Bản in : Indonesia spends millions of USD to stamp out forest fires

Haze in Indonesia (Source: PA)

The Coordinating Minister for Political , Legal and Security of Indonesia Luhut Pandjaitan said Indonesia has spent 385 billion Rupiah (nearly 3 million USD) to tackle forest fires and haze pollution.

The Indonesian government also planned to allocate an additional 700 billion Rupiah (approximately 5.18 million USD) to cope with the problem that has heavily damaged the economy and human health.

In a field trip to areas affected by the disaster with Minister of Health Nila Moeloek, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged the Ministry for Political , Legal and Security to coordinate with the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management to quickly tackle forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

According to the latest data, Ogan Komering Illir (OKI) district in South Sumatra has suffered the most severe damage.

In order to reduce the effect of haze pollution, the Indonesian government transported a vast amount of health aid tools such as masks, oxygen supply devices, antibiotics and other medicines to health centres and hospitals to distribute to local residents.

Health Minister Nila Moeloek asked local medical staff to keep close watch of community health in the face of a strong increase of patients of respiratory diseases in the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra and West, South and Central Kalimantan.

In addition, the minister also called on the community, especially pregnant women, children and the elderly living in areas affected by haze and smoke, to limit their time spent outside and to use masks whenever they leave the house.

With the support of governmental agencies, the disaster aid fund and equipment sent by the international community, Indonesia is hopeful the forest fires and haze pollution will soon be under control.-VNA

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Bản in : Vietnam’s ideas lauded at ADMM-9: minister

Vietnam contributed positively to the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-9) by making a number of proposals towards building an ASEAN Political-Security Community, stated Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh.

Speaking to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Malaysia on the major outcomes of the freshly concluded event, General Thanh said Vietnam highlighted the importance of honesty and responsibility among member countries in ensuring and maintaining peace, stability, security and safety in the region.

They should consider the security of the ASEAN Community their own national security, he said.

Vietnam also stressed the need to continue strengthening the ASEAN’s common stance on the restraint of using force and settling disputes through peaceful measures in conformity with the United Nations Charter and international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

The country also emphasised the importance of fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), as well as support for negotiators in reaching a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

At the same time, Vietnam suggested strengthening the ADMM’s role through providing comprehensive security, ultimately enhancing the efficiency of ADMM activities, he said.

ASEAN should prioritise fostering bilateral defence cooperation among member countries and with other partners, said the minister.

At the event, Vietnam proposed that the improvement of bilateral defence among members of the bloc should be increased through implementing trust-building measures, and strengthening consultations, sharing information, and facilitating high-level meetings and joint activities among armies.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the ADMM, Vietnam suggested a review of ADMM operations and orientations for the next decade.

Other Vietnamese proposals included forming a mechanism to respond promptly to non-traditional security challenges threatening the safety and development of the community, said General Thanh.

During the ADMM-9, the ministers reached consensus on awareness of non-traditional security challenges in the sea and on land, as well as Islamic terrorist organisations threatening the common development of the region, revealed the minister.

They agreed to foster partnership among ASEAN members and other partners in maintaining peace, stability, maritime and aviation security and safety.

The ministers also concurred to increase coordination in search and rescue, mine clearance, anti-piracy and combating human and drug trafficking.

Regarding the East Sea, defence leaders underscored the need to fully observe the UN Charter and international law, especially the UNCLOS 1982 and the DOC, while exerting diplomatic efforts towards a COC between ASEAN and China.

The ADMM-9, which took place in Malaysia from March 16, was a significant step towards the formation of the ASEAN Community in 2015, with Political-Security Community as a key pillar.-VNA

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China can deploy warplanes on artificial islands any time -think tank

China appears to have largely completed major construction of military infrastructure on artificial islands it has built in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, and can now deploy combat planes and other military hardware there at any time, a U.S. think tank said on Monday.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the work on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly Islands included naval, air, radar and defensive facilities.

The think tank cited satellite images taken this month, which its director, Greg Poling, said showed new radar antennas on Fiery Cross and Subi.

“So look for deployments in the near future,” he said.

Vietnam on Thursday confirmed this, Tuoi Tre reported.

“Related parties need to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, act responsively, and should neither complicate the situation nor threaten peace, stability and maritime security in the East Sea,” foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh told reporters.

Binh reiterated that Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence to claim sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa Spratly) archipelagos.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarizing the South China Sea, although last week Premier Li Keqiang said defense equipment had been placed on islands in the disputed waterway to maintain “freedom of navigation.”

AMTI said China’s three air bases in the Spratlys and another on Woody Island in the Paracel chain further north would allow its military aircraft to operate over nearly the entire South China Sea, a key global trade route that Beijing claims most of.


Subi Reef is shown in this handout satellite image dated August 8, 2012 and provided by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe September 14, 2015. Photo by Reuters/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout via Reuters

The think tank said advanced surveillance and early-warning radar facilities at Fiery Cross, Subi, and Cuarteron Reefs, as well as Woody Island, and smaller facilities elsewhere gave it similar radar coverage.

It said China had installed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles at Woody Island more than a year ago and had deployed anti-ship cruise missiles there on at least one occasion.

It had also constructed hardened shelters with retractable roofs for mobile missile launchers at Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief and enough hangars at Fiery Cross for 24 combat aircraft and three larger planes, including bombers.

U.S. officials told Reuters last month that China had finished building almost two dozen structures on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross that appeared designed to house long-range surface-to-air missiles.

In his Senate confirmation hearing in January, new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson angered China by saying it should be denied access to islands it had built up in the South China Sea.

He subsequently softened his language, saying that in the event of an unspecified “contingency,” the United States and its allies “must be capable of limiting China’s access to and use of” those islands to pose a threat.

In recent years, the United States has conducted a series of what it calls freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, raising tensions with Beijing.

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Bản in : ASEAN defence ministers to discuss security issue

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. (Source: borneoaseanreports.com)

Defence ministers from ten ASEAN member states and their partners will talk over measures to boost security and defence cooperation for regional peace, sustainability and development during the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and the ADMM Plus which are slated for early next month.

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein made the statement at a press conference on October 27, highlighting that ASEAN needs a strong leadership to ensure the region’s capacity in tackling security issue, which is turning into a sensitive matter in the southeast region.

Unsolved hidden issues related to the East Sea disputes and Islamic State (IS) threat to the region could become great challenges in the future, he added.

ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN on matters related to defence. It aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

All defence ministers of 10 ASEAN members have confirmed their attendance at the upcoming ADMM Retreat from November 2-3.

Meanwhile, the third ADMM Plus themed “ ASEAN- Maintaining Regional Security and Stability for and by the People”, will draw the participation of ASEAN defence ministers and eight dialogue partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (RoK), Russia and the US.

The inaugural ADMM Plus was held in Hanoi in October, 2010 and the latest event was convened in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei in August 2013.

The ASEAN groups 10 member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA

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US Senate ratifies Montenegro joining NATO

The US Senate has approved Montenegro joining the NATO alliance, which would make it the 29th member.

Photo for illustraion (Source: Getty)

Photo for illustraion (Source: Getty)

The ratification was approved by a vote of 97-2, well above the two-thirds majority needed in the 100-member chamber.

Those senators who voted in favour of NATO expansion said that Montenegro has already contributed much to the alliance.

“Montenegro actively supported the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan,” said the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee. “Montenegro has taken these steps despite Russia’s best efforts to undermine their progress every step of the way.”

Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote to the leaders of the Senate to say Montenegro’s membership in NATO was “strongly in the interests of the United States.”

To date, 25 of NATO’s 28 members have ratified Montenegro’s accession./.

Compiled by BTA

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“Yellow flowers on the green grass” screened in Switzerland

The opening ceremony of the 2017 ASEAN Film Festival was launched at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 27th.

(Source: Internet)

(Source: Internet)

It is among events to mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

The opening ceremony saw the presence of Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva Michael Moller, and Ambassadors and diplomats from ASEAN member nations.

The film festival will feature films originating from ASEAN member states. The objectives of the ASEAN Geneva Film Festival 2017 include sharing the diversity and way of life of the ASEAN communities; cultivating a better understanding of the values and cultures of ASEAN communities; presenting ASEAN’s achievements and challenges in advancing the socioeconomic development of its people, and encouraging and celebrating film productions in ASEAN countries.

The event will screen 10 films from 10 countries in the ASEAN such as “Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass” (Vietnam); among “Best of Times” (Thailand), “Only Love” (Laos), “Adam Eve Datsa” (Myanmar), “My Magic” (Singapore), “Redha” (Malaysia), “We are Moluccans” (Indonesia), and “Yasmine” (Brunei).

The Festival will run until April 7th./.

Compiled by BTA

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Nhandan Newspaper – Creative spaces bring the arts closer to the public

Though established in the last decade, it wasn’t until the last few years that the development of arts venues and creative spaces has become a trend.

Hanoi now has nearly 30 creative spaces, Ho Chi Minh has around 10 addresses of the kind, and others are scattered in Hai Phong, Hue and Da Nang.

The spaces are located inside of trade centres, exhibition houses, offices, libraries or cafes. They are places to welcome new initiatives, to hold talks and discussions among those working in the field of culture or arts lovers, and to provide training and guidance on culture and the arts.

In their first stage, such contemporary arts spaces were funded by, and dependent on, foreign cultural institutions such as L’Espace, the Goethe Institut, the British Council and the Ford Foundation.

However, the financial support from the funds are limited and affected by changes in the market economy. That pushes the spaces’ founders to figure out measures to mobilise resources from the public in order to realise their projects and to host their arts activities independently.

Many of them have found encouraging success in becoming independent, including the Hang Da Galleria, which successfully organised the first Hanoi Arts Fair at the end of 2014. On that day, artists and art groups left their workshops and brought their artworks to advertise them to visitors and made trade deals by themselves.

Hang Da Galleria was also the sponsor location of the contemporary Tet Art Fair in February 2015 – an independent idea developed by two young organisers, Trinh Minh Tien, an artist from the Real Art Group, and Doan Phuong Lien, a volunteer at Nha San Collective.

As an arts space opened inside a modern shopping mall in 2011 amidst the busy Old Quarter on the ground-floor of the old Hang Da market, Hang Da Galleria has established itself as an art works showroom, as well as a place for artists, visitors and city dwellers who are in need of paintings, sculptures and handicraft products across all regions of the country. Arts events hosted by the centre have invited visitors to experiences unique cultural activities while helping organisers sell their products and advertise their brands to customers.

In addition to hosting exhibitions and providing a location for trade fairs, Hang Da Galleria’s management board also takes part in charity activities such as an annual fundraiser for ethnic minority children in mountainous region, and auctioning paintings to raise school fees for poor students.

Another role model is Hanoi Creative City, recently unveiled at No.1 Luong Yen street, Bach Dang ward, Hai Ba Trung district. Designed as a creative hub, a popular trend in countries with robust development of contemporary arts, Hanoi Creative City provides adequate area for retail and service shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, galleries, museums, parks, private businesses, and a music venue.

It is a place where artists can display and sell their products while the public can read, listen, watch and shop. Although some items of the complex have not yet been finished, Hanoi Creative City has been established as a professional arts space linking businesses, artists, and the public.

There are also many other venues in Hanoi succeeding in attracting visitors while advertising Vietnamese contemporary arts, including Heritage Space in Hanoi, which often hosts seminars and announcement ceremonies of books and classic music concerts; Work Room Four, which provides training classes on fashion design, drawing, and computer graphics; Manzi, which draws much interests from foreigners thanks to its exhibitions, film screenings, and music concerts; and the Yard, where an open-air market is held every weekend to sell hand-made clothes and interior products.

Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City sees the rising of 3A Station, a vibrant arts rendezvous space among contemporary art lovers; Saigon Co-working, a creation and innovation center providing ready-to-use solutions for freelancers, startups and entrepreneurs; and Saigon Outcast, an alternative venue, with a skateboard ramp, a large open space and murals and graffiti covering the walls.

According to journalist Truong Uyen Ly, a consultant of the British Council-launched project on creative hubs in Vietnam, the future of creative hubs in particular, and the development of culture industry in Vietnam in general, is long-term and full of potential. Creative activists have found their own ways to create a large and connected community.

German Dr. Michael Waibel, who recently won the Bui Xuan Phai – For the Love of Hanoi Awards, believes that Vietnam is in the first phase of building creative spaces. Although difficulties, challenges and failure are unavoidable, the important thing is that a creative community was established and there are pioneers in the work.

At a workshop on creative hubs and their potential contributions to culture and urban development in Vietnam, held this September, participating experts agreed that creative hubs will be a highlight of many cities’ appearance in the near future. Many foreign artists and collectors visit the places to learn more about Vietnamese contemporary arts.

The creative hubs, undoubtedly, are established as a venue not only to display and introduce the latest art works, but also to host lessons, workshops, seminars, performances, exchanges and interactive activities providing creative spaces for people.

A hip-hop dance at Hanoi Creative City (Photo: Hanoi Creative City)

Visitors enjoy Hoi An chicken rice at a food installation of artist Bui Cong Khanh at Manzi Art Space (Photo: Mazi)

Shopping at a 3A Station’s Bazaar (Photo: 3A Station)

A live music performance at Saigon Outcast (Photo: Saigon Outcast)

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Destroying large-scale drug trafficking and transporting ring

The Police Department for Investigation of Drug-related Crimes (PC47) under the Ho Chi Minh city Police, announced that a large-scale drug trafficking and transporting ring has just been destroyed.

The objects of the case (Photo: VNA)

The objects of the case (Photo: VNA)

On March 21st, Truong Minh Thanh, born in 1976, from Ben Tre province and living in Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Minh city, was arrested at the T-junction of Nguyen Cuu Van and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh roads, ward 19, Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Minh City, for illegally transporting drugs.

The authorities seized 10 nylon bags containing crystal methamphetamine.

Investigating further, PC47 checked a house of Tran Xuan Dung, a link in the ring, in Ngo Tat To street, Ward 22, Binh Thanh district, and seized an additional 1kg of Ketamine, 5,000 tablets of ecstasy and about VND3 billion in cash.

The case is under further investigation./.


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Bản in : UNICEF fundraises to prevent Vietnam child deaths

The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will hold the UNICEF ZERO awards at the InterContinental Asian Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City on December 5 to raise funds to reduce the preventable deaths of children to zero.

The event is the first to be held to raise funds to fill the gap of international aid that has been given to Vietnam in the last 50 years, according to Lotta Sylwander, a representative of UNICEF Vietnam.

Much of that international aid has now been reduced as Vietnam was declared a middle-income country by the UN in 2010.

UNICEF ZERO awards will also raise funds to honour inviduals, organisations and businesses that have contributed to the goal of reducing the number of preventable child deaths and vulnerable children to zero.

The funds raised from the event will support children throughout Vietnam , especially in Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Lao Cai, Dien Bien, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Ninh Thuan, An Giang and Dong Thap.

It is an initiative of Believe in ZERO, a global UNICEF campaign launched in Vietnam this year that aims to reduce the number of preventable children deaths to zero, the number of exploited or abused children to zero, the number of children deprived of clean water and the number denied access to school to zero.

Sylwander said the campaign would be founded on the belief that no child should ever die from a preventable cause and that all children should grow up in a healthy environment, receive comprehensive education and have a bright future.

UNICEF believes that the support of the community, along with today’s medical and technological advances, will eventually lead to zero preventable child deaths in Vietnam.

According to the latest statistics and surveys, Vietnam has two million children who have suffered permanent physical and brain damage caused by malnutrition.

In Vietnam, 100 children die every day because of preventable causes like diarrhea or pneumonia. Three million children do not have access to clean water and one child dies every hour due mainly to drowning or traffic accidents.-VNA

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Bản in : Conference boosts PPP cooperation in infectious disease prevention

Delegates discussed ways to help businesses approach Vietnam’s policies related to public-private partnership (PPP) cooperation in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria prevention at a conference in Hanoi on October 10.

Co-organised by the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the conference aims at bettering people’s access to quality healthcare services, said Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long at the event.

Long also highlighted the organisation’s contribution to the work of prevention and combating over the recent past, adding that the fund is one of the largest sponsors of Vietnam and other developing nations in the field, which helps promote poverty reduction and realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Vietnam has spared no efforts to prevent and tackle the three infectious diseases over the past time, dynamically strengthening the partnership and calling for domestic and foreign investors’ involvement in the field, he added.

At the conference, delegated noted that the country is controlling the spread of HIV and gradually reducing the transmission rate among high-risk groups, but still sees an increasing rate of HIV infections through the practice of unsafe sex.

To reduce the rate of people falling ill to malaria, the health sector continues to encourage the community and the entire population’s involvement in the work and link activities against the infectious disease with the health system.

Vietnam ranks 12th among the world’s 22 TB high- burden countries and has the largest number of unreported TB cases.

At the event, participants also focused on discussing issues related to HIV/AIDS prevention and combating activities in the workplace, the coordination among the fund and private organisations, and community healthcare programmes.-VNA

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Bản in : Asia-Pacific leaders form alliance to combat malaria

Leaders at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei on October 11 endorsed the creation of an Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) to unite countries and promote regional political leadership and collaboration against the disease.

The APLMA’s initial members include the Heads of Government from Australia, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Australia and Vietnam will act as APLMA co-chairs.

As Secretariat, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support the co-chairs in advocacy, reviewing regional progress, convening regional meetings, and achieving results through APLMA’s two taskforces on finance and access to quality medicines and other technologies.

APLMA aims to reduce malaria cases and deaths by 75 percent by 2015 and to contain the spread of drug resistant forms of the parasite by expanding the fight against the illness beyond the health sector into the arenas of regional trade, transportation, migration, and rural industries such as agriculture, mining and forestry.

According to ADB President Takehiko Nakao, beyond its human toll, malaria’s social and economic costs are devastating in countries where the disease is endemic.

Malaria, particularly the emergence of artemisinin resistant malaria, is a major development challenge, requiring strengthened regional collaboration, sustainable solutions and predictable financing, he added.

The Regional Financing Taskforce will examine options for sustainable funding mechanisms to ensure that financing for the fight against malaria remains strong until transmission of the parasite is eliminated.

Meanwhile, the Improving Access to Quality Medicines and Other Technologies Taskforce will work to increase regional production and access to quality medicines, and reduce the availability and use of the low-quality and incorrectly formulated anti-malarial medicines that increase risks of drug resistance.

Increased population movements, rampant availability of low quality and counterfeit antimalarial medicines, and climate change exacerbate the region’s vulnerability to malaria, which remains a major cause of death and illness in Asia and the Pacific, with an estimated 36 million cases and around 49,000 deaths annually.-VNA

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Ho Chi Minh city customs sees 20% rise in budget collection

As of March 20th, budget collection in Ho Chi Minh city reached VND20.746 trillion, up nearly 20% compared to the same period of 2016 or fulfilling 19% of the year’s plan, reported the city Customs Department.

Photo for illustration. (Source: haiquan.hochiminhcity.gov.vn)

According to the Department, the sharp increase in the budget collection in the first quarter of 2017 came from stable growth of export and import turnover. Import turnover is estimated to hit USD11.2 billion, up 20%, while exports were valued at USD9.33 billion, up more than 10%.

During the period, collection from export and import activities increased by VN3.5 billion over a year earlier.

However, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Toan, Deputy Head of the Export and Import Tax Office under the city Customs Department, said from the beginning of the year, many factors affected the budget collection situation. Specifically, preferential tariff lines, especially those in Free Trade Agreements, continued to fall from 1% to 3% or even many lines came to 0%.

Meanwhile, autos with less than nine seats from ASEAN had import tariff reduction from 40% to 30% and the rate will reduce to 0% as of January 1st, 2018.

Aiming to offer opportunities for enterprises to increase revenue and fulfil the budget collection duty in 2017, the city’s Customs sector set the target of reducing customs clearance from 108 hours to 70 hours for export commodities and from 138 hours to 90 hours for import goods./.


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