A Thai farmer walks on barren field in Bang Pla Ma, Suphan Buri province (Photo: AFP) Hanoi (VNA) – Thailand’s Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) on October 19 raised official concerns over the emerging drought crisis in the country's northeastern region. Governor of Nakhon Ratchasima province Wichian Chantharanothai said the province's 32 districts have been declared as drought-hit areas, adding that the situation is the most severe in this province. As many as 112,000ha of farmland, mostly paddy, have already been damaged due to a lack of rainfall. So far, 14 crop-growing areas have been listed as needing immediate help. Local officials are considering aid in cash for rice farmers to compensate them for their losses, said Wichian. Many other parts of the country are also facing the prospect of acute water shortages. The northeast region has 21 of the country's 36 dams that are at less than 30 percent of their available capacity. Ubonrat, one of the … [Read more...] about Alarm raised on emerging drought crisis in Thailand
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THE HAGUE — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday there had been progress on Brexit ahead of a crunch summit but warned that the "devil is in the detail". Merkel’s cautious assessment came one week before EU leaders meet in Brussels for what might be the last chance to seal a deal on Britain’s divorce from the European Union. "There is progress," Merkel said during a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague, but "everything is solved only when everything is solved. "I hope for progress next week. We are pleased that there are intensive discussions, but the devil is in the detail," the German leader added. Merkel stressed that the other 27 EU countries were "very united" and that they "very, very" much trust the union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. Rutte said meanwhile that he was "cautiously optimistic" about a deal at the summit. "I think we can be very cautiously optimistic next week that we can take steps … [Read more...] about Merkel warns ’devil is in detail’ on Brexit
This file photo taken on March 26, 2013 shows Chinese actress, singer and producer Fan Bingbing (centre) attending the Viscap fashion show during China Fashion Week in Beijing. — Photo AFPViet Nam News SHANGHAI — One of China’s biggest and wealthiest film stars, actress Fan Bingbing, has disappeared from public view as authorities probe alleged tax evasion by entertainers, sparking growing fan speculation over her fate. The 36-year-old actress, model, and producer has been a household name in China for years and tasted Hollywood success with a role in the 2014 blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past. But Fan, usually active on social media, has gone dark online and has reportedly not been seen in public for weeks. "Will Fan Bingbing go to prison?" asked one of hundreds of thousands of recent postings about her on China’s popular Twitter-like Weibo platform, while others speculated she had been banned from movies or was under house arrest. Fan’s troubles … [Read more...] about ’Where is Fan Bingbing?’: Chinese star goes dark amid pay crackdown
As images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un strolling by revellers at a rooftop bar the night before an unprecedented meeting with President Donald Trump circulated around social media sites, U.S. citizens started asking 'Where is Singapore?'. 'Singapore', the tiny Southeast Asian city-state that played host to nuclear talks earlier this week, was the most searched term on internet search engine Google in the United States on Monday with over 2 million hits. Related searches during those 24 hours included 'Where is Singapore', 'Singapore summit' and 'time in Singapore'. Blanket media coverage on Monday included Kim's surprise tour of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel and its surrounding gardens, and the first hours of the meeting with Trump in the resort island of Sentosa. Singapore said it spent S$20 million ($15 million) on the summit, a figure that drew the ire of some citizens. However, marketing experts say the coverage generated from the event could be worth more than 10 times … [Read more...] about ‘Where is Singapore?’: Trump-Kim summit a PR coup for tiny city-state
Most of Jakarta is fast asleep at 2:00 a.m., but for Fajar Ramadin and his pint-sized comrades it's time to wake up the neighborhood. The motley group of children yell and bang on tambourines and drums as they roam the quiet streets of Indonesia's capital on a mission to stir sleeping residents for a pre-dawn meal. It is Ramadan and millions across the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation are abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking or sex during daylight hours. The morning meal, known as Sahur, can be crucial to making it through until sunset without food or drink. "Sahur! Sahur! Please wake up sir, madam!" hollers the 20-strong group of kids, aged seven to 15. It's music to the ears of dozens of other children who stream out of their houses to join in, adding the thump of empty paint cans and water jugs to the ensemble. "This tradition has been around for a long time - every kid is happy to do it," said 13-year-old Ramadin. "I like it because this not only entertains people, but … [Read more...] about Waking up the neighbors: Indonesia’s Ramadan alarm clocks
Viet Nam News HCM CITY — Wooden stick in hand, with his wrinkled and tanned skin, 78-year-old Phạm Văn Tân is doing what he’s done for four decades. Picking up trash. A canal near where he grew up in HCM City’s Lạc Long Quân District, was once a place to swim, relax and have fun. But that was when he was a child. Forty years ago, Tân looked out over the very same canal and saw something very different. Overflowing with waste and water as black as night. Little by little he would start to collect the trash. And not only would he remove it from the water, he would then separate it into two bags, organic or not, to be collected and taken to the dump. His mission started small, cleaning up only the section near his house. But this soon expanded, the Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported. “Some people call me crazy but I don’t care,” said Tân who would collect the rubbish … [Read more...] about Tân, 78, is a man on a mission to clean up the canals
Vietnam can expect its fintech ecosystem to grow in the near future should it pay attention to the funding issue, growing talent in the field, and a legal framework to support such growth. Vietnam is currently ranked second in the number of incubator, accelerator, and innovation labs in the region, behind only Singapore. This is a positive signal for the development of fintech in Vietnam. The country has another advantage in being a young and digitally savvy economy. As per an EY report, around 90 per cent of payments are still in cash. That is the reason why Vietnamese fintech startups have strong focus on payment—47 per cent specialises in this sub-sector, ranking highest in the region. There are also some fintech associations in Vietnam where fintech startups can gather to update, improve their knowledge, seek support, share experiences, and develop a legal framework for this industry. “Fintech companies are still small in scale and the policies and regulations for … [Read more...] about E&Y: Where is fintech in Vietnam?
Hardly a week goes by without a Vietnamese parent telling me if they can afford it they’ll send their children to be educated abroad and the U.S. is the first country they usually mention. For many Vietnamese families it’s a status symbol to send their children abroad to study, thus assuring a higher level of technical formation. In the U.S. alone there are over 20,000 Vietnamese students, most enrolled at undergraduate level. Now take a look at this chart produced by the World Bank indicating TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) scores by country based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Most of the data plotted follows the trend we would expect - i.e. the richest countries produce the highest scoring students, but there is one exception: Vietnam stands alone on the left side as a low-GDP country whose students score high on the TIMSS tests. How can that be? There have been many studies similar to the World Bank one above conducted by organizations … [Read more...] about Grass is often greener on the other side
Reporter: Can you share with us some of your thoughts on Hanoi’s socio-economic achievements in 2017? Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai Secretary Hoang Trung Hai: I have to say that I have mixed feelings about the achievements, challenges and limitations of the city’s policymakers in the year 2017. Throughout the year, all members of the Hanoi municipal Party Committee have pulled their efforts to bring the 16th Congress of the municipal Party Organization to life. As a result, in 2017, all 20 targets laid down by the City Party Committee were fulfilled, and seven targets were surpassed. Reporter: When you became Hanoi’s Party Secretary, which issues captured your attention most? Secretary Hoang Trung Hai: I should say all fields have their own challenges. But Hanoi is the capital city, and has its own characteristics requiring us to have a deep understanding so that we can develop good and workable solutions. This is a key … [Read more...] about Hanoi is to be on par with other cities in the world
The current Lim Festival is very bustling, attracting thousands of visitors. Quan ho is sung everywhere from houses to boats. People, including cultural experts, are optimistic about the development of Quan ho.But it is really difficult to find a real Quan ho show which is organised according to traditional procedures.We came to Dang Village when the Lim Festival was about to end and were welcomed warmly by Mrs. Hai Quynh. At 7pm, we went to the village pagoda. After the incense thurifying ceremony, guests started their performances. They were young ca tru singers from the Thang Long ca tru club and young calligraphers from the Vietnam Cultural Preservation Company.The traditional Quan ho show began at past 8pm. Mrs. Hai Quynh and 6-7 old women, around ten middle-aged women, and some young girls sat down on sedge mats spread out in the pagoda’s yard. There were only four male singers. Listeners stood up around mats.A quan ho researcher, Bui Trong Hien, said ancient Quan ho … [Read more...] about Where is the real Quan Ho?