Daily Archives: May 24, 2016

Obama Drop-In For Pork Soup Stuns Vietnam Street Shop Owner

She has ladled out countless bowls of her pork noodle soup, but the owner of a Hanoi street side restaurant says she was stunned when Barack Obama strolled in, pulled up a plastic stool and slurped down Vietnam’s famed “bun cha” delicacy.

The US president slipped away from his hectic Vietnam visit on Monday night to sample the dish with Anthony Bourdain, a chef and food critic who fronts a travel show about hidden culinary gems around the world.

While 54-year-old restaurant owner Nguyen Thi Lien knew a foreign television crew was on the way, she had no idea they would be bringing a very special guest.

“His presence in our restaurant was a great surprise for my whole family, who could never have imagined it, even in our dreams,” she told AFP on Tuesday.

US Secret Service and local police closed down the streets surrounding Bun Cha Huong Lien eatery on Monday evening.

A large crowd gathered outside the restaurant, letting out a cheer as Obama exited.

Surrounded by a coterie of bodyguards, he stopped to greet excited locals, many capturing the moment on their phones, before being whisked away in his limousine.

“Obama was nice, smiling, cheerful and popular with everyone,” the shop’s owner told AFP, adding that she regretted not posing for a picture with the president.

Bourdain posted a picture of the dinner on his Instagram feed with the caption “The President’s chopstick skills are on point”.

It showed the two sitting on tiny plastic stools that are a common feature of Vietnamese street restaurants, Obama clasping a bottle of Hanoi Beer in his right hand.

Local diners could be seen sitting at stainless steel tables behind the pair tucking in to their own steaming bowls of broth, one wearing an American-style black baseball cap.

“Total cost of bun cha dinner with the President: $6.00. I picked up the check,” Bourdain, who is renowned for his love of cheap streetside food, later tweeted.

Vietnam is known for its fresh ingredients and healthy cuisine but Obama’s choice of bun cha, which with its fatty pork and sweet broth is at the more gluttonous end of the country’s culinary spectrum, might have raised the eyebrows of his wife Michelle who has long campaigned for healthy eating.

Source: www.afp.com

International Airlines’ $575m Trapped In Nigeria Due To Govt Forex Policy—IATA

The International Air Transport Association [IATA] has said that funds belonging to foreign airlines, which had been trapped in the country due to the Federal Government’s policy on foreign exchange, stood at $575m [N113.28bn] as of March this year.

The association also bemoaned the high taxes imposed on air travellers in Africa, with Nigeria identified as one of the countries where the taxes were above global standards.

The association, which represents over 260 airlines attending to 83 per cent of the global air traffic, made the disclosure at the IATA African Aviation Day programme in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking at the event, the Area Manager, South West Africa, IATA, Samson Fatokun, listed Nigeria and Venezuela as two countries with the highest amounts of trapped airlines’ funds in the world.

He said, to this end, IATA was engaging the Federal Government to ensure that issues around the trapped funds were resolved.

The opening session of the two-day programme, with the theme, ‘Driving African economies through the power of aviation,’ had in attendance senior government officials and industry leaders, including the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Muhtar Usman; the Deputy Regional Director, International Civil Aviation Organisation, Gaoussou Konate; and the Secretary General, African Civil Aviation Commission, Iyabo Sosina.

Foreign airlines operating in the country have for months been having difficulties repatriating their revenues from ticket sales to their home countries due to forex restrictions by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Vice-President, IATA, Raphael Kuuchi, bemoaned the high taxes imposed on air travel in Africa, saying they were above global standards.
He noted that if not tackled, the phenomenon would continue to affect the growth of the industry negatively.

Kuuchi faulted the $60 charged per international passenger in addition to the $20 charged for security and taxes on aviation fuel in Nigeria.