Dantri Bridge opens in Nghe An Province

Images of people desperately trying to cope with shoulder-high flood waters, torn up roads and smashed buildings gave a window into the lives of the ordinary citizens of Macau, a world away from chandeliered gambling halls. The storm last week left 10 dead and businesses and homes washed out in the territory's worst typhoon for over 50 years, sparking angry criticism by some residents who said authorities had failed to protect them. A corruption probe is now looking into whether the enclave's weather bureau failed to raise severe storm warning signals for fear of damaging casino trade. Macau is listed by Global Finance Magazine as the world's third-richest territory, based on data from the International Monetary Fund. But between eight and 10 percent of the local population -- around 50,000 people -- live in poverty, says global charity Caritas. Those who were already struggling in the city say they are now worse off after Hato. Wong Siu-yee is thankful her family escaped unhurt, but the loss of the family motorbike and car, which were washed away, left her with a bill of MOP$200,000 ($24,800). It is another setback for Wong who relies on her eldest son's salary and charity donations to supplement her monthly wage of between MOP$1,000 ($124) to $5,000 ($620), which she earns working part-time as a cleaner and caterer. "We hustle for our two meals each day...it's hard when you are a single mother," said Wong, in her late 40s. Since the storm, anxious Wong rations the…... [read more]

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday (Aug 30) brushed aside criticism of a rocky start to his term in office and promised "ambitious" labour market reforms on the eve of their unveiling. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is overhauling his communications strategy after triggering criticism for seeming aloof, acknowledged that some voters were disappointed with his government's actions so far. (AFP/ludovic MARIN) In a wide-ranging interview with Le Point weekly, the 39-year-old president - who has seen his approval ratings plummet after storming to power in May - vowed to push on with an overhaul of France's rigid labour laws. "We are the only major economy in the European Union that has not defeated mass unemployment for more than three decades," the former investment banker said. "The reform of the labour market is a reform of deep transformation and, as I've promised, it will have to be ambitious and efficient enough to continue to bring down mass unemployment so that we won't have to come back to this subject during my term." Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is due on Thursday to announce the planned overhaul of the labour code, designed to give employers more flexibility to negotiate pay and conditions with their workers. The reforms are the cornerstone of Macron's plans to liberalise the economy to try to spur growth and drive down an unemployment rate at 9.5 per cent. …... [read more]

Candles and flowers are already building up at the gates of Princess Diana's former London residence to mark 20 years since her death, which unleashed an unprecedented outpouring of grief in Britain. "She was this ray of light in a fairly grey world," Prince William said of his mother Diana, princess of Wales, whose death two decades ago on Thursday shocked the world. "I still feel that love, I still feel that warmth 20 years on," her eldest son said in a new documentary marking the anniversary. "If I can be even a fraction of what she was, I'll be proud." The life of Diana -- a shy, teenage aristocrat who suddenly became the world's most famous woman -- and her tragic death at 36 still captivates millions across the globe. Two decades on, her sons William and Prince Harry only now feel able to talk publicly about her death, a seismic event which continues to resonate in the monarchy and British society. Diana died in a car crash in Paris in the early hours of August 31, 1997, along with Dodi Fayed, her wealthy Egyptian film producer boyfriend of two months, and a drink-impaired, speeding driver Henri Paul, who was trying to evade paparazzi. The 10th anniversary of her death was marked with a memorial service and a charity concert at Wembley Stadium in London. The passing of another decade has allowed for greater perspective, and this anniversary has been more reflective, marked by William, 35, and Harry,…... [read more]

Since unleashing on Friday night, monster storm Harvey has managed to not only halt normal life in Texas but also silence much of the rancor that has pervaded public discourse since Donald Trump came to power. While the letup may only be temporary, political rivals that have been at each others' throats have been suddenly emphasizing what unites Americans, while offers of help -- from the east coast to the west -- have been gratefully received in the largest state in the south. "I'm not hearing the vitriol that we've heard in the past seven months," said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a professor at the University of Southern California. "This is an incredibly tragic situation, so it's not without risk if you get partisan," she added. Trump's relentless attacks on political rivals, the death of an anti-racism protester at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and fierce debate over the removal of Confederate-era statues have helped paint a picture of a country riven with division. Trump's critics have accused him of exacerbating the divide, particularly by insisting there were "very fine people" on "both sides" of the Charlottesville protest in a free-wheeling press conference on August 15. But two weeks on, Trump played the role of unifier in chief with a visit to Texas to survey the damage wrought by Harvey. 'One family' "Tragic times such as these bring out the best in America's character, strength, charity and resilience are those characters," Trump said on the eve of his…... [read more]

PARIS: Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, will represent the country and carry out charity work but not have the official status of First Lady, following opposition to giving her such a title, the presidency announced on Monday (Aug 21). This file photo taken on Jul 14, 2017 shows Brigitte Macron (C), wife of French President, smiling ahead of the start of the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. (Photo: AFP/Alain Jocard) A proposal by Macron during campaigning earlier this year to create a new First Lady status has been shelved, but the presidency had promised to clarify her position and the resources at her disposal. The former school teacher will have two presidential advisors and her own cabinet, paid for from Macron's budget, and will focus on working with charities helping children and handicapped people. She will also represent France at her husband's side during international summits and meetings and work with the partners of other global leaders to highlight work to combat climate change or domestic violence. An online petition against creating an official First Lady role - which would have required a change in the law or constitution - garnered more than 300,000 signatures in August. An opinion poll in early August showed a majority of French people were also opposed, even though Brigitte Macron is a popular figure. POLITICAL…... [read more]

The French presidency said Monday that Brigitte Macron, the wife of President Emmanuel Macron, would have a official role representing France but would not be paid or have her own budget or staff. A proposal by Macron during campaigning earlier this year to create a new First Lady status for her has been shelved following an outcry, but the presidency had promised to clarify her position and the resources at her disposal. A statement from the presidency said she would "represent France at her husband's side during international summits and meetings" and would also organize meetings at the Elysee Palace. Her work would involve supporting charities and meeting regularly with representatives from organizations working in the fields of education, disabilities, health and child protection. "It's not a legal status but a commitment which concerns Brigitte Macron for the duration of Emmanuel Macron's term in office and will not be binding for her successors," said a source close to Brigitte Macron, asking not to be named. An online petition against creating a First Lady role -- which would have required a change in the law or constitution -- garnered more than 300,000 signatures and an opinion poll in early August showed a majority of French people were also opposed. Macron promised a "transparency charter" instead, which would make clear how much the role would cost. Brigitte Macron will have her own cabinet and two presidential advisors working for her, paid for from the president's budget for his own staff, the…... [read more]

VietNamNet Bridge – In the hot mid-day sun, a boy walking with a big school bag on the street in front of his shop showed signs of suffering from a heat stroke. Moving gesture: Poor students with bikes they received from Le Van Thai. Photo tienphong.vn Le Van Thai, who saw the boy almost everyday, told him to get out of the sun and rest in his small bicycle repair shop for a while. The boy told Thai that he walked a long way to school and back because his parents did not have enough money to buy a bicycle for him. He said his parents had encouraged him to learn, saying they would save enough money to buy him a new bike one day. The boy’s story took Thai on a trip down memory lane. He was born in 1975 in the central province of Quang Ngai. Like many children in the countryside, apart from his studies, Thai had to support his family on the farm. The school was more than 10km away, and because he did not have a bicycle, Thai did not attend school regularly. Thai’s father borrowed money to buy a flock of ducks with the hope that the profits from raising them will be enough to buy a bike for him. But all the ducks got sick and died, leaving the family in debt. He eventually dropped out of school and began doing odd jobs for local men. If only he’d had a bicycle, he…... [read more]

New adventurous tours in the northern province of Hà Giang will open soon, giving tourists all the more reason to visit. Breathtaking: A tourist looking down Tu Sản Canyon in Hà Giang Province. - Photo bp.blogspot.com This was unveiled at a conference to promote provincial tourism attended by local authorities and travel agents yesterday in Hà Nội. Lùng Khúy Cave, Chiêu Lầu Thi Peak and Tu Sản Canyon are three attractive destinations to be presented to travellers, according to Đặng Quốc Sử, director of the Hà Giang Tourist Information and Promotion Centre. Chiêu Lầu Thi is the second highest mountain in the province at 2,142m above sea level, Lùng Khúy is a newly-discovered cave with impressive stalactites, while Tu Sản Canyon is 800m deep and 1.8km long. Some new tours will be offered including climbing, kayaking on the Nho Quế River and walking down Mã Pì Lèng Pass to Tu Sản Canyon. “Hà Giang impresses visitors with its UNESCO Geopark Site – Đồng Văn Karst Plateau, steep hills, winding roads and the diversified culture of many ethnic groups,” Sử said. “Provincial authorities pay special attention to promoting tourism as it is a key factor to develop the local economy sustainably and improve people’s living condition.” The provincial Party Chief Triệu Tài Vinh said upgrading service quality and developing new tours is key. “When I worked as head of Hà Giang’s…... [read more]

The kangaroo emblem of 100 per cent Australian-owned SSESteel Limited (THEP UC) celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, marking the presence in the Vietnamese market of more than three million tonnes of Vietnamese and international-standard construction steel products. Leaving marks across Vietnam Australian group Vietnam Industrial Investments (VII) was listed on the Australian stock market in 1995, and has thus far ventured into several business fields in Vietnam. The firm produces construction steel products, welded wire mesh, metal roofing sheets and structure steel under various brands, including THEP UC, Thep Viet Uc, Austnam, TBS, and VRC. THEP UC “Thep Chuot tui” was founded in 1997. Its headquarters is situated in Hong Bang district in the northern port city of Haiphong, and it has five branch offices in Hanoi, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. THEP UC core products are wire rod, deformed bars, and rebar in coils, with diameters from D5.5mm to D41mm. In a nod to the brand’s Australian standards, a kangaroo symbol – Australia’s mascot – is embossed on every item produced by the company. In its two-plus decades of existence, THEP UC “Thep Chuot tui”  products have been and continue to be used in many of the country’s major undertakings, helping to cut down on imports. The company’s products have left their mark on the National Convention Centre; the Haiphong Cement Plant; the Thuy Duong…... [read more]

PARIS: Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, said she will adopt the role of first lady, but only in an informal capacity after opposition to plans to give her an official status. French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and his wife Brigitte Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris in July 2017 (Photo: AFP/Julien de Rosa) Speaking to Elle magazine in her first interview since her husband's election in May, the 64-year-old former school teacher also joked about the young leader's age - 25 years less than her - and spoke glowingly of their marriage. Macron's plans to create an official status and job for his wife as first lady have been shelved in the face of a hostile online petition, but Brigitte said she planned to adopt the role informally anyway. "Like all of those before me, I will take on my public role, but the French people will know the resources at my disposal," she told the weekly magazine, according to extracts of the interview which will be published in full on Friday. Instead of creating an official first lady position - which would have needed a change in the law or constitution - the presidency has instead decided to issue a "transparency charter" that will make clear the funds and staff devoted to Brigitte's activities. "We'll post my meetings and my commitments on the presidency website, so that…... [read more]

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