Len Aldis, activist who fought for Vietnamese Agent Orange victims, dies at 85

A file photo shows Len Aldis with young victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Photo credit: Saigon Giai Phong Len Aldis, a British activist known for his enduring campaigns to support Agent Orange victims in Vietnam, died at his home in London last Friday. The British-Vietnam Friendship Society, of which Aldis was the secretary, has announced his death. East London News reported that the death is being treated as non-suspicious. Len’s friends had individually been worried that he had not answered or responded to phone calls recently. When they began discovering that none of them had heard from him, they had to ask the police to go round, according to the report. As secretary of the British-Vietnam Friendship Society, Aldis visited Vietnam frequently, giving money and gifts to the people who had suffered in the Vietnam War, especially those who continued to suffer the effects of Agent Orange, according to East London News. It was Len who exposed, more than anyone else, how … [Read more...]

Vietnam official probed for posing with endangered animals in Facebook pics

Thieu Quoc Ky poses with a Sunda flying lemur. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam are looking into accusations that a local agriculture official has been involved in the poaching of wild Sunda flying lemurs, which are being hunted and killed for meat by locals. "Sunda flying lemurs are an endangered species and it is illegal to hunt them," said Phan Tuan, the provincial chief park ranger. There was a strong public backlash after Thieu Quoc Ky, an agriculture official of Tay Giang District, posted photos of himself holding several Sunda flying lemurs on his Facebook. In some of them, he was pulling the legs of the animals. Responding to a comment to his post, Ky said he was not worried about the police because "they could not do anything in this case." Ky said he was not involved in the killing of the lemurs and only borrowed the animals from traders to take pictures. He said he was not aware that the species is protected. "Many restaurants in … [Read more...]

Vietnam asks Uber to set up local company and legalize its service

The Ministry of Transport has blocked an attempt from US company Uber to legalize its ride-hailing service in Vietnam, saying the company needs to set up a branch in the country first. Deputy minister Nguyen Hong Truong told news website VnExpress that officials could not approve Uber's recent proposal to launch a pilot project to provide transport connection services through its mobile app. Truong said the proposed plan lacks a legal basis because Uber said its parent firm, Uber B.V. in Netherlands, would be in charge of handling contracts with Vietnamese service users. This concerns Vietnamese authorities as they are afraid that it would cause difficulties in tax collection and they would not know who would take responsibility in case of disputes, he said. Dang Viet Dung, general manager of Uber Vietnam, told VnExpress that Uber will set up a legal entity in Vietnam and resubmit the proposal within weeks. In a meeting with representatives of Uber Asia late last month, deputy … [Read more...]

Government looks to speed up restructure of public sector

Airports Corporation of Vietnam, which manages 22 airports around the country, is set for an IPO on December 10 even as the government is pushing state firms to restructure. File photo The Vietnamese government has ordered its agencies to speed up the restructuring of state enterprises, including selling shares in 50 companies by the end of the year. Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has written to state agencies and enterprises, warning that some of them have been "slow" to restructure, the government website reported Friday. As of November 10 the government has privatized 408 state-owned firms, or nearly 80 percent of the target set for 2011-15, it said. Ninh also ordered the agencies and enterprises to continue the pull-out from non-core businesses. He said though they do not need to make divestment at any cost, they need to "immediately" tackle cases where they suffer losses. Since 2010 state agencies and enterprises have sold a total of VND16.45 trillion ($719.75 million) … [Read more...]

Governments, investors partner to break through clean technology barriers

Bill Gates and some of the world's other richest entrepreneurs will join with governments from both rich and emerging countries on Monday to kick off the Paris climate talks by pledging billions of dollars of investment in clean energy technologies. The United States, France, India and 17 other countries will announce they will double the $10 billion they collectively spend on clean energy research and development in the next five years, shining a spotlight on role of technology in any climate agreement reached in Paris. U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Mission Innovation initiative on the first day of the U.N. climate summit in Paris. They will appear alongside Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, who will launch a complementary private-sector effort to fast-track early-stage clean energy technologies. Gates will launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of 28 private … [Read more...]

Vietnamese fisherman shot dead by men from foreign ship

A fishing boat of Quang Ngai Province. Photo: Hien Cu A Vietnamese fisherman was killed last week by an unidentified foreign ship while fishing near Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago. Nguyen Dinh Bay, 42, of Binh Chau Commune in Quang Ngai Province had been among 15 people on board a fishing boat in Vietnamese waters, some 30 nautical miles off Suoi Ngoc (Alicia Annie) Reef, Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Binh Chau Fishing Association, said. The incident happened on November 26 when a foreign ship approached and five armed men jumped on board Bay’s vessel and shot him before leaving. The ship’s nationality and the reason for the attack are both unclear. The area has for long been a traditional fishing ground for Vietnamese fishermen, who have never been attacked before, Hung said. Others on board immediately called their families on shore who reported to the fishing association. Nguyen Thanh Nam the Binh Chau Fishing Association said he called the boat owner, Bui … [Read more...]

Student gets life sentence for killing, chopping up abusive gay lover

Tran Nhat Duy and his girlfriend Dang Gia Linh during a court on Friday. Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong. A Ho Chi Minh City court Friday sentenced a college student to life for murdering his long-time gay lover and chopping his body into pieces in May last year. Tran Nhat Duy, 21, confessed to his crimes in the court. His girlfriend Dang Gia Linh, 23, was sentenced to two years in jail for concealing the crime and fencing stolen goods. The police arrested Duy at his rented room in Go Vap District on May 23, 2014, four days after he had poisoned Van Anh Tuan, 31, with cyanide. A week earlier Duy had put the poison in a bowl of noodles Tuan ate, but the latter stopped eating after discovering the food tasted strange. On May 19 Duy stuffed the cyanide into two capsules and tricked Tuan into swallowing them. After Tuan died, Duy, a student of a city college, left his body in their rented room. He spent three days chopping the victim’s body into pieces and scattering many of them in … [Read more...]

2 arrested after failing to snatch bag from German tourist in downtown HCMC

The two bag snatchers at a police station. Photo: Quoc Thang/VnExpress The Ho Chi Minh City police arrested two men who allegedly attempted to snatch a bag from a German tourist on a downtown street last Friday night following a furious chase. Nguyen Tuan Anh, 19, and Luu Quoc Cuong, 25, were caught after the motorbike chase took officers through many streets, news website VnExpress reported. A group of officers in District 1 was patrolling the downtown area when they spotted the two men driving around in a suspicious manner and secretly followed them. When the men reached Nguyen Du Street, they slowed down and approached a 30-year-old German woman who was walking on the sidewalk with a bag on her shoulder. The man riding pillion snatched the bag but she managed to hold on and screamed for help. The duo sped up and tried to flee, but the officers chased after them. The duo drove dangerously in an attempt to escape, and the chase continued through many streets. The officers … [Read more...]

Cong Phuong double gives HAGL Thanh Nien international football title

Hoang Anh Gia Lai celebrates their title at the U21 International Football Championships for the second year. Photo: Doc Lap Hoang Anh Gia Lai successfully defended their title at the Thanh Nien Newspaper U21 International Football Championships for the Clear Men Cup by beating South Korea 2-0 Sunday. Striker Cong Phuong, who will play in Japan’s J.League 2 next season, shone with a double strike as the Central Highlands team dominated their opponents to whom they had lost 0-1 in a group match. "HAGL improved after each match. They studied our strong and weak points and had a successful strategy in the final match," An Ik Soo, coach of the U19 Korean team, said. "However, our players faced a disadvantage because they did not have sufficient time to recover." HAGL coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan said his players took advantage of Korea’s weak defense to attack. "I am happy with my players’ performance at this year’s event." HAGL began the match at Ho Chi Minh … [Read more...]

Tourists run gauntlet of rough seas in Da Nang, many injured

Russian tourist Denis Gurov was rescued on a Nha Trang beach. Photo: Nguyen Chung The Nha Trang Coastal Rescue Team has said tourists should keep an eye out for warnings about rough seas, a normal feature at this time of year, after several people sustained serious injuries recently. Nguyen Van Hung, a rescuer, said: "We always put up warning signs whenever there are strong waves and winds. The warnings are in Vietnamese, English and Russian. "However, many people, mostly foreigners, still ignore them." The team rescued six tourists caught up in strong waves in the past month, he said. On November 24 Russian Denis Gurov, 33, had his neck broken by strong waves after he ignored a warning not to swim near Muong Thanh Hotel. Rescuers saw Gurov struggling in the water and waving for help, rescued him and got an ambulance to take him to hospital. Tourists swim in Nha Trang right next to a sign warning them against it. Photo: Nguyen Chung. He was paralyzed on arrival at the Khanh … [Read more...]

Indonesia ferry hits trouble on way to Singapore, 97 rescued

Almost 100 people were rescued when a ferry sailing towards Singapore from the Indonesian island of Batam hit a floating object and reportedly started to sink, authorities in the city-state said. Ferry operator Batamfast called out two other ferries that rescued all 90 passengers and seven crew and took them back to the Nongsapura ferry terminal in Batam, Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority said in an emailed statement. The authority said early on Monday it had received a report of the incident on the 'Sea Prince' at 9:45 p.m. on Sunday (1345 GMT). A passenger, Chella Ho, said the ferry started sinking slowly in deep water and passengers were loaded into two inflatable boats but those boats also sank because they were overloaded, TV news network Channel News Asia reported. … [Read more...]

Scans of King Tut’s tomb point to hidden chamber

The golden mask of Tutankhamun Scans of King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings point to a secret chamber, archaeologists said Saturday, possibly heralding the discovery of Queen Nefertiti's long-sought mummy. Using hi-tech infrared and radar technology, researchers are trying to unravel the mystery over the legendary monarch's resting place. A wife of Tutankhamun's father Akhenaten, Nefertiti played a major political and religious role in the 14th century BC, and the discovery of her tomb would be a major prize for Egyptologists. Experts are now "approximately 90 percent" sure there is a hidden chamber in Tutankhamun's tomb, Antiquities Minister Mamduh al-Damati told a news conference. The scans were spurred by a study by renowned British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves that said Nefertiti's lost tomb may be hidden in an adjoining chamber. Speaking at the same press conference, Reeves said the initial results could bear out his theory. "Clearly it does look from … [Read more...]

IS executes 3,500 in Syria since declaring ‘caliphate': monitor

The Islamic State group comprises tens of thousands of fighters and carries out abductions, rapes, beheadings and stonings in the areas under its influence The Islamic State group has executed more than 3,500 people in Syria, including nearly 2,000 civilians, since declaring its "caliphate" in June last year, a monitor said Sunday. In the last month alone IS executed 53 people -- including 35 civilians -- in areas it controls in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The new figures from the Britain-based Observatory bring to 3,591 the number of people executed by IS in Syria since it declared its Islamic "caliphate" after seizing control of large parts of the country. The new toll includes 1,945 civilians, including 103 women and 77 children, with civilians defined as those who are not taking part in the fighting. Some were executed for alleged witchcraft, homosexuality and collaborating with the US-led coalition that has been bombarding IS in Syria since September … [Read more...]

In the Mekong Delta poorest homes, education takes a back seat

Little children in the Mekong Delta cross a makeshift bridge to go to school. Photo: Cuu Long/VnExpress Poverty and a lack of parental support have forced many children in the Mekong Delta to drop out of school and face a very high risk of falling deeper into poverty. Many children in An Giang Province sell lottery tickets or earn money from casual, low-pay jobs on the streets instead of sitting in class, Tuoi Tre reporters found during a recent visit. Most of them stopped going to school after ninth grade and started helping their parents make a living. Huynh Van Toan, who serves at a big restaurant in the province, said that his parents are too poor to pay for his education. "It's impossible for me to study all the way to college," Toan told Tuoi Tre newspaper. A new study by the education ministry in September showed that the delta, the country’s largest farming region, has the highest dropout rate, which is nearly three times the national average. The regional dropout … [Read more...]

Vietnam mulls trade remedies against cheap steel imports: report

A file photo of a worker working at a Vietnamese steel mill. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Vietnam may take remedial action against imported steel as an influx of cheap imports has reportedly threatened the local steel industry. News website Bao Dau Tu reported Friday that local producers have received support from Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai. He ordered the Ministry of Industry and Trade to provide steel producers with guidance and consultancy on the actions, when necessary, according to the website. Figures from the Vietnam Steel Association showed that the country imported 12.62 million tons of iron and steel in the first ten months, up 34 percent year on year and posting the revenues of US$6.28 billion. More than 61 percent of the imports were from China. Chairman Ho Nghia Dung told the website that the excessive imports of Chinese steel have put a lot of pressure on local producers who have struggled to sell their products. Local steel output is estimated 22 million tons … [Read more...]

14 predictions for 2016 from the brightest minds in finance

Watch for a worldwide recession Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets equity and global macro, Morgan Stanley Investment Management "We are now just one big shock away from a global downturn, and the next one seems most likely to originate in China, where heavy debt, excessive investment, and population decline are combining to undermine growth, while relatively low-debt countries from Eastern Europe to South Asia look better positioned to weather the inevitable next turn in the cycle." Fixed income faces a rocky road Photographer: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters/Corbis Dan Fuss, vice chairman at Loomis Sayles & Co. and co–portfolio manager of the $20 billion Loomis Sayles Bond Fund Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note will likely rise to 2.6 percent to 2.8 percent by the end of 2016, Fuss says, although he cautions that the current geopolitical turmoil makes forecasting especially difficult. For investors with a bond … [Read more...]

Turkey recovers body of pilot from downed Russian jet

The coffin of the pilot killed when Turkey shot down a Russian jet is carried to a Turkish Air Force Cargo Aircraft, before being handed over to Russia, on the tarmac of the Hatay Airport in Hatay, Turkey, November 29, 2015. Turkey recovered the body of a Russian pilot from northern Syria and presented it to Russian diplomats on Sunday, five days after shooting down his warplane in an incident that wrecked relations between two of the main powers involved in Syria's war. A coffin carrying Oleg Peshkov arrived by ambulance on the tarmac of Hatay Airport in southern Turkey near the Syrian border, a Reuters photographer said. It was flown to the capital Ankara, where according to Russia's RIA news agency it was met at an airfield by Moscow's ambassador and military attache. The Russian embassy declined to comment and Turkish officials did not immediately disclose when the body would be repatriated to Russia. The shooting down of the Russian fighter jet by NATO-member Turkey, the first … [Read more...]

Declaring ‘new beginning,’ EU and Turkey seal migrant deal

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and European Council President Donald Tusk attend a news conference after a EU-Turkey summit in Brussels, Belgium November 29, 2015. Turkey promised to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for cash, visas and renewed talks on joining the EU in a deal struck on Sunday that the Turkish prime minister called a "new beginning" for the uneasy neighbors. Leaders of the European Union met Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels on Sunday to finalize an agreement hammered out by diplomats over the past month, as Europeans struggle to limit the strain on their 28-nation bloc from taking in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. A key element is 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in EU aid for the 2.2 million Syrians now in Turkey. The money is intended to raise their living standards and so persuade more of them to stay put rather than attempt perilous crossings to the EU via the Greek islands. The final offer of "an initial" 3 … [Read more...]

Negotiators grab head start on monumental climate challenge

French police officers patrol in front of the entrance at the venue for the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 29, 2015. Senior negotiators from almost 200 nations on Sunday began thrashing out a new global deal to curb climate change as the president of China, the world's biggest polluter, landed in Paris. The United Nations conference begins at summit level on Monday, when more than 150 heads of state and government - including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping - will attend talks at a sprawling complex north of the French capital. Xi arrived on Sunday. To signal determination to resolve the most intractable issues, expert negotiators sat down on Sunday rather than after Monday's high-level speeches, as originally planned. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the aim was to give the world the means to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times … [Read more...]

Syria’s Assad says his enemies increasing support for insurgents

A general view shows a deserted street in the rebel-controlled area where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad carry out offensives to take control of the town of Kafr Nabudah, in Hama province, Syria, October 11, 2015. Syrian President Bashar al Assad told a senior Iranian official on Sunday that his adversaries had increased weapon supplies and financial support to insurgents since the start of a major offensive aided by his allies to regain lost territory. Assad was quoted by state media as telling Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran's supreme leader, that the military support his country was getting from Iran and Russia had pushed the enemy states he did not name to "further escalate and increase financing and equipping of terrorists". The Syrian army said on Saturday that Turkey had increased supplies of weapons, ammunition and equipment to what it described as terrorists in Syria. The senior Iranian official was quoted as saying that his country would … [Read more...]