What The Papers Say Dec 2013

(No.11, Vol.3, Dec 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

­Cable car connection
english.vietnamnet.vn, 4 November
Construction started in November for a 7km long cable car system to the peak of Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest mountain, connecting it with Sapa and Muong Hoa Valley.

Life goes on
vietnamnews.vn, 11 November
Local authorities are struggling to control the illegal logging at the Mui Ca Mau (Ca Mau Cape) National Park, one of the country's largest submerged forests and a World Biosphere Reserve.
In the 4,800-ha park, in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, illegal logging has occurred in the buffer and core zones.
Many local residents have depleted aquatic resources and taken timber to make coal.
More than 2,000 households live around the park, with many of them having no farmland, relying on aquatic resources and forests for their livelihood.

Economic goals for Vietnam
vietnamnews.vn, 12 November
National Assembly deputies decided on the main socio-economic targets for next year at a meeting last month, including lifting gross domestic product (GDP) by about 5.8 per cent, export turnover by 10 per cent and keeping inflation at 7 per cent.

New busses will be a gas
vietnamnews.vn, 28 November
The HCM City People's Committee has approved for The Sai Gon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (SAMCO) to manufacture 300 buses powered by compressed natural gas over the next year, at a cost of $6.1 million.
CNG engines emit 53 per cent less toxic fumes than petroleum engines and cost 30-40 per cent less to operate, according to the city Department of Transport. At least 28 CNG are already operating in the city.

Fraudsters to be executed
www.thanhniennews.com, 15 November
The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City sentenced two former bank executives to death in a fraud trial.
Both Vu Quoc Hao, the former general director of State-owned Agribank Financial Leasing Co. (FLKO) No. 2, and Dang Van Hai, former chairman of a construction company, were charged with embezzling state property.
Vietnam’s government is seeking to curb corporate corruption as it works to restructure a banking system weighed down by Southeast Asia’s highest rate of bad debt and to turn around an economy that grew last year at the slowest pace since 1999.

200 more cars added to streets
www.thanhniennews.com, 12 November
The 2013 Vietnam Motor Show in late October in Ho Chi Minh City attracted 155,300 visitors and saw the sale of 200 cars.
Both figures were the highest since the annual event was first held in 2005 by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).
This year, the event was notable for the attendance of many luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, as well as Infiniti and Lexus, which made their first appearance at the show.
The cars sold at the show were priced between $80,400 - $236,600 each, even though Vietnam’s 2012 annual income per capita is only $1,555, and the local economy is now in trouble.

Prime Minister has the power
www.thanhniennews.com, 15 November
Vietnam has decided that all future hydropower projects, irrespective of scale, will have to be approved by the Prime Minister.
Currently, dams with a capacity of less than 30 MW are approved and supervised by city/provincial governments, while larger ones fall under the purview of central government agencies.
National Assembly member Huynh Minh Hoang said the surge in hydropower plants over the past ten years has resulted in a wide range of problems, including flooding, dam breaks, earthquakes, forest loss and ecological destruction.
The industry ministry recently scrapped 424 planned hydropower projects, saying they would provide low economic benefits while carrying high social and environmental risks. Vietnam depends on hydropower plants for up to 40 percent of its electricity demand.

The Venice of Asia?
19 November
Researchers found many places in Ho Chi Minh City sinking by up to 20 millimetres (0.8 inch) a year. Groundwater overexploitation and urbanization is blamed.
According to a recent study by the National University Ho Chi Minh City’s Geoinformatics Center, parts of the south-eastern region and the Mekong Delta are sinking, with HCMC suffering the most.
The centre said the city has been sinking since 1996, with the speed increasing gradually since 2004.

Licensed but not authorized
www.thanhniennews.com, 25 November
Tourism authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have said they will crack down on illegal travel companies, which are estimated to be in the thousands.
According to the city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, there are 818 authorized travel companies. But figures from the Department of Planning and Investment show licenses have been issued to 18,500 travel businesses.
This means almost 18,000 companies are either not in operation or operating without approval from the tourism department.

From Russia with gas
vietnamnews.vn, 12 November
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said during a meeting with Alexander V Dyukov, CEO of the Russian oil and gas group Gazprom Neft, that Vietnam would work harder with Russia to reinforce multifaceted co-operation between the two countries, particularly in energy.
The PM said he was pleased at the outcomes of co-operation between Gazprom Neft and the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) in the past.

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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