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
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BEIRUT — A string of suicide blasts and raids claimed by the Islamic State group killed more than 220 people in southern Syria on Wednesday, in one of the jihadists’ deadliest ever assaults in the country. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks hit several areas of the largely government-held southern province of Sweida, where IS retains a presence in a northeastern desert region. The bloodshed came almost a week into a Russia-backed regime campaign to oust IS fighters from a holdout in a neighbouring province of the country’s south. IS claimed responsibility for the violence, saying "soldiers of the caliphate" attacked Syrian government positions and security outposts in Sweida city, then detonated explosive belts. The Britain-based Observatory said four suicide bombers targeted Sweida city while others hit small villages to the north and east and shot residents in their homes. At least 221 people were killed, including 127 civilians, the … [Read more...] about More than 220 dead in IS attacks on southern Syria
Viet Nam News by Paul Kennedy Now it’s time to get down to business. The domestic leagues around Europe kick off in few weeks’ time and my eyes will be firmly focused on all things Premier League. Clubs in England have been splashing the cash like there’s no tomorrow. And this year’s big spenders, so far, have been my team, Liverpool. Including the acquisition of Virgil van Dijk (£75m) and Naby Keita (£54m) back in January, Liverpool have so far spent a small fortune in 2018, adding Fabinho (£40.5m), Xherdan Shaqiri (£13m) and Alisson (£67m) to their squad. That’s a total of £250m or VNĐ7.6 trillion. So what does that mean for a team that finished fourth last season and haven’t won a major trophy in far too many years? Is it all or bust for manager Jurgen Klopp? If he doesn’t bring silverware back to Anfield come May, will Klopp get the chop? Many feel this is last chance saloon for the German who has … [Read more...] about Is it last chance saloon for Klopp?
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
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?
This year, Pinki, the lead singer of a rock band in southern India, wants to learn to play the guitar. She wants to "strum the guitar like a boy" on stage and use music to forget her journey from a brothel to the band that is hired to perform at weddings and parties, the 19-year-old said. Her new year's resolution comes a year after an Indian court convicted 40 people of buying and selling girls in the southern state of Karnataka - among them Pinki's own abusers. Thanks to her testimony, the woman who trafficked her from her home into prostitution and the man who owned the brothel in the town of Ballari where she worked for eight months before she was rescued were found guilty. "They should have got life instead of the 10 years imprisonment," she said, sitting on her bed, guitar in hand and a teddy bear beside her, in her village home in Andhra Pradesh. "But I don't want to think about it. I want to think about music instead and my boyfriend, who I hope to marry later this year." A … [Read more...] about Finding their voice, trafficked Indian girls testify against abusers
Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj (L) and her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi (Photo: Raveesh Kumar's Twitter page) New Delhi (VNA) – Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj is visiting Indonesia on January 5-6, with productive outcomes recorded so far. Foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar informed on Twitter that on January 5, Swaraj met Vice President of Indonesia Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and held talks with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi. These meetings focused on how to improve the India – Indonesia strategic partnership. Swaraj and Marsudi were scheduled to co-chair the 5th meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission and inaugurate the second meeting of ASEAN-India Network of think tanks. While in Indonesia, the Indian minister would also meet with President Joko Widodo and joined a gathering with representatives of the Indian expatriate community here. Sushma Swaraj is on her official trip to three … [Read more...] about Indian Foreign Minister active in Indonesia
NEW YORK: On a cold and rainy night earlier this year, I found myself at Hoyaken, a matchbook-size bar in Matsuyama, a city in the southwest corner of Shikoku, the least visited of Japan’s four main islands.In Shikoku dialect, hoyaken means but anyway, and there at the bar, chopsticks rested on a perfectly still peanut shell, while sake and literary conversation flowed. The bar’s owners, husband and wife Tomoko and Satoshi Kadoya, talked to me about their favourite poets, both Japanese and American. But haiku was never far from their minds.Hoyaken is stocked with magazines and bilingual glossaries of kigo - haiku words used to connote the season like cicada for summer, scarecrow for autumn, and the winter-blooming camellia. It is an ideal setting to write these 17-syllable seasonal poems using the classic 5-7-5 syllable stanzas, or to drop the syllable form altogether and go freestyle as most haiku enthusiasts do these days.Welcome to the haiku bar … [Read more...] about A bar trail serving haiku on the rocks
An Indian tourism road show in HCM City on Wednesday invited Vietnamese to "walk in the footsteps" of the Buddha but in the comfort of trains. Incredible India brought together key players in India's hospitality industry, senior tourism officials, and tour operators who saw great potential in the Vietnamese market. Anand Kumar, joint secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, said Viet Nam was an emerging market for India. Vietnamese tourists can help promote understanding between the two countries given that Indians can also know more about Vietnamese, he added. Indian Buddhist scholar Shantum Seth said the arrival of Buddhist pilgrims from Viet Nam and other countries can help revive the religion in his country. The value of a pilgrimage to India is that pilgrims can get an insight into Buddhism in the context in which the faith was born and developed, he said. "It's like you walk with the Buddha," he said. "When pilgrims visit Lumbini (where the Buddha was born), the … [Read more...] about Indian tourism roadshow on Buddha’s trail
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?