Vietnamese airports to undergo repairs, flights to be hit

Passengers stand at a ticket counter for VietJet Air, operated by VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co., at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bloomberg A number of major airports, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, will undergo repairs between April and June, and the number of flights will be reduced as a result, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has announced. They will fix their runways between April 10 and June 25. According to the CAAV, Tan Son Nhat International Airport will see around 80 flights cut and 10,000 passengers unable to fly each day due to the maintenance. Annually, the number of airline passengers who go on summer vacation increases by 20-30 percent between May and July. This year Vietnamese will have a six-day holiday from April 28 to May 3 due to Hung Kings' Temple Festival to pay tribute to the mythical founders of the nation, Reunification Day on April 30 and Labor Day. An estimated one million booked … [Read more...]

Striking workers block HCMC road

Thousands of workers pouring into the road, climbing on an overpass in Tan Tao Industrial Zone, Ho Chi Minh City, during a wildcat strike to demand for the right to severance pay. Photo: Trung Hieu Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District said Monday morning they are trying to clear a street blocked by thousands of workers from a nearby Taiwanese-owned factory striking for the right to severance pay. The strike, which began on March 26, gathered momentum Monday, PouYuen Vietnam Company Limited officials said. The situation worsened further after a district-level representative of the workers spoke with them in a vain effort to calm them down. The workers marched around the footwear and leather firm situated in the Tan Tao Industrial Zone before pouring out into nearby roads, climbing an overpass and completely blockading the area. Traffic is blocked at a road near HCM City’s Tan Tao Industrial Zone Monday morning by thousands of workers from a … [Read more...]

Rich nations’ fossil fuel export funding dwarfs green spend-documents

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo (L-R) President of The World Bank Jim Yong Kim, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Rich nations provided around five times as much in export subsidies for fossil-fuel technology as for renewable energy over a decade, according to OECD data seen by Reuters. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) figures on export credits are central to a debate on targeting funding ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris at the end of the year. Just when the European Union is leading the push for a new global deal on curbing emissions and is phasing out domestic coal subsidies, the documents underline the scale of the developed world's investment in exporting technology for the most polluting fossil fuel. Earlier this year, a document seen by Reuters provided the closest yet to official figures on coal … [Read more...]

US coding site undergoes denial-of-service cyber attack

US coding site GitHub said on Sunday it was deflecting most of the traffic from a days-long cyber attack that had caused intermittent outages for the social coding site, with the Wall Street Journal citing China as the source of the attack. "Eighty-seven hours in, our mitigation is deflecting most attack traffic," the GitHub Status account said in a tweet. "We're aware of intermittent issues and continue to adapt our response." The attack took the form of a flood of traffic, known as a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack. Those are among the most common kinds of attacks on the Internet. The Wall Street Journal reported that the flood of Internet traffic to GitHub came from Chinese search engine Baidu Inc , targeting two GitHub pages that linked to copies of sites banned in China. On its blog, GitHub said the attack began early on Thursday "and involves a wide combination of attack vectors." "These include every vector we've seen in previous attacks as well as some … [Read more...]

Second blogger hacked to death this year in Bangladesh

A blogger was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Monday, the second attack in five weeks on a critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation. Washikur Rahman, a secular blogger, was attacked by young religious students on a busy street in the centre of Dhaka on Monday morning, a police official said. "Police on duty near the spot caught two attackers red-handed with three machetes as they were fleeing the scene after the incident," police official Humayan Kabir told Reuters. The killing comes just weeks after U.S. secular blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death while returning with his wife from a book fair in Dhaka. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a finger in the Feb. 26 attack. The attacks come amidst a period of political turmoil in the country, with the government and main opposition group locked in a months-long standoff that has created a sense of deepening insecurity across … [Read more...]

UK’s Labor warns of ‘chaos’ over Europe if PM Cameron wins election

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech to launch his party's 2015 General Election campaign in east London, March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall Britain's opposition Labor leader Ed Miliband will say on Monday that Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on European Union membership will subject business to two years of chaos if the Conservatives win the election. Campaigning in Britain's closest national election in decades will start on Monday after Queen Elizabeth dissolves parliament at Cameron's behest, teeing up an unusually fraught battle to govern the $2.8 trillion economy. Cameron, whose Conservatives are neck and neck with Labor in most polls, has promised to renegotiate Britain's EU ties ahead of a referendum by the end of 2017 if he wins on May 7. In a full-page advert in the Financial Times newspaper on Monday featuring quotes from business leaders, Labor warns the threat of a British exit from the EU is "The biggest risk … [Read more...]

Samsung staff barred from leaving as Vietnam probes scaffolding collapse

The site of a scaffolding collapse that killed 13 workers and injured 28 others in the central province of Ha Tinh on March 25. Photo: Nguyen Dung Police in Vietnam have banned 48 employees of a South Korean company from leaving the country, as they are investigating a catastrophic scaffolding collapse that left 13 people dead and 28 others injured in the central province of Ha Tinh last week. The employees of Samsung C&T, a subsidiary of Samsung, are Korean nationals, according to local media. Nguyen Duc Thuan, chief of Ha Tinh’s immigration division, said Monday that the temporary ban is in place because investigators need to question the staff about the accident that happened at the construction site of a steel mill-port complex on March 25. Investigators, including those from the Ministry of Public Security’s forensic institute, have not reached any conclusion on the cause of the accident that is deemed as the worst in Vietnam’s construction sector since … [Read more...]

Samsung staff forbidden to leave as Vietnam probes scaffolding collapse

The site of a scaffolding collapse that killed 13 workers and injured 28 others in the central province of Ha Tinh on March 25. Photo: Nguyen Dung Police in Vietnam have banned 48 employees of a South Korean company from leaving the country, as they are investigating a catastrophic scaffolding collapse that left 13 people dead and 28 others injured in the central province of Ha Tinh last week. The employees of Samsung C&T, a subsidiary of Samsung, are Korean nationals, according to local media. Nguyen Duc Thuan, chief of Ha Tinh’s immigration division, said Monday that the temporary ban is in place because investigators need to question the staff about the accident that happened at the construction site of a steel mill-port complex on March 25. Investigators, including those from the Ministry of Public Security’s forensic institute, have not reached any conclusion on the cause of the accident that is deemed as the worst in Vietnam’s construction sector since … [Read more...]

Ex-Israeli PM Olmert convicted in another corruption case

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, already facing a six-year prison term after a corruption conviction, was found guilty on Monday in a separate case of accepting illegal payments from a US businessman. The ruling in Jerusalem District Court reversed a 2012 acquittal of the veteran politician, who led Israel from 2006 to 2009. Last May, Olmert was sentenced in other proceedings to six years in jail for accepting $160,000 in bribes linked to a real estate deal in Jerusalem, when he served as the city's mayor. He is currently appealing that conviction in the Supreme Court. The district court found that Olmert accepted cash-filled envelopes from an American businessman who hoped to further his interests in Israel. It convicted him of fraud and breach of trust on the basis of new testimony from a former aide who had accepted a plea bargain. Facing corruption allegations, Olmert announced his resignation as prime minister in 2008, cutting short his pursuit of a peace deal with … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City’s authority denies reports on tree-cutting plan

Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dinh Phu Not long after Hanoi came under fire for its "tree massacre", Ho Chi Minh City authorities Friday denied reports that they are planning to fell more than 200 trees, including some old ones in the downtown area, to clear the site for the construction of a bridge. "The information is totally incorrect," Vo Van Luan, a spokesman for the People’s Committee, said at a press conference. The consultant for the proposed Thu Thiem Bridge between Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1 and a new urban area in District 2 did propose the felling, but authorities rejected it as "unreasonable", he said. The city’s tree density is "low" and the government always tries to create green areas when planning urban projects, he said. It is always takes cautious when it comes to cutting or replacing trees, he said, pointing out that many projects have been tweaked to avoid affecting greenery. "For HCMC, trees are very … [Read more...]

Dollar surge, a worry all around in Vietnam

A laborer works at a yarn weaving plant of the Ha Nam textile company in the namesake province’s Phu Ly town, about 60 kilometers south of Hanoi. Photo: Reuters Nguyen Thi Anh, head of Song Tien Seafood Company, has for the past few weeks been tracking dollar fluctuations to tweak her firm’s business plans and prices. The company mainly exports catfish products to the EU and prices customers often in dollars. With the dollar’s recent surge against the euro, its products have become expensive there. Orders are falling amid a demand from customers to cut prices, Anh said. "We are considering ways to minimize production costs. But it is difficult to reduce prices because of the recent increase in some input costs. "We would face losses if we cut prices by just 4.5-5 percent." The company is keeping products in stock, hoping for higher prices, she said. "It is the optimal solution for us in the current situation." The dollar has jumped 12 percent in 2015 … [Read more...]

Warplanes hit Yemen’s Sanaa overnight, after dawn-residents

Warplanes struck Yemen's capital Sanaa overnight and after daybreak on Monday, residents said, on the fifth day of a campaign by Saudi-led forces against Houthi forces opposed to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. One of the residents said the strikes appeared mainly focussed around the diplomatic quarter of the capital. "It was a night from hell," a Yemeni diplomat said. He said the strikes also appeared to strike weapons depots believed to be housed in tunnels dug into mountains that overlook the city. Riyadh announced early on March 26 that it and nine other Sunni Muslim countries had commenced air strikes against the Shi'ite Houthi militia, who control the capital and are allied to the kingdom's main regional foe Iran. Iran, which denies helping the Houthis militarily, has strongly condemned the offensive. The Health Ministry, controlled by the Houthi movement, said on Sunday that the air strikes had killed 35 people and wounded 88 during the night of Saturday-Sunday. The … [Read more...]

Warburg Pincus seeks $12 billion private equity fund

Private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC has told investors it will seek to raise a new $12 billion global fund, just two years after amassing a $11.2 billion fund, according to people familiar with the matter. The fundraising comes as other private equity firms such as Blackstone Group LP and Silver Lake Partners LP take between four to six years on average to spend their investors' money in global funds of similar size. Private equity investors, which usually include public pension funds, insurance firms and sovereign wealth funds, prefer their money to be deployed quickly, assuming it's invested wisely. The sources asked not to be identified because the fundraising process is confidential. Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Warburg differs from most of its rivals because, in addition to investing in leveraged buyouts, which use debt to boost returns in acquired companies, it also makes venture capital and growth equity investments. These investments, requiring little or no debt, … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City to get first pedestrians-only street next month

A graphic of Nguyen Hue Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen Hue will become Ho Chi Minh City’s first walking-only street on April 20 to mark Reunification Day (April 30), the city's Party chief has said. Le Thanh Hai, secretary of the municipal Party Unit, inspecting some major construction works Saturday, said with reference to the work needed before Nguyen Hue can become a pedestrians-only street: "The contractors have been told to follow the deadline and ensure quality." He urged the city administration to inform the public about the plan. Authorities plan to completely ban trucks on the street and all motor vehicles between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays once it becomes walking only. Trucks can get permission in individual cases to use the road, according to the transport department. The plan to upgrade the street is expected to cost VND430 billion (US$20 million) and will turn the 670-meter downtown street into a cultural hub with 3D art … [Read more...]

Vietnam province tries to lure tourists with price cuts

Foreign tourists arrive at Cam Ranh airport in Khanh Hoa. Photo credit: Lao Dong Khanh Hoa Province, home to the popular resort town of Nha Trang, is asking restaurants and shops to reduce prices by at least 10 percent and encouraging them to offer other discounts to attract more tourists. It has set itself ambitious targets of four million tourist arrivals and tourism revenues of VND6.5 trillion (US$301.8 million) this year, 21 percent and 15 percent higher than last year. It is asking travel agencies to offer promotional tours to groups of tourists, hotels and guesthouses to offer one free night for a customer for every several nights and tourist attractions to allow children in for free. As it seeks to burnish its tourism image, Khanh Hoa has been ordering travel companies to update tourists on the security and traffic situation in the province to minimize risks. There have been recent concerns about a resurgence of robber gangs that were very active before a crackdown a few … [Read more...]

Cinderella’s new moral: Be rich or be a pumpkin

Lily James is Cinderella. Once upon a time, during a brief egalitarian period in postwar America, people of different classes did not live in separate worlds. The promise of mobility and prosperity was alive throughout the land. In 1950, Walt Disney Productions was saved from bankruptcy with its smash hit Cinderella, which audiences cheered at a time when the future looked bright and it was still possible for the dream of marrying up to come true. A new Disney film of Cinderella is a big box-office success today, but how different things look! Cinderella marriages are getting to be as rare as golden coaches. Economist Jeremy Greenwood has found that your chances of marrying outside your income bracket have been dropping since the 1950s because of something called assortative mating, which means that we are increasingly drawn to people in similar circumstances. Since the 1980s, inequality has grown and mobility has stalled. Today, the rich forge their unions in exclusive social … [Read more...]

Pink Martini’s Vietnam debut will be for the poor children

"Little orchestra" Pink Martini. Photo credit: Poussières De Vie American band Pink Martini will perform in Ho Chi Minh City this Friday night to raise money for disadvantaged children in Vietnam. The 12-piece internationally renowned band will perform in Vietnam for the first time during an annual event by Poussières De Vie, a volunteers-based organization which has been helping Vietnam’s most disadvantaged people through a variety of projects, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands’ Kon Tum Province. A release from the organization, whose name means "Dust of Life" in French to mean street children, said the live concert will take place at Ben Thanh Theater, 6 Mac Dinh Chi Street, District 1 on Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets sell at VND500,000 to 3,000,000 (US$23-138) apiece and are available at Poussières de Vie at 5 Truong Quyen Street, District 3, co-organizer Worldlines Productions at 104A Tran Quoc Toan, District 3, and Exotissimo … [Read more...]

Syria’s Assad says Islamic State has expanded since start of U.S. air strikes

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. File photo Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a U.S. television interview that Islamic State, which has seized swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, has been gaining recruits since the start of U.S.-led air strikes against the militant group. Asked how much benefit he was getting from the strikes in Syria that began last September, Assad told CBS' "60 Minutes: "Sometimes you could have local benefit but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes." Assad, who has been fighting Islamist and other rebels since 2011, said in the interview aired on Sunday there were some estimates that Islamic State was attracting 1,000 recruits a month in Syria. "And Iraq - they are expanding in - in Libya and - many other - al Qaeda affiliate organizations have announced their allegiance to ISIS. So that's the situation," Assad said, using another acronym for the militant group. Washington is … [Read more...]

Inter-Parliamentary Union calls for action against cyberwar

National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung delivers his speech at the 132rd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Hanoi on March 29. Photo: Truong Son The increase in cyberattacks in terms of both frequency and intensity has prompted a demand for urgent regional and international cooperation to tackle the problem, delegates heard at the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly Sunday. In a draft resolution on "Cyber warfare – A serious threat to peace and global security", the IPU’s Standing Committee on Peace and International Security said legal systems do not have timely updates to cope with the rapid development of Internet-based technologies. It is an urgent issue but what people know about cyberattacks is the mere tip of the iceberg, José Carlos Mahía of Uruguay said. Nguyen Dac Vinh, chairman of the Vietnam Young Legislators Delegation, said there should be more action against cyberattacks. "We recommend that the IPU should issue a statement … [Read more...]

AFC U-23 qualification: Japan defeats Vietnam 2-0

Vietnam's Cong Phuong was taken good care by Japan players during a AFC U-23 Championship's Group I match at Shah Alam Stadium in Malaysia on March 29, 2015 Shoya Nakajima’s double, both at the end of each half, has secured a win for Japan over Vietnam at the 2016 Asian Football Council U-23 Championship at Malaysia’s Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday. Vietnam players had strong defense in the first half with good coordination of captain Que Ngoc Hai at right back. Close blocks by Vietnam’s midfielders have pushed Japanese players to switch from short to long passes. However, it was short passes that led to a goal by Nakajima in the 43rd minute, after he got a pass from Yamanaka. It was also Yamanaka who blocked the view of Vietnam’s goalkeeper Phi Minh Long and several defenders for Nakajima’s shot. In the 73rd minute, the ball hit Vietnam’s net for the second time. But a goal was not acknowledged as Nishino had been offside. Two minutes later, … [Read more...]