Vietnamese travel companies are expanding tours to lesser-known islands around the country. Luong Duy Ngan, director of Newstar Tour, said his company opened tours to Co To Island in the northern province of Quang Ninh last May, and his products have since attracted around 1,000 customers over the last few months. He said that Co To has proven attractive because of its untouched beaches, beautiful landscape, friendly people and rather cheap food and accommodation prices. "I think the tourism potential of islands is very big, especially the less-inhabited, remote islands," he said. "If travel companies know how to tap that potential, they will draw many customers." Pham Hoang Mai Huong, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Saigontourist, said her company organized a field trip to Co To early this month to explore its potential. "We're searching for new destinations. In the north, we are considering Co To and Cat Ba (an island in Hai Phong City)," she said in a meeting with the … [Read more...] about Travel firms eye Vietnam’s remote islands
Long island power authority
A record-breaking blizzard packing hurricane-force winds hammered the northeastern United States on Saturday, cutting power to 700,000 homes and businesses, shutting down travel and leaving at least five people dead. Photo: Reuters The mammoth storm that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic dumped more than 3 feet of snow across the Northeast, the National Weather Service said. Coastal blizzard and flood warnings were in effect, but Massachusetts and Connecticut lifted vehicle travel bans as the storm slowly moved eastward on Saturday afternoon. Stratford, Connecticut, Mayor John Harkins said he had never seen such a heavy snowfall, with rates reaching 6 inches an hour. "Even the plows are getting stuck," Harkins told local WTNH television. The storm centered its fury on Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with the highest snowfall total, 38 inches, in Milford, Connecticut. About 2,200 flights were canceled on Saturday, according to FlightAware, which … [Read more...] about Blizzard hammers U.S. Northeast, five dead, 700,000 lose power
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked the US federal government for $30 billion in aid to help his state recover from the devastation left by superstorm Sandy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, pictured last month, asked the US federal government for $30 billion in aid Monday to help his state recover from the devastation left by superstorm Sandy. The requested funds will help rebuild the economy, infrastructure, housing, public buildings and small businesses, Cuomo told reporters in stressing the "cataclysmic" nature of the storm that killed more than 110 people. "This is an economy that is important not just for the state, this is an economy that is important for the country," Cuomo said. "The sooner we get the New York economy running, the better for this state and this nation." His request comes three days before President Barack Obama tours the areas hit hard by the storm that blasted ashore … [Read more...] about New York governor seeks $30 bn in aid after Sandy
Part 1: Weak arguments, forceful actions VietNamNet Bridge - Seen in the context of its actions over the past half century, there is nothing surprising about China's recent deployment of an illegal drilling rig in Vietnam's waters. This is just one more notch in the ratchet Beijing has long wielded to "monopolize the East Sea". The strategy was hatched by the Middle Kingdom long ago and the country has continuously found ways to implement it without regard for international law or its commitments to the world community. China self-draws the so-called "nine-dotted line" China is the country that is most vociferous about raising claims in the East Sea, but it wasn't until 1951 that Beijing issued its first statement on the matter. At the San Francisco Conference, Premier Zhou Enlai said that Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands), Truong Sa (Spratly Island) and Pratas Islands "were and always had been" part of Chinese territory. The claims were then pushed to a higher level in 1997, when the … [Read more...] about China’s long-term plot to capture the East Sea
VietNamNet Bridge - In theory, the positions controlled illegally by China in Truong Sa (Spratly Islands) in particular and the entire East Sea in general will help strengthen its ability to control the sea lanes and rapidly deploy armed forces. Control of strategic points Photo: Beijing’s construction works on the Gaven Reef of the Spratly Islands in late March last year (left) was connected with a new artificial island via a road (right). Photo: IHS Jane's/VNE. China began massively upgrading and expanding reefs in Truong Sa in 2014. This process can be interpreted in a variety of angles. One of them is to create a springboard in the overall strategy of the Chinese navy, with the basic goal of "preventing intrusion and access" (A2/AD). A2/AD, expressed in a simple way, is pushing the military presence of the United States in the Asia-Pacific from China as far as possible, in which the East Sea has the key position. With this strategy, China is trying to ensure its … [Read more...] about East Sea: What conspiracy is behind China’s artificial island?