Thứ Năm, 31 tháng 12, 2015

Chinese man arrested for shooting death of business rival in Da Nang

Police at the crime scene in Da Nang in November 2015. Photo: Nguyen Tu 
Police at the crime scene in Da Nang in November 2015. Photo: Nguyen Tu
Police in Da Nang City on Wednesday said they had arrested a Chinese man suspected of killing his business rival in front of the latter's home a month ago. 
Feng Long Chun, 27, turned himself in to police at Moc Bai Border Gate in Tay Ninh Province on December 27.
Feng reportedly fled the country to Cambodia after he shot Li Muzi, 31, dead over business conflicts.
At around 7:45 a.m. on November 26, Li was about to drive his three-year-old daughter to school when Feng shot him with a short gun in front of Li’s house in Da Nang.
Li collapsed and his bike fell on him. His daughter was safe inside the house at the time.
Feng Long Chun at a police station. Photo provided by the police
Feng, who wore a mask, reportedly fled the scene on his motorbike immediately.
Li’s wife and father-in-law rushed out from the house and brought him to hospital, where he succumbed to internal bleeding around noon.
According to some eyewitnesses, Feng had waited in an eatery near Li’s house for a while before the victim showed up.
Police later identified Feng as the main suspect. They said Feng took revenge on Li after being accused of selling fake SIM cards to Chinese tourists in Da Nang. Both of them were in the lucrative business, police said, adding that each could earn around $4,500 a month.
According to investigators Feng bought the gun in Thailand for US$1,500 and then entered Vietnam via Cambodia. After killing Li, he threw the gun into a river before fleeing to Cambodia.
By Nguyen Tu, Thanh Nien News
May your 2016 be filled with great things

A family is pictured on the Flower Street in Ho Chi Minh City's downtown area in this December 31, 2012 file photo. Tuoi Tre

Dear valued readers,
The year 2016 is about to start in Vietnam and many parts of the world, promising both hopes and challenges.
In January 2016, Vietnam will hold its grand Party Congress to elect new leaders, after cities and provinces countrywide finished voting in their new leaderships that include many young, intellectual and passionate people in 2015.
These leaders carry the public trust on their shoulders to lead Vietnam on a practical route to integrate with the region and the world.
Today, December 31, also marks the establishment of the ASEAN Community, a regional arena in which Vietnam is definitely capable of competing. The foundation of the ASEAN Community is also an event anticipated by many young Vietnamese since it comes with not only challenges and competition, but also opportunities for the young generation to prove themselves.
The ASEAN integration will be a stepping stone for Vietnam’s workforce to become part of a much bigger playground – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
So can we see these economic integration processes as a ‘launch pad’ for the country’s economy in coming years, an aspiration shared by both government leaders and Vietnamese citizens, especially at a time when Vietnam posted a ‘lucky’ GDP growth rate of 6.68 percent for 2015?
As journalists, we see them that way, which will allow us to break positive and optimistic news to you in the New Year.
We also hope that you will continue supporting us in such a positive and optimistic manner, as you did in the past year.
2015 was a great year for Tuoi Tre News, with our readership growing by 50 percent from one year earlier. Our Facebook page also reached a milestone of 10,000 followers as it was only a couple days away from the New Year.
We appreciate and feel grateful to all readers for your huge support in reading us and sharing our stories to your friends and families, and look forward to continuing to have you as companions.
You are always more than welcome to send us stories about Vietnam that will help the expat community here know more about our country.
We would like to extend our special thanks to you for your remarks and wishes for us in June 2015, when we celebrated our fifth birthday.
We appreciate all of your comments, suggestions, recommendations, and of course complaints, and are exerting effort to remedy the shortcomings you have showed us.
It is our utmost goal to make articles published on Tuoi Tre News more and more informative and useful to readers, and to share your knowledge of, as well as love for, our country.
Our New Year wish is that you readers will keep reading us and loving Vietnam – a friendly, optimistic and peace-loving country.
We also wish for health and capability to produce more quality content not only in 2016 but in the years to come.
The flow of information is also the flow of life and history.
Let us all start a new year with a belief that all good things will come to us, our families, friends and other people around this world!
Happy New Year!!!
Tuoi Tre News

Flag raising ceremony marks ASEAN Community’s formation

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds the ASEAN flag raising ceremony in Hanoi on December 31 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an ASEAN flag raising ceremony in Hanoi on December 31 to celebrate the official formation of the ASEAN Community. 

The event took place in the presence of Moroccan Ambassador and head of the diplomatic corps El Houcine Fardani, representatives of the ASEAN nations’ embassies and partner and dialogue countries in Vietnam, and officials of Hanoi and Vietnamese ministries and sectors.

In his speech, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said December 31, 2015 is a historic day of all the 10 ASEAN member countries as after 48 years since the bloc’s foundation, the dream about a harmonious community of the Southeast Asian nations has come true. 

Efforts towards peace, friendship, cooperation and development for all nations are the determinant of the bloc’s current success. 

The ASEAN Community’s formation will lead the region’s cooperation and connectivity progress to a new phase that will benefit all the member nations and reflect the grouping’s centrality and proactiveness in response to the growing regional and global trend of cooperation and connectivity. 

“As from today, under the roof of ASEAN, more than 600 million people in Southeast Asia will join hands in building a politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible community”, he stressed. 

He took this occasion to express acknowledgement and hope for the continued support and assistance from international friends, especially ASEAN’s partners, to the bloc in general and Vietnam in particular. 

Vietnam is proud of having actively participated and contributed to the cooperation and building of the ASEAN Community since 1995. It has made all-out efforts to accelerate the national reform and regional and international integration during that two-decade ASEAN membership, Minh noted. 

The Deputy PM added ASEAN has continually been and will remain a pillar in his country’s foreign policy, and Vietnam is committed to continuing to actively, proactively and responsibly engage in the grouping’s cooperation, helping with the successful development of the ASEAN Community. 

The formation is just the initial step in the building of the ASEAN Community, which is a continuous and long-term process, he said, emphasising that an array of challenges are awaiting and much remains to be done. 

The official voiced the belief that ASEAN will fulfill its goals and successfully build up a peaceful, stable, inclusive and intensively integrated community which is also a constructive player in the global community.-VNA

Vietnam, China Defence Ministers hold telephone talks

The formation of a direct communication line between the two Defence Ministries demonstrates mutual trust in bilateral defence relations and facilitates the timely exchange of issues of shared concern, said Minister of Defence General Phung Quang Thanh and his Chinese counterpart Senior Lieut. Gen Chang Wanquan.
On December 31, Vietnam and China defence leaders had a telephone conservation marking the establishment of a direct line of communication and the end of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
The two ministers spoke highly of defence cooperation over recent years that have produced practical results and is one of the important pillars in the relationship between the two countries, thus helping maintain an environment of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region, meeting interests each country's people and resolving disagreements satisfactorily on the basis of common perceptions of senior leaders.
They underscored the need to further promote defence cooperation with a focus on intensifying exchanges at all levels, effectively implementing signed agreements aiming to develop the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership in a healthy and stable manner.
The two defence leaders also took the occasion to congratulate both countries on the traditional New Year 2016.

Thứ Tư, 30 tháng 12, 2015

Vietnam welcomes 7.94 million foreign arrivals in 2015

 Foreign tourists visit One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi - International visitors to Vietnam witnessed a modest year-on-year decrease of 0.2 percent to 7.94 million in 2015, the latest report from the General Statistics Office (GSO) reveals.

The slight drop - the first since 2009, came despite the five consecutive months of increases in the number.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the number of foreign arrivals gained a year-on-year surge of 5.1 percent to 593,566 in July, 7.5 percent to 664,985 in August, 8.3 percent to 626,324 in September, and 16.1 percent to 649.099 in October, in addition to 20.4 percent to 732,740 in November.

The GSO said that this year visitors travelling by sea surged significantly by 27.5 percent over the same period last year, while visitors arriving by air increased 1 percent and arrivals by road plunged 6.5 percent.

Four Asian countries, recording rises in number of visitors to Vietnam were the Republic of Korea, up 31.3 percent, Singapore up 17 percent, Malaysia up 4.1 percent, and Japan which rose 3.6 percent. However, the number of visitors from some other Asian nations dropped. These were Cambodia, down 44 percent, Laos, which dropped 17 percent, Thailand dropped 13.1 percent, and Indonesia dropped 9.3 percent, in addition to China which dropped 8.5 percent.

Modest decreases were also witnessed in several markets included those of Russia, France, Sweden and Australia.

During the period, Vietnam saw a surge in the number of visitors from Africa by 44.3 percent, Italy by 10.4 and Spain by 10.6 percent, and the United States by 10.7 percent, in addition to Netherlands which rose 7.8 percent, and the United Kingdom (UK) which rose 5.2 percent.

In early 2016, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) would ask the Government to grant an extension on visa exemptions for visitors of five western European countries. That would ensure that tourism companies make plans on promotion and advertisements in the long-term, head of the VNAT Nguyen Van Tuan said.

Since July 1, 2015, visitors from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, along with Spain have been allowed to enter the country without a visa for 15 days. The visa exemption will last until June 30, 2016.

However, industry insiders suggested that this should be increased to 30 days, or at least 21, since visitors from such far places would like to stay for longer durations. They also called for continuing with the policy for at least two years and extending it to all European countries.-VNA

Thứ Ba, 29 tháng 12, 2015

 Russia opposes militarization of sea disputes, continues arms support for Vietnam

Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vasilievich Vnukov (L) is seen at the press conference in Hanoi on December 28, 2015.Tuoi Tre
Russia has expressed its opposition to the militarization of the East Vietnam Sea situation and will keep providing military assistance for Vietnam in the future.
Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vasilievich Vnukov hosted a press conference in Hanoi on Monday to review the results of the two countries’ comprehensive cooperation in 2015.
Russia has every reason to consider Vietnam an essential link in the country’s effort to cement ties with the region, primarily the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN is a ten-member organization that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Russia objects to the militarization of the issues in the East Vietnam Sea and promises to work with Vietnam and relevant countries to settle the disputes in a peaceful manner, Ambassador Vnukov said.
Moscow is interested in the development of peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea because several Russian oil companies are operating in the maritime area, he explained.
The ambassador highlighted Russia’s military assistance for Vietnam in recent years, namely the high-end weaponry for the Southeast Asian country’s navy, including submarines and fighter jets, the likes of which have been deployed in Russia’s battles against terrorists in Syria.
The fifth Russian-made Kilo-class submarine is being transferred to Vietnam, the diplomat said, adding that new arms sale contracts will be signed by the two parties in 2016.
Vietnam clinched a deal in 2009 to buy six Kilo-class subs from Russia.
Vietnam and Russia have established great strategic trust, and Moscow will always support Hanoi’s stance and legitimate interests in accordance with international law as well as widely accepted standards, Professor Tran Viet Thai from the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“The fact that Vietnam gains Russia’s political trust and support is of great significance, as 90 percent of Vietnamese military equipment is supplied by Russia,” Prof. Thai said.
The problems regarding the illegal labor of Vietnamese in Russia was also mentioned during the conference.
Governments of the two nations have reached agreement on establishing an industrial park in Moscow that will house several garment factories providing legal jobs for the overseas Vietnamese there, according to Ambassador Vnukov.
“The solution is to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the Vietnamese workforce. The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union will create more opportunities to address this matter,” the diplomat said.  
Vietnam and China are entangled in a conflict over sovereignty over islands in the East Vietnam Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by Beijing.
Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines and Malaysia are the other claimants to the sea, with Manila already taking Beijing to an international tribunal.  
The tension between Hanoi and Beijing intensified as China unlawfully placed an oil rig in Vietnamese waters in 2014, leading to several collisions between Vietnamese and Chinese ships.
21 foreigners detained for staying in Vietnam illegally for years: police

Police check a restaurant run by foreign men in Ho Chi Minh City December 28, 2015. Photo: Hai Nam
Police check a restaurant run by foreign men in Ho Chi Minh City December 28, 2015. Photo: Hai Nam
Police in Ho Chi Minh City said they have detained 21 foreign men for staying in the city without personal papers, some for as long as nine years. 
The officers checked their rented apartments on Phan Huy Ich Street, Go Vap District, where 52 men were staying, on Monday night and many tried to flee.
Some fought back and the police had to use tasers to control them. Police said 21 of them failed to present valid passports and visas.
It is not immediately clear how and whether police officers could verify their nationalities. According to several media reports, the men came from African countries, including Nigeria and Cameroon. 
Initial investigation found some of them have been staying in Vietnam without personal papers for eight to nine years.

Locals said the foreigners came to their neighborhood, renting ground-floor apartments to open shops and restaurants. Some suspected that several of the foreign men have also provided illegal sex services. 
Police are investigating further.

A foreign man makes a declaration at a Go Vap District police station in Ho Chi Minh City December 29, 2015. Photo: Dam Huy
Foreign men without personal papers are under detention at a police station in HCMC's Go Vap District on December 29, 2015. Photo: Dam Huy
By Hai Nam, Thanh Nien News

Meeting the infrastructure imperative

Investment in public infrastructure must be substantially increased to ensure the nation’s future socio-economic development plans as outlined by the National Assembly, said speakers at a seminar late last month in Hanoi.
 “Investment in transportation, water and energy infrastructure is vitally important for economic growth and job creation,” said Nguyen Tu Anh from the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).
Anh, who is the Director of CIEM’s Research Department on Macro-Economic Policies, said the sources of global concessional loans for infrastructure are stagnating, creating a new impetus for restructuring existing public investment to obtain the highest rates of return.
“Non-concessional loans, could help bridge the financing gaps but these types of financing arrangements most often pose a significant threat to long-term macroeconomic stability as they typically create especially heavy repayment burdens,” said Anh.
At the seminar, Anh made the argument that infrastructure investment as a percentage of GDP will actually fall over the next few years if remedial actions are not timely implemented and investment broadened.
Notably, Anh said institutional investors such as investment banks, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, insurance companies, and endowment funds, have shown increased interest in infrastructure during the past several years.
Private equity investments in infrastructure have globally come to be viewed as an emerging asset class or ‘sector’, which allows private investors to acquire public infrastructure assets or invest in state-owned companies.
Private investments are generally made in one of three ways. Public-private partnerships enable private companies to build and/or operate new infrastructure projects under concession agreements.
Privatization allows private investors to directly acquire public infrastructure assets or invest in state-owned companies. Finally, private-to-private transactions facilitate the transfer of public private partnership interests between two or more private parties.
Anh said the public-private partnership model with the creation of a trading market has been the method of choice over recent years for private investors looking to add infrastructure assets to their portfolios.
However, the public-private partnership model has been hampered in Vietnam by a lack of the crucial legal framework allowing for their implementation of a market mechanism allowing for the free flow of capital between investors.
Return on Investment
From the investor perspective, infrastructure ‘sector’ investments typically aim for 10% to 12% annualized returns for core real estate investments that have relatively stable long term cash flows.
While opportunistic funds aim for around 19% for infrastructure investments that don’t have stable cash flows and are considered higher risk.
No matter what the rate of return expectations are, investors often are required to lock in a minimum investment of US$10 million for a minimum of 10 years— with some funds even requiring a 25-year lock-in period.
Expanding opportunities
Anh emphasized Vietnam lacks a developed private infrastructure investment platform and can benefit tremendously from such funding to assist the national and local governments in meeting the expanding infrastructure demands of the nation.
By putting completion of the legal framework for public-private partnerships on the front burner, the nation would be better positioned to attract private equity and real estate funds to achieve the nation’s long term socio-economic goals.
Da Lat opens rip-off hotline as flower festival set to start

Tourists take a photo in front of Da Lat Market in Lam Dong Province on December 28, 2015.Tuoi Tre
Any visitors who are overcharged during the Da Lat Flower Festival, slated for opening on Tuesday evening in the namesake city in the Central Highlands, should call a hotline and the city’s deputy chairman may pick up the phone.
The annual Da Lat Flower Festival runs from December 29, 2015 to January 2, 2016, under the theme of “Da Lat – Colorful Flowers,” with multiple events and activities expected.
The Da Lat City administration hopes to attract 500,000 visitors.
But with rip-offs and overcharged room rates remaining a big headache for local authorities, a 24/7 hotline to receive all reports and complaints from visitors is essential.
Ton Thien San, deputy chairman of the Da Lat administration, is the main official in charge of the hotline, 0941 245 245, which is open to complaints about hotel and restaurant rip-offs during the five festive days.
The city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has also publicized four phone numbers overcharged visitors can call to report their cases.
Visitors can either call Mai Viet Dang, head of the inspectorate of the department, at 0918 564 036, and his deputy Nguyen The Hung, at 0913 225 969, or contact the tourist support center at 063 372 5555 and 063 365 3333.
It is not uncommon for dining and lodging services in Da Lat, the capital of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, to send their prices through the roof whenever there is a festival to rip tourists off.
A large number of local hotels have hiked their room rates by anywhere from 100 to 250 percent, as tourists flock to admire the annual flower festival.
Several hotels have announced that they either run out of rooms or simply adjusted their rates to a significantly higher price than usual, despite local authorities' commitment to preventing this situation from occurring.
As of Monday, some 45,000 tourists had flocked to Da Lat, according to the latest statistics by the organizers. From Tuesday to the end of the festival, there will be around 100,000 visitors arriving in the city on a daily basis.
About 60,000 rooms in 700 hotels in Da Lat are anticipated to provide enough accommodations for tourists, according to the city’s administration.
“In case of any accommodation shortage, we will encourage local residents to offer homestay services at reasonable prices to tourists,” said city chairman Vo Ngoc Hiep.
There will be nine main programs and 19 sub-activities during the five festive days, according to the organizers.
There will be a “space of flowers” set up around Da Lat’s iconic Xuan Huong Lake, while Le Dai Hanh Street will be turned into a street of flowers, and Ho Tung Mau Street will become a hub showcasing the city’s famous coffee, tea, wine and other specialties.
Other activities include a fireworks display, a flower and vegetable flea market, and a ceremony to honor flower growers.
Fifteen businesses and 110 local flower farmers will be featured at the event as typical examples of Da Lat’s traditional flower growing sector

Businesses resuming production surge in 2015

A garment-textile plant in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi - More than 21,500 enterprises resumed their operation in 2015, marking a 39.5 percent year-on-year increase, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

More than 94,750 businesses were founded in the year, with a total registered capital of 601,500 trillion VND (26.7 trillion USD), representing year-on-year rises of 26.6 percent and 39.1 percent in number and value, respectively.

Together, they created jobs for more than 1.47 million labourers, up 35 percent from 2014.

As many as 9,467 enterprises stopped their operation, a slight drop of 0.4 percent from the previous year, while nearly 71,400 others suspended their production, up 22.4 percent year-on-year.

The amount accounts for only 12 percent of the total enterprises, which remains low in comparison with other nations, such as New Zealand with more than 30 percent and the UK, more than 50 percent, said GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam.-VNA