Designer Minh Hanh wins Fukuoka Prize for popularizing Vietnamese fashion, culture


Designer Dang Thi Minh Hanh (L) receives the Fukuoka Prize on July 7, 2015. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Fashion designer Dang Thi Minh Hanh has been awarded the Fukuoka Prize, which honors people for their contributions to promoting outstanding culture in the Asian region. "Minh Hanh has brought the beauty of Vietnamese culture and fashion worldwide. She deserves the prize," Sadakari Atsuhito, deputy mayor of the Japanese city of Fukuoka, said at the award ceremony in Hanoi Tuesday. Minh Hanh, 54, won the Arts and Culture Prize. The other winners of the annual award are Thant Myint-U of Myanmar who was conferred the Grand Prize and Ramachandra Guha of India who received the Academic Prize. Bothe are historians and writers. Atsuhito said all Fukuoka Prize winners are outstanding people who inherited, developed and introduced diverse and unique cultures in Asia to the world. "Minh Hanh, a representative of Vietnamese designers, has been creating modern designs with a combination of … [Read more...]

Vietnam duo jailed for impersonating officials in $410k labor fraud


A court in the central province of Nghe An Tuesday sentenced a woman to 18 years in jail and a man to 15 years for impersonating government officials and conning people out of nearly US$410,000 by promising to get them jobs abroad. Ngo Thu Ly, 32, and her accomplice Giap Van Trung, 37, were convicted of defrauding 48 job seekers between 2011 and 2014, according to media reports. They used fake documents to convince the victims there were legal job opportunities in South Korea and Canada. They charged the victims, from Nghe An and provinces in northern Vietnam, $5,000 for jobs in South Korea and $7,000 in Canada. Farmers in some northern and central provinces do not earn much from agriculture because of regular typhoons and drought, and so many are desperate for a proper overseas job. Many even pay illegal labor brokers and so it was easy for the duo acting as officials. … [Read more...]

Euro zone gives Greece until Sunday for debt deal

Newly appointed Greek Finance Minister

(L-R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, French President Francois Hollande, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi take part in a euro zone EU leaders emergency summit on the situation in Greece, in Brussels, Belgium, July 7, 2015. Photo: Reuters Euro zone members have given Greece until the end of the week to come up with a proposal for sweeping reforms in return for loans that will keep the country from crashing out of Europe's currency bloc and into economic ruin. "The stark reality is that we have only five days left ... Until now I have avoided talking about deadlines, but tonight I have to say loud and clear that the final deadline ends this week," European Council President Donald Tusk told a news conference. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has until Friday to present the proposal, but German Chancellor Angela … [Read more...]

Obama, Vietnam leader discuss East Sea in landmark meeting


US.President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong following their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington July 7, 2015. Trong is Vietnam's first party general secretary to visit the US, as Hanoi has strengthened its military relationship with former foe Washington since a territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea has heated up in the past couple of years. Photo: Reuters US President Barack Obama and Vietnam's Party chief discussed concerns over China's activities in the East Sea (aka South China Sea) during a historic White House meeting on Tuesday marking two decades of engagement between the former foes. Nguyen Phu Trong met with Obama in the Oval Office, where they had "candid" discussions over differences about human rights and religious freedom as well a pending Pacific trade agreement with the region, Obama said. Trong, one of the most powerful figures in Vietnam, invited Obama to … [Read more...]

Obama, Vietnam Party Chief discuss East Sea in landmark meeting


US.President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong following their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington July 7, 2015. Trong is Vietnam's first party general secretary to visit the US, as Hanoi has strengthened its military relationship with former foe Washington since a territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea has heated up in the past couple of years. Photo: Reuters US President Barack Obama and Vietnam's Party chief discussed concerns over China's activities in the East Sea (aka South China Sea) during a historic White House meeting on Tuesday marking two decades of engagement between the former foes. Nguyen Phu Trong met with Obama in the Oval Office, where they had "candid" discussions over differences about human rights and religious freedom as well a pending Pacific trade agreement with the region, Obama said. Trong, one of the most powerful figures in Vietnam, invited Obama to … [Read more...]

Vietnam Party Chief’s US visit marks a turning point: expert


US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius (L) shakes hands with Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong after he arrives at the Andrews military airport in Washington DC at 8 a.m. July 6 (local time). Photo: VNA/Tien Dung An ongoing visit to the US by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong could be a turning point in the 20-year diplomatic relations between the two countries, said an American expert in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency. Gregory Poling from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said bilateral relations have progressed substantially, reflected in Vietnam’s joining of the World Trade Organization, a boom in bilateral trade and investment activities, the establishment of a comprehensive partnership and the US partly lifting its arms embargo on Vietnam. This is the first time a General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam has made a visit to the US. The visit takes place at a time important to Vietnam-US … [Read more...]

Can Tho to demolish colonial school following France’s notice


Chau Van Liem High School is one of the two built by French in the Mekong Delta, the other in Tien Giang. File photo The public in Can Tho is mourning a school of nearly 100 years old as the city plans to knock it down to start building a new one this year, saying it acts upon safety warning from France. French people built the school in 1917 and named it Collège de Can Tho, which gave it the colonial architecture of the 20th century and made it a part of the Mekong Delta city’s history. But the city government is going to spend VND98 billion (US$4.5 million) to replace that history. The city’s education department is calling for bids. It expects work to start by the end of August and finish in early 2017, saying it will make sure construction preserves the old design. During that time, the teachers and around 1,000 students will use another school in the city. Chau Van Liem is now one of the major schools in the Mekong Delta, known for its high quality … [Read more...]

Six powers and Iran to continue nuclear talks past deadline – EU


European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrives for a press briefing outside Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, July 7, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger Iran and six major powers will keep negotiating past Tuesday's deadline for a long-term nuclear agreement as they tackle the most contentious issues, including the continuation of a U.N. arms embargo on Iran, the big powers said. "We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said outside the hotel where the talks between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are taking place. The spokeswoman for the U.S. delegation, Marie Harf, said the terms of an interim deal between Iran and the six would be extended through Friday to give negotiators a few more days to finish their work. "We're frankly more concerned about the quality of the deal than we are … [Read more...]

Arrested ex-Toyota exec Hamp to be released from custody: Kyodo


Toyota Motor Corp's Managing Officer and Chief Communications Officer Julie Hamp speaks to media during a news conference in Nagoya, central Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2015 and released by Kyodo on June 18, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Kyodo Tokyo prosecutors plan to release former Toyota Motor Corp executive Julie Hamp from custody after she was arrested last month on suspicion of illegally importing the painkiller Oxycodone into Japan, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday. Japan's daily Yomiuri newspaper reported Hamp was unlikely to be charged because prosecutors judged there was little criminal intent in the case, in which a family member had mailed Oxycodone pills to her to alleviate knee pain. Kyodo said Hamp, who resigned from her post as chief communications officer last week three months after her appointment as Toyota's first female managing officer, is set to be released without indictment on Wednesday, the latest she can be held without a formal charge. A … [Read more...]

Vietnam may lose swimming prodigy to the US


Nguyen Diep Phuong Tram, 14, has decided to move to the US for continuous studying. Photo: Kha Hoa The family of 14-year-old swimmer Nguyen Diep Phuong Tram has insisted on moving to the United States for her continuous studying despite local authorities’ demand for compensation to her training costs. The family is willing to pay suitable compensation for the termination of her contract with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports, said Tram’s father Nguyen Minh Tri. Holding two Southeast Asian records and three national records, Tram has been considered a shining star besides 19-year-old Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, who claimed 8 gold medals and broke 8 records at the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore last month. Disputes broke out recently between HCMC sport authorities and Tram’s family, after the 8th grader planned to move to the US for continuous studying. The city's sports department proposed two options for the termination of her contract. The … [Read more...]

China needs long-range strategic bomber: state media


A member of the public waves the Chinese and Hong Kong flags as Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers stand in the background at the Ngong Shuen Chau Barracks in Hong Kong on July 1, 2015 China needs to develop a long-range strategic bomber to strike adversaries farther away from its coast in the event of conflict, state media reported Tuesday, quoting defence experts. Beijing has been steadily beefing up its military through years of double-digit increases in defence spending, rapidly expanding its naval power, commissioning its first aircraft carrier and adding to its submarine and surface fleets. But the government-run China Daily newspaper said in a full-page article that a recent military meeting had deemed the country's air force a "strategic force", citing the latest issues of Kanwa Defense Review, a Canada-based defence and weapons technology publication. The title had previously been reserved for the military's Second Artillery Corps, which the paper described as China's … [Read more...]

Police include hatred, revenge as motives in the murder of 6 family members


The villa cum headquarters of Quoc Anh Timber Processing Company in Binh Phuoc Province. Photo: Phuoc Hiep A senior police officer said the motive behind the murder of six members of a wealthy family, including two children, in the southern province of Binh Phuoc may be hatred or revenge. The Ministry of Public Security’s police officer who spoke under anonymity was referring to the murder which happened at around 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday at the villa cum headquarters of Quoc Anh Timber Processing Company near National Highway 13 in Binh Phuoc’s Chon Thanh District. At around 7 a.m. Doan Thi Cam Loan, the 40-year-old maid of the family, came to the house and saw the door wide shut. She pushed the door and saw blood stains on the floor. She then saw the dead bodies of Le Van My, the 48-year-old owner of the company, his 42-year-old wife Nguyen Le Thi Anh Ngoc and their son Le Quoc Anh, 15, on the floor. She ran upstairs and found the dead bodies of Le Thi Anh Linh, the … [Read more...]

Party official dies mysteriously in central Vietnam


The car in which a Party official and a 21-year-old woman were found dead in Binh Dinh Province on July 7, 2015. Photo: Tra Quang A Communist Party official was found dead mysteriously in a car in the central province of Binh Dinh on Tuesday. Some locals saw the car, with its engine still running, parked near a dam in Bong Son Town. When they came closer, they found a man and a young woman sitting unconsciously inside the car. They broke the door and found the duo already dead. The man, who was behind the steering wheel, was identified as Nguyen Thanh Binh, the 39-year-old secretary of Hoai Nhon District’s Party unit. The young woman is Nguyen Thi K., a 21-year-old local whose house is only around 100 meters from the site. K. worked as a waitress at a local restaurant. Police are still investigating. … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s largest brewer manipulated taxes, ordered to pay $18.68 mln: report


Bottles of beer move along a production line at a Sabeco factory in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters The state audit office has ordered the country's largest brewer, Sabeco, to pay VND408 billion (US$18.68 million) in luxury tax it allegedly owes from 2013, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Monday. It has accused Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage JSC, producer of the popular Saigon Beer, of rigging prices within its system of 11 distributors to pay less tax. Luxury tax is calculated on the price at which a producer sells products to distributors, and this must be at least 90 percent of the price at which the distributors then sell. The tax was 50 percent for beer in 2013. Sabeco paid the tax based on the price it set for Sabeco Trading Co. Ltd, which it fully owns, the audit office said in its report to the Ministry of Finance. The distributor then sold beer to 10 "regional" distributors in each of which Sabeco owns a 90-94 percent stake, it said. This allowed Sabeco to set low prices and pay less … [Read more...]

Greece faces last chance to stay in euro as cash runs out


Outgoing Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (R) shows newly-appointed Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos his chair at the Finance Ministry before a handover ceremony in Athens, Greece July 6, 2015. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to present new proposals to an emergency euro zone summit on Tuesday, under pressure from European leaders to come up with credible ideas as his country's banks face potential meltdown. With Greek lenders down to their last few days of cash and the European Central Bank tightening the noose on their funding, Tsipras must persuade the bloc's other 18 leaders, many of whom are exasperated with five years of crisis, to open negotiations fast on a new loan to rescue Greece. The leaders of Germany and France, the currency area's two main powers, said after conferring on Monday that the door was still open to a deal to save Greece from plunging into economic turmoil and ditching the euro. But Chancellor Angela Merkel, under pressure in Germany to … [Read more...]

2 die in Vietnam of swine bacteria after eating raw blood pudding


Swine bacteria from eating raw blood have caused severe necrosis on a patient at the National Tropical Diseases Hospital in Hanoi. Photo credit: Dan Tri The National Tropical Diseases Hospital in Hanoi recently admitted two men infected with swine bacteria after eating raw pig’s blood, but they were in such a bad condition it could not save them. Doctors at the hospital said the men were infected with the streptococcus bacterium, which caused respiratory decline, blood contamination, and severe necrosis in their arms and legs. Their families brought them to the hospital last Saturday, but they fell into a deep coma after one day and their internal organs stopped functioning. Their families took them home where they died. One of them, a 55-year-old from nearby Hoa Binh Province, had raw pig blood pudding three days earlier. The other patient was a 40-year-old from Ninh Binh Province, also in the north. The hospital admitted three other similar cases during the weekend. One … [Read more...]

Car dashboards that act like smart phones raise safety issues


Nvidia's senior director of automotive business Danny Shapiro displays the electronic dashboard of an Audi automobile in Santa Clara, California, in this February 11, 2015 file photo. When it comes to dashboard displays that are more like smart phones, two things are clear: Customers want them, and automakers are intent on supplying them. But are they really a good idea? Car companies answer with an emphatic yes. They say outsized dashboard displays that behave more like smart phones will boost revenue and attract buyers. And they also insist the new screens will make driving less dangerous, because of well-integrated voice controls and large touch screens that will keep drivers from fumbling with more dangerous mobile phones. But the increasingly elaborate screens have also sparked a broad debate about how much technology is appropriate in a car. "I think they (the screens) raise serious public safety questions," said Joe Simitian, the former California lawmaker who spearheaded … [Read more...]

Vietnam Party chief meets US Trade Representative


Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) meets US Trade Representative Michael Froman in Washington DC on July 6, 2015. Photo: VNA/Tri Dung General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong met with US Trade Representative Michael Froman on July 6 in Washington D.C. (local time) to discuss orientations to enhance trade ties between the two countries. During the meeting, the Vietnamese leader affirmed the Vietnamese Party and State’s consistent policy of promoting international integration and expressed his hope that Vietnam-US trade links would expand and deepen. He stressed Vietnam’s efforts to integrate into the regional and global economy, citing Vietnam’s involvement in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as an example. He asked the US to support Vietnam in the negotiation process. The Party leader, who arrived at Andrews military airport in Washington DC at 8 am of July 6 (local time) for … [Read more...]

Vietnam central bank taking over another troubled lender


Vietnam's central bank said on Tuesday it would take over all shares in troubled lender Global Petro Bank because of its failure to restructure, making the third such move this year to consolidate the country's fragmented banking sector. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) would nationalise Global Petro Bank (GP.Bank) because it had exhibited serious risks and management weakness and had failed to find a partner, or devise a feasible reform plan in the past three years, the SBV a statement. "The direct buy-out of all GP.Bank shares is to help SBV become fully proactive in further reforming GP.Bank, ensure the safety and stability in banks and help maintain political security and social order and safety," the SBV said. VietinBank, Vietnam's second biggest partly private lender by assets, has been appointed to join the management of GP.Bank, SBV said. Hanoi-based GP.Bank, by assets, is among the smallest of Vietnam's nearly 40 partly private lenders. In January, the SBV said it expected … [Read more...]

Air strikes, ground combat in Yemen killed nearly 200 on Monday


Guards walk through a damaged gate of the house of Brigadier Khaled al-Anduli, an army commander loyal to the Houthi movement, after it was hit by Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa July 6, 2015 Saudi-led coalition air strikes and clashes killed at least 176 fighters and civilians in Yemen on Monday, residents and media run by the Houthi movement said, the highest daily toll since the Arab air offensive began more than three months ago. The United Nations has been pushing for a halt to air raids and intensified fighting that began on March 26. Almost 3,000 people have been killed since then as the Arab coalition tries to stop the Houthis spreading across the country from the north. The Iran-allied Shi'ite Houthis say they are rebelling against a corrupt government, while local fighters say they are defending their homes from Houthi incursions. Sunni Saudi Arabia says it is bombing the Houthis to protect the Yemeni state. On Monday, about 63 people were killed in air … [Read more...]