What The Papers Say July 2013

(No.6, Vol.3, July 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

The answer is blowin’ in the wind
english.vietnamnet.vn, 5 June
On 29 May, the Bac Lieu wind power plant began providing electricity to the national grid from its 10 turbines, with the total capacity of 16 MW.
Vietnam decided that it needs to make heavy investments in developing wind power, as the fossil fuel reserves are being exhausted.
Scientists have estimated that Vietnam’s wind power potentials could be as high as 513,260 MW.
However, to date, very few investors have invested their money into wind power projects.

The price of rice does not suffice
dtinews.vn, 25 June
Many rice farmers in the Mekong Delta are facing mounting challenges and losses, as they are not properly protected and supported by the government's policies.
Over the past three years, Vietnam’s rice export prices have continued to fall by around VND1,000 per kilo per year, causing losses to both rice exporters and farmers.
The World Bank’s research in 2011 and Oxfarm’s research in 2012 showed that farmers in the Mekong Delta region earn an average of only VND535,000 ($25.43) per person per month.
Under the current rice price mechanism farmers can’t directly sell their rice to rice exporters.

When the waters rise
www.thanhniennews.com, 4 June
Nearly one third of Hoi An ancient town in central Vietnam may become submerged by floods by 2020, the local government has warned.
Hoi An authorities have been taking measures to adjust tourism activities to climate change, dredging rivers and developing waterway tourism.

Visa caper comes to an end
www.thanhniennews.com, 5 June
A former US Foreign Service officer appeared in court in June when he was informed he could face up to 20 years in prison for selling visas at the US Consulate General in Vietnam.
Michael Todd Sestak, 41, was the non-immigrant visa chief in the Consular Section of the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City from August 2010 to September 2012.
The price was between $20,000 and 70,000 per visa.
The investigation has seized over $2 million from an account belonging to one of Sestak’s co-conspirators in the US.

Free transport for the disabled
www.thanhniennews.com, 27 June
The nongovernmental organization Disability Resource and Development (DRD) has launched a pilot project that provides free motorbike taxi service for disabled people in Ho Chi Minh City.
The project, which includes a hotline (0935.244.123) was launched on June 27.
Three-wheelers specifically designed for the disabled will be used.

Dong devalued
www.thanhniennews.com, 28 June
Vietnam’s central bank devalued its currency for the first time since 2011 and cut the interest-rate cap on dollar deposits to help ‘improve’ the balance of payments and boost foreign-exchange reserves.
The State Bank of Vietnam weakened its reference rate by 1 per cent to VND21,036 late June. The currency, which can trade as much as 1 per cent either side of the rate, fell 0.9 per cent to 21,205 at banks in Hanoi, the most since August 9, 2011.
The change in the reference rate is the biggest since a record 8.5 per cent cut in February 2011 and comes after the government announced that imports exceeded exports by $1.4 billion in the first half of this year.

Ca Mau slowly slips away
tuoitrenews.vn, 19 June
Ca Mau, the southernmost province of Vietnam, may disappear entirely in the next few decades due to land subsidence, according to an assessment of the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI).
The most practical way to prevent land subsidence is stopping or restricting underground water exploitation in the area, and using water from water plants instead, said NGI.

Still better than school food
www.thanhniennews.com, 28 June
The mediocre but expensive food stalls and restaurants at airports have attracted complaints for years, but nothing has been done.
‘Many passengers, including foreigners, have complained to the Ministry of Transport and Minister Dinh La Thang about food services at airports,’ said Lai Xuan Thanh, deputy director, of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
‘They complained about high prices for bad meals and attitude at all airports,’ he said.

Expat dead from mysterious causes
www.thanhniennews.com, 29 June
The body of 33-year-old British writer and film producer Joseph Lang was found in late June, reportedly outside a medical center in Ho Chi Minh City. Cause of death is still unknown.
Lang, whose credits included many films that earned critics’ appreciation, like the 2008 film Soi Cowboy, had been in Vietnam for four months teaching English.

Hermaphrodites can get surgery
tuoitrenews.vn, 14 June
The Ministry of Health has recently approved the Hanoi-based National Hospital Paediatrics to be the second hospital in the country to offer transgender surgeries.
In February this year, the Children's Hospital 2 in Ho Chi Minh City was allowed to perform this kind of surgery, becoming the first to obtain such a license in Vietnam.
According the ministry, redefining gender by medical intervention is only permitted for people who have birth defects of the sex organs, and whose sex is difficult to be determine. There is one person in every 11,000 having this kind of defect, the ministry’s statistics show.
The two hospitals are banned from performing transgender surgeries for people who have defined genders.

Following the tunes (“Spring comes to Muong Hum hamlet high up the mountains with heart-rocking distant singing…” ) of talented composer Nguyen Tai ...
In the heart of the darkness of Saigon's backpacker land,ambling along down raucous Bui Vien Street and wishing I had not come out without my ear ...
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