News on 29 July 2016

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1) Vietnam revokes license of Canadian gold miner over back taxes

Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam have revoked the license of a Canadian-owned gold miner, after it failed to pay more than VND334 billion (US$14.77 million) in back taxes, local media reported on Tuesday (July 26). Phuoc Son Gold Company is one of two subsidiaries run by Toronto-headquartered Besra Gold Inc. to operate two gold mines with a combined reserve of nearly 20 tons in the province. It was unclear if the province will also revoke the license of Bong Mieu, the other subsidiary, which has defaulted on nearly VND100 billion ($4.42 million) in taxes. Since 2014 local authorities have imposed many punitive measures in vain to collect the companies' back taxes, including freezing their bank accounts and withholding their value-added tax refunds. They also blocked the exports of the companies, which have produced a total of 6.9 tons of gold since 2005. Authorities reportedly came after their assets, but the assets had already been used as security for loans.

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2) Dancers raise funds for children’s hearing aids

A dance charity concert titled Moving Feet, Moving Hearts will be held on Saturday (July 30) in HCM City, showcasing guest dancers from the US. Moving Feet, Moving Hearts will focus on stories told through contemporary dance and hip-hop performances. Performers include dancers Tony Tran, Charles Nguyen, Alexander Tu and students from the Soul Music & Performing Arts Academy. This is the second Moving Feet, Moving Hearts presentation by the academy’s Soul Live Project which raises money to provide hearing aids for underprivileged children with hearing deficits. Dancers Tran and Nguyen are members of Kinjaz dance group based in Los Angeles. Tran won America’s Best Dance Crew 2008. Nguyen was a runner-up of America’s Best Dance Crew 2015. The event will kick off at 6.30pm on Saturday (July 30) at 214–216 Pasteur Street, District 3. All the proceeds will go to the Power of Hearing Foundation founded and operated by Gia Khanh, a student of the academy.

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3) Storm Mirinae strikes northern provinces

Typhoon Mirinae, the first to hit Vietnam this year, has caused human and property damage in the north of the country after it rolled into the mainland from the midnight of Wednesday (July 27). Trees reportedly fell on cars on Hai Ba Trung, Ba Trieu, Tran Thanh Tong and Nui Truc streets. Many motorbikes skidded due to strong winds. Police officers have been asked to instruct people to walk with their motorbikes, instead of riding them, on Thang Long, Nhat Tan and Vinh Tuy bridges. Ten areas in the city have reportedly been flooded. The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting yesterday morning (July 28) issued flood warning of 0.2m to 0.4m in the inner city streets such as Phan Boi Chau - Ly Thuong Kiet, Giai Phong, Pham Van Đong and Phan Van Truong, besides Truong Chinh, Giap Bat, Minh Khai and Thai Ha, as well as Nguyen Trai, Hoang Mai and Dinh Cong. The centre also said residents should not go out of their homes. Many schools have cancelled classes to ensure the safety of students. The strong winds caused the wall of a house to collapse in Hanoi’s Phu Xuyen District, killing one person and injuring five, Vietnam News Agency reported. Many flight departures from Hanoi have been delayed or cancelled due to bad weather.

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4) Google Silences Doubters With Blockbuster Quarter

It’s good to be Google. Sometimes it’s just plain great. Revenue regularly increases at a clip rarely achieved by firms of its size. The same goes for profits. Seven of its products have over a billion users, a scale unimaginable in the predigital era. A reorganization last year into a holding company called Alphabet, accompanied by some related high-level personnel moves, was unexpected but generally applauded. Investors and analysts see little in the short term to disrupt this happy state of affairs, which has pushed Alphabet’s value to more than $500 billion. Those sentiments were confirmed in its second-quarter earnings report, released Thursday (July 28) after the market closed. It was even better than the rosy forecasts. Revenue rose to $21.5 billion, about $750 million more than analysts were predicting and a 21 percent jump from a year earlier. Earnings per share after excluding certain items was $8.42, or 39 cents more than forecasts. Last year, it was $6.99. Celebration ensued. Alphabet’s shares, which drifted sideways during regular trading, immediately rose 4 percent after hours. In some ways, the quarter was the mirror image of the previous quarter, which was good but not as great as analysts hoped. That knocked the stock back and induced some hand-wringing — never far below the surface with even the best and most successful internet companies — that Google’s days of dominance in search and advertising might be on the verge of starting to wane. No such worries were on display on Thursday (July 28) as executives talked to analysts. Google rose to fame and fortune on desktop searches, but the health of the company is now reflected in its presence on people’s phones, not only with advertising but also with its Android operating system.

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5) Exclusive: New York Fed asks Philippines to recover Bangladesh money

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has asked the Philippines' central bank to help Bangladesh Bank recover the $81 million that was stolen by hackers in February from its account held at the Fed, boosting Dhaka's efforts to retrieve the money. In a letter sent on June 23, the New York Fed's General Counsel Thomas Baxter asked Elmore O. Capule, general counsel for the central bank of the Philippines, "to take all appropriate steps in support of Bangladesh Bank's efforts to recover and return its stolen assets." In the letter, which has been seen by Reuters, Baxter also wrote that the payment instructions that led to four money transfers to beneficiary accounts at the Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp were authenticated using a "commercially reasonable security procedure", but that they were issued by persons using stolen credentials. Bangladesh Bank has also agreed to share with the Fed a report into the heist that was prepared by U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye, said a source close to the Bangladesh central bank with direct knowledge of the decision. Officials in the United States have been asking for that for some weeks. The New York Fed had no immediate comment on the letter nor on the FireEye report.

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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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