16 of 39 bodies found inside UK truck arrive in Vietnam

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2019   •   557

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The first 16 of 39 bodies found inside a refrigerated truck in England last month arrived Wednesday in Vietnam to be handed over to their families, according to airport officials.

The plane landed at 5 am local time (10 pm, Tuesday, GMT) at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, more bodies are expected to arrive in the coming hours or days, as Vietnamese authorities did not reveal specific details.

According to digital newspaper VNExpress, 16 ambulances waited at the airport to transport the bodies to Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, where the victims came from. The journey usually takes seven to 10 hours by road from Hanoi, but may take longer on this occasion due to heavy rainfall in the region in recent days.

One of the victims’ family members told EFE that police would only announce the arrival of the bodies 30 minutes in advance and had asked them to remain home until then.

The cost of repatriating the bodies falls on the families, whom the Vietnamese Government offered 30-day loans of 1,370 pounds ($1,760) last week to bring back the ashes of their loved ones and 2,208 pounds for the bodies to return in coffins.

Apart from the government initiative, a crowdfunding campaign through the Gofundme portal has raised $27,415, and private entities have also made contributions, such as a 620 million dong ($26,714) donation by Vingroup, the country’s largest business conglomerate.

This financial aid offers great relief to these families, who face debts of thousands of dollars required to pay networks that facilitate illegal migration to the UK.

According to Mimi Vu, an expert on people smuggling and human trafficking, Vietnamese migrants pay up to $50,000 to reach Europe – an amount almost always borrowed.

British police have arrested seven people in connection with this case, while Vietnamese authorities have arrested 11 from Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces. EFE-EPA

esj/sc/lds

UK says China’s security law is “clear violation” of Hong Kong treaty

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

The United Kingdom said on Wednesday (July 1) that China’s imposition of a security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration and called on the People’s Republic to honor its international obligations.

“We have very carefully now assessed the contents of this national security legislation since it was published last night,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Reuters and the BBC.

“It constitutes a clear violation of the autonomy of Hong Kong, and a direct threat to the freedoms of its people, and therefore I’m afraid to say it is a clear and serious violation of the Joint Declaration treaty between the United Kingdom and China.”

Raab said he would set out shortly the action Britain would take with its international partners.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule – imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War. (Reuters)

(Production: Will Russell, Hanna Rantala, Polly Rider)

Alarm raised in UK beach resort as huge crowds ignore COVID advice

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Authorities in Bournemouth, a popular coastal town in southern England, declared a “major incident” on Thursday (June 25) over what they called the irresponsible behavior of crowds who had ignored public health guidance on coronavirus and badly overstretched local services.

The declaration came after visitors arrived in huge numbers in a spell of hot weather, resulting in gridlock on the roads, illegal overnight camping, excessive waste, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled fights.

Social distancing measures have been in place in Britain since March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, although the rules are due to be significantly relaxed from July 4.

With pubs still closed, many people have been heading to parks and beaches to meet friends and drink alcohol, in some cases ignoring advice to keep two metres apart.

In Bournemouth, roads were obstructed by illegal parking, crews were abused as they attempted to empty overflowing bins and 33 tonnes of waste had to be removed from the stretch of coastline in and around the town on Thursday morning.

The emergency response will involve extra police patrols, security to protect rubbish collectors, additional parking enforcement, evictions of unauthorized campers and signage on approach roads warning people not to come. (Reuters)

(Production: Iona Serrapica, Yann Tessier)

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

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