News on 2 August 2016

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1) New air traffic control radar station inaugurated in central Vietnam

A new radar station tasked with monitoring flight activities have been inaugurated in central Vietnam by the country’s aviation watchdog. The Vietnam Air Traffic Management (VATM) on Sunday (July 31) activated the second radar station on Son Tra Mountain, located in Da Nang City, and a radar data processing system at the Da Nang Flight Control Center. The radar station and data processing system play a crucial role in maintaining flight activities as well as monitoring and controlling Vietnam’s airspace to safeguard the country’s security and sovereignty, the VATM said in a press release. With a maximum surveillance radius of 450 kilometers, the radar station sends collected signals to data processors at Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City air traffic controls. The station also helps monitor and guide planes approaching or taking off from Phu Bai and Chu Lai Airports in the central provinces of Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam. Incidents such as short-term conflicts and violation of the lowest safe altitude and restricted or limited zones are also detected and notified by the station’s alert system. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat commended the VATM on having finished the radar station in time to ensure security for the upcoming 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which will be held in Da Nang City.

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2) NA working group inspects Formosa

A working group led by Phan Xuan Dung, chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Committee on Science, Technology and Environment has arrived in central Ha Tinh Province to supervise the implementation of the law on environmental protection on the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company. The working group yesterday (August 1) visited fishermen who were affected by recent environmental accidents as well as examining places where waste from Formosa was reportedly buried in Ky Trinh Ward. The group also met with leaders from the People’s Committee of Ky Anh Township and Hà Tĩnh Province. It is scheduled to inspect Formosa today (August 2). The group will also work with Vũng Áng Thermal Power Plant, a waste treatment plan under the Phu Ha Environmental Limited Company. The group is expected to inspect waste burial sites used by Formosa across the province. At the first session of the NA, the Committee for Science, Technology and Environment was authorised to supervise the environment in the central region and report to the NA Standing Committee. Late in June, the Vietnamese government found Taiwanese-owned Formosa responsible for mass fish deaths in four central provinces in April after it released toxic wastewater into the sea. The leaders of the company officially apologised to the Vietnamese government and people and promised to pay $500 million as compensation, and to pay for the clean-up and restoration of the sea. Earlier in mid-July, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha said that the body would form a council to supervise the anti-pollution commitments made by Formosa. The minister added that a state-of-the-art marine environment monitoring system would be built to make regular assessments of the marine environment, Vietnam News Agency reported.

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3) Hoai Duc chosen to become urban district by 2020

Hoai Duc District on the outskirts of Hanoi will be developed into an urban district by 2020, said Hoang Trung Hai, secretary of the Hanoi Municipal Party Committee. He made the statement during a working visit to the district last weekend. Hai said Hoai Duc District connects the city’s urban and suburban districts, and thus, priority should be given to the transport sector there, he said. Hoai Duc is adjacent to the districts of Bac Tu Liem, Nam Tu Liem, Ha Dong, Phuc Tho, Chuong My, Dan Phuong and Quoc Oai. Several important highways, such as Thang Long Highway, National Highway 32, as well as many interprovincial routes, run through the district. Seventeen out of 19 communes in the district met the criteria for new-style rural areas by the end of last year. Regarding the economic structure, the current trade and services sector accounts for 46 per cent of the district’s GDP, while the agriculture sector accounts for 7.5 per cent.

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4) After bruising China battle, Uber cedes to rival Didi

After a bruising two-year battle, ride-hailing firm Uber is selling its China operations to bigger local rival Didi Chuxing in a deal that will give Uber a one-fifth stake in Didi. The merged entity is worth around $35 billion - combining Didi's most recent $28 billion valuation and Uber China's $7 billion worth - said a source familiar with the matter who did not want to be named before the deal was made public. Didi confirmed the agreement on its official microblog, but gave no valuation. In a posting on Uber's website, CEO Travis Kalanick said San Francisco-based Uber Technologies would have a one-fifth stake in Didi, making it the Chinese firm's biggest shareholder. Kalanick will join Didi's board, with Didi Chuxing chief Cheng Wei joining the Uber board. Uber will continue to operate independently, the Didi posting said. "Cooperating with Uber will give the entire mobile travel industry a healthier order and a period of a higher level of development," it said. China has been a challenging market for Uber, which has spent billions of dollars in a price war with Didi. Both firms spent heavily to attract riders with discounts and both also raised billions in recent fundraisings.

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5) Britain's Cameron in cronyism storm over resignation honors

David Cameron faced accusations of cronyism and rewarding failure on Monday (August 1) over a leaked list of names put forward to receive some of Britain's highest honors following his resignation as prime minister. Cameron stood down last month after he lost the referendum in which Britons voted to leave the European Union. Now he has drawn up the prime minister's traditional "resignation honors list", showering politicians, donors, co-workers and others with knighthoods and other titles. Some of the most prominent names are leading figures from the government's unsuccessful referendum campaign, according to the list leaked to the Sunday Times. They include cabinet ministers Michael Fallon, Philip Hammond, Patrick McLoughlin and David Lidington, all of whom favored remaining in the EU. Also listed are Isabel Spearman, a former public relations executive for a handbag designer who worked for Cameron's wife Samantha as a stylist and assistant, and Thea Rogers, an aide credited with smartening up finance minister George Osborne. The list has angered many on the Eurosceptic wing of Cameron's Conservative Party, who emerged as winners from the referendum, while the opposition Labour Party said prime minister Theresa May should end a discredited system of awarding honors.

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(All the above News Items have been sourced from: Reuters, ThanhNien News, Vietnam Net, Tuoitre News, Vietnam News, New York Times, BBC)

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