New zealand troops in vietnam war
HCM CITY The optimism of street children and working people that shines through despite hardship has been presented in a new photobook by the HCM City-based photographer Trần Thế Phong.
Entitled Cười (The Smile), the book features more than 100 photos selected from thousands of images that Phong took over the past 10 years. The publication is also his 10th photobook, celebrating his 30th year in photography.
According to the photographer, the idea of the book comes from an unexpected encounter with a fan from Switzerland.
“In 2014 I was in the central European country to exhibit my photos. A local dentist was impressed by a photo in my series The Smile and decided to purchase the photo.
“Surprisingly, when I showed him other photos in the collection, without any hesitation, he said that he wanted to buy all the photos. He said he was ‘haunted’ by the smiles of all Vietnamese people in those photos. Those smiles were more optimistic and energetic than he could see anywhere in the world,” Phong said.
After returning to Việt Nam, he started to pay more attention to taking photos that centre the smiles of people across the country.
“Those are the smiles of ordinary people that I met during my regular trips to every corner of the country. Although they smile for different reasons, all the photos present a common message – it is their optimistic spirit, their pure inner mind and simple happiness,” he said.
The Smile features only black-and-white photos – the kind that “always challenge any photographer”, according to Phong.
“Alongside adding a timeless, fine art appeal to the image, I want viewers to focus on the facial expression, on the smile and the look of the main object, without distraction from other factors,” the photographer said.
Within only a few days after its launch, all 600 copies of The Smile sold out.
Like his previous photobook projects, all the proceeds from The Smile will be used for charity.
“I am happy because, with just my photos, I can support many vulnerable people, including street children, disadvantaged children, and lonely elderly people,” Phong told Việt Nam News .
“For me, that [helping others] is the biggest reward.”
So far, the photographer has donated a total amount of more than VNĐ1.5 billion (US$65,000) to charity over the years.
Although The Smile sold out, the photographer doesn’t intend to print more as he wants to limit the edition.
‘Haunted’ by street lives
Born in 1969 in a slum area in District 4 in HCM City, Phong experienced many hardships in life when he was a small boy.
His parents divorced when he was only three years old and Phong had to start earning a living from the age of six. He sold newspapers, popcorn and lottery tickets, and worked as a shoe-shine boy to get by.
“When I was teenager, my job was to sell movie or football tickets on the black market. I also worked as a waiter in restaurants or cafés to feed myself,” Phong recalled.
After experiencing many ups and downs, Phong decided to make living with a camera.
He said when he was a newspaper boy, whenever he saw other children and their parents take a photo together, he always felt heartache.
“I then realised that photos can affect human feelings, that’s why I wanted to be a photographer,” he said.
Phong spent all his small savings to buy a cheap Russian camera and started to teach himself photography.
“To get experience, at that time, I just dared to take photos of my friends,” Phong said.
In 1998, when he became more confident with his photography skills, Phong started to pursue professional photography.
Two years later, in 2000, a photo by Phong depicting the inauguration of the Mỹ Thuận Bridge – then Việt Nam’s longest cable-stayed bridge, he won the gold medal of the HCM City’s Association of Photographic Artists, before winning the silver medal of the Việt Nam Association of Photographic Artists for the same photo.
The awards inspired him to devote himself to photography with a focus on street life.
“I used to be a street boy, I can’t forget the hard days when I had to struggle to make a living. So I have been captivated by the image of shoeshine boys or children selling newspapers, lottery tickets, who live on the street to stay alive,” he said.
“I feel like I find myself in them. That’s why whenever I see them, I am overwhelmed by emotions that urge me to capture their images.
“The children in my photos, despite their hardship, always smile. Their smile is to present their confidence in a brighter future.”
For Phong, a nice photo is the one depicting moments of normal life and it should present the tempo of current society.
Alongside street children, the hard lives of poor working people are also a favourite topic of Phong.
“The lives of those people are always hard and silent but they have their own beauty when it comes to photos,” he said. VNS
BRUSSELS — The portal of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber has run an article hailing Việt Nam’s consistent, drastic and effective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the Vietnamese market remains attractive to Austrian firms.
The article said it is not without reason that the Austria’s IC- Steiermark Centre (ICS) has brought Việt Nam into a focus programme this year, on the back of its 2.9 percent economic growth, which could reach 5-7 per cent this year.
It quoted Austrian Commercial Counsellor in HCM City Dietmar Schwank as saying that Việt Nam has insisted on virus containment and wide quarantine for immigrants. Such policy has proven successful in both health and economic terms. Border closure, a 14-day quarantine without exceptions and a consistent anti-pandemic plan have helped Việt Nam curb the virus spread.
Meanwhile, failures in the tourism sector which experienced a boom with 18 million visitors in 2019 could be offset by public investment, manufacturing and domestic consumption.
Additionally, the Vietnamese Government also offered aid packages to enterprises and the unemployed.
In political and macro-economic terms, the author hailed Việt Nam as a stable country with its key policies of economic liberalisation, investment in infrastructure and foreign investment attraction. All factors have made Việt Nam attractive to Austrian companies.
According to the article, the European Union – Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in August 2020, has also brought advantages to bilateral cooperation. Việt Nam is now the largest trade partner of Austria in Southeast Asia, with imports from the latter amounting to nearly 1 billion EUR. New business opportunities could be identified in infrastructure, healthcare, energy, urban technology, environment, security, disaster management, hi-tech products and production machinery.
The ICS’s adding Việt Nam into its 2021 focus programme could open up a series of events such as seminars and trips to the country this autumn.
The centre said exporters and Austrian firms operating in mechanical engineering, food and pharmaceuticals will enjoy many chances when navigating the Vietnamese market. — VNS
Việt Nam assumed the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in April. Recently, Deputy Foreign Minister Đặng Hoàng Giang gave the press details on what was achieved during Việt Nam’s Presidency of the UNSC
What did Việt Nam achieve in its month of UNSC Presidency?
The month of Việt Nam’s Presidency of the UNSC was a success, as reflected across three aspects. The first was the co-ordination as the chair of the council. During April, we had a sizable workload, with nearly 30 ambassador-level meetings and dozens of working-level ones, to discuss a wide range of issues from across all continents. Việt Nam proposed and got approval from the UNSC for 10 documents, including four resolutions. This affirms our role in co-ordination, exchange and dialogue, maintaining consensus and unity among the members of the UNSC.
Second was Việt Nam’s contributions to the discussions and operation of the council. With a constructive viewpoint and stance, based on the UN Charter and international law, Viet Nam clearly stated its stance and point of view on issues considered and discussed at the UNSC’s meetings to promote dialogue, increase confidence and try to resolve conflicts and issues from around the world.
The third was the proposals and initiatives Việt Nam was interested in and promoted during the month. With a joint approach towards conflict prevention and resolution, we launched three high-level discussions on conflict prevention, resolution and handling. President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc chaired a High-level Open Debate on ‘Cooperation between the UN and Regional Organisations in Enhancing Confidence-Building and Dialogue in Conflict Prevention and Resolution’. Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn hosted two Ministerial-level Open Debates on ‘Mine Action and Sustaining Peace: Stronger Partnerships for Better Delivery’ and ‘Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population’.
The sessions took place successfully, receiving attention from countries with high-level participation, with many important documents approved, promoting the content we care about.
How did our country achieve such success?
First and most important was careful preparation. Taking such a position requires preparation from many months ago, covering all the content and the agenda, including close consultation with members of the UNSC and the UN member countries in dealing with the issues.
Second is the support of member countries of the UNSC to Việt Nam. This support shows countries attach special importance to the position and role of Viet Nam in recent years. The proposals and initiatives put forward by us with the arguments were strongly supported by other countries.
Thirdly, our initiatives and activities during the month received the close attention of Party and State leaders. President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc directly presided over the UNSC session, while leaders from concerned ministries, agencies and localities also participated in all key activities during the month of the UNSC Presidency.
Another point is the unanimous participation of ministries and sectors. Just before the month as President, the Ministry of Defence deployed the Level-2 Field Hospital No. 3 to take on their duties at the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan. This shows we also contribute by way of concrete action.
What were the difficulties encountered during the month serving as the UNSC’s President and how did we solve them?
Taking the presidency role was a challenge in itself. Serving as UNSC President, we had to co-ordinate and reconcile different views among various groups of countries, especially major countries, to reach a common consensus and solve urgent problems.
It was not easy to have a successful proposal and push forward with priorities and initiatives during the month. Although they were of general interest, these were all new issues and there were still many differences when going into detail. The good news is that we overcame these difficulties so that during the month, all countries agreed to consider solving the problems posed, and all 10 documents were overwhelmingly approved by the council.
During the remainder of its term of UNSC membership, what should Việt Nam do to promote the successes achieved in April?
As a non-permanent member of the UNSC, with a desire to contribute to the general work of the council and the UN, and as an active and responsible member of the international community, we will continue to work together with other countries to seek solutions to maintain a peaceful international environment and ensure global security. This is a common goal from now to the end of 2021 that we will continue to carry out.
In such a process, the most important thing is to try to maintain solidarity and consensus among the UNSC. For some complex issues at the council, we need to be steadfast in our stance and principles to protect our national interests, while handling them skillfully and satisfactorily to promote dialogue, solidarity and consensus at the UNSC, contributing so that any decision of the council is based on the UN Charter and international law, including the principles of independence, autonomy and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. Above all, we want the UNSC to continue to be the most important agency in maintaining international peace, stability and security. — VNS
Remnants of a large Chinese rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere this weekend in an uncontrolled re-entry being tracked by U.S. Space Command, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.
The Long March 5B rocket blasted off from China’s Hainan island on April 29 carrying the Tianhe module, which contains what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent Chinese space station. The Tianhe launch was the first of 11 missions needed to complete the station.
The rocket’s exact point of descent into Earth’s atmosphere as it falls back from space “cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry,” which is projected to occur around May 8, Space Command said in a statement posted online.
Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said potentially dangerous debris will likely escape incineration after streaking through the atmosphere at hypersonic speed but in all likelihood would fall into the sea, given that 70% of the world is covered by ocean.
There is a chance that pieces of the rocket could come down over land, perhaps in a populated area, as in May 2020, when pieces from another Chinese Long March 5B rocket rained down on the Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings, though no injuries were reported, McDowell told Reuters.
The 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 160 miles (257 km) northwest of Los Angeles, is tracking the spent rocket, plotting updates on its location as it descends, the U.S. Space Command said.
The squadron tracks more than 27,000 man-made objects in space, most of them in low orbit, it said.
The Global Times , a Chinese tabloid published by the official People’s Daily , characterized reports that the rocket is “out of control” and could cause damage as “Western hype.” The situation is “not worth panicking about,” it said, citing industry insiders.
“Most of the debris will burn up during re-entry … leaving only a very small portion that may fall to the ground, which will potentially land on areas away from human activities or in the ocean,” Wang Yanan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
McDowell, a member of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the rocket’s main stage core, believed to weigh about 21 tons, would likely break into a shower of debris equivalent to that of a small plane crash and come down in a narrow trail stretching about 100 miles.
Based on its current orbit, the debris trail is likely to fall somewhere as far north as New York, Madrid or Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, or anywhere in between, McDowell said.
McDowell said most countries have sought to design spacecraft in such a way as to avoid large, uncontrolled re-entries, since large chunks of the NASA space station Skylab fell from orbit in July 1979 and landed in Australia.
“It makes the Chinese rocket designers look lazy that they didn’t address this,” he said, calling the situation “negligent.”
* India’s coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours, a day after the country crossed the grim milestone of 20 million infections,.
* China has administered 284.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Tuesday, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
* The Japanese government is considering an extension of the state of emergency for Tokyo and other major urban areas that was scheduled to end on May 11, the Yomiuri Newspaper said on Wednesday.
* Indonesia’s economy shrank for the fourth straight quarter in January-March, but at a much more modest pace as the government boosted spending and higher commodity prices helped exports, statistics bureau data showed.
* Asian shares were trying to avoid a fourth straight session of losses on Wednesday, as US stock futures steadied in the wake of a pullback in large-cap tech darlings.
* Russia reported 7,975 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 2,432 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 4,847,489. The government coronavirus task force said 360 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 111,895.
* US President Joe Biden announced a goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one COVID-19 shot by the July 4 Independence Day holiday and said the government would innoculate 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as allowed.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on the need for a global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic, Downing Street said on Tuesday after the pair met in London.
* Britain deeply regrets that Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will be unable to attend G7 meetings on Wednesday in person, a senior diplomat said on Wednesday, after the country’s delegation self-isolated after two positive COVID-19 cases.
* Bulgaria will hold a parliamentary election on July 11, after a third and final attempt to form a government following April 4 polls that led to a fragmented parliament failed, President Rumen Radev said Wednesday.
* Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadline to form a new government expired on Wednesday and Israel’s president was poised to ask another candidate to try, inviting two of the long-serving leader’s top opponents for talks.
* Germany, France and Spain have reached a general agreement over the next steps in the development of a joint fighter jet, a German defence source said, with details to be hammered out by mid-May.
* Nearly 20 million more people faced food crises last year amid armed conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and weather extremes, and the outlook for this year is again grim, according to a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC).
* Taliban insurgents captured a district in northern Afghanistan, forcing government troops to retreat to the provincial capital amid a recent surge in violence, officials said on Wednesday.
* Everyone aged over 50 in Britain will be offered a third COVID-19 vaccination jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from the infection entirely by Christmas, the Times newspaper reported.
* Portugal said it will protect the rights of migrant fruit and vegetable pickers, and keep them safe after a wave of infections in the sector revived concerns over the conditions they live in.
* The Canadian province of Alberta reported its first death of a patient from a rare blood clot condition after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, its chief medical officer confirmed late Tuesday.
* Australia’s most populous state on Wednesday reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month and health authorities are working to trace the source of the infection.
* CureVac said US export restrictions on key materials are making it impossible to predict its short-term supply ramp-up in Europe.
* Europe’s medicines regulator said it has started a real-time review of Sinovac’s vaccine, based on preliminary results from animal and human trials.
* The United States recorded a 4% drop in birth rate in 2020, its sixth consecutive annual decline in the number of births and the lowest since 1979, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics showed.
* Nepal urgently needs at least 1.6 million AstraZeneca doses to administer second shots as it records a surge in new cases.
* The United Arab Emirates has extended a ban on entry for travellers coming from India, the foreign ministry said.