Squeezed by debt crisis, Greeks ditch cars for bikes

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Greece's dire economic plight has forced thousands of businesses to close, thrown one in five out of work and eroded the living standards of millions. But for bicycle-maker Giorgos Vogiatzis, it's not all bad news. The crisis has put cash-strapped Greeks on their bikes - once snubbed as a sign of poverty or just plain risky - and Greek manufacturers are shifting into fast gear. … [Read more...]

French auto sales struggle, production dives

Workers of the PSA Peugeot Citroen carmaker plant of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a Paris suburb. (AFP/Lionel Bonaventure)

Sales of new cars in France rallied slightly in July when French brands did well with new models, but in the first six months of the year output by French carmakers plunged by 20.8 per cent, trade data showed on Thursday. PARIS: Sales of new cars in France rallied slightly in July when French brands did well with new models, but in the first six months of the year output by French carmakers plunged by 20.8 per cent, trade data showed on Thursday. Overall sales rose by 0.9 per cent to 150,248 in July, the CCFA body representing manufacturers said. But July this year contained one more business day than the comparable period last year and if this were stripped out, sales fell by 3.5 per cent. July is an important month for sales since many motorists buy a car before leaving on their summer holidays. A spokesman for the CCFA said that the July figure marked the first upturn since October 2011. The French market, in common with many others, was hard hit by the effects of the … [Read more...]

Fiat first quarter profit soars

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Italian auto giant Fiat said Thursday its net profit in the first quarter soared ten-fold to 379 million euros ($500 million) thanks to its US partner Chrysler, without which it would be in the red. The group had banked 37 million euros in profit in the first quarter last year -- before snapping up a majority stake in the US automaker in a move which has more than offset poor Fiat results in a sluggish European market. Chrysler, which fell under Fiat's operational command in June 2009 when it emerged from a government-supported bankruptcy, reported its own four-fold leap in first quarter profit on Thursday to $473 million (357 million euros). "Chrysler is firing on all cylinders. I have really no bad news to share with you," Sergio Marchionne, chief of both Fiat and Chrysler, said in a conference call. Built on sales gains that surpassed the industry average, Chrysler's results set an "incredible foundation for 2013," Marchionne said, adding "most of our plants now are being … [Read more...]

As profits surge, Europe’s carmakers rev up global ambitions

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Two years after a world economic downturn all but wiped them out, European carmakers have bounced back to the spotlight with Volkswagen aiming to be the industry leader and Fiat carving out a global brand for itself. Unfettered of their obligations to repay state aid and riding out the expiry of government "cash-for-clunkers" schemes that initially plunged their revenue, carmakers this week gave rosy outlooks for the rest of fiscal 2011. Germany's Volkswagen reported a three-fold profit leap in the three months from January through March to 1.71 billion euros (USD2.5 billion), selling two million cars, a new milestone for Europe's biggest automaker. The comparable figure for 2010 was 473 million euros. Finance director Dieter Poetsch said a cash pile worth 19.6 billion euros gave the group impetus to overtake General Motors and Toyota and become the leading global car maker by 2018. With respect to 2011, Chairman Martin Winterkorn, who has boosted VW's fortunes since he took … [Read more...]

US consumer confidence takes recession beating

Shoppers on Fifth Avenue in New York City. US consumer confidence tanked in October amid growing worries about jobs in the recession-wracked economy, boding ill for the key holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Tuesday. (AFP Photo)

US consumer confidence slumped in October amid worries about jobs in the recession-wracked economy, boding ill for the important holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The private research firm said its consumer confidence index declined for the second month in a row, to 47.7 in October from a revised 53.4 in September. The September reading initially was reported at 53.1. The decline in the October index was much steeper than expected by Wall Street, with most analysts expecting a 53.5 reading. The downbeat start of the fourth quarter raised a red flag over consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of activity in the world's largest economy and is particularly crucial for retailers' year-end holiday sales. Lynn Franco, research director of the Conference Board, said that labor market condition played "a major role in this grimmer assessment." "Consumers also remain quite pessimistic about their future earnings, a sentiment that will likely … [Read more...]

Vietnamese should be prouder of goods produced domestically

Your Say (11-09-2009) Vietnamese should be prouder of goods produced domestically Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers how to promote made-in-Viet Nam products. Here are some of the opinions we received: Pham Thanh Truyen, Vietnamese, HCM City Vietnamese enterprises need to do more. Unlike other countries in Asia, Vietnamese people prefer foreign products. Ten or 15 years ago, few doubted that foreign products were superior to local ones. Unfortunately, that mindset hasn't changed. It is undeniable that nowadays Vietnamese products have vastly improved in terms of quality and packaging. The difficulty is getting that message across? It's useless to just say "Hey! My products are not as bad as you think". It's also ineffective for enterprises to act on their own. There needs to be central government help. The recent campaign to encourage Vietnamese to consume domestically made products launched by the Politburo is a good example. … [Read more...]

Chanel brings glamour back to Cuba in catwalk extravaganza

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French fashion house Chanel brought glamour back to Cuba on Tuesday in a runway show on one of Havana's main boulevards, featuring glittering gowns, tulle cocktail dresses and models in Panama hats smoking cigars. Chanel is the first major fashion house to hold a runway show in Cuba, highlighting both warming relations with the West and new inequalities on the island. The United States and Cuba formally agreed to restore diplomatic relations last July. Celebrities, including actress Tilda Swinton and supermodel Gisele Bundchen, jetted into the Caribbean island for the show that evoked the elegance of pre-revolutionary Cuba, arriving at the venue in vintage convertibles. Actress Tilda Swinton (R) takes a picture with a guest prior to a fashion show displaying creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his latest inter-seasonal Cruise collection for fashion house Chanel at the Paseo del Prado street in Havana, Cuba, May 3, 2016. Photo: REUTERS The Cuban … [Read more...]

Vietnam attends UN policy integration discussions

A view at a ECOSOC working session.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong attended the 2016 Integration Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States on May 3-4. This year’s Integration Segment was themed "Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through Policy Innovation and Integration". The deputy minister delivered a speech at the session on "Institutional frameworks and policy planning", saying that policy innovation and integration presents challenges and opportunities for all UN member states, particularly a lower middle-income country like Vietnam . Vietnam has been working to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into its socio-economic development plan for 2016-2020, Dong noted. The country has adopted a number of policies to enhance the effectiveness of public and private enterprises, especially in terms of institutions, business climate, corporate responsibility, … [Read more...]

The initiators of Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security

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VietNamNet Bridge – Those who initiated the Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security desire to build a healthy Internet environment so that the Internet can promote good and restrict bad things. The leaders of the Boston Global Forum: Former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis (left) and the father of the soft power theory Prof. Joseph Nye. Photo: BGF The Boston Global Forum (BGF) last September announced the first-ever Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security (ECCC). The ECCC is fairly comprehensive, which can be applied to all netizens, from IT engineers to policy makers, government leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, and those who have influence over society. The ECCC was developed by a group of reputable scholars in the US, including Michael Dukakis, Co-Founder, and Chairman of Boston Global Forum, former governor of Massachusetts, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Co-Founder and CEO of Boston Global Forum, Chair of International Committee for UNESCO-UCLA Chair … [Read more...]

Brazil prosecutors file $44 bln lawsuit against Vale, BHP for dam spill

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The Bento Rodrigues district is pictured covered with mud after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burst in Mariana, Brazil, November 6, 2015. Photo: Reuters Federal prosecutors in Brazil filed a 155 billion-real ($43.5 billion) civil lawsuit on Tuesday against iron miner Samarco and its owners, Vale SA and BHP Billiton, for a collapsed tailings dam in November that killed 19 people and polluted a major river. The 359-page lawsuit, which is also against the two states affected by the spill and the federal government, is the result of a six-month investigation led by a task force set up after the disaster, prosecutors said in a statement. The total damages, prosecutors said, were calculated based on the cost of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. BP's total pre-tax charge for that spill, in 2010, reached $53.8 billion. Prosecutors demanded an initial payment of 7.7 billion reais. Vale and BHP both said they had not received formal notice of the … [Read more...]

Islamic State kills U.S. Navy SEAL in northern Iraq

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Islamic State militants killed a U.S. Navy SEAL in northern Iraq on Tuesday after blasting through Kurdish defenses and overrunning a town in the biggest offensive in the area for months, officials said. The elite serviceman was the third American to be killed in direct combat since a U.S.-led coalition launched a campaign in 2014 to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State and is a measure of its deepening involvement in the conflict. "It is a combat death, of course, and a very sad loss," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters during a trip to Germany. A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the dead serviceman was a Navy SEAL. The SEALs are considered to be among the most able U.S. special operations forces and capable of taking on dangerous missions. The serviceman's identity and rank were not disclosed. A senior official within the Kurdish peshmerga forces facing Islamic State in northern Iraq said the man had been killed near the town of Tel … [Read more...]

Rebels launch assault in Syria’s Aleppo, diplomats try to revive truce

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A man walks past the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen district, Syria, May 3, 2016. Rebel fighters launched an assault in Syria's divided northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday and fired rockets on a hospital in the latest violence to hit civilians as diplomats struggled to restore an unraveling ceasefire and resurrect peace talks. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that monitors the conflict, said rebel rockets had killed 19 people in government-held territory, including an unspecified number at the al-Dabit hospital. It described a rebel offensive that led to casualties on both sides. Rebels had hit a government gun position with a guided missile. The Syrian state-run Ikhbariya news channel said three women were killed at the hospital and 17 people wounded. A Damascus Information Ministry statement called it a crime against humanity. The rebel attack followed government air strikes on rebel areas, … [Read more...]

France gets G7 to discuss global regulation of medicine prices

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A person holds pharmaceutical tablets and capsules in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana September 18, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic France will press its G7 partners this month to launch an "irreversible" process to control the prices of new medicines, part of a global drive to make life-saving drugs more affordable, three sources told Reuters. President Francois Hollande said in March he would push for the international regulation of drugs prices when he meets other G7 leaders in Ise-Shima, Japan on May 26-27. The sources said the issue was now on the summit agenda and health ministers will continue work on it in Kobe in September when other parties, such as the pharmaceutical companies themselves, could potentially be involved. "We need to initiate this process with firmness, and the president wants it to be irreversible," said a source close to Hollande. The rising cost of ground-breaking medicines has been criticized around the world, with campaigners in … [Read more...]

Islamic State kills U.S. serviceman in Iraq

Islamic State fighters killed a U.S. serviceman in northern Iraq on Tuesday when they overran Kurdish defenses in the biggest attack in the area in recent months, officials said. The dead man was the third American to be killed in direct combat since a U.S.-led coalition launched a campaign against the jihadist group in 2014. "It is a combat death, of course, and a very sad loss," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters during a trip to Germany. A senior official of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga force said the man was killed near Tel Asqof, a town 28 km (17 miles) north of Mosul, which the militants occupied at dawn on Tuesday. Early information suggested he had been killed by a sniper, Jabbar Yawar said. The leader of a Christian militia deployed alongside peshmerga in the Tel Asqof area said the town had been attacked by multiple suicide bombers, some driving vehicles laden with explosives. A U.S. military official said the U.S.-led coalition helped the peshmerga repel … [Read more...]

First US-to-Cuba cruise ship in decades docks in Havana

The first US-to-Cuba cruise ship - with 700 passengers aboard - arrives at the port of Havana. The Adonia - a vessel from the Carnival cruise's Fathom line - set sail from Florida, marking a new milestone in the rapprochement between Washington and Havana. (JORGE BELTRAN/AFP)

The first US cruise ship to travel to Cuba in half a century docked in Havana on Monday, marking a new milestone in the rapprochement between the old Cold War foes. HAVANA: The first US cruise ship to travel to Cuba in half a century docked in Havana on Monday (May 2), marking a new milestone in the rapprochement between the old Cold War foes. A crowd of onlookers waved Cuban and American flags and filmed with their cell phones as the Adonia, a Carnival cruise liner, sailed into port in Havana after setting off on Sunday from Miami, the heart of the Cuban diaspora in the United States. The ship had 700 passengers on board, some of them Cuban-Americans returning to the communist island for the first time in decades. Yaney Cajigal, a 32-year-old dancer, could barely contain her excitement as she waited for her niece to disembark. "This is incredible for me, this is very exciting," she told AFP. "We're welcoming them with the flags of Cuba and the United States so everything will be … [Read more...]

Foreign scientists help Vietnam unravel mass fish deaths

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Vietnamese authorities are working with scientists from the United States, Germany, and Israel to evaluate wastewater discharged by factories along coastlines in the north-central province of Ha Tinh in a bid to discover the cause of recent mass fish deaths in the region. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha was cooperating with foreign experts on Monday, who specialize in oceanography, coastal geology, marine environment, and coastal engineering, to assess the activities of factories near the Vung An beach in Ha Tinh. After working the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the scientists will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Science and Technology, said Professor Roberto Mayerle, Director of the Research and Technology Centre Westcoast of Kiel University in Germany. According to Mayerle, more experts would be invited and the necessary equipment mobilized upon the approval of local authorities, to help the country figure out why such a … [Read more...]

NATO weighs four battalions in Eastern states to deter Russia: U.S.

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter testifies on operations against the Islamic State, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst The NATO alliance is weighing rotating four battalions of troops through Eastern member states, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday, in the latest proposal by allies to guard against aggressive behavior by Russia. The Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - which joined NATO in 2004, have requested greater presence of the alliance, fearing a threat from Russia after it annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Carter acknowledged NATO deliberations included the deployment of the four battalions to the Baltic states and Poland. The Wall Street Journal said this would likely total about 4,000 troops split between the United States and its allies. "That's one of the options that's being discussed," Carter told reporters traveling with him at the start of a three-day trip to Germany, … [Read more...]

Emotional return as first U.S. cruise in decades reaches Cuba

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A woman with a U.S. flags looks at the arrival of U.S. Carnival cruise ship Adonia at the Havana bay, the first cruise liner to sail between the United States and Cuba since Cuba's 1959 revolution, Cuba, May 2, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Stringer Hundreds of tourists and a handful of emotional Cuban-Americans arrived on the first U.S. cruise ship to sail to Havana in decades on Monday, spilling onto the cobbled streets of the old city where they were warmly greeted by residents. It was another first for the two countries since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a historic rapprochement in December 2014, and comes weeks after Obama's visit to the Caribbean island. Carnival Corp's Adonia, a small ship carrying 700 passengers, slipped through the channel into Havana Bay in the morning under picture-perfect skies, then docked alongside the colonial quarter recently visited by Obama. The visitors fanned out on the city's restored streets for walking tours … [Read more...]

Ministry of Health maintains high vigilance for Zika virus

Mosquito Aedes Aegypti can transmit several tropical fevers, including diseases caused by Zika virus.

Updated information on the latest development of Zika virus and response measures suitable with the situation was the focus of a meeting of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) held by the Ministry of Health on May 1. According to the representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the meeting, as of April 28, Zika virus has existed in 68 countries and territories and Zika infections passed by mosquitoes have been reported in 55 countries and territories. In Vietnam, according to reports from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and localities, no new Zika cases have been discovered following the reporting of two cases in Ho Chi Minh City and Khanh Hoa province. Health experts, however, said in the near future there is a high risk of new Zika cases, especially in regions prone to dengue fever, so the number of cases may increase during the upcoming dengue fever season this summer. The General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of … [Read more...]

G-7 meeting discusses investment promotion

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(VOVworld) - Energy ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) countries began two days of talks in Kitakyushu city of Japan on Sunday, discussing investment promotion in production, infrastructure and technology to ensure stable energy supplies. Participants addressed concerns that declining spending on development projects could lead to a shortage of supply capacity and increase fuel prices. On the first day of the meeting, high on the agenda was the building power plants and related facilities in developing countries. The ministers are expected to discuss ways to ensure supply of natural gas as demands in Asia are rising. The session is one of a series of G-7 ministerial meetings being held in the run-up to the Ise-Shima summit to be held in Mie Prefecture of Japan at the end of the month. G7 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. … [Read more...]