Vietnam jails political activist

HANOI – A COURT in communist Vietnam has jailed a political activist for 18 months for ‘causing social disorder’ by joining an anti-government protest in the capital, state media reported on Saturday.

Le Thi Kim Thu, 40, was arrested in mid-August in Hanoi when she joined a small protest in a park outside the presidential palace over a land dispute, the party-run Nhan Dan (The People) newspaper reported.

Thu, who comes from southern Dong Nai province near the industrial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, and other activists were holding banners and ignored police orders to leave the park, the report said.

She had previously been questioned by police, according to the outlawed Bloc 8406 pro-democracy group, and also been detained during the 2006 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit of world leaders in Hanoi.

Paris-based media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said she was among at least 10 people detained in April this year for planning to protest as the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through Vietnam. — AFP

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Vietnam, Inundated, Fights Disease

HANOI, Vietnam – Rains again hit northern Vietnam on Friday as the authorities in Hanoi moved to contain the spread of dengue fever and other diseases after the worst floods to hit the city in more than 35 years.

At least 180 cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported by Hanoi hospitals in a six-day period, the state news media reported, as officials warned of other disease threats in neighborhoods flooded with dirty water.

At least 82 people have been killed since unseasonal rains started hitting north-central Vietnam late last month and then Hanoi a week ago, according to reports from city and provincial emergency services. More than 32 inches of rain pounded Hanoi in five days, swelling the Red River and its tributaries, and inundating rice fields and more than 120,000 buildings.

Hanoi’s Communist Party leader, Pham Quang Nghi, was forced to offer a public apology after he caused widespread anger by accusing flood victims of waiting for state aid instead of trying to help themselves.

Vietnam, Inundated, Fights Disease – NYTimes.com

More heavy rain in Northern Vietnam

Heavy rains have again hit northern Vietnam following the worst floods to hit the region in over 35 years.

At least 82 people have been killed since unseasonal rains started in north-central Vietnam and the capital Hanoi late last month.

Teams using heavy earthmoving equipment are reinforcing a Red River dyke near the city with 12,000 cubic metres of boulders and rocks after more than 800 millimetres of rain pounded Hanoi in five days.

The Red River and its tributaries, burst their banks, inundating rice fields and more than 120,000 buildings, including much of Hanoi.

Many residents complain of receiving little help from emergency workers or soldiers as their neighbourhoods disappeared under a metre of brown floodwater, trapping thousands of people in their houses.

Authorities in the capital say they are trying to contain the spread of dengue fever after 180 cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported by Hanoi hospitals in a six-day period.

More heavy rain in Northern Vietnam

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