A Vietnamese court has rejected hundreds of lawsuits filed by fishermen who demanded more compensation from a Taiwanese-owned steel plant responsible for a devastating toxic leak, a leading activist said on Saturday.
In a rare case of civic action in authoritarian Vietnam, crowds of fishermen last month swamped a courthouse to file 506 lawsuits against Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), which is constructing a multibillion-dollar steel plant in Ha Tinh Province.
The conglomerate paid Vietnam’s government US$500 million after it was blamed of dumping waste that poisoned fish and decimated the local seafood industry earlier this year.
Local fishermen launched their lawsuits in an effort to wrest more money from Formosa and demand that it shut down the steel operation altogether.
However, Catholic priest Dang Huu Nam, who helped lead the plaintiffs, told reporters the court had returned more than 100 case files and that he was expecting more.
“We will look into why the files were returned, as the court did not say concretely, before deciding what moves to do next,” Nam said.
Judge Nguyen Van Thang was quoted in state-run media as saying that all 506 cases were returned.
The fishermen had asked for compensation of about US$2.5 million, but did not provide clear evidence of their losses, Phap Luat, an official legal news site, quoted the judge as saying.
Dead fish and other marine life began washing up on Vietnam’s central coast in April, hitting fishermen and triggering rounds of protests.
After weeks of obfuscation, the government laid blame on Formasa, which has a history of environmental scandals spanning the globe, and ordered the conglomerate to pay a US$500 million fine.
The government said it would this month start distributing the cash to affected fishermen and last month confirmed that payouts would range from US$130 to US$1,600 per person.
Thousands of Vietnamese protesters on Oct. 2 surrounded the steel plant, with some scaling its walls and holding signs demanding its closure.
Vietnam’s communist rulers tolerate little dissent, but anger over corruption and environmental degradation often spark significant protests.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing’s (TSMC, 台積電) first wafer fab in Kumamoto, Japan is still set to launch commercial production in the fourth quarter of this year as planned, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said on Saturday in response to reports that mass production might begin ahead of schedule. TSMC said the monthly production capacity of the joint venture fab, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM), is expected to hit 55,000 units of 12-inch wafers, using the mature 12-nanometer, 16-nanometer, 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer processes. JASM is owned by TSMC and its Japanese business partners Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp and Denso Corp, with the Taiwanese company
US President Joe Biden’s administration is in talks to confer more than US$10 billion in subsidies to Intel Corp, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be the largest award yet under a plan to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to US soil. Intel’s award package is expected to include both loans and direct grants, the source said. They stressed that negotiations are still under way. The US Department of Commerce and Intel declined to comment. The incentives would come from the 2022 Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, which set aside US$39 billion in direct grants as
A new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that promises to create short videos from simple text commands has raised concerns along with questions from artists and media professionals. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and image generator DALL-E, on Thursday said it was testing a text-to-video model called “Sora” that can allow users to create realistic videos with simple prompts. The San Francisco-based start-up said that Sora can “generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background,” but added that it still has limitations, such as possibly “mixing up left and right.” Examples of Sora-created clips
Super Micro Computer Inc’s lengthy rally came to a shuddering halt on Friday, with a selloff that derailed what had looked to be the server maker’s best week on record. Shares fell 20 percent, their biggest one-day percentage drop since August last year. The decline comes in the wake of a nine-session run of gains, the longest such streak for the stock since 2016. However, even with the day’s selloff, the stock rose 8.5 percent for the week. Despite Friday’s drop, recent gains show how Super Micro has become one of the hottest names in artificial intelligence (AI). The stock has risen