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Coronavirus: India’s PM Modi seeks ‘forgiveness’ over lockdown

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Narendra Modi apologises for sweeping restrictions that have left many jobless and hungry.

India’s prime minister has asked for his country’s forgiveness after imposing a sweeping lockdown that he said had hurt millions of poor people.

Criticism has mounted over the lack of planning ahead of the coronavirus shutdown, which was introduced with less than four hours’ notice.

Many of India’s 1.3 billion citizens have been left jobless and hungry.

Tens of thousands of migrant labourers have been forced to walk hundreds of kilometres to their native villages.

In his weekly radio address PM Narendra Modi apologised for the impact of the strict stay-at-home measures. 

But he said there was “no other way” to stop the rapid spread of the virus.

“Especially when I look at my poor brothers and sisters, I definitely feel that they must be thinking, what kind of prime minister is this who has placed us in this difficulty?

“I especially seek their forgiveness,” he said.

“Possibly many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes.

“I understand your troubles but there was no other way to wage war against coronavirus… It is a battle of life and death and we have to win it.”

People are banned from leaving their homes for three weeks under the “total lockdown” measures announced on Tuesday. All non-essential businesses have been closed and almost all public gatherings are banned.

It has sparked an exodus from major cities such as Delhi, where thousands of migrant workers are setting out on long journeys back to their home villages after transport was stopped.

One worker died on Saturday after he attempted to walk a 168 mile (270km) journey back home, a police officials told Reuters news agency.

India announced a $22bn (£19bn) bailout for the country’s poor on Tuesday, including free food and cash handouts, but there are concerns this might not reach those most in need.

In an opinion piece published on Sunday, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo – two of the three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 – said even more aid for the poor was needed.

“Without that, the demand crisis will snowball into an economic avalanche, and people will have no choice but to defy orders,” they wrote in the Indian Express.

India has reported about 1,000 cases of coronavirus and 25 deaths.

However, experts worry that the real number of infections could be far higher. India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, although efforts are under way to ramp up capacity.

There are fears that an outbreak in the country – one of the world’s most densely populated – could result in a catastrophe.

The country’s economy was already in the midst of a severe slowdown before the country went into lockdown. BBC

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/coronavirus-india-s-pm-modi-seeks-forgiveness-over-lockdown-629147.html

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S.Korea tops list of foreign visitors to Vietnam in first month of 2023

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/skorea-tops-list-of-foreign-visitors-to-vietnam-in-first-month-of-2023/71250.html

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Work starts on operation building for Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/work-starts-on-operation-building-for-ho-chi-minh-citys-first-metro-line/71248.html

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4 undersea Internet cables face problems, affecting Vietnam’s international connections

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

Like us on Facebook or  follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230131/4-undersea-internet-cables-face-problems-affecting-vietnams-international-connections/71241.html

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