What The Papers Say Sep 2013

(No.8, Vol.3, Sep 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

The net tightens
tuoitrenews.vn, 1 August
A new government decree aimed at tightening control of Internet use of local citizens has ignited a storm of protests from netizens, who believe that the law will ban them from sharing links on their Facebook or personal blogs.
Others say that people have simply misunderstood the new regulation due to ambiguous wording used by lawmakers.
The decree, 72/2013/ND-CP, will take effect on 1 September.

Another tourist boat sinks
tuoitrenews.vn, 3 August
A passenger motorboat departing from Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta with 30 people on board sank off Ho Chi Minh City’s Can Gio District in August, leaving nine people missing. There is a foreign couple among the rescued victims.
The H29-BP speedboat, owned by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province Border Guard Headquarters, was lent to a company.

Not the worker’s paradise
tuoitrenews.vn, 4 August
Early in August, police in Russia conducted a sweatshop raid in north-eastern Moscow and detained 1,400 illegal immigrants, including 1,200 Vietnamese, who reportedly lived in squalid conditions.
500 were sent to a tent camp in Moscow while waiting for deportation for violating immigration rules, according to Ria Novosti.

Park has ‘moss’ appeal
tuoitrenews.vn, 13 August
U Minh Thuong National Park in southernmost Kien Giang Province, which is largely made up of peat, was recently named an ASEAN Heritage Park, the first of its kind in an ASEAN country.
Peat once covered a considerable area of the Mekong Delta, but now only the forest flora in the park’s center retains the characteristics of a Proterozoic forest, on an area of nearly 3,000 ha.

Gov’t wants foreigners to put down roots
tuoitrenews.vn, 12 August
Under a proposal by the Construction Ministry, all foreigners staying in Vietnam on a visa that is valid for more than three months can buy houses in the country and may hold house ownership for 50 to 70 years.
In the five years since Vietnam allowed foreigners to buy house on a pilot scheme, only 126 foreign organizations and individuals had bought houses as of the end of the second quarter of 2013. Of these, 80 per cent are businesses, and the rest are individuals.

Fair-weather foreigners flee financial fickleness
tuoitrenews.vn, 13 August
As of the end of May, 518 foreign investors in Vietnam have secretly fled the country, leaving behind a number of unmanaged facilities that have registered a total of US$903 million of foreign direct investment.
This figure does not include statistics from several localities like Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Yen Province.
Most of these fleeing investors are from China and South Korea, whose businesses operate in the construction, trading, software, restaurant, and realty sectors.
These FDI businesses defaulted on employee wages and payments with partners, and have evaded taxes.

Too many schools?
tuoitrenews.vn, 15 August
Many foreign language centres in Ho Chi Minh City have closed down without the knowledge of local education officials, after suffering losses due to low numbers of enrolees. Typically, in these cases, the owners of the school flee with the teacher’s salary and student’s tuition monies.
There are more than 400 foreign language centres in Ho Chi Minh City.

Big Brother comes to Vietnam
tuoitrenews.vn, 21 August
The smash-hit ‘Big Brother’ reality show will have a Vietnamese version called ‘Nguoi giau mat’ (The Hidden Man).
The 12 selected contestants will spend some time in a common house. During their stay, they’ll be denied access to the telephone, Internet, radio, newspapers and relatives.
Contestants will be continuously monitored by over 30 in-house television cameras, as well as personal audio microphones during their stay. They will also have to take up the challenges provided by ‘the hidden man’.
The last housemate or houseguest remaining in the compound by the series' conclusion will get a VND2 billion (US$95,800) prize.
The program, which is directed by film director Nguyen Quang Dung, will start recruiting nationwide on 8 September.

Exotic songs slipping away
www.thanhniennews.com, 8 August
When preparing to report to UNESCO about the status of Ca tru traditional music four years after it had won World Heritage status, Hanoi authorities found that no agency had kept track of the art since.
Ca tru was most popular northern Vietnam in the 15th century. It enjoyed high status, favored by the wealthy and educated class, as it was considered a clever combination of the best of music and poetry.

Animal trafficking continues
www.thanhniennews.com, 13 August
Hai Phong customs authorities seized more than 6.2 tons of pangolins smuggled in from Indonesia at Hai Phong Port early August. A pangolin is a type of anteater with hard scales.
Pangolins are protected under both Vietnamese law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Under the law, anyone who illegally hunts, kills, breeds, or keeps endangered wild animals in captivity or transports or trades animal body parts or products made from them could be imprisoned for up to seven years.
They can also be fined up to 500 million (US$23,720).

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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