Pictures of drowned Syrian boy shock world as refugee crisis grows

The front pages of some of Britain's daily newspapers showing an image of the body of Syrian three-year-old boy Aylan are pictured in London, on September 3, 2015. The image spread like lightning through social media and dominated front pages from Spain to Sweden, with commentators unanimous it had rammed home the horrors faced by those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East and Africa. Photo: AFP/Justin Tallis Harrowing pictures of a drowned Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach brought home the horror of the escalating refugee crisis Thursday as Europe was accused of letting the Mediterranean become a "cemetery" for migrants. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bluntly blamed EU states for the death of every single migrant who lost their lives making the perilous journey to Europe. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also lashed out at Germany over its handling of the crisis as scenes of chaos erupted in his country. The deep rifts in Europe were highlighted as … [Read more...]

EU’s Juncker proposes relocating extra 120,000 refugees: European source

A refugee carries his child as they arrive on the shores of the Greek island Lesbos in an inflatable dingy across the Aegean Sea from Turkey on September 3, 2015. Photo: AFP/Angelos Tzortzinis European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed relocating 120,000 refugees from overstretched Italy, Greece and Hungary, a European source told AFP on Thursday. The plan -- which comes on top of a Commission proposal in May for the relocation of 40,000 migrants -- is expected to be formally unveiled by Juncker during his State of the Union speech on September 9 after being approved by Commissioners, the source said. "Because we have a very pressing situation for Italy, Hungary and Greece, there will be a proposal for emergency relocation for these three countries totaling 120,000," the source said. News of the plan comes after EU president Donald Tusk called on member states Thursday to relocate at least 100,000 people, and after France and Germany agreed that binding migrant … [Read more...]

Migrants cling to west-bound train, refuse Hungarian camp

Migrants storm into a train at the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary, September 3, 2015 as Hungarian police withdrew from the gates after two days of blocking their entry. Photo: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh Migrants threw themselves onto railway lines and scuffled with helmeted riot police trying to take them to a reception center in Hungary on Thursday, forced from a train in desperate scenes symbolic of a European asylum system brought to breaking point. In Budapest, lawmakers debated changes to entry laws that the right-wing government said would close the country to migrants as of Sept. 15, after nine months in which some 140,000 have been caught crossing from neighboring Serbia en route to western Europe. Seeking to end a two-day standoff at the capital's main railway station, police who had barred entry to some 2,000 migrants for the past two days suddenly stepped aside. Crowds surged past, cramming onto trains many believed would take them to Austria, Germany and the end … [Read more...]

Famed saxophonist Kenny G set to perform in Hanoi

American jazz saxophonist Kenny G in a file photo from his Facebook page American jazz saxophonist Kenny G will come to Vietnam for the first time with a one-night only concert in Hanoi on October 13, VnExpress reported Thursday. The 59-year-old musician along with his band will perform at the National Convention Center as part of his Asian tour, the news website said. The Grammy Award-winning saxophonist in one of the best-selling artists of all time, with global record sales exceeding 75 million copies. The Seattle native started playing the saxophone in 1966 when he was 10. He released a self-titled debut album in 1982, followed by "G Force" in 1983 and "Gravity" in 1985. His early albums were moderately successful, but he shot to stardom in 1992 with the release of "Breathless" that sold 15 million copies around the world, making it the best-selling instrumental album of all time. In 1994 Kenny G received an Grammy Award for his track "Forever in Love." The acclaimed … [Read more...]

McDonald’s Vietnam allays ethical concerns following disturbing farming video

People arrive at the first McDonald’s restaurant opening in Ho Chi Minh City in February 2014. Photo credit: AFP A source from McDonald’s Vietnam has confirmed that it does not use chicken from the US after animal rights activists released a video showing brutal treatment at one of its chicken suppliers in Tennessee. Thevideo was released online late last month and has been reported by different news agencies. It showed farmers beating chicken with spikes and stomping on the birds at a Tyson Foods farm, which supplied chicken for the chain's nuggets. McDonald’s Vietnam said in a statement on Wednesday that it does not source chicken from Tyson or any US farms. It said it imports all chicken from partners in Thailand and Malaysia. It does not comment on farming conditions in these two countries. Tyson has severed ties with the farm after the release of the video, with McDonald’s representatives calling the act "unacceptable." McDonald’s entered … [Read more...]

English Premier League to be broadcast for free in Vietnam

English Premier League will be aired on VTV6 for free from September 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters Vietnam Television (VTV) has announced that it will broadcast the English Premier League on its public channel VTV6 from September 12. VTV’s Advertisement and Service Center (TVad) has acquired the broadcast rights to the 2015-2016 season for nearly US$300,000, a source told Thanh Nien, adding that it is a "good deal." More than 10 years ago, EPL was broadcast live for free in Vietnam before pay TV channels bought the exclusive rights to air the matches on their channels, leading to a harsh competition. Since 2010, K+ channel of VSTV – a joint venture between VTV and Canal Plus – has been the only channel with the broadcast rights. VTV said it is also discussing with relevant agencies to buy TV rights for the Champions League. … [Read more...]

Labor unions unhappy as mediators solve wage dispute with 12 pct increase

The current wage only covers 75 percent of a worker's basic life demands. Photo: Thu Hang The National Wage Council on Thursday decided to increase the minimum wage for Vietnamese workers by 12.4 percent next year, ending months of dispute between labor and business associations. Under the proposal, still pending government approval, the new minimum wage for 2016 will range between VND2.5-3.5 million (US$111-156) a month depending on regions. The National Wage Council, which comprises 15 members representing the national labor force, employers and the labor ministry, made its decision after the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), which represents thousands of employers in the country, failed to reach an agreement. At the two previous meetings in August, the labor unions demanded a 16.8 percent bump while VCCI insisted on only 10 percent. During the meeting Thursday, the labor unions offered to lower its demand to 14.3 … [Read more...]

Philippines, Vietnam to sign partnership deal by year-end

Representatives of Philippine navy are welcomed to the Song Tu Tay Island by Vietnamese officials in June 2014 The Philippines and Vietnam will sign a "strategic partnership" agreement by the end of the year to bolster defence, political and economic ties, officials have said. "As strategic partners, we aim to deliver results... a cooperation at the highest possible level," Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters late Wednesday. "We will deepen our cooperation in order to solve all the issues concerning the South China Sea in a most peaceful way in accordance with international law," Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Truong Trieu Duong told reporters. The deal would make Vietnam the Philippines' second "strategic partner" after Japan, with which the Philippines is also bolstering military ties. Maiden naval drills with Japan were held in quick succession this year and negotiations are underway to transfer Japanese defence equipment, including … [Read more...]

Bidders submit designs for new U.S. Air Force bomber

A B-2 Stealth Bomber. Photographer:Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images Bidders for the U.S. Air Force’s new bomber have produced elaborate designs of their competing offerings, according to a congressional assessment. Northrop Grumman Corp. and its rival, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., submitted "two robust designs" at "an unusually high level of detail and development for a system in which the prime contractor has not been selected, according to senior program officials," the Congressional Research Service said in a report dated Wednesday. The research service gleaned the information from a briefing that Air Force officials gave to about a dozen defense analysts on Tuesday, providing the most detailed assessment to date of the highly secret program. It may have been an effort to shape the thinking of widely quoted defense analysts before the award is announced. Jeremiah Gertler of the CRS was among those briefed. The Long Range Strike Bomber will … [Read more...]

G20 seeks to smooth economic shock waves from China

Pedestrians walk past a share price board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (C, top) in Tokyo on September 3, 2015. Tokyo shares gained 1.42 percent September 3 morning after Wall Street rebounded overnight while Chinese markets are closed for a long weekend. Photo: AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi World finance ministers and central bankers gather in Turkey this weekend to grapple with the fallout of slowing growth in China, tanking emerging economies and panicked global stock markets. Signs that China's economy -- the world's second-largest -- is slowing more than expected have panicked stock markets, pushed commodity prices to fresh lows, sparked a rout in emerging market currencies and thrown into question a US interest rate rise previously expected in September. The potential chilling impact of a new cycle of US interest rate hikes fed uncertainty and concern ahead of the meeting of the Group of 20 top advanced and emerging economies. "China's transition to a lower growth, while broadly in line … [Read more...]

Xi says China no threat, announces military cuts at parade

Photographer: Song Fan/Imaginechina/AP Photo As fighter jets streaked through the skies of Beijing and tanks rolled through Tiananmen Square to commemorate the end of World War II, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the world that the nation was committed to peace and announced the biggest cuts to the army in almost two decades. "Chinese love peace," Xi said in a televised speech. "No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation." Xi said that army personnel would be reduced by 300,000, the largest reduction to the 2.3 million-strong military since 1997. The announcement foreshadows the most sweeping overhaul of the military in at least three decades, moving it closer to a U.S.-style joint command structure, people familiar with the matter said. Global platform The parade offered Xi a global platform to present his vision of a "Chinese Dream" of national rejuvenation and military … [Read more...]

Vietnam index ends down 1.4 in volatile trade

A woman rides a bicycle past the stock exchange center in Hanoi, Vietnam September 1, 2015. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index .VNI closed down 1.42 percent on Thursday, the third fall this week, dragged by the losses of banks and energy stocks due in part to lower global oil prices. The fall on Thursday, making Vietnam the sole one-day decliner in Southeast Asia, brought the market's combined loss this week to nearly 3 percent. PetroVietnam Gas GAS.HM, the country's third-biggest firm by market value, dropped 3.99 percent following the fall of oil prices on a surprise build in U.S. inventory levels and a firm dollar. Vietcombank VCB.HM, Vietnam's top lender by capitalisation, fell 2.12 percent and top insurer BaoViet Holdings BVH.HM lost 4.37 percent. … [Read more...]

Vietnam cuts fuel prices 7th time this year

Retail gasoline prices in Vietnam have been cut by around 6.5 percent on Thursday, the seventh reduction this year and the fifth since June, as global oil prices continue to decline. The most popular grade RON-92 now sells at VND17,338 (76 US cents) per liter, while biofuel alternative E5 is priced at VND16,843 (73 cents) per liter, according to an announcement released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Finance. The retail prices of diesel oil and kerosene are lowered by less than 1 percent to VND13,310 (58 cents) and VND12,286 (53 cents) respectively. In their statement, the ministries said the latest adjustment was because the global fuel prices declined "quite sharply" over the past two weeks. They said RON-92's price decreased by 9.6 percent to sell at $56.414 per barrel, while diesel and kerosene saw a reduction of $0.5-2 per barrel. Vietnamese authorities have adjusted retail fuel prices for 11 times this year, including four hikes. … [Read more...]

Cambodia arrests 2 for destroying Vietnam boundary marker

Police in the Cambodian province of Tbong Khmum have arrested two men for allegedly damaging a pillar that marks the border between the country and Vietnam, Vietnam Plus reported on Wednesday. On August 31 the border police caught three men destroying the boundary marker No. 110.1, which is located in Da Commune, Memot District, the news website said. The police detained two of them as the other fled, it said, without mentioning their names. However, the families of these two suspects said they did not mean to damage the pillar and they unintentionally hit it because they were drunk. Earlier, on July 24 night, another border pillar also in Da Commune was damaged. However, the culprit has yet to be identified. … [Read more...]

Vietnam Airlines starts flying new Boeing Dreamliner on UK route

Vietnam Airlines' Dreamliner at Heathrow Airport in London on September 1, 2015. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency The country’s national carrier Vietnam Airlines has finished its first international flight with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to London on Tuesday. Le Thanh Dung, director of the airline’s UK office, said during a ceremony to mark the event that it is the first carrier to fly a B787-9 Dreamliner nonstop between Southeast Asia and Europe, Vietnam News Agency reported. The airline launched services from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Heathrow last March and now plans to increase the frequency from four flights a week to daily next summer with the new Boeings. It started using the first Dreamliner in July, but for domestic flights first. The carrier, which now operates 14 Airbus A350-900 XWBs, said it plans to have 19 new Boeings by 2019. Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is the all-new latest version of Boeing 787, which is more fuel-efficient and has a wider body. … [Read more...]

Saigon necklace robbery: Police seize motorbike linked to snatchers

A still photo taken from a dashcam video shows two men on a motorbike before they snatch a necklace from a female driver. Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday said they have seized a motorbike in connection with a necklace robbery which was captured by a dashboard camera last week. The motorbike was registered two years ago under the name of a man in District 3, police said. It is not immediately clear if the man was involved in the crime. A dashcam video released Monday on news website VnExpress showed two men on a motorbike following a young woman riding a luxury motorbike on Dien Bien Phu Street in District 3 at 7:17 a.m. on Saturday. After the woman turned left to Pasteur Street to head to the city center, they approached her and grabbed her necklace. The street was quite empty. The woman collapsed. Nearby residents rushed over and helped the woman stand up. By then the snatchers had already fled the scene. Police said the video showed the license plate of the snatchers' … [Read more...]

Vietnam orders more gas stations in big cities to sell biofuel

A man refills his motorbike with biofuel E5 at a station in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Petrolimex Vietnam’s government is pushing for more consumption of a locally-produced biofuel blend which has remained unpopular since it was launched last year. The prime minister issued an order this week asking eight major cities and provinces to make sure the gasoline grade E5, which contains 5 percent of cassava-based ethanol, is available at at least half of their gas stations by the end of November. Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Quang Nam started selling the product last December. Quang Ngai Province, home to the country’s sole refinery and one of its three ethanol production plants, launched it last September. But official surveys found that only 10-25 percent of gas stations in these cities and provinces are selling the environmentally friendly alternative. The ratio was lowest in Hanoi, around 6.5 percent, … [Read more...]

At least 14 killed as boat capsizes off Malaysia

A boat believed to be carrying dozens of Indonesian illegal immigrants capsized off the coast of Malaysia on Thursday, killing at least 14 people, 13 of them women, maritime officials said. The boat left Sabak Bernam in Malaysia's Selangor state and was heading for Sumatra in Indonesia when the accident happened. Muhammad Aliyas Hamdan, First Admiral at the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, said initial conversations with survivors led them to believe the passengers were Indonesian. "If they are legal, they would not leave (the country) that way," Muhammad said when asked if the people were illegal migrants. Southeast Asia in the summer faced a huge migrant crisis, with more than 4,000 landing in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh after Thailand launched a crackdown on people-smuggling gangs in May. Hundreds are believed to have drowned. But no such boats have been reported in recent weeks. Fifteen passengers had been rescued by fishermen, Muhammad said. … [Read more...]

Man arrested over gun killing of taxi driver in Vietnam

Kieu Quoc Huy, 27, at a police station in Bao Loc Town, Lam Dong Province. He was arrested on September 2 for allegedly Police in Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of killing a taxi driver to rob his car. Kieu Quoc Huy, 27, told police that he killed the 35-year-old driver on the night of August 22 when the car traveled along a quiet road during the trip from Lam Dong's Bao Loc Town to Buon Me Thuot Town in Dak Lak Province.. He allegedly shot the driver with a gun first then he stabbed the victim to death. He then took the car and the driver's phone, which have been seized by the police. Guns and bullets found at Kieu Quoc Huy's rent house in Bao Loc Town. Photo: Minh Son Local farmers found the victim’s body eight days later, with a nail hammered into his head. Forensic tests found three stab holes on his body. Investigation found that Huy from the nearby Dak Lak Province is unemployed. He and his wife rent a house in Bao … [Read more...]

Vietmamese police officer accused of raping 11-year-old girl

Police in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu on Wednesday arrested a local police officer for allegedly raping an 11 year-old girl. The family of the girl, whose name is withheld, accused Nguyen Tan Nhiem, 23, a police officer of Chau Hung A Commune in Vinh Loi District, of sexually assaulting her on August 29. They said the girl was playing in the yard of a local People’s Committee office and he pulled her into a toilet and raped her. Local police have not commented on the accusation as investigation is ongoing. Official figures show that 1,544 children, both girls and boys, were raped in Vietnam last year. Officials said child sexual abuse statistics are worsening. The real number can be even higher since many families do not report to authorities for fear of social stigma and shame. … [Read more...]