Vietnamese passenger fined $35 for throwing smelly pickle jar on airport floor

A still from the video clip shows passenger Nghiem Tien Khoi throwing the pickle jar at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport on June 22, 2015. The northern aviation authority has fined a Vietnamese passenger VND750,000 (US$35) for throwing a jar of food on the floor in Noi Bai Airport after he was not allowed to bring it to his flight. Nghiem Tien Khoi, 38, was at a security check point before boarding his flight to Ho Chi Minh City on the afternoon of June 22. After two officers detected the jar of pickled eggplant in fish sauce in his hand luggage, they asked Khoi to remove the jar and leave it behind. They reminded him that aviation rules do not allow passengers to bring smelly liquids with them to the plane. Khoi argued with the officers and yelled at them. He got angry and tossed the jar onto the floor, breaking it. Someone captured his act on a mobile phone and posted the video online. … [Read more...]

At least 17 injured in attack on NATO troops in Kabul

U.S. soldiers attend to a wounded soldier at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan June 30, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail At least 17 people were wounded in a suicide bomb attack on NATO troops as their truck convoy passed down the main road running between Kabul's airport and the U.S. embassy, police and health ministry officials said. The road was closed off, and Reuters witnesses saw damaged NATO military vehicles and Western troops attending to a stricken comrade. The force of the blast rattled windows in the capital's heavily guarded diplomatic enclave and sent a huge column of grey smoke skywards. Most NATO troops left Afghanistan last year when the combat mission ended and only a small contingent remains to train Afghan security forces. Some U.S. troops are still engaged in fighting the Taliban insurgency. The explosion took place close to a busy shopping area, and Kabul's police chief said both foreigners and Afghan civilians were among the casualties. "So far, … [Read more...]

EU in last-ditch bid to Greece, urges “yes” vote to bailout

Demonstrators gather to protest against the European Central Bank's handling of Greece's debt repayments in Trafalgar Square in London, Britain June 29, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall The head of the European Commission made a last-minute offer to try to persuade Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to accept a bailout deal he has rejected before a referendum on Sunday which EU partners say will be a choice of whether to stay in the euro. There was no official response from the leftwing government, elected in January on a promise to end austerity, but Greek daily Kathimerini reported that Tsipras had told Brussels he was considering the move. A Greek official told Reuters: "There has been a lot of movement in the last few hours, in the direction of a new proposal." After months of wrangling and acrimony, the growing possibility that Athens could be forced out of the single currency brought into sharp focus the chaos that could be unleashed in Greece as well as the danger that would … [Read more...]

Passengers die in Japan train drama

Two passengers on a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train died on Tuesday after one doused himself in oil and set it ablaze, police said, but there was no immediate indication of a motive for the action that left 26 others injured. The train, carrying about 1,000 passengers, made an emergency stop on its way from Tokyo, the capital, to the western city of Osaka, after smoke started to fill at least one carriage. "At the very front of the first carriage ... this person had a whole petrol container, and sprayed liquid across the seats ... and then all over himself. And then set himself on fire," a woman passenger told broadcaster TBS. "And fire spread all over the place immediately." Besides the man who set himself afire, a woman passenger also died, a police officer said. The cause of her death was not officially determined, but it could have been from inhaling smoke, he said. TBS footage showed a train carriage filled with smoke and passengers scrambling to get out, pressing … [Read more...]

Tourist beaten by seafood vendors in Vietnam’s resort town

Nguyen Thi My Hoa, 23, says a group of vendors attacked her after she complained about being cheated. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Police in the central province of Binh Thuan are seeking criminal charges against a group of seafood vendors for beating a tourist after she complained about being ripped off. The group has been identified and police are proposing charges of deliberately injuring others, Tuoi Tre quoted an unnamed officer as saying. The case happened on June 27 when Nguyen Thi My Hoa, 23, and two friends were visiting La Gi, a beach town more than 150 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City. After buying some seafood from a local woman on the beach, the trio found that they were given much less than what they had paid for. One of them bought four kilograms but eventually got only two. Hoa complained about it, only to see a group of vendors rush in and attack her. She was taken to a local hospital with injuries in her face. Hoa said she does not want compensation: "I only hope … [Read more...]

Vietnamese man gets life sentence for trafficking, raping minor girl

Duong Thanh Thuy, 48, at a trial in Can Tho June 29 for trafficking a 14-year-old to China and raping her. Photo: Mai Tram A court in Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta on Monday sentenced a man to life in prison for trafficking a 15-year-old to China and raping her on the way. Duong Thanh Thuy, 48, from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, received a life sentence for child trafficking and 20 years in jail for child rape. According to the indictment, a Vietnamese woman in Guangxi ordered Thuy to find Vietnamese women and girls and bring them to China for a fee of 15,000 yuan (US$2,400 or VND52 million) each. He could not find any. So he lied to a neighbor in June last year that he was recruiting waitresses for a café, and the neighbor introduced her niece to him. Thuy brought the 15-year-old girl from her home in Can Tho to An Giang in October. She did work at a café for a while before he took her up north to Nanjing city of China. While he was waiting to transfer … [Read more...]

Islamic State beheads women civilians for first time in Syria – monitor

Islamic State fighters parade through Raqqa, Syria in June. Photo: Reuters The hardline Islamic State group has beheaded two women in Syria, the first time it has decapitated female civilians, the founder of a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday. The beheadings took place in the eastern Deir al-Zor province this week said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the conflict using sources on the ground. One of the women was beheaded along with her husband in Deir al-Zor city. In al-Mayadeen city to the south east, the group beheaded another woman and her husband. All of them were accused of sorcery, the monitor said. Islamic State has beheaded local and foreign men in Syria, including enemy combatants, aid workers and journalists as well as people it has deemed as violating its hardline interpretation of Islamic law. … [Read more...]

World Bank supports Vietnam’s food safety project

Health officials inspect a slaughterhouse in Vietnam. Photo: OMARD The World Bank has approved additional funding of US$45 million for a project to improve livestock competitiveness and food safety in some Vietnamese provinces. The funding aimed to consolidate the project’s initial achievements and expand good agricultural practices to other localities, said Vo Thanh Son, the bank's senior expert on rural development. The project was first approved in September 2009, with the International Development Association (IDA) providing $65.26 million and the Vietnamese government contributing $13.77 million. The project has so far contributed to food safety by helping 124 small slaughterhouses improve meat safety through inspections and testing for bacteria. In addition, it assisted 23 medium and large slaughterhouses in upgrading their meat handling and sales facilities and practices to meet national food safety standards. … [Read more...]

Vietnam may raise crude oil output in pursuit of economic growth

An oil rig of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) Vietnam will likely miss the annual growth target of 6.2 percent unless its crude oil output is increased, ministers told a government meeting on Monday. Although its economy expanded faster than expected in the first half of 2015, the growth was driven mostly by oil production, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said. The country had originally planned to produce 14.74 million tons of crude oil this year, but due to price drops, it may need to raise the output by at least one million tons, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said. In response to the ministers' proposal, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the government will have to discuss it "carefully." Vietnam produced 8.38 million tons of crude oil over the first half of 2015, up 11 percent year on year. The economy grew 6.28 percent in the first six months, the highest since 2010. … [Read more...]

4th Russian-built submarine arrives in Vietnam

The submarine codenamed HQ-185 Da Nang carried by cargo ship Rolldock Storm at Cam Ranh Port in Khanh Hoa Province. Photo: Nguyen Chung The fourth of the six Kilo-class submarines that Vietnam has contracted to buy from Russia arrived at Cam Ranh Port in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa on Tuesday morning. The submarine codenamed HQ-185 Da Nang was transported by the Dutch-registered cargo ship Rolldock Storm. The submarine was launched on March 28, 2014 at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg, Russia, and then had a trial run on the Baltic Sea. On May 14 this year, it started the voyage to Vietnam. The first three submarines, named after Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, arrived in Vietnam in 2014 and early 2015. The fifth submarine codenamed HQ-186 Khanh Hoa underwent trial run on the Baltic Sea on June 8. The delivery of the sixth and last one, HQ-187 Ba Ria-Vung Tau, is scheduled for next year. The six submarines are built under a US$2-billion deal signed … [Read more...]

Policeman stabbed to death after midnight in Ho Chi Minh City

Police in Ho Chi Minh City said they are searching for two men who allegedly murdered a police officer on a street early Monday morning. Pham Van Manh, an officer from Binh Phuoc Province, was found by the sidewalk of Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in District 10. The crime scene was close to a hospital where he had been guarding a prisoner receiving treatment there. Manh, 35, reportedly left the hospital around midnight after his shift. He was discovered unconscious ten minutes later. Manh was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to serious abdomen injuries. A local news website quoted an investigator as saying that two local gangsters, riding a motorbike, stopped him and asked him to pay a debt of VND200,000 (US$9). They argued and one of the two men reportedly stabbed him with a knife. Local police are looking into the case. … [Read more...]

Young men throw stones at bus, nearly blind driver’s eye in central Vietnam

Phan Van Doan, the driver of the bus, had his right eye severely injured. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Police in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong on Monday arrested five young men who repeatedly threw stones at a moving sleeper bus, nearly claiming the right eye of the driver. The bus belonging to Thuan Tien Gia Lai Transport and Tourism Company carried 34 passengers from Gia Lai Province to Ho Chi Minh City. When it was traveling on National Highway 14 in Dak Nong 20 minutes after midnight on Monday, a group of around 10 young men came out of a rubber forest and repeatedly attacked the bus with stones. The stones flied into the right eye of Phan Van Doan, the 44-year-old driver, and injured four passengers. Three glass shields near the driver’s seat broke. Doan was rushed to a nearby health center. After doctors said his injuries were serious and he might lose his right eye, he was immediately transferred to Ho Chi Minh City for treatment. The four passengers … [Read more...]

Mekong Delta police fire warning shots to stop brawl at night club

The V18 Club on Hai Ba Trung Street in Can Tho City's Ninh Kieu District. Photo: Mai Tram A video clip posted on YouTube shows police in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho firing several warning shots to stop a brawl at a local night club on Sunday evening. The clip captures scenes of the brawl and the police’s crackdown outside the club. After the clip went viral on the Internet, some news website reported the skirmish was between a group of tourists, including police officers from Hanoi, and the V18 Club's security guards at around 10 p.m. on Sunday. But Can Tho police later said in a press conference Monday that the Hanoi police officers did not cause the fight. According to police, the tourists, including eight officers of Hanoi Traffic Police Division, took part in a boat tour on the Hau River before entering the night club. After a young man in the club, who was not with the officers, asked to change the music and was refused by security guards, he started the … [Read more...]

Vietnamese gay drama ‘Rainbow’ to compete at Montreal film fest

A still from Cau vong khong sac Cau vong khong sac (Rainbow without colors), a film by director Nguyen Quang Tuyen, has been invited to compete at Canada's Montreal World Film Festival, which will kick off this August. This will be the second Vietnamese film to enter one of the world's established festivals, after Ngo Quang Hai's Chuyen cua Pao (Pao's story) in 2006. Tuyen's movie is expected to compete in the category of First Films World Competition. The film, which premiered in Vietnam in March, depicts a family tragedy, as a mother refuses to accept her son's sexuality and his relationship with his foster brother. The 39th Montreal World Film Festival will take place from August 27 to September 7, with the participation of filmmakers from 80 countries around the world. … [Read more...]

Saigon cyclo drivers rip foreign tourists: report

A cyclo driver snatches money from a Australian tourist in Ho Chi Minh City after she refused to pay his high price. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Hung and another cyclo driver each quickly took a US$50 note from the wallets of an Australian couple after dropping them with their two children at the Independence Palace last Thursday. The couple gesticulated, asking for their money back, but Hung and his friend just smiled and rode away. The Australian man said they had been brought from Ben Thanh Market, a kilometer away. He said it was their first time in Vietnam and so did not know prices or directions. "We feel unhappy because they took a lot of money," he told a Tuoi Tre reporter. An investigation by Tuoi Tre found Hung is one of 10 freelance cyclo drivers stationed around Ben Thanh Market. They charge foreign tourists exorbitant prices, usually 10 times what is agreed in advance. They would grab money straight from customers’ pockets if the latter are reluctant to pay. Last … [Read more...]

The best breakfasts for a cold morning in Da Lat

These little rice pancakes are a common choice of breakfast in the Central Highlands’ resort town. The cakes, called banh can in Vietnamese, are cooked by pouring a mixture of rice powder and egg into round clay molds. The rim should be burned a little to make a tasty cake. Now you dip the cakes into a bowl of special sauce made from fish sauce, fried shallots and some seasonings. It’s nice to sit next to the warm oven to wait for the cakes. A bowl of noodle with lemongrass broth and slices of beef is another warm start for a day in Da Lat. Add some slices of red chili, a few drops of lemon juice and some herbs and you can dig in. A more simple breakfast is bread with meatballs, which come in a bowl of pork broth and onions. Photo credit: VnExpress This restaurant has a coal oven for customers to toast their bread a bit more if they want. Most restaurants in the Little Paris make sure their diners have everything hot. Men play chess while having morning … [Read more...]

Angola dream more a nightmare for Vietnamese workers

Mai Xuan Su (L) at his home in Thua Thien-Hue after leaving Angola where the devalued currency means the job opportunities are not worth taking dangers. Photo credit: Lao Dong Pham Van Khoi lies back on his wooden chair, dropping his skinny arms to touch the floor as he gazes at the front door without really looking at anything. "He’s dead. They said robbers shot him." The 74-year-old kept crying and holding his chest as he started talking about his son, who went to the southern African country two years ago to work illegally. The death of the man has not only broken his father and wife, but also shattered part of the Angola dream in his poor community in the central province of Nghe An, Lao Dong newspaper said in a report. Khoi said he could not even cry when he got the call about his son, Pham Van Tuan, earlier this month. A group of robbers shot him while he was on his way to work, he was told. Tuan’s wife Pham Thi Loan received a similar call while working at a … [Read more...]

IS beheads two women in Syria: monitor

Men believed to be members of the Islamic State group turn Syrians back to the city centre of the town of Tal Abyad, on June 13, 2015 The Islamic State group has beheaded two women in Syria on accusations of "sorcery," the first such execution of women in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said Tuesday. "The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. The Britain-based monitor said the executions took place on Monday and Sunday and involved two couples. In both cases, the women were executed with their husbands, with each pair accused of "witchcraft and sorcery". The Islamic State group has become infamous for gruesome executions and is reported to have stoned women to death on allegations of adultery. But the Observatory said this was the first time it was aware of the group … [Read more...]

The tourism crisis: No relief for Vietnam as visitor drop continues

Foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh The number of international arrivals in Vietnam has fallen for the 13 straight month in June, down 8.2 percent from May, local media quoted the General Statistics Office of Vietnam as saying on Sunday. Around 3.8 million foreigners visited the country in the first half, a 11.3 percent drop from the same period last year. Sea travel saw the sharpest decline with arrivals going down 26.5 percent year-on-year. The downturn hit most of Vietnam's traditional tourism markets, including Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain. One of the reasons was the lack of diverse products and high prices, according to the office, which also blamed the situation on management failings. Unsure Speaking to news website Saigon Times Online, representatives of many tour operators said the situation was "very difficult." They said they were unsure if the situation will improve in the second half of the year, even … [Read more...]