for trying to obstruct a massive corruption probe involving state-run oil firm Petrobras, Globo News reported on Tuesday. Rousseff, likely to be ousted from office later this month on unrelated charges of breaking budgetary laws, had previously avoided being dragged into the largest corruption investigation in Brazil's history. The request will be analyzed by Supreme Court justice Teori Zavascki and is not public because it is based on recorded phone calls between Rousseff and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that are secret, news site G1 reported. The investigation of Rousseff and Lula could stain the legacy of more than a decade of Workers Party rule, overshadowing significant gains in reducing … [Read more...]