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By On August 16, 2018

Vietnam mobilizes troops, warns of floods as tropical storm nears

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam put thousands of soldiers on standby, readied evacuation plans and ordered vessels to stay in port on Thursday as flood-prone northern provinces braced for a tropical storm due to make landfall on Friday.

Tropical storm Bebinca, with wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) an hour, is expected to dump up to 450 millimetres (17.7 inches) of rain in Thanh Hoa and Hoa Binh provinces, threatening floods and landslides.

The capital Hanoi, north of the two provinces, was expected to get up to 300 millimetres of rain, the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said.

"Mountainous areas in northern and north-central Vietnam face high risks of landslides and flash floods, while low-lying provinces face severe flooding," the agency said in a statement.

The Southeast Asian country is prone to destructive storms and floodi ng due to its long coastline. Natural disasters - predominantly floods and landslides triggered by storms - killed 389 people in Vietnam last year.

More than 528,000 people, including 54,732 soldiers, were on standby to cope with the storm, the government's search and rescue agency said on Thursday.

The central government ordered northern provinces to ban vessels from going out to sea and to prepare evacuation plans for people living in low-lying areas.

"The storm is evolving in a complicated manner and may gain strength before making landfall early Friday," Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, said in a statement.

Bebinca is forecast to weaken to a tropical low pressure system as it moves further inland by Friday afternoon, with sustained wind speeds of 50 kilometres an hour, the meteorological agency said.

Natural calamities, mostly floods and landslides, killed 88 people and left 24 missing in Vietnam in t he first seven months of this year, according to the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Mai Nguyen; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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By On August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin, Dead At 76, Inadvertently Recorded One Of Vietnam's Best Protest Songs

Aretha Franklin, the legendary singer whose full-throated vocals earned her the undisputed title of “Queen of Soul,” died on Thursday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76, her publicist announced.

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” Franklin’s family said in a statement to the Associated Press. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

Franklin’s legacy spanned more than a half-century of groundbreaking achievements in music. Her hits “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” demolished the popular charts and reshaped the music landscape with anthemic, powerful vocals. Her songs earned her the honor of the first female induc tee into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987, and she inspired generations of would-be divas who came after her.

But what many modern devotees to the Queen of Soul don’t realize is that Franklin happened to give the United States one of the most subtle protest songs of the Vietnam War â€" even if she didn’t realize it at the time.

The lyrics of Franklin’s 1967 single “Chain Of Fools,” released during the height of Vietnam, are relatively simple: the singer, after five long years of devotion to her would-be man, finds out she’s “just a link in your chain” to be used and abused:

For five long years

I thought you were my man

But I found out, I’m just a link in your chain

Oh, you got me where you want me

I ain’t nothin’ but your fool

Ya treated me mean

Oh you treated me cruel

“Chain Of Fools” started out as an anthem of female independence. But after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, according to Craig Werner and Doug Bradley, authors of We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, African-American veterans returning home from Vietnam “transformed it into an angry rejection of the chain of command.” Here’s how Bradley recently described the song’s political impact for PBS:

Marcus Miller, an infantryman in the Mekong Delta during the war, said the song referred to the military “chain of command.” And David Browne, who’d grown up in Memphis and served with the 101st Airborne, recalls that when he first learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., while a soldier in Vietnam, the only thing that stopped him from “killing the first honky I met” was listening to Chain of Fools. “I thought, that’s my story,” and that chain is gonna break …

But Franklin’s music wasn’t about anger and rage â€" it was a source of comfort, a sliver of home, for the thousands of U.S. service-members deployed overseas to Vietnam.

“Although songs like ‘Chain of Fools’ and ‘Respect’ didn’t directly address the war, tapes of [Franklin’s] music became as essential a part of field kits as C-rations and morphine,” wrote Lee Andresen in Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War. “[Franklin] fondly recalls how Vietnam vets have expressed their gratitude for how her music helped them cope with the stress of war.”

Today, post-9/11 U.S. service members have Drowning Pool as their anthem of choice. But 50 years ago, it was the Queen of Soul who accompanied American warfighters downrange â€" and for a generation of veterans, her music was the soundtrack of their own Forever War.

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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By On August 16, 2018

The Latest: Vietnam suspect's dad sad she wasn't acquitted

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) â€" The Latest on the murder trial of two Southeast Asian women in the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother (all times local):

2 p.m.

The family of the Vietnamese suspect in Kim Jong Nam’s slaying says they are very sad to hear she was not acquitted.

A judge in Malaysia ruled Thursday the defense phase of the trial should proceed.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face last year. They told the court they will testify in their defense.

Huong’s father, Doan Van Thanh, said he could not sleep last night, anxious to hear the ruling. He said, “I had thought she would be innocent.”

The judge could have acquitted the suspects, but ruled instead enough evidence of their guilt had been presented so far to continue the trial. The defens e phase is expected to last months.

___

1:20 p.m.

The two women on trial in the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother have told the court they will testify under oath in their defense.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face last year. They have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

A judge ruled Thursday the women should begin entering their defense, which could last several months.

High Court Judge Azmi Ariffin said enough evidence had been presented in court to infer the woman and four North Koreans had engaged in a “well-planned conspiracy” to kill Kim.

___

12:45 p.m.

Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia says he was shocked by a judge’s ruling that evidence presented so far warranted continuing the murder trial of an Indonesian suspect in the assassination of the North Korean leader’s h alf brother.

Indonesian Ambassador Rusdi Kirana told reporters that his government will abide by the ruling.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face last year. They have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

A judge ruled Thursday the women should begin entering their defense. He could have acquitted them.

___

12:30 p.m.

A Malaysian judge has ruled the two women charged with murdering the North Korean leader’s half brother should begin entering their defense.

High Court Judge Azmi Ariffin said Thursday it can be inferred from evidence presented in court that there was a “well-planned conspiracy” between the two women and four North Korean suspects at large to kill Kim “systemically.”

He said he “cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination” but noted there was no concrete evidence to support thi s. He called for them to enter their defense after reading his ruling for more than two hours. The defense phase of the trial is expected to last months.

___

8 a.m.

Two women on trial for the brazen assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother have arrived at a Malaysian court for a key ruling.

The judge is to decide Thursday whether to acquit the women of murder or to call them to enter their defense, which could take several months.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur. The women have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

They are the only two suspects in custody and face the death penalty if convicted. If they are acquitted, they may not be freed as prosecutors could appeal or push charges of overstaying their visas..

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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By On August 16, 2018

Vietnam finds activist guilty of anti-government charges

HANOI, Vietnam â€" A court in central Vietnam sentenced an activist to 20 years in prison Thursday after finding him guilty of attempting to overthrow the Communist government, his lawyer said, in a case decried by international rights groups.

The court also sentenced Le Dinh Luong, 53, to five years of house arrest, said his lawyer Ha Huy Son. Son said Luong was convicted of encouraging others to join the Viet Tan group in exile in the United States. Vietnam brands the group a terrorist organization.

"I think the sentence against Mr. Luong is too harsh," Son said after the half-day trial in Nghe An province.

Despite sweeping economic reforms over the past 30 years that opened Vietnam to international trade and investment and made it one of the fasting growing economies in the world, Vietnam tolerates no challenge to its on e-party rule. Luong's sentence was the toughest in years for national security crimes.

The online version of the Nghe An newspaper reported that Luong was a "particularly dangerous" member of Viet Tan and that he had called on people to boycott National Assembly elections in 2016.

Luong had also participated in and instigated others to join protests against environmental pollution by a steel complex owned by Taiwan's Formosa Plastic Group in several central provinces in 2016.

The pollution, released in one of Vietnam's worst environmental disasters, killed tons of fish along 200 kilometers (124 miles) of coastline in four central provinces and caused big losses for the region's fishing and tourism industries.

International human rights groups called for Luong's immediate release.

"Vietnam's systemic crackdown against critics and activists has not deterred brave activists like Le Dinh Luong from campaigning for human rights and democracy," Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Thursday. "The government should understand that locking people up for simply exercising their rights isn� 39;t working, and more activists will continue to step forward to speak their mind and hold protests against government injustices."

Meanwhile Clare Algar, Amnesty International's director of global operations, said Luong was being targeted for simply "peacefully campaigning on behalf of fishermen affected by an environmental disaster."

"This is a patently unjust and politically motivated case that should be dropped and Le Dinh Luong must be released immediately and unconditionally," Algar said.

Amnesty International says 97 people are servi ng prison sentences in Vietnam for violating national security laws, while Human Rights Watch counts 119.

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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By On August 16, 2018

Vietnam ready to cope with typhoon Bebinca

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HANOI, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense has mobilized nearly 528,000 people, mostly soldiers, to help local residents cope with Bebinca, the fourth typhoon to hit Vietnam so far this year, which has been forecast to make landfall in its northern and central regions on Friday morning.

The ministry has also mobilized 2,700 motorized vehicles, including 35 ships, 148 specialized automobiles and 1,570 common ones, which are ready for potential search and rescue operations, according to Vietnam's National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control on Thursday.

Meanwhile, border guards in the country's northern and central regions, from Quang Ninh province to Quang Binh province, have notified and guided over 36,300 ships and boats with a total of 137,700 people on board and 11,300 facilities used for mariculture with 14 ,700 people to avoid areas potentially hit by Bebinca.

The typhoon is likely to enter coastal areas from northern Hai Phong city to central Nghe An province on Friday early morning and then weaken into a tropical depression later on the same day, Vietnam's National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said on Thursday.

Vietnamese localities are keeping strict surveillance on dykes and reservoirs, and organizing evacuation of local residents in low-lying, coastal, and landslide-prone areas.

Natural disasters, mainly typhoons, flash floods and landslides, killed or left missing 78 people and injured 64 others, destroyed over 740 houses, damaged 18,100 other houses, and damaged 12,600 hectares of rice and other crops, causing property losses of around 1,468 billion Vietnamese dong (63.8 million U.S. dollars) in the first seven months of this year, said Vietnam's General Statistics Office.

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam