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Nov 01 2011

Yoga may help ease chronic back pain

yoga may help ease chronic back pain

Yoga might help people reduce chronic back pain, according to a new British study carried by the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study, conducted in Britain, followed 313 adults with nonspecific chronic back pain.

It found that three months of weekly yoga classes can ease back pain more than the usual course of care.

Even a year later, patients with such pain who had participated in yoga classes reported less pain than those who hadn’t.

“Even for patients who still had pain, they showed an improvement in being able to perform their normal daily activities,” said study researcher David Torgerson, of the University of York.

Yoga has long been studied as a treatment for back pain because of its combined focus on stretching, strengthening and relaxing.

But further studies are needed to explore how yoga or stretching can ease more severe back pain, or help patients who have other health problems besides their back pain.


Oct 22 2011

Gaddafi killed in gun battle as Libya’s ruling NTC controls Sirte

gaddafi killed in gun battle as libyas ruling ntc controls sirte

Libya’s fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi died of wounds around Thursday noon after his capture in Sirte, after nearly two months on the run, as fighters of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) claimed control of Gaddafi’s hometown.

Mahmoud Jibril, head of the NTC’s executive committee, confirmed Thursday at a press conference held in Tripoli that Gaddafi, who has ruled the North African country for 42 years, was killed in his hometown Sirte, some 450 km east of Tripoli. NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town of Sirte for weeks to break the last stronghold of Gaddafi. However, the NTC forces faced tough resistance of Gaddafi loyalists.
NTC field commander Momhemed Buras Ali Al-Maknee told Xinhua earlier that Gaddafi was found trying to flee by a group of NTC fighters from the western Libyan city of Misrata in Sirte, who was then severely injured.
At an evening press conference in the capital, Jibril said that Gaddafi was pulled out from a drainage hole in Sirte on Thursday morning, and that he was “completely in good health” when he was captured by NTC fighters.
Wearing his underwear and trousers and armed with a gun, Gaddafi, the former ruler of the North African country did not resist the arrest, Jibril told reporters.
Gaddafi was shot by a bullet in his right hand as he was to be sent onto a NTC pickup truck, Jibril said, stressing that he had no other injuries before the truck moved.
But when the vehicle started moving, there occurred “a cross- fire between the revolutionaries and the (Gaddafi) loyalists,” when Gaddafi was shot and injured in his head, Jibril said, without confirming on whether the shot was made by the NTC fighters or Gaddafi’s troops.

Oct 19 2011

CIS countries seal deal on free trade zone

cis countries seal deal on free trade zone

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members signed an agreement on Tuesday on the establishment of a free trade zone in the CIS region.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a press conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, Oct. 18, 2011. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members signed an agreement on Tuesday on the establishment of a free trade zone in the CIS region. (Xinhua/Lu Jinbo)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the agreement was reached after “lengthy negotiation” at the CIS prime ministers council here earlier Tuesday. VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

Oct 17 2011

Big hotel chains snub Tourism Awards

big hotel chains snub tourism awards
Famous hotel brands such as Sheraton, Sofitel and Hilton snubbed the Vietnam Tourism Awards 2010 which announced its winners last week.

Any hotels keen to win awards have to register and then be examined by Vietnam Tourism Association or local tourism management agencies.

However, several five-star international hotels did not apply, according to Vietnam Tourism Association.

Saigontourist Holding Co. has up to 12 hotels earning awards with New World, Caravelle, Rex, Majestic, Palace, Grand, Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang, De Nhat, Continental, Saigon-Halong, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort and Bong Sen.

The top 10 five-star hotels were New World, Caravelle, Rex, Renaissance Riverside, Hanoi Daewoo, Majestic, Ana Mandara, Vinpearl Resort and Spa, Windsor Plaza and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay.

The top 10 four-star hotels were Palace, Grand, Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang, De Nhat, Continental, Hoi An Beach Resort, Saigon-Halong, Palace, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort and Lang Tre Mui Ne Tourist Site.

The top 10 three-star hotels were Bong Sen, Victory, Vien Dong, Vung Tau Intourco Resort, Hoa Binh, Petro Song Tra, Rex, Festival, Cuu Long and Cong Doan Vietnam.

The annual tourism awards are granted based on criteria of room occupancy rate, business result, food hygiene and safety and environment hygiene.

Together with granting Vietnam’s leading hotels in 2010, the association has also announced leading tour operator awards.

Winners received their awards at the Hanoi Opera House on October 17.


Oct 17 2011

Saigon’s trade streets

saigon%e2%80%99s trade streets

ietNamNet Bridge – Saigon has streets of Chinese traditional medicines, ornamental birds and fish, wedding invitation cards, etc.

Nguyen Thong has been the street for ornamental fish, fish tanks and everything related to ornamental
fish for around 20 years.

Trieu Quang Phuc Road is the home for scissors making and repairing enterprises
and scissors shops for 35 years.

3/2 and Nguyen Dinh Chieu roads are called the “happy roads” because there are many
shops providing wedding services there.

Nguyen Thien Thuat Street in district 3 is the street for musical instruments. Many shops
have been working for 30-40 years.

Ly Thai To is the street for wedding invitation cards.

Le Thanh Ton street in district 1 is the street for shoe repair.

Le Hong Phong road in district 10 is the street for ornamental birds and pets.

Hai Thuong Lan Ong is the street for Chinese traditional medicines.


Oct 16 2011

Eurozone finance ministers meet to discuss Greece, EFSF reform

eurozone finance ministers meet to discuss greece efsf reform

Eurozone finance ministers met on Monday to discuss the situation in Greece and reform of the temporary rescue fund in a bid to contain spill-over of the sovereign debt crisis.

A joint mission from the troika, namely the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, is in Athens now to assess the situation in Greece and whether to deliver the next tranche of loans to the debt-laden country.

The Greek government has said that if it doesn’t receive the 8 billion euros by mid-October it could go bankrupt.

“We are currently assessing whether Greece will meet its fiscal targets with the current measures,” Rehn said before the meeting, adding “it seems that Greece is likely to miss the target.”

The ministers will not make a decision on whether to pay the sixth tranche of loans to Greece before the troika makes an assessment of the Greek situation, but the worsening debt crisis of Athens will surely dominate their meeting on Monday night.

German Finance Ministers Wolfgang Schaeuble said on arrival for the meeting that speculating about payment of the loans to Greece made no sense.

Besides Greece, the ministers are also discussing reform of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which analysts said was hard to cover the cost of bailing out larger economies such as Italy and Spain should the sovereign debt crisis spreads.

It was reported that European officials are thinking of increasing the capacity of the EFSF to about 2 trillion euros through leveraging of the EFSF.

Finnish Finance ministers Jutta Urpilainen said that the ministers will discuss leveraging of the rescue fund but he said “we don’t want to increase the capacity of the EFSF.”

“We will talk about the implementation of the EFSF reform,” Schaeuble said, but he insisted that only 10 percent of the EFSF has been tapped and there is no point in speculating now.

The eurozone is under great pressure to prevent the crisis from spreading to bigger economies since turbulence on the financial market is threatening to hamper economic growth of the 17-member bloc.

European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said: “We have a very important meeting at a critical juncture today. We are facing three main challenges: stalling growth, stressed sovereigns and still vulnerable banks.”


Oct 11 2011

Two American economic professors share 2011 Nobel Prize for Economics

two american economic professors share 2011 nobel prize for economics

Two American economic professors shared 2011 Nobel Prize for Economics, announced Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Monday.

The screen pictures show US Thomas Sargent (R) and Christopher Sims who were awarded the 2011 Nobel economics prize in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 10, 2011. The two American economists won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics, announced Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Monday. (Xinhua/Liu Yinan)

“The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2011 to Thomas J. Sargent from New York University of USA and Christopher A. Sims from Princeton University of USA for their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy,” said Normark.This year’s Laureates in economic sciences have developed methods for answering many questions regarding the causal relationship between economic policy and different macroeconomic variables such as GDP, inflation, employment and investments, the Nobel Committee said in a statement.

Policy affects the economy, but the economy also affects policy. The expectations of the private sector regarding future economic activity and policy influence decisions about wages, saving and investments

Economic-policy decisions are influenced by expectations about developments in the private sector, the statement explained.

The Laureates’ methods can be applied to identify these causal relationships and explain the role of expectations. This makes it possible to ascertain the effects of unexpected policy measures as well as systematic policy shifts, the statement said.

Sargent has shown how structural macroeconometrics can be used to analyze permanent changes in economic policy such as macroeconomic relationships when households and firms adjust their expectations concurrently with economic developments.

Sargent has also examined the post-World War II era, when many countries initially tended to implement a high-inflation policy, but eventually introduced systematic changes in economic policy and reverted to a lower inflation rate, according to the statement.

Sims has developed a method based on so-called vector autoregression to analyze how the economy is affected by temporary changes in economic policy and other factors.

Sims and other researchers have applied this method to examine, for instance, the effects of an increase in the interest rate set by a central bank.

It usually takes one or two years for the inflation rate to decrease, whereas economic growth declines can be reverted to its normal development at a slower pace.

The Nobel Committee said that although the two carried out their research independently, their contributions are complementary in several ways.

The laureates’ seminal work during the 1970s and 1980s has been adopted by both researchers and policymakers throughout the world. Today, the methods developed by Sargent and Sims are essential tools in macroeconomic analysis, the committee said.

Born in 1943 in the United States, Sargent got his Ph. D from Harvard University in 1968 and is Professor of Economics and Business at New York University.

Sims is also a U.S. citizen and graduated from Harvard University in the same year as a Ph. D. He is Professor of Princeton University in the United States.

The two laureates will equally share the 10 million Swedish kronor (about 1.5 million U.S. dollars) prize.

The economics award, established in 1968 and officially called The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is the last of the six prizes announced this year. It is not part of the original crop of Nobel Prizes set out in Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will.


Oct 10 2011

Germany, France vow to further integrate eurozone, expedite bank recapitalization

germany france vow to further integrate eurozone expedite bank recapitalization

France and Germany will present new proposals to stabilize the eurozone by the end of this month and push forward some “important changes” in the European treaties, visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy attend a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 9, 2011. Merkel said Sunday that Germany and France have agreed to recapitalise banks according to common criteria. (Xinhua/Ma Ning)

While addressing a joint news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Sarkozy said France and Germany stress even more steps towards the further integration of the euro single currency zone, and to exert closer and more binding cooperation of eurozone countries to forestall any wanton spending extravagance.

“We are fully aware of that France and Germany are especially responsibility for maintaining the stability of the single currency of euro,” Sarkozy said, adding both sides need to respond to sustainability and comprehensiveness of eurozone prospect by the end of the month as “Europe must solve its problems by the G20 summit in Cannes.”

Both leaders expressed the willingness to have a plan for recapitalization of commercial banks in Europe to be in full swing in a bid to expedite the economic coordination in the eurozone and solving Greece’s debt crisis.

Germany and France are jointly take more concrete measures to have the commercial banks recapitalized in a more systematical method with regard to basic standard, said Merkel at the joint press conference, while vouching Germany’s willness push through the recapitalization of its commercial banks with whatever measures necessary.

“We will present a complete package” for stabilizing the eurozone at the end of the month, Merkel added.

Sarkozy and Merkel met in Berlin for a much anticipated talk elaborating on European debt crisis, as both leaders agreed to settle the problems on the G20 leaders summit in the French Riviera resort of Cannes in early November.

Sarkozy said “global, lasting and quick response” to the crisis must be imminent.

Both leaders reached a concensus on immediate recapitalization of commercial banks once it is necessiated in a bid to guarantee the granting of credit to the normal economic activity.

However, the two leading economies in Europe disagree on the concrete measures to support commercial banks vulnerable to the spiralling sovereign debt crisis, to which the IMF estimates some 100 to 200 billion euros (135 billion to 270 billion U.S. dollars) to cover potential losses.

Germany wants the banks in trouble first resort to investors’ funds, while France, on account of its concern of top-notched AAA credit rating, would get into European funds initially.


Oct 05 2011

Tam Giang Lagoon is a different side to Hue

tam giang lagoon is a different side to hue

Sunset over Tam Giang Lagoon in Thua-Thien Hue ProvinceIf Hue looks ancient and bashful like a charming and graceful girl, Tam Giang Lagoon, about 15 kilometres from Hue City, is endowed with pristine and handsome features like a would-be suitor.

With 22,000 hectares of water surface, Tam Giang Lagoon is the dating place of three big rivers, O Lau, Huong and Bo, before they run into the sea through the Thuan An estuary. To get to the lagoon, travellers can take a 30 minute ride along O Lau River then pass through Bao Vinh ancient town and finally to Vinh Tu wharf.

From there, travellers can depart on a fishing boat with locals to explore the mystery of the lagoon.

The most beautiful moments on the lagoon are at sunset when it turns purple. A few fishing boats return home late with lines of casuarinas running with the skyline separating the water from the sky, with the whole lagoon’s surface shaking in the breeze. These are images that visitors have to capture.

Tam Giang locals survive due to catching fish and shrimp. Men go fishing offshore. Before the sun breaks over the eastern horizon they get up to collect fish and shrimp from traps. And at dusk, they reset traps and nets. Meanwhile, women toil to catch oysters and clam as they have to soak their body in water for some hours to finish their work.

Under the final rays of sunshine, some kids in old costumes frolic in the shallow water as others tie their father’s boat and go for a swim.

Endowed by nature, Tam Giang is spoiled with its biodiversity and rare and valuable marine products. Every day, large volumes of fish caught at the lagoon are then sold in local markets or to wholesale traders. Some locals keep some of the goods to make fish sauce.

The lagoon is also home to a number of birds’ species and a variety of fauna and flora species.

The lagoon is also like a giant air-conditioning area, contributing to present storms in Hue City. People call Tam Giang-Cau Hai an unopened treasure.

Coming to the lagoon, tourists never leave without sampling fresh seafood in cottages along the lagoon such as fish, squid, clam, crab or shrimp.

Source: SGT

Oct 02 2011

Thai PM’s Twitter account hacked

thai pms twitter account hacked

came under fire from her own Twitter account on Sunday when it was briefly taken over by an anonymous hacker who accused her of incompetence.

Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra came under fire from her own Twitter account on Sunday when it was briefly taken over by an anonymous hacker who accused her of incompetence. , Photo: AFP

Thailand’s Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) ministry said it was investigating the hijacking of the PouYingluck tweet feed for around 20 minutes early Sunday.

Yingluck, the sister of ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, was lambasted on a variety of subjects in eight posts, including her response to recent serious flooding and a number of key government policies.

“How can she protect the country, if she cannot protect her own Twitter account? Think about it,” said the final post.

Yingluck, who was propelled to victory in a July 3 election with Thaksin’s backing, has put forward a raft of measures, including a rise in the minimum wage, aimed at her poor and rural support base.

One of the hacked posts questioned a high profile promise to give tablet computers to schoolchildren, saying it was no substitute for education reform, while another accused Yingluck and her government of cronyism.

The tweets said that rather than “image building”, the premier should look to find long term solutions for two months of flooding that has left more than 200 people dead and inundated huge swathes of the country.

Thailand deployed about 10,000 soldiers on Friday after Yingluck ordered the army to take action to assist flood victims.

The username PouYingluck refers to the Thai leader’s nickname, Pou, which means crab.

ICT spokesman Songkran Taechanarong said the ministry was hunting for the hacker and was considering closing the prime minister’s twitter account.

Thaksin, who remains a highly controversial figure in politically-divided Thailand, was removed from office by royalist generals in 2006 and lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption.

Source: AFP

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