Space limited for foreign press at rights lawyer's trial

Hanoi- Two Western journalists are to be allowed to attend the Vietnam trial of a high-profile legal activist next week, an official from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thursday.

The court can only afford one seat for journalists working for European media at the trial of human rights lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu on April 4 because of 'limited space,' the official who requested anonymity said.

Vietnam: Montagnards Harshly Persecuted

The Vietnamese government has intensified repression of indigenous minority Christians from the country's Central Highland provinces who are pressing for religious freedom and land rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 46-page report, "Montagnard Christians in Vietnam: A Case Study in Religious Repression," details the latest government crackdowns on these indigenous peoples, known collectively as Montagnards. The report documents police sweeps to root out Montagnards in hiding. It details how the authorities have dissolved house church gatherings, orchestrated coerced renunciations of faith, and sealed off the border to prevent asylum seekers from fleeing to Cambodia.

Memorandum to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs: Joseph Y. Yun

Memorandum to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs: Joseph Y. Yun
Meeting at the State Department, Friday March 4th, 2011

Dear DAS Yun:

Thank you for taking the time to see me on March 4th despite your busy schedule. I very much appreciated the opportunity to discuss with you the political situation in Vietnam. Here is a summary of the issues that I’ve raised with you during our meeting.

Tibetan monk self-immolates on anniversary of ’08 protests

BEIJING—The Chinese government said a young Tibetan Buddhist monk has died after setting himself on fire in a Tibetan area of southwestern China on Wednesday, the anniversary of anti-Chinese protests in the area in 2008.

The state-run Xinhua news agency identified the monk as Phuntsog, 24 years old, from Aba county in the southwestern province of Sichuan, and quoted a local government spokesman blaming his death on monks from the Kirti monastery there.

UN OKs 'all necessary measures' no-fly zone to protect Libyans

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday authorized "all necessary measures" including strikes by air and sea to protect civilians from attacks by Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

The no-fly zone resolution passed 10-0 with five abstentions, including Russia and China, which have veto power, and Germany, India and Brazil.

It was unclear when the West would take action.

China's Bubble Economy

China's new aircraft carrier, similar to this one, provides the capability for new levels of power projection in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Is it possible that Chinese government, in pursuit of economic superiority over competitors in Asia and the West, has copied the same systematic mistakes that led to the economic meltdown of the past five years? The rapid rise of the Chinese economy has fueled the imagination of economic speculators who have predicted the dominance of the Middle Kingdom in the next century.

Three thousand workers in Vietnam strike at Japanese car plant

Hanoi - Nearly 3,000 workers at a Japanese car factory in Hanoi were in the second day of a wildcat strike over low wages, officials said Tuesday.

An official from Yamaha Motor Viet Nam 2 told the German Press Agency dpa that workers were demanding a 400,000-dong (19-dollar) wage increase per month.

Workers said the higher cost of living following recent price hikes in gas, oil and electricity prices meant they could not survive on their current wages, according to the factory official who declined to be named.

Thousands strike at Vietnam Yamaha plant

HANOI — Thousands of workers at a Yamaha motorcycle factory in Vietnam were on strike Tuesday demanding higher pay and benefits, a company official said, as consumers struggle with double-digit inflation.

About 3,000 employees from the Yamaha Motor plant in Hanoi walked off the job on Monday, said the official, who refused to give his name.

Management told the other 2,000 workers to stay home Tuesday while discussions continued with the union, he said.

Two cyber-dissidents arrested arbitrarily for calling for Middle East-style protests

Because of their age and ill health, Reporters Without Borders urges the government to be lenient with two cyber-dissidents in their 60s who are facing possible imprisonment for urging Vietnamese to follow the example of pro-democracy demonstrators in the Middle East. Their poor health would only be exacerbated if they were sent back to jail.

They are Nguyen Dan Que, 69, an independent journalist, who has been charged with anti-government propaganda and Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest and human rights activist, 64, who has a brain tumour and whose very worrying condition would inevitably suffer if he had to resume serving an existing jail sentence.

Internet Freedom Under Threat

Internet freedom is under attack in many countries in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, for example, a webmaster is facing prosecution for comments written by other people in an online forum. In Cambodia, anti-government websites have been inaccessible on numerous occasions since January. In Malaysia, meanwhile, a proposed new law would empower the government to censor Internet content.

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