Venezuelan protesting violinist arrested, beaten: rights group

Clashes between Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators have killed five people during the latest opposition-led strike to protest an election on Sunday that critics contend will mark the end of democracy in the oil-rich country. As Venezuela's crisis deepened, Colombian airline Avianca on Thursday canceled its operations in the country and the U.S. State Department said it was ordering family members of U.S. employees at its embassy in Caracas to leave ahead of the vote. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro were planning to pile more pressure on the unpopular leftist leader by holding a major protest dubbed 'The takeover of Venezuela' on Friday. "If yesterday and today the streets were empty, tomorrow we must take over all of Venezuela," said opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara, referring to a two-day anti-government strike that started on Wednesday. Interior Minister Nestor Reverol warned that protests were banned from Friday to Tuesday, leaving open the likelihood of more violence in volatile Venezuela. Many Venezuelans are nervous and have been stocking up on food and staying home. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department also authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees at its embassy in Caracas. President Donald Trump has warned that his administration could impose economic sanctions on Venezuela if Maduro goes ahead with the vote to create a legislative superbody known as the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly would have power to rewrite the constitution and shut down the existing opposition-led legislature, which the opposition maintains would cement dictatorship in Venezuela. At…... [read more]

Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (BSR) reported satisfactory business results in the first half of this year after the company enjoyed the self-regulated pricing mechanism for its products. BSR reports satisfactory business results in H1 thanks to an increased output by over 118 per cent of the Dung Quat oil refinery, as well as the company’s self-pricing mechanism.  Ending June, BSR’s net profit totalled over VND3.83 trillion (US$169 million), equivalent to 85 per cent of the 2016’s total after-tax profit which stood at nearly VND4.5 trillion. The return on equity (ROE), a gauge used to measure a corporation’s profitability, was 11.6 per cent in the first six months of this year. This ratio was 14 per cent in 2016. According to BSR’s general director Tran Ngoc Nguyen, such an improvement in business result could be attributed to an increased output by over 118 per cent of the Dung Quat oil refinery, as well as the company’s self-pricing mechanism. Early this year, the government permitted BSR to make its own price mechanism after the company has repeatedly called for support to improve the competitiveness of its products. “The self-regulated price mechanism has made prices of petrol products of Dung Quat oil refinery plant more flexible and able to compete with imported products,” Nguyen said. The company’s financial health has also improved with the debt ratio continuously declining. Its total loan value was VND13.6 trillion ending June 2017, down significantly compared to VND14.4 trillion loans in 2010. Decreased long-term debts…... [read more]

BSR reports satisfactory business results in H1 thanks to an increased output by over 118 per cent of the Dung Quat oil refinery, as well as the company’s self-pricing mechanism. — VNS Photo Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (BSR) reported satisfactory business results in the first half of this year after the company enjoyed the self-regulated pricing mechanism for its products. Ending June, BSR’s net profit totalled over VND3.83 trillion (US$169 million), equivalent to 85 per cent of the 2016’s total after-tax profit which stood at nearly VND4.5 trillion. The return on equity (ROE), a gauge used to measure a corporation’s profitability, was 11.6 per cent in the first six months of this year. This ratio was 14 per cent in 2016. According to BSR’s general director Tran Ngoc Nguyen, such an improvement in business result could be attributed to an increased output by over 118 per cent of the Dung Quat oil refinery, as well as the company’s self-pricing mechanism. Early this year, the government permitted BSR to make its own price mechanism after the company has repeatedly called for support to improve the competitiveness of its products. “The self-regulated price mechanism has made prices of petrol products of Dung Quat oil refinery plant more flexible and able to compete with imported products,” Nguyen said. The company’s financial health has also improved with the debt ratio continuously declining. Its total loan value was VND13.6 trillion ending June…... [read more]

Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (BSR), which owns the $3-billion Dung Quat Oil Refinery, reported positive business results in the first half of 2017 and revealed its plans for an IPO. Positive business results According to the released financial statement, in the first six months of 2017, BSR generated nearly VND38.7 trillion ($1.5 billion) of net revenue and more than VND3.8 trillion ($152 million) of after-tax profit, up 15 and 266 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. At the end of the second quarter of 2017, BSR’s cash and cash equivalents were more than VND15 trillion ($600 million), which accounted for 28 per cent of its total assets. The huge amount of cash and operating cash flows help BSR pay off matured debts and ensure its ability to pay off debts, as well as support its plan on investment and business expansion. Regarding financial structure, BSR’s liabilities declined due to the gradual reduction of the principal portions of long-term borrowings. At the end of the second quarter of 2017, liabilities decreased to over VND13.5 trillion ($540 million) from more than VND41 trillion ($1.6 billion) in 2010. Besides, the reduction of principal portions leads to a decrease in interest expenses. In particular, in 2016, BSR’s total interest expenses were VND605 billion ($24.2 million), a reduction of 63% in comparison with 2011. In the first half of 2017, BSR’s interest expenses decreased by 18% compared to 2016. BSR’s financial statements revealed that in recent years, BSR’s…... [read more]

Located in the northern part of South America, Venezuela has a total area of 912,050 square kilometres, with a population of 26 million. Endowed with plentiful natural resources, including oil, gas, iron, bauxite, gold, zinc and coal ores, Venezuela has become one of the powerful economies in South America, with oil exploitation emerging as the spearhead of the economy. Currently, Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter in the world, with oil revenue making up 70 percent of the country’s total export value. As part of a national economic development plan, Venezuela has decided to nationalise its oil industry, and has successfully implemented many social welfare programmes, including anti-illiteracy and expanded education programmes for young people, and free primary healthcare services for poor people. Vietnam and Venezuela established diplomatic relations on December 18, 1989, but Venezuelan people demonstrated their support and solidarity with the Vietnamese people’s struggle against US aggressors in the 1960’s and 70’s. Venezuelan soldiers kidnapped a US Major Colonel to negotiate with the US for an exchange of Vietnamese hero Nguyen Van Troi. The development of bilateral ties was marked by an official visit to Venezuela by Chairman of Vietnam National Assembly Nguyen Van An last March and a reciprocal visit to Vietnam by Deputy Foreign Minister R. Rivero last May. On this occasion, the Vietnamese Embassy in Caracas and the Venezuelan Embassy in Hanoi were established. The two sides also signed several important documents to bolster bilateral cooperation. In a recent interview with VOV, Venezuela Ambassador…... [read more]

Mr Gundzick predicted that China’s economic growth will gradually decline to six percent after having gained a two-digit growth in recent years. The increased value of its yuan currency against the US dollar will partly ease the impact of inflation on its economy due to the soaring prices of energy and food. Japan – another world economic power – is expected to see a slowdown in its economy standing at 1.5 percent due to stagnant exports. Apart from importing energy, Japan relies on maize imports from the US to support its meat production industry. Based on its energy and cereal imports, economists forecast that the Japan Central Bank will hike its currency Yen against the US dollar to control the inflation rate. Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea (RoK) is also expected to grow by only one percent in 2007. Like Japan, the RoK is a major maize importer of the US. Economies in South Asia and Southeast Asia will also shrink significantly as economists are increasingly worried about political instability in the two regions, which affect investment activities. A decline in the US economy in 2007 will also affect economies in Latin America. However, several regional countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina are predicted to benefit from the soaring prices of commodities. Europe, however, will suffer less impact from the global gloomy economy. According to economists, the European Union will continue to tighten monetary policy to prevent its currency Euro from devaluating. The inter-dependence among EU member economies will…... [read more]

Mr Manh’s visits to these countries, lasting from May 24 to June 3, helped deepen Vietnam’s international relations with these four countries in a stable and sustainable manner and in conformity with the growing global trend of peace, cooperation and development. This was the first time Party leader Manh came to Chile, Brazil and Venezuela and the second time to Cuba. During high-level talks and meetings, leaders of these countries praised the great victory of the Vietnamese people in their struggle for national independence, freedom and reunification, as well as their tremendous achievements in carrying out the Doi Moi (Renewal) process, developing socio-economic and cultural affairs, expanding external relations and defending the socialist regime. Mr Manh and leaders of these Latin American countries agreed to boost their equal, mutually beneficial and comprehensive partnership for common development, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in South-east Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world. In Cuba, Mr Manh had two-hour talks with President Fidel Castro and Vice President Raul Castro, and they all affirmed their determination to further develop the relations of traditional friendship, solidarity, mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties and States. They agreed that the Vietnam-Cuba solidarity that has stood the test of time over the years is a source of great strength for the two nations to overcome difficulties and challenges and successfully build and firmly defend the socialist regime in each country. During high-level talks with leaders of the four Latin American countries,…... [read more]

Mr Manh’s tour aims to implement the Communist Party of Vietnam’s external policy of further tightening its time-honoured relations with Cuba and to enhance multifaceted cooperation with Chile, Brazil and Venezuela in order to broaden friendly relations with equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with these Latin American countries. Since their diplomatic ties began on December 2, 1960, Vietnam-Cuba relations have been fostered and developed well, demonstrating the sentiments as well as the steadfast and faithful revolutionary stance of the two Parties, States and people. Generations of the Vietnamese people have never forgotten the Cuban people’s heart-felt sentiments and valuable assistance to Vietnam during the latter’s struggle for national independence, freedom and reunification in the past as well as national construction at present. The Vietnamese people have supported, followed with keen interest and been proud of the achievements made by the Cuban people in overcoming natural disasters and the US embargoes against the country. During reciprocal visits by the two countries’ senior leaders, Vietnam and Cuba have agreed to raise the efficiency of their relations of solidarity, friendship and brotherhood in line with the strength and potential of each country. In 2006, two-way trade exchanges fetched approximately US$300 million. The two countries have frequently exchanged delegations of specialists in the fields of agriculture, husbandry, construction, health care and pharmacy. With its strength, Cuba is currently helping Vietnam build a national Bio-technology Centre. This is the second time Mr Manh has paid the official visit to Cuba in his capacity as General…... [read more]

The visit aims to enhance the relations of friendship and cooperation and implement the agreements signed between the two countries. It will help to promote projects of mutual concern, complete the legal framework for bilateral cooperation and make their multifaceted relations more practical and effective. Relations of friendship and cooperation at full levels between Vietnam and Venezuela have developed significantly, particularly after Vietnam opened its embassy in Caracas in September 2005 and Venezuela inaugurated its embassy in Hanoi in January 2006. Since then the two countries have conducted a regular exchange of high-level visits. They include visits to Venezuela by Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh (in May 2007), National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An (in March 2006), Minister of Industry Hoang Trung Hai (in October 2006), Minister of Construction Nguyen Hong Quan (in October 2007), and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Van Bang (in August 2006). Vietnam welcomed President Hugo Chavez in July 2006) and Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs William Ixara (in July 2005) and Anxidet Rondon (in May 2006 and July 2006). Former State President Tran Duc Luong met President Chavez at the G77’s South Summit in Cuba in April 2000 and the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York in September 2000. Current State President Nguyen Minh Triet met President H. Chavez at the 14th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Cuba in September 2006. The Venezuela-Vietnam Friendship Association was established in Venezuela on October 3, 2007. Earlier on August 1, 2006, the Vietnam-Venezuela Friendship Association…... [read more]

Over the past month, crowds protesting the 2011 Presidential election results have marched in the streets of Caracas and other cities. Large numbers of Venezuelan students for the first time ever participated in these protests. Protesters say the policies of President Maduro’s left wing party have resulted in the highest inflation in the last 15 years, a shortage of production materials, a high crime rate and social instability. The protests have turned violence resulting in a number of deaths and injuries. The protests are partly a reaction to the downturn in Venezuela’s economy. Venezuela is now struggling with severe economic problems- an inflation rate of more than 56% last year, a devaluation of the currency and a decline of foreign currency reserves. Though Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, the oil and gas sector has failed to cover all of the government’s subsidy programs due to insufficient investment in oil and gas production over the past decade. A test for President Maduro Venezuela gained major achievements and significantly improved people’s lives during the 14 years under President Hugo Chavez. The poverty rate dropped to 6% in 2012 and Venezuela ranked 71st of 187 countries on the human development index. These achievements were the results of a policy of using profits from oil to improve people’s lives. However, with oil production declining, Venezuela needs to develop other economic sectors to replace this revenue source. This is the challenge the current government is facing. Determined to protect fruits of Bolivar’s revolution…... [read more]




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