Friday 31 May 2013

Turkey braces for fresh protests

Source BBC News@

Protesters clash with police at Istanbul park demonstration

Turkey is braced for a second day of protests after clashes between police and demonstrators left dozens of people injured in Istanbul on Friday.

Police have been drafted in from other provinces, parts of Istanbul are cordoned off and traffic is stationery.

The protest began as a sit-in rally over plans to redevelop a square in Istanbul, but escalated and became violent after police used tear gas.

The unrest reportedly spread as far as Ankara, Bodrum, Konya and Izmir.

Reports say hundreds of people have marched across Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge on Saturday morning in support of the anti-government protesters.

The BBC's Louise Greenwood in Istanbul says police from as far afield as Antalya are being drafted in to help quell the violence.

She says the central Taksim district and surrounding areas remain cordoned off and the city's famous bridges are closed for traffic.

Istanbul's governor said a dozen people were admitted to hospital and more than 60 people detained after Friday's clashes, which continued into the night.

In Ankara, protesters staged what they described as a solidarity rally, with many participants chanting: "Everywhere is resistance, everywhere is Taksim!"

The US has expressed concern over Turkey's handling of the protests and Amnesty International condemned the police's tactics.


A four-day sit-in against government plans to revamp a popular park in the city's main shopping district gathered support when word spread on social media.

The regeneration project has disrupted live for months now and is already running behind schedule. Istanbul residents are tired of the disruption to their daily lives.

The protests have the potential to grow as new restrictions on alcohol sales and attacks on freedom of speech have secular Turks saying that their civil liberties are under threat. This latest crackdown will only confirm their suspicions that Prime Minister Erdogan's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party are implementing a conservative agenda.

Witnesses said tear gas was deployed randomly on people who were "by and large protesting peacefully".

'Creeping Islamisation'

Demonstrators gathered in the park to contest the controversial redevelopment project aimed at easing congestion around Taksim Square, which involved uprooting trees.

Opponents of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's plans say the park is one of the few green areas left in central Istanbul.

Correspondents say the issue has helped highlight unhappiness among young people towards the government and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party over what they see as creeping Islamisation.

Last week, Turkey's parliament approved legislation restricting the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks between 22:00 and 06:00.

The prime minister's AK Party has its roots in political Islam, but he says he is committed to Turkey's state secularism.

Mr Erdogan has been in power since 2002 and some in Turkey have complained that his government is becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Earlier this month, riot police clashed with tens of thousands of people attempting to hold a May Day march in Istanbul.

Protesters hold a large Turkish flag in front of a water cannon truck, Istanbul, 31 May 2013Protesters opposed to the redevelopment had camped out in Gezi Park for four days

Tear gas and demonstrators in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, 31 May 2013Prime Minister Erdogan has vowed to carry out the redevelopment

Demonstrators help one another as Turkish riot policemen use tear gas to disperse clashes (May 31, 2013)Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters

Riot police use pepper spray on protesters in Ankara (31 May 2013)There were also protests in the capital Ankara, where police used pepper spray on some demonstrators.

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New Oklahoma tornadoes 'kill five'

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Breaking news

A new series of tornadoes has swept through the US state of Oklahoma, killing at least five people and injuring dozens, officials say.

The tornadoes struck near the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where 24 people were killed by a violent tornado nearly two weeks ago.

The latest storm struck during Friday's evening rush hour, trapping many people in cars.

More than 60,000 homes lost power and heavy rain has caused severe flooding.

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Vietnam dreams the software dream

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Vietnam should not try to compete with other countries in the hardware development. It should gather strength to make its dream of developing the software industry realistic.

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Contemporary music by world artists to wow Vietnamese audiences

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The Heineken Live Access music festival which takes place in Ha Noi on June 1 and HCM City on July 27 promises to entertain audiences with a diverse line-up of world musicians and DJs.

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Property sales rule draws criticism

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Real estate developers proposed doing away with the regulation that all property transactions be carried out on the trading floor, saying the rule had not achieved the desired effect.

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The invasion of Chinese sturgeons into Vietnam warned

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Experts have voiced their concern over the flooding of Chinese sturgeons in the Vietnamese market, which would kill the Vietnamese sturgeon farming industry.

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Striker proves doubters wrong

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The national football championship, the Eximbank V-League 2013, is halfway through its season, and has had its ups and downs.

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Self-taught artist displays portraits in HCM City

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The works of self-taught painter Tran Dat, who specialises in portraits, are being shown in a solo exhibition at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum.

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VN cinema rolls out first road trip comedy

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Director Charlie Nguyen is set to surprise cinema audiences once again with his next choice of project, which is being billed as Viet Nam's first road trip comedy.

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The odd tale of a tailed man

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Since the day he was born, Mr. Vang Seo Chung, resided in Ta Lu Than village, Ha Giang province has lived for over 40 years with a half meter tail.

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Four Indian naval ships to visit Da Nang

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Four Indian naval ships carrying 1,200 officers and sailors will dock at the Tien Sa Port in Da Nang city to have exchange operations with Vietnam’s navy from June 4 to 8.

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Vietnam makes major FDI gains

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Viet Nam witnessed a surge in newly registered and additional FDI in the first five months of this year. Totalling US$8.51 billion, the amount was an increase of 8.9 per cent over that of the same period last year.

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Police to question Woolwich suspect

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Michael Adebolajo in court in Kenya in 2010Mr Adebolajo had been held under police guard in hospital after his arrest

Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo is spending a second day in custody at a London police station after being discharged from hospital.

Mr Adebolajo, 28, will be questioned over the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby near Woolwich Barracks on 22 May.

He is also being held on suspicion of attempting to murder a police officer.

Another man, Michael Adebowale, 22, has been charged with the soldier's murder and appeared before magistrates on Thursday.

The two were shot by police and arrested at the scene of the killing.

Mr Adebowale, of Greenwich, south-east London, and Mr Adebolajo, originally from Romford, east London, were both held under police guard in hospital following the arrest.

Mr Adebowale was discharged from hospital earlier this week. He is due to appear in court again on Monday.

Police investigating the Woolwich attack have also arrested a 42-year-old man in north London and a 46-year-old man in east London on suspicion of involvement in the supply of illegal firearms.

'Harrowing experience'

Meanwhile, Drummer Rigby's family have called for calm amid reports of a rise in anti-Muslim incidents following the attack.

In a statement, Drummer Rigby's family said: "Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.

Drummer Lee RigbyAn inquest into Drummer Rigby's death was opened and adjourned on Friday morning

"We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner."

The Queen visited Woolwich Barracks on Friday in a visit that had been planned for some time.

During her visit, the Queen met Lieutenant Colonel Bob Christopher, commander of Woolwich Station, and his team, as well as staff from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers' outreach team, Drummer Rigby's regiment, based at the Tower of London.

She met officers and soldiers associated with Drummer Rigby in private.

Her journey to the barracks in south-east London did not take her past the scene of Drummer Rigby's murder, where thousands of bunches of flowers have been laid by members of the public in his honour.

Also on Friday, an inquest into Drummer Rigby's death was opened and adjourned during a brief hearing at Southwark Coroner's Court.

The total number of arrests made in connection with the attack stands at 12. So far, six of those arrested have been bailed and two released without charge.

A British National Party march is expected in Westminster later after police asked that it be moved from Woolwich.

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Clashes at Istanbul park protest

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Protestors hold a giant Turkish flag in front of a water cannon truck (31 May 2013)Protesters opposed to the redevelopment of Gezi Park have camped out there

Demonstrators help one another as Turkish riot policemen use tear gas to disperse clashes (May 31, 2013)Police used tear gas and water cannon against the protesters to disperse them

A wounded protestor is carried away during confrontations with riot police (31 May 2013)Several people were injured in the clashes

Wide view of tear gas and demonstrators in Taksim Square (31 May 2013)Prime Minister Erdogan has vowed to carry out the redevelopment

Turkish police have used tear gas and water cannon against protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul.

Scores of people have suffered injuries, several of them when a wall collapsed during a police chase.

Demonstrators had been camping since Monday in Gezi Park, angry at plans to develop it as part of a revamp of Taksim Square, in which it is situated.

Many protesters also expressed discontent with the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Erdogan has been in power since 2002 and some in Turkey feel that his government is becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Last week, Turkey's parliament approved legislation restricting the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

The regulations would prohibit retail sales between 22:00 and 06:00, ban all alcohol advertising and promotion, and stop new shops and bars from opening within 100m (330ft) of schools and mosques.

Mr Erdogan said he wanted to stop young Turks from "wandering about in a state of inebriation" and was not trying to impose Islamic values.

The prime minister's Justice and Development (AK) Party has its roots in political Islam, but he says he is committed to Turkey's state secularism.

'Excessive force'

Opponents to Mr Erdogan's plans to re-develop Gezi Park say it is one of the few green areas left in central Istanbul.

One banner at Friday's protest included a cartoon of Mr Erdogan dressed as an Ottoman sultan with the slogan: The people will not bow down to you."

"We do not have a government, we have Tayyip Erdogan," political scientist and protester Koray Caliskan told the Reuters news agency.

"They are not listening to us," he added. "This is the beginning of a summer of discontent."

Hurriyet Daily News reported that seven of those wounded in the clashes with police had serious injuries, including a broken leg and head injuries.

A journalist was hit in the head with a tear-gas canister and Hurriyet's own photographer was injured, it added.

Amnesty International condemned the use of what it called "excessive force" against "peaceful protesters".

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Georgia murder suspect due in court

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Georgia WilliamsGeorgia Williams was last seen on Sunday night

A man is due to appear in court later charged with the murder of teenager Georgia Williams.

Seventeen-year-old student Georgia, from Wellington, Shropshire, was last seen in the town on Sunday evening.

Jamie Reynolds, 22, also from the town, who was arrested in Glasgow on Tuesday, has been charged with murder and is due before Telford magistrates.

Police search teams found a girl's body in woodland near Wrexham on Friday. The girl has not been formally identified.

The body was found at about 14:00 BST in woodland off the Nant-y-Garth pass in north Wales.

Supt Nav Malik, from West Mercia Police, said: "During our enquiries, sadly, late [Thursday] afternoon new evidence came to light that proved Georgia was deceased and that she died at an address in Wellington.

"For obvious legal reasons, particularly to ensure that future court proceedings are not jeopardised, we are not able to reveal further information about this evidence at this time."

He said the discovery of a body related to their investigation into the teenager's disappearance.

Supt Nav Malik: "The body of a young female has been found in woodland"

Georgia is the daughter of a West Mercia Police detective constable.

Supt Malik added: "Georgia's family have been kept fully informed of all the recent developments and this has only added to the devastation they are feeling about this week's events.

"We are totally committed to every investigation we launch but dealing with events that directly affect a colleague and fellow member of the policing family - especially one that many of us know so well - is unusual and has proved extremely tough and emotional for everyone."

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Vietnamese masterpieces return home

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Works of artists from Indochina Fine Arts College's first generation will be brought to Viet Nam by collector Nguyen Minh.

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Vietnam has 1.2 million disabled children

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There are about 93 million children under age 14 with disabilities in the world, including 1.2 million in Vietnam. Many children are affected directly from the consequences of war, such as Agent Orange and explosives.

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Can Tho: $35 million embankment collapses

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Nearly 60m of embankment of a VND700 billion ($35 million) project which is under construction collapsed into the river of Can Tho on the early morning of May 30.

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Vietnamese music protected on YouTube

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More than 100 Vietnamese singers have signed copyright protection contracts on YouTube.

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Huge asteroid flies past Earth

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Nasa simulation of asteroid pathAt its closest, the asteroid will pass within a distance of about 6 million kilometres

An asteroid that measures nearly 2.7km (1.7 miles) across is set to fly past the Earth.

The space rock, which is called 1998 QE2, is so large that it is orbited by its own moon.

It will make its closest approach to our planet at 20:59 GMT (21:59 BST), but scientists say there is no chance that it will hit.

Instead it will keep a safe distance - at closest, about 5.8 million km (3.6 million mi).

That is about 200 times more distant than the asteroid "near-miss" that occurred in February - but Friday's passing space rock is more than 50,000 times larger.

Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queen's University Belfast, said: "It's a big one. And there are very few of these objects known - there are probably only about 600 or so of this size or larger in near-Earth space.

"And importantly, if something this size did hit us one day in the future, it is extremely likely it would cause global environmental devastation, so it is important to try and understand these objects."

Dark visitor

This fly-by will give astronomers the chance to study the rocky mass in detail.

Using radar telescopes, they will record a series of high-resolution images.

They want to find out what it is made of, and exactly where in the Solar System it came from.

Prof Fitzsimmons said: "We already know from the radar measurements, coupled with its brightness, that it appears to be a relatively dark asteroid - that it's come from the outer part of the asteroid belt."

Early analysis has already revealed that the asteroid has its own moon: it is being orbited by another smaller piece of rock that is about 600m (2000ft) across.

About 15% of asteroids that are large are "binary" systems like this.

This celestial event will not be visible naked eye, but space enthusiasts with even a modest telescope might be able to witness the pass.

After this, asteroid 1998 QE2 will hurtle back out into deep space; Friday's visit will be its closest approach for at least two centuries.

Researchers are becoming increasingly interested in potential hazards in space.

So far they have counted more than 9,000 near-Earth asteroids, and they spot another 800 new space rocks on average each year.

Radar data of 1998 QE2The Deep Space Network snapped images of the asteroid and its moon on 29 May

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Vietnam-EU FTA: Opportunities, challenges VNTimes

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The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will create long-term strategic benefitsfor Vietnam in the EU, which is home to 27 countries and apopulation of 490 million.

The remarks were made byDang Hoang Hai, head of the European Department under the Ministry ofIndustry and Trade, at a May 29 seminar co-organised by the VietnamChamber of Commerce and Industry’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter and the EUDelegation to Vietnam.

Vietnam and the EU supportrather than compete with each other in trade, he said, adding that theformer chiefly imports machinery, equipment, garment, materials,leather, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, steel and fertiliser.

Once the FTA is signed at the end of 2014, it may allow Vietnameseenterprises to purchase materials at suitable prices, thus increasingthe competitiveness of the country’s exports, he noted.

He urged local businesses to pay more attention to technical standards and food hygiene as well as tax barriers.

Sharing his views, Colin Kinghorn, head of Mekong Sub-region andIndonesia at Ipsos Group, said Vietnam will have to compete directlywith EU enterprises when the FTA is finalised.

Hesuggested Vietnamese enterprises coordinate with each other to raisetheir products’ competitiveness while making the best use of the supplychain to gain a firm foothold for Vietnamese products in the EU market.

The Vietnam-EU FTA will open up marketopportunities and Vietnamese businesses should turn challenges fromcompetition into opportunities to access advanced technology that helpsmodernise production processes and improve product quality, he said.

According to Hai, exports to the EU make up 17 percentof the country’s total export revenue. The figure is expected to climbto 20 percent in the time to come.

Over the lastdecade, two-way trade between Vietnam and the EU experienced asixfold increase, from 4.99 billion USD in 2002 to 29.1 billion USD in2012.

Last year, the EU surpassed the US tobecome Vietnam’s second largest trade partner and a leading importer ofVietnamese commodities.

The Southeast Asian country shipped 20.3 billion USD worth of goods to the EU, up 22.71 percent over the previous year.

In the first quarter of this year, the figure was 4.34 billion USD, representing a year-on-year rise of 27.18 percent.

Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Minister Counsellor of the EU Delegation toVietnam, said the EU-Vietnam FTA will allow Vietnamese businesses toenjoy a zero percent tax rate for 90 percent of tax lines within sevenyears, and at the same time open up more opportunities for investmentactivities and technological transfer.

Besides, Vietnam is expected to lure more foreign direct investment to produce exports destined for the EU.

Since the end of 2012, the two sides have conducted three negotiationsin various areas such as trade, services, Sanitary and Phytosanitary(SPS), technical barriers and sustainable development, he said.-VNA

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Second Int’l Tea Festival planned for November VNTimes

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The second International Tea Festival will take place in the northernprovince of Thai Nguyen from November 8-11, announced the provincialPeople’s Committee at a press conference on May 31.

This year’s festival will draw the participation of 34 provinces that grow tea and tea processors and growers nation wide.

Countries and territories which use Vietnam’s tea products such asChina, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea arealso expected to attend the biennial event.

A widerange of activities are scheduled for the festival, including a teaculture festival, a tea carnival, a conference to boost investment andtourism, a Miss Tea Land Contest and a photo exhibition featuring thebeauty of Vietnam’s land and people and Thai Nguyen tea.

The event aims to further increase the efficiency of tea production,introduce and promote Vietnam and the province’s tea and its culture toboth domestic and international visitors, thus boosting tea exports.-VNA

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President meets underprivileged children VNTimes

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President Truong Tan Sang on May 31 met underprivileged children who arevisiting Hanoi on the occasion of Children’s Day (June 1).

The children informed the President of their educational achievements,and expressed their sentiments, expectations, intentions and dreams forthe future.

President Sang praised theirachievements in school and life, stressing that they are great examplesfor children nationwide to follow.

He said he hopesthat they will persevere to see their dreams come true, and to becomehelpful citizens for the cause of national construction and protection.

Agencies and units across the country, especiallythe National Fund for Vietnamese Children, should join hands to carryout activities to encourage underprivileged children to overcomedifficulties and strive for good results at school, as well as activelyrespond to Action Month for Children themed “Creating equal developmentopportunities for poor and ethnic minority children”, the Presidentsaid.

According to the fund’s statistics, there arealmost 1.5 million children in difficult circumstances in Vietnam ,and over 2.5 million children in need of care from relevant agenciesand society.

Over the past 20 years, the fund has mobilised 4 billion VND to support 28 million disadvantaged children nationwide.

Also the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited andpresented gifts to children with HIV at the Center for SocialEducation-Labour in Ba Vi, Hanoi.

He urgedleaders of relevant ministries, branches, local authorities and thecentre to pay more attention to the children’s material and spirituallife.

The Deputy PM presented 15 scholarships to theunfortunate children who had achievements in their study in the2012-2013 academic year.

Nearly 100 children with HIV are nurtured at the centre.

Many activities for underprivileged children have been held nationwidefor Action Month for Children and Children’s Day (June 1).

On the occasion, the Sponsoring Association for Disabled People andOrphans in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue in coordinationwith the provincial Study Promotion Association and the Investment JointStock Company and Urban Development granted nearly 100 scholarships fordisabled children and orphans.

Meanwhile, the ThuaThien-Hue fund for child protection worked with Bao Viet Life Company topresent gifts and scholarships to 200 children who have overcomedifficulties.

The Department of Labour, Invalids,and Social Affairs presented gifts to 20 centres of sponsoring andcaring children in the provincial area.

An art programme for disabled children was held at Big C supermarket in Thua Thien-Hue province.-VNA

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PM’s keynote address at 12th Shangri-La Dialogue VNTimes

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered a keynote address entitled“Building Strategic Trust for Peace, Cooperation and Prosperity in theAsia-Pacific Region” at the opening ceremony of the 12th Shangri-LaDialogue in Singapore on May 31.

Following is the full text of the speech:

Excellency Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,

Dr. John Chipman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

At the outset, I would like to express my sincere thanks to PrimeMinister Lee Hsien Loong of the Singaporean host, Dr. John Chipman andthe organisers of the 12 th Shangri-La Dialogue for your kindinvitation to me to attend and address this important forum. Since itsinception 12 years ago, the Shangri-La Dialogue has truly become one ofthe most substantive and meaningful security dialogues in the region. Ido believe that the full presence of government officials, militaryleaders, prestigious scholars and all distinguished delegates at thisforum reflects the interest and the efforts to jointly preserve peaceand security in the Asia-Pacific region in the context of a dynamicallychanging world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While languages and expressions might differ, I am sure we all agreethat without trust, there would be no success and harder work asks forbigger trust. In Vietnam, there is a saying that ‘if trust is lost,all is lost.’ Trust is the beginning of all friendships and cooperation,the remedy that works to prevent calculations that could riskconflicts. Trust must be treasured and nurtured constantly by concrete,consistent actions in accordance with the common norms and with asincere attitude.

In the 20 th century,Southeast Asia in particular and the Asia-Pacific in general were oncefierce battlefields and deeply divided for decades. It might be saidthat the entire region always had a burning desire for peace. To havethe peace, development and prosperity, it is a must to build andconsolidate strategic trust. In other words, we need to build strategictrust for peace, cooperation and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. Thatis what I wish to share with you at this forum.

To begin with, Vietnam has a profound confidence in the brightfuture of development and cooperation in the region that we are livingin. Yet the trend of increased engagement and competition, particularlyby big powers not only offers positive elements but also involvesnegative risks that require us to take initiative and work together toprevent.

The Asia-Pacific region now enjoysdynamic development and is home to the three biggest economies and manyemerging ones of the world. Here, the trend of multi-layer andmulti-sector cooperation and linkages is evolving vigorously and becomesthe prevailing one of the day. This is quite a promising prospect forus all.

However, looking back at the full pictureof the region in the past years, we cannot fail to be concerned over thesimmering risks and challenges to peace and security.

Competition and engagement are by themselves normal facts in thecourse of cooperation and development. Yet if such competition andengagement embrace calculations only in one’s own interest, withoutequality, respect of international law and transparency, then strategictrust could in no way be reinforced, and there could be a chance for therise of division, suspicion and the risk of mutual containment, thusadversely affecting peace, cooperation and development.

The unpredictable developments in the Korean Peninsula; sovereigntyand territorial disputes from the East China Sea to the East Sea (SouthChina Sea) that are evolving with much complexity, threatening regionalpeace and security, firstly maritime security and safety as well as thefreedom of navigation, have indeed caused deep concerns to theinternational community. Somewhere in the region, there have emergedpreferences for unilateral might, groundless claims, and actions thatrun counter to international law and stem from imposition and powerpolitics.

I would like to draw your further attention to thefact that maritime transport and communications are growing in scale andhaving a much greater significance. It is projected that three fourthsof global trade will be made via maritime routes and two thirds of thatwill be shipped across the East Sea . A single irresponsible actionor instigation of conflict could well lead to the interruption of suchhuge trade flow, thus causing unforeseeable consequences not only toregional economies but also to the entire world.

In the meantime, the threats of religious and ethnic conflicts, egoisticnationalism, secessionism, violence, terrorism, cyber security, etc. arestill very much present. Global challenges like climate change, sealevel rise, pandemics or water resources and the interests of upstreamand downstream riparian countries of shared rivers, etc. have becomeever more acute.

We could realize that such challenges andrisks of conflict are not to be underestimated. We all understand thatif this region falls into instability and especially, armed conflicts,in general there will be neither winner nor loser. Rather, all willlose. Suffice it to say, therefore, that working together to build andreinforce strategic trust for peace, cooperation and prosperity in theregion is the shared interest of us all. For Vietnam , strategictrust is perceived, above all, as honesty and sincerity.

Secondly, to build strategic trust, we need to abide ourselves byinternational law, uphold the responsibilities of nations, especially ofmajor powers, and improve the efficiency of multilateral securitycooperation mechanisms.

In the world history, many nationshave suffered from irreparable losses when they fell victim to powerpolitics, conflicts and wars. In today’s civilised world, the UNCharter, international law and the universal principles and norms serveas the entire mankind’s common values that must be respected. This alsorepresents the precondition for strategic trust building.

Eachstate should always be a responsible stakeholder in the pursuit ofcommon peace and security. Countries, either big or small, must buildtheir relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect and at ahigher level, on mutual strategic trust. Big states have a greater roleto play and can contribute more but they should also shoulder biggerresponsibilities in the cultivation and consolidation of such strategictrust. Besides, when it comes to the right voices and beneficialinitiatives it does not matter whether they come from big or smallcountries. The principles of cooperation, equal and open dialogue inASEAN and other forums advocated by ASEAN as well as this Shangri-LaDialogue are born from and maintained on such mindset.

I fullyshare the views of H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ofIndonesia who said last year at this forum that small and mediumcountries could help lock major powers into a durable regionalarchitecture. I also agree with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on whathe said in a speech in Beijing last September that a reliable andresponsible cooperation between the United States and China wouldpositively contribute to the common interest of the region. We allunderstand that the Asia-Pacific has sufficient room for all intra- andextra-regional countries to work together and share their interests. Thefuture of the Asia-Pacific has been and will continue to be shaped bythe roles and interactions by all countries in the region and the world,particularly by the major powers and certainly, by the indispensablerole of ASEAN.

I believe that no regional country would opposethe strategic engagement of extra-regional powers if such engagementaims to enhance cooperation for peace, stability and development. Wecould expect more in the roles played by major powers, particularly theUnited States and China , the two powers having the biggest roles(I underline the biggest) in and responsibilities to the future of theirown as well as that of the region and the world. What is important isthat such expectation should be reinforced by strategic trust and suchstrategic trust must be reflected by concrete and constructive actionsof these nations.

We attach special importance to the rolesplayed by a vigorously rising China and by the United States - aPacific power. We would expect and support the United States andChina once their strategies and actions conform to international law,respect the independence and sovereignty of nations, not only bringingabout benefits to them but also contributing genuinely to our commonpeace, cooperation and prosperity.

What I want to furtherunderline is that the existing regional cooperation mechanisms such asthe ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN DefenceMinisters’ Meetings Plus (ADMM+) as well as the Shangri-La Dialogueoffer the opportunities to foster multilateral security cooperation andfind solutions to the arising challenges. Yet it could be said that whatis still missing, or at least still insufficient, is the strategictrust in the implementation of those arrangements. The first andforemost important thing is to build a mutual trust when confrontingchallenges, impacts of interactions, and enhancing practical cooperationin various areas, and at different levels and layers, both bilateraland multilateral. Once there is sufficient strategic trust, theenforcement effectiveness of existing mechanisms will be enhanced, andwe could advance and expand cooperation and find solutions to anyproblem, even the most sensitive and difficult one.

Thirdly,when talking about peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in theAsia-Pacific, we cannot help but mention an ASEAN of unity andconsensus, playing its central role in many multilateral cooperationforums.

It was hard to believe that a South East Asiaonce divided and embedded in conflicts during the Cold War could become acommunity of nations united in diversity and playing a central role inan evolving regional architecture like ASEAN today. The participation ofVietnam in ASEAN in 1995 marked a new era of development in ASEANtowards building a common house for all South East Asian nations trueto its name. The success of ASEAN is the fruit of a long perseveringprocess to build trust, nurture the culture of dialogue and cooperation,and cultivate the sense of responsibility to the shared destiny ofSouth East Asian nations.

ASEAN is proud to be an example forthe principle of consensus and mutual trust in the making of its owndecisions. That principle is the foundation for equality among themember states, whether it is Indonesia with nearly a fourth of a billionpeople or Brunei Darussalam with less than half a million. Thatprinciple also constitutes the foundation for extra-regional countriesto place their trust in ASEAN as an ‘ honest broker’ in guiding thenumerous regional cooperation mechanisms.

With a mindset ofshared interests rather than that of a win-lose one, the enlargement ofthe East Asia Summit (EAS) to include Russia and the United States, theADMM+ process that was put into reality in Vietnam in 2010, and thesuccess of EAS, ARF and ADMM+ in the years that follow have furtherconsolidated the ground for a regional architecture in which ASEAN playsthe central role, bringing about trust in the multilateral securitycooperation in the region.

I also wish to refer to Myanmaras a vivid example of the outcome of the perseverance to dialogue on thebasis of building and reinforcing trust, respecting the legitimateinterests of each other, which helps open up a bright future not onlyfor Myanmar but also for our whole region.

There have beenprofound lessons about the fundamental values of ASEAN’s consensus andunity in maintaining equal and mutually beneficial relations withpartner countries and maximising its proactive role in handlingstrategic issues of the region. ASEAN could only be strong and able tobuild on its role when it is united as one. An ASEAN lacking unity willby itself, lose its stand and will not be in the interest of anycountry, even ASEAN member states or its partners. We need an ASEANunited and strong, cooperating effectively with all countries to nurturepeace and prosperity in the region, not an ASEAN in which member statesare forced to take side with one country or the other for theindividual benefit of their own in the relations with big powers. Wehave the responsibility to multiply trust in the settlement of problems,enhance cooperation for mutual benefit, combine harmoniously ournational interest with that of other nations and of the whole region.

Vietnam and other ASEAN members always desire that othercountries, particularly the major powers, support the ASEAN Community’scentral role, its principle of consensus and unity.

Back to theissue of the East Sea , ASEAN and China have travelled a long waywith no less difficulty to come to the Declaration on the Conduct ofParties in the South China Sea (DOC) adopted during the ASEAN Summit inPhnom Penh in 2002. To commemorate the 10 th anniversary of theDOC, ASEAN and China have agreed to work towards a Code of Conductin the South China Sea (COC). Parties need to uphold theirresponsibilities, mutually reinforce strategic trust, first and foremostby strictly implementing the DOC and doubling efforts to formulate aCOC that conforms to international law and in particular, the 1982 UNConvention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

We believe thatASEAN and its partners can work together to develop a feasible mechanismthat could guarantee maritime security and safety and freedom ofnavigation in the region . In so doing, we will not only help ensuremaritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation, and createconditions for the settlement of disputes but will also assert thefundamental principles in maintaining peace, enhancing developmentcooperation in the contemporary world.

As for non-traditionalsecurity and other challenges including water resources security on thecommon rivers, by building strategic trust, enhancing cooperation andharmonizing national interests with common interests, I believe that wewill able to achieve successes, thus making practical contributions topeace, cooperation and development in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Throughout her thousands of years of history, Vietnam hassuffered numerous pains and losses due to wars. Vietnam alwaysaspires to peace and desires to contribute to the consolidation of peaceand enhancement of friendship and development cooperation in the regionand the world. To have a genuine and lasting peace, the independenceand sovereignty of any country, whether large or small, must berespected; and differences in interests, culture, etc. must be subjectto open and constructive dialogues of mutual understanding and mutualrespect.

We do not forget the past but need to put it behind tolook forward to the future. With the tradition of offering peace andfriendship, Vietnam always desires to work with its partners tobuild and reinforce strategic trust for peace, cooperation anddevelopment on the basis of the principle of respect for independence,sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit.

Vietnamconsistently persists with the foreign policy of independence,self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of externalrelations, being a friend and reliable partner to all nations, and aresponsible member of the international community. Vietnam hasspared no efforts to build and deepen strategic partnerships andmutually beneficial cooperative partnerships with other countries. It isalso our desire to establish strategic partnerships with all thepermanent members of the UN Security Council once the principles ofindependence, sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs ofeach other, mutual respect, equal and mutually beneficial cooperationare committed and seriously implemented.

At this prestigiousforum, I have the honour to inform that Vietnam has decided toparticipate in UN peacekeeping operations, first in such areas asmilitary engineering, military medicine and military observation.

Vietnam ’s defence policy is that of peace and self-defence.Vietnam will not be a military ally to any country and will not allowany country to set up military bases on Vietnamese territory. Vietnamwill not ally itself with any country to counter another.

Inthe past years, sustained high economic growth has enabled Vietnamto increase its national defence budget at a reasonable level. Vietnam’s army modernisation is only for self-defence and the safeguard ofour legitimate interests. It does not, in any way target any othercountry.

With regard to the present threats and challenges toregional security such as the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea andthe East Sea, etc., Vietnam perseveres to the principle of peacefuldispute settlement on the basis of international law, respecting theindependence, sovereignty and the legitimate interests of each other.All parties concerned need to exercise self-restraint and must notresort to force or threat to use force.

Once again, Vietnamreiterates its consistent compliance with the ASEAN Six-point Statementon the South China Sea and will do its utmost to work together withASEAN and China to seriously observe the DOC and soon arrive at theCOC. As a coastal State , Vietnam reaffirms and defends itslegitimate rights and interests in accordance with international law,especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Peace, cooperation and development represent the interest, the ardentaspirations and the common future of all countries and peoples. Inthe open spirit of the Shangri-La Dialogue, I would call upon you all tojoin hands and make concrete actions to build and reinforce strategictrust for an Asia-Pacific region of peace, cooperation and prosperity.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.-VNA

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Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

Increase in illegal fuel 'garages'

Source BBC News@

A man filling up his car with petrolIllegally-sold fuel is often substandard and can damage vehicle engines

There has been a 48% increase in the detection of illegal fuel sales from so called "pop-up garages" in the UK, HM Revenue and Customs figures show.

The operators sell fuel which has been smuggled or is substandard after being mixed with cheaper chemicals.

They do not pay tax and cost the Exchequer hundreds of millions of pounds a year in what petrol retailers are saying is a "crimewave".

HMRC says its detection is improving and the illegal trade is reducing.

Figures from HMRC show that in the 2012-13 period it made 6,506 visits to sites in the UK.

It detected illicit fuel being sold on 388 occasions, compared with 262 detections in 2009-10.

Pat Curtis, of HMRC's specialist investigations unit, believes criminal gangs are feeding off the recession.

"Criminal gangs will take advantage of any tax differential to make money on it," he says.

"They'll take advantage of customers out there who may be feeling the pinch and may be feeling they're getting value for money."

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA), describes the pop-up garages as a "crimewave" engulfing the market.

"A stagnant economy gives rise to unemployment, especially for younger people, and lowers real wages," he says.

"The inevitable result is that criminal activity becomes an alternative despite the risks."

Tax losses

The fuel being sold is often substandard and can seriously damage car engines. The chemicals used by the gangs and the waste they produce also damage the environment.

No-one knows exactly how much excise fraud costs the government.

The most recent estimates by HMRC are from 2010-11, which calculate that the loss to the Exchequer could be anything between £150m to £700m.

HMRC insist that the trend is downwards, reflecting the success of its strategy to prevent fuel fraud.

But Edmund King, president of the AA, says anecdotal evidence suggests the opposite.

"We believe that the sales of illicit fuel are on the increase broadly linked to the increase in fuel prices and slump in the economy over the last four to five years," he says.

"Geographically it has spread from Northern Ireland, to the north of England and now down to the south east."

That view appears to be backed up by HMRC's own figures.

Testing improvements

In 2009-10, officers detected illegal fuel sales on 150 occasions in Northern Ireland and 112 in the rest of the UK.

Last year, there were 128 in Northern Ireland and 260 in the rest of the UK.

Brian Madderson, from the PRA, applauds the work HMRC has done in Northern Ireland, but argues it has to change focus.

"It is now time for them to focus their efforts on Great Britain," he says.

"Independent services stations continue to close at the rate of 175 to 200 each year, mostly in challenged rural areas, with loss of jobs and local facilities."

But Mr Curtis suggests the reported rise in sales in England, Scotland and Wales may be down to better testing.

"We were under no illusions that it was happening everywhere," he says.

'Affects everybody'

So just how easy is it to buy illegal fuel?

Our contacts led us to a warehouse on a trading estate in east London.

We asked if they sold "cheap diesel" and were offered fuel for £1.15 per litre - approximately 25p less than at the pumps.

The operator pumped 40 litres into the tank, we paid in cash and were given no receipt.

HMRC says all these are indicators of illicit fuel sales.

When we had the fuel siphoned from the car and tested, it was contaminated and substandard.

Mr Curtis says the criminals who sell, and the motorists who buy, are depriving the government of much-needed funds.

"The loss of this revenue effects how government works," he says.

"It affects everybody in their pocket."

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

Body found in missing teen search

Source BBC News@

Georgia WilliamsGeorgia Williams was last seen on Sunday night

Police search teams looking for missing teenager Georgia Williams have found a girl's body.

The body was found in woodland near Wrexham. West Mercia Police said the girl had not been formally identified.

Seventeen-year-old Georgia from Wellington, Shropshire, was last seen in the town on Sunday evening.

Jamie Reynolds, 22, from Wellington, who was arrested in Glasgow on Tuesday, has been charged with murder and is due before Telford magistrates on Saturday.

The body was found at about 14:00 BST in woodland off the Nant-y-Garth pass in north Wales.

Number of sightings

Supt Nav Malik, from West Mercia Police, said: "During our enquiries, sadly, late yesterday afternoon new evidence came to light that proved Georgia was deceased and that she died at an address in Wellington.

"For obvious legal reasons, particularly to ensure that future court proceedings are not jeopardised, we are not able to reveal further information about this evidence at this time.

"However, I can now confirm that the body of a female was found earlier this afternoon.

"The body has not yet been formally identified but early indications suggest that the discovery relates to our investigation into the disappearance of Georgia Williams."

The 17-year-old student, the daughter of a West Mercia Police detective constable, was last seen in Wellington on Sunday evening.

The force received more than 100 messages about sightings after it made an appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme on Thursday for sightings of a silver Toyota Hiace 300 GS van, registration CX06 ASV.

The van travelled from Wellington to Oswestry, Shropshire, before going to north Wales, Chester, Kendal in Cumbria and then on to Glasgow, where it was seized by officers.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

Russia urged not to arm Syria troops

Source BBC News@

File pic from 1998 of a Russian officer with S-300 air-defence missiles at a military base outside Moscow, RussiaAs well as targeting aircraft, the S-300 can engage ballistic missiles

The US and Germany have called on Russia not to supply Syria's military with an advanced missile system they say could prolong the conflict there.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the delivery of Russian weaponry would have a "profoundly negative impact" and put Israel's security at risk.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged Moscow not to hinder the chances of mooted peace talks.

The US and Russia are pushing for talks in Geneva aimed at ending the conflict.

Mr Kerry and Mr Westerwelle held talks in Washington the day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said a Russian contract to supply the S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system was being implemented, without confirming any deliveries.

Syria's Russian-made military

  • Nearly 5,000 tanks; 2,500 infantry fighting vehicles; 2,500 self-propelled or towed artillery units

  • 325 Tactical aircraft; 143 helicopters

  • Nearly 2,000 air defence pieces

  • 295,000 active personnel; 314,000 reserve personnel

Statistics: IISS

The S-300 is a highly capable system that, as well as targeting aircraft, also has the capacity to engage ballistic missiles.

Two Russian newspapers on Friday quoted defence sources as saying that it was unclear if any of the missile system would be delivered this year.

'Unified' government

Mr Kerry called on Russia not to upset the balance in the region by providing weaponry to the Assad regime, "whether it's and old contract or not".


After 40 years of tight dictatorship in Syria, it is not surprising that the opposition is finding it hard to produce a coherent, representative leadership to face off against a tough regime team in the proposed Geneva conference.

What was meant to be a three-day meeting of the opposition coalition in Istanbul turned into eight days of in-fighting that has failed to achieve its stated goals of electing a new leadership, approving an interim government and taking a clear position on the Geneva proposal.

After initially saying it would go to Geneva with conditions, the opposition now says it will not go as long as Hezbollah is fighting at Qusair. That buys it time for the great deal of work, and doubtless wrangling, that will be needed to construct a plausible delegation for the talks, and more meetings will be held early next month.

By contrast, the regime side is unified and coherent, and has decades of negotiating experience to draw on. The opposition risks a severe defeat in the talks, unless it gets its act together very seriously.

"It has a profoundly negative impact on the balance of interests and the stability of the region and it does put Israel at risk," he said.

"We hope that they will refrain from that in the interests of making this peace process work," he said.

He added that he was convinced the Syrian opposition would take part in the Geneva talks, scheduled for next month: Russian and American officials are set to meet next week to prepare the ground for the peace conference.

Earlier, Syria's opposition National Coalition ended marathon talks in Istanbul with a pledge to broaden its membership.

It will expand its leadership council to include more representatives of the rebel Free Syrian Army and other activists, following widespread criticism that it was out of touch with events on the ground.

Before the announcement, the US had called for a decision on a new leadership and an expanded membership to "move forward in planning the Geneva conference".

The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says a lot more needs to be done for the opposition to be in any kind of shape to attend any conference in a coherent manner.

He says that, by contrast, the Syrian government appears unified and confident.

Mr Assad said on Thursday that Syria would "in principle" attend the peace conference in Geneva if there were not unacceptable preconditions.

In an interview with Lebanon's al-Manar TV, which is owned by Hezbollah, he warned that Syria would respond in kind to any future Israeli air strikes.

More than 80,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million have fled Syria since the uprising against Mr Assad began in 2011, according to UN estimates.

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How the Russian S-300PMU-1 missile defence system works

Graphic of the Russian S-300PMU-1 missile defence system

  1. The long-range surveillance radar tracks objects over a range of 300km (185 miles) and relays information to the command vehicle, which assesses potential targets.

  2. A target is identified and the command vehicle orders the engagement radar to launch missiles.

  3. Launch data is sent to the best placed of the battalion's six launch vehicles and it releases two surface-to-air missiles.

  4. The engagement radar helps guide the missiles towards the target. It can guide up to 12 missiles simultaneously, engaging up to six targets at once.

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Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui


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