3 Vietnamese arrested for plotting to traffic women to Malaysia for sex

Police mugshots of the three suspects, Mai Thi Be Thuy, Tat Cam Linh and Luu Tuan Khanh Police in southern Vietnam have arrested three people on suspicion of trafficking local women to Malaysia into prostitution, local media reported. Tat Cam Linh, 33, is the alleged ring leader while Mai Thi Be Thuy and Lu Tuan Khanh are her two accomplices. Linh, who has been living in Malaysia since 2006, was asked by another Vietnamese there to find young women for sex work. She returned to Vietnam in 2013 and befriended Thuy and Khanh. She promised to offer them around US$300 for each woman they could find. Thuy then looked for young women in southern Vietnam, introducing herself as a "labor exporter." On July 2015, a 25-year old woman in the southern city of Can Tho registered for a job in Malaysia. On August 19, Thuy brought her to a hotel to meet Linh. The woman overheard their conversation and realized that she was about to be trafficked into prostitution. She reported the case to … [Read more...]

Work starts on Vietnam’s first solar power plant

Construction of Vietnam's first solar power plant began Saturday in the central province of Quang Ngai. The 19.2-megawatt plant will start generating power in July next year, bringing 28 million kWh a year to the national grid. It costs more than VND826 billion (US$36.12 million). Vietnamese investor Thien Tan Group reportedly plans another two solar plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan. In Vietnam, which records around 2,000-2,500 hours of sunlight annually, the solar energy potential is estimated at 43.9 million metric tons of oil equivalent a year. As the energy demand increases by 15 percent every year, the government has been trying to boost the production of renewable energy from sources like sunlight, wind and geothermal heat. Renewable energy is expected to account for 5 percent of total power output in Vietnam this year, and 8 percent in 2020, news website VnExpress reported. … [Read more...]

Work starts on Vietnam’s first solar power plan

Construction of Vietnam's first solar power plant began Saturday in the central province of Quang Ngai. The 19.2-megawatt plant will start generating power in July next year, bringing 28 million kWh a year to the national grid. It costs more than VND826 billion (US$36.12 million). Vietnamese investor Thien Tan Group reportedly plans another two solar plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan. In Vietnam, which records around 2,000-2,500 hours of sunlight annually, the solar energy potential is estimated at 43.9 million metric tons of oil equivalent a year. As the energy demand increases by 15 percent every year, the government has been trying to boost the production of renewable energy from sources like sunlight, wind and geothermal heat. Renewable energy is expected to account for 5 percent of total power output in Vietnam this year, and 8 percent in 2020, news website VnExpress reported. … [Read more...]

US Ambassador Osius visits Hanoi temple, honors mother

US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius recites prayers at Quan Su Pagoda in Hanoi on Friday. Photo credit: VnExpress. Ted Osius on Friday visited a Hanoi pagoda where he recited Vietnamese prayers for the health of his mother during the traditional Vu Lan Festival. The US Ambassador carried his son in his arms while walking into Quan Su Pagoda under the rain. His mother and older sister followed him. Osius sat in front of a praying desk, carefully reading the Vietnamese prayers which highlighted the filial devotion of children to their mothers. After the praying session, a monk of the pagoda pinned a red rose onto his shirt. Vu Lan is a festival where children express their love for their mothers. Red roses are for those whose mothers are still alive, and white roses are for those who have lost their mothers. A monk pins a red rose on Ted Osius's shirt. Chief monk Thich Duc Thien explained the origin of the festival and the prayers to Osius, who then finished the visit with a warm … [Read more...]

Hanoi to close 40 streets for National Day parade

An undated photo of Vietnamese soldiers during a parade Vehicles will not be allowed to enter 40 streets in downtown Hanoi on Saturday, from 4 p.m. to midnight, as the areas will be reserved for the National Day parade's final rehearsal. The city's police department has announced that similar closure will also take place from 9 p.m. on Tuesday to Wednesday noon next week when Vietnam celebrates the 70th anniversary of the historic day, September 2. Most of the affected streets are in Ba Dinh District, where the main venue Ba Dinh Square is located. They include Hung Vuong, Chua Mot Cot, Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Hoang Hoa Tham, Hoang Dieu, Kim Ma and Tran Phu. The rest are in Hoan Kiem District, including Trang Thi and Trang Tien Streets, and some in Tay Ho District. Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in Dong Da District will also be closed to vehicles, police said. Around 35,000 people will participate in the parade. The detailed map of the restricted areas can be found here. … [Read more...]

Economists blame lack of policy reforms for Vietnam’s failure to benefit from FTAs

A man works at a rice processing factory in the Mekong delta city of Can Tho. Photo: Reuters Though the government seeks to globally integrate Vietnam -- 15 free trade agreements signed since 2007 -- its tardiness in reforming policies is preventing businesses from benefiting from the FTAs, delegates said at an economic forum in the central province of Thanh Hoa Thursday. They were speaking in defense of businesses who are often accused of being "clueless" about FTAs and failing to use those trade deals to their advantage. Nguyen Dinh Cung, chief of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said what matters is whether government policies can enable the whole economy to participate in the integration. The government system has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, meaning that they manage and control businesses by setting up barriers instead of acting as their companion, he said. As a result, Vietnamese businesses find it hard to survive right in their home environment, … [Read more...]

Car driver accused of running into policeman, knocking him onto hood

Le Hoang signs a report before police seize his car for an investigation on Friday. Photo: Cong Nguyen Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday night arrested a local man accused of running his car into a police officer and throwing him onto the hood of the vehicle, local media reported. Officer Pham Hoai Hien said the incident happened on Friday afternoon when he was writing a report on a traffic violation by the driver, Le Hoang. Hien said he was standing near the car and suddenly the car sped up, knocking him onto the hood. He said he had to hold on to the car's windshield wiper as Hoang kept driving for around 300 meters. But Hoang said the officer jumped onto the hood himself. He said his car registration had expired and he was on his way to renew it. After Hien and another officer checked the registration and refused to give it back, Hoang decided to leave with his car. "I asked him to return the registration and told him that I was about to have it renewed," said Hoang. … [Read more...]

Becamex Binh Duong lays one hand on V.League Championship trophy

Becamex Binh Duong's Trong Hoang (R) vies for the ball against Thanh Hoa's Tran Tan Dat. Host Becamex Binh Duong defeated Thanh Hoa 5-2 to widen the distance as the two V.League leading clubs raced for the championship title Friday. With only three more rounds to go and eight points in the lead, Becamex Binh Duong only needs a draw to secure the crown even if Thanh Hoa wins all next three rounds. Becamex Binh Duong fielded two foreign strikers, Cheikh Abass Dieng and Oloya Moses, who recovered from injury, while Thanh Hoa lost midfielder Sy Cuong due to a suspension penalty. Both teams organized attacks right at the beginning of the match with Thai referee Mongkolchai Pechsri on the pitch. Pechsri was one of the two foreign referees appointed for the first time this season, after the league was overshadowed by match-fixing allegations. The other referee was Malaysian Mohd Nafeez Bin Abdul Wahab in the match between Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Dong Nai on the same day. Anh Duc helped … [Read more...]

Beautiful shots of sunrise across Vietnam

The sun rises above clouds seen from the window of a plane above Hanoi. Photo credit: Zing A salt field in Ninh Thuan Province in central Vietnam under the first light of the day. The morning sun captured from below a house in a clam farm in Go Cong, a town in the Mekong Delta’s Tien Giang Province. The sun rises over the sea in Phu Yen Province in central Vietnam. Sunrise on a sleepy street in Hoi An. The rising sun lights up the sky above the sea in Bac Lieu Province in southern Vietnam. Sunrise in Ho Chi Minh City. Sunrise seen from a lagoon in Ninh Thuan. Buffalo boys in Ninh Thuan start the day early. Sunrise and a lighthouse (on the right) in Phu Yen Province in central Vietnam. Sunrise on Cam Ranh Bay in the central province of Khanh Hoa. A tourist poses with the rising sun in Ninh Thuan. Shafts of the early sunshine seen through thick fog in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat. The fog is so thick the sun almost cannot shine through it. Mossy rocks … [Read more...]

A380 still ‘a possible option’ for future expansion, Vietnam Airlines says

An Airbus A380 aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines performs at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2012. Photo: Bloomberg Vietnam Airlines said Friday it has not excluded Airbus A380 superjumbo as a possible option in its long-term development strategy. The carrier has continued to implement a plan to expand its fleet, which was approved by Prime Minister in 2008, it said in an emailed statement to Thanh Nien in response to a report that it has scaled down the plan and no longer considered buying the A380s. "Although an earlier accord related to the A380 expired in 2010, we continue to evaluate the aircraft along with other aircraft types that have the potential to meet our future requirements," the national flag carrier said. "In fact, the A380 has not been excluded by Vietnam Airlines as a possible option for the future." The original plan projected that its fleet would reach 150 aircraft by 2020, but the airline is seeking to scale down the figure to 122. The airline … [Read more...]

Baggage truck crash causes $1 mln damages to China Airlines

the truck driver "mistook the gas for the brake" and crashed into the lower rear part of the plane. China Airlines has estimated that the damages caused after a baggage conveyor truck crashed into its airplane at a Vietnamese airport on Thursday may cost up to US$1 million. The incident happened when the conveyor truck of Tan Son Nhat International Airport Ground Services (TIAGS) approached the airplane to unload baggage at Tan Son Nhat Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. According to the Southern Airports Authority, the truck driver "mistook the gas for the brake" and crashed into the lower rear part of the plane. The crash caused a 20 cm by 100 cm (7.8 in by 39 in) dent in the Airbus 330. "We consider this a serious accident that affect the plane structure. Estimated damages are worth up to US$1 million," a source from the carrier told Thanh Nien. TIAGS has assigned personnel to handle the issue while the final cost of damages will be calculated later, according to the airline. Lai … [Read more...]

Austria, Libya count dead as number of migrants crossing Mediterranean soars

Hungarian policemen arrest a Syrian migrant family after they entered Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 28, 2015. Austria said on Friday 71 refugees including a baby girl were found dead in an abandoned freezer truck, while Libya recovered the bodies of 82 migrants washed ashore after their overcrowded boat sank on its way to Europe and scores more were feared dead. The U.N. refugee agency said the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe had passed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 in the whole of 2014. Three Bulgarians and an Afghan were arrested in connection with the truck deaths. The victims - 59 men, 8 women and four children, including a girl of 1-2 years old - were probably from Syria, police said. At least 180 were either dead or missing in the Libyan disaster. Both tragedies were a result of a renewed surge in migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty that has confronted Europe with its worst refugee crisis since … [Read more...]

Over 60 pct of HIV people likely to quit treatment as donors cut funding

A nurse checks an HIV-positive patient in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang Vietnam will stop providing antiretroviral, or ARV, treatment for free for HIV-positive people from next April, which risks more than 60 percent of them, who are not insured, giving up treatment, a health official was quoted in the media as saying Friday. The move is prompted by the fact that international donors have been reducing their funding since April and would totally cut it by the end of 2017, Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Nguyen Hoang Long, chief of the Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Department, as saying. Foreign aid allows Vietnam to treat 800-1,000 new people infected with HIV every month for free at the moment, he said. Some 96,000 people get free ARV treatment, or less than half the HIV-positive population, a low rate compared to many other Southeast Asian countries where more than 90 percent get treatment, he said. It costs around VND3-24 million ($136-1,100) a year to treat a person, and … [Read more...]

To regulate or not to regulate? EU to launch study on Uber

The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street is seen in this photo illustration taken in Madrid on December 10, 2014. Brussels will launch a study in September of the taxi-hailing app Uber, in an effort to settle the legal disputes that have pitched the U.S. start-up against conventional taxis across Europe, three people familiar with the matter said. Since opening in Paris in 2011, San Francisco-based Uber has run into vehement opposition from taxi drivers, who complain it competes unfairly by bypassing local laws on licensing and safety. Uber has responded by submitting complaints to the European Commission against German and Spanish court bans as well as a new French law on taxis, the so-called Thevenoud law. The study will attempt to determine the legal instruments that Brussels might use to decide whether Uber is a transport service or just a digital service, an EU official said. Uber argues it is a digital platform that … [Read more...]

Vietnam, then and now

This picture taken on August 20, 2015 shows farmers drying vermicelli along a road in the outskirts of Hanoi. Experts have worried that climate change will hurt many poor people in Vietnam. Photo: AFP In the early years of Renovation (Doi Moi), at a time when the market economy was just beginning to gain a foothold, Hanoi was a much greener city than it is today. Nearly all the fruits and vegetables, meats, and fish consumed here were produced in the suburbs and sold fresh in the city’s public markets. Within the city, Ho Tay and Bay Mau lakes produced hundreds of tons of fish per year. South of the city, a network of large lakes that also served as the city’s wastewater treatment system produced hundreds more. There were hardly any cars on the roads, and hardly any gas stations or motorcycle repair shops either. All the motorcycles were new, and the few large trucks that produced plumes of diesel fumes were regarded as a nuisance. The air was so clear in those days that … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s SSI to remove foreign ownership cap from Sept

Vietnam's Saigon Securities Inc said on Friday it would remove the foreign ownership cap on its shares from next month, in line with a government effort to boost investment in the stock market. From Sept. 1, 2015 foreign investors can own 100 percent of the Ho Chi Minh City-based brokerage, the company said in a statement on its website (ssi.com.vn). In June Vietnam's prime minister approved the scrapping of a 49 percent foreign ownership cap across many listed firms in one of the country's boldest economic reforms yet, although some sectors will remain restricted. SSI shares were trading up 4.98 percent at 25,300 dong ($1.13) each on Friday, their highest in a month, Thomson Reuters data showed. … [Read more...]

Vietnam to free 18,539 prisoners in National Day amnesty

Vietnam will release 18,539 prison inmates, including 34 foreign nationals, in as part of this year’s National Day amnesty. The State President Office announced in a press conference Friday the inmates will be released in batches starting from Monday ahead of the 70th National Day anniversary, which falls on September 2. The inmates to be freed had been sentenced for a wide range of crimes, including murder, rape, drug-related crimes and robbery. None of them committed crimes against national security, according to Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quy Vuong. The foreign nationals to be freed include two Australians, six Laotians, one Cambodian, one Thai, 16 Chinese, six Malaysians and two Filipinos. Officials did not clarify which crimes the foreign prisoners were serving sentences for. The oldest inmate to be freed is a 85-year-old man who has served four years of term and the youngest is 16 years old. Giang Son, deputy head of the president office, told the press this … [Read more...]

U.S., China stress positives ahead of Xi trip

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the opening ceremony of the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 22, 2015. China and the United States stressed the positives in their complex relationship on Friday during meetings between U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Chinese officials ahead of a U.S. visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping next month. While the world's two largest economies have important mutual interests, like trying to rein in North Korea's nuclear program, deep disagreements exist over everything from Internet security to China's claims in the South China Sea. "We have seen our bilateral relationship evolve and strengthen in recent months. And we have found areas of broadened and deepened cooperation that we are certainly looking forward to building upon," Rice told China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who outranks the foreign minister. "At the same time, we have been able to discuss frankly our … [Read more...]

Automobile importers come under tax fraud suspicion in Vietnam: report

An undated photo of a car exhibition in Vietnam. Photo: Thai Nguyen The General Department of Taxation has ordered its offices around the country to investigate automobile importers and distributors for possible tax fraud, news website VietNamNet reported Thursday. The order came after tax officials in Ho Chi Minh City discovered that Euro Auto, BMW's authorized distributor in Vietnam, declared lower revenues by changing car prices in sales records in an attempt to pay less taxes in 2013. The company was ordered to pay nearly VND6.6 billion (US$289.46 million) in unpaid taxes and fines, and is now under further inspection for their tax performance last year and before 2013, the website said. Vietnam imported 64,420 complete-built cars over the first seven months, up 104.7 percent year on year, the Vietnam Customs reported, adding that the import turnovers increased by 152.3 percent to $1.71 billion. Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association recently proposed authorities to … [Read more...]