What The Papers Say June 2013

(No.5, Vol.3, June 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

2nd oil refinery in the works
tuoitrenews.vn, 13 May
The government has given the go-ahead for a project to set up a $26.9 billion oil refinery in Binh Dinh, Central Vietnam.
The refinery, to be funded by Thai state-owned oil and gas company PTT Public Company Limited, is expected to be capable of handling 30 million tons of crude oil a year, five times more than the Quang Ngai-based Dung Quat Refinery – Vietnam’s sole refinery for the time being.

Home loan interest rate at 6 per cent
tuoitrenews.vn, 16 May
Members of the public will be able to borrow loans at only 6 per cent a year to purchase houses as of 1 June, according to a circular released in May by the State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Construction.
The preferential loans, totalling $1.44 billion, will have a maturity of ten years.
The decision is considered a move to bail out the frozen real estate market.

Budget woes worst in Asia
tuoitrenews.vn, 29 May
Vietnam’s budget deficits during the 2009 – 2011 period were the highest among Asian countries, according to the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The average budget deficit in that time period was 3.7 per cent of the GDP per year.

Fly like an Egyptian
tuoitrenews.vn, 29 May
The head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Van Tuan and the Chairman of the Egyptian Tourist Authority Naser Hamdy met in Cairo in May to discuss possible measures to aid travel companies in both countries.
Tuan suggested that the Egyptian tourism sector should coordinate with Egypt Air in launching direct flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The airline recently established an office in Vietnam.

Illegal Vietnamese workers in Africa
www.dtinews.vn, 17 May
According to the Angolan Department of Immigration and Foreign Citizens, over 45,000 Vietnamese people are living and working in Angola, where they can earn an average income of $1,000-$1,500 per month.
All of them are regarded as illegal workers.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, War Invalid and Social Affairs (MoLISA) said it had yet to grant any company the right to send labourers to Angola and the two countries have not signed documents on labour co-operation.
Vietnamese workers were first attracted to Angola’s construction industry in Angola in 2009.

Toxic imports from China?
www.thanhniennews.com, 11 May
The National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad) says it will propose that the agriculture ministry bans the import of certain agriculture products from China if they fail food safety standards.
Local consumers have expressed worries that they might have eaten ginger imported from China that had been contaminated with toxic chemicals.
According to the Plant Protection Department, Vietnam has imported more than 300 tons of ginger from China since the beginning of this year, tax-free.

Your papers, please
www.thanhniennews.com, 13 May
Binh Thuan authorities have promised to clamp down on those leasing motorbikes to foreigners without driving licenses, following a rise in the number of accidents involving tourists in Phan Thiet, the capital of Binh Thuan Province.

Arms of love
www.thanhniennews.com, 26 May and
Vietnamnet 22 May
Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, was welcomed by hundreds turning up at the airport when he visited Vietnam in May, with the adulation normally reserved for pop stars.
He addressed some 70,000 people including students, businessmen and disadvantaged people. The talks were broadcast live, attracting millions of viewers.
Vujicic commented that while he has been to 46 countries, he has never been welcomed as warmly as he was in Vietnam.

Who speaks for the trees?
english.vietnamnet.vn, 5 May
Demand for farmland may strip the Greater Mekong region of a third of its remaining forest cover over the next two decades without swift government action, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned in May.
Forests are being cleared for commodities such as rubber and rice, while illegal logging is decimating many protected zones, WWF said in a report, adding that a contentious dam on the Mekong river will deepen already severe ecosystem damage.
Peter Cutter of the WWF said that Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar lost between 22-24 per cent of their forests from 1973 – the first point of available data – to 2009, while 43 per cent of woodland was stripped from Thailand and Vietnam.

Something fishy in the Mekong
english.vietnamnet.vn, 16 May
The rapid development of hydropower plants in the Mekong River has put several fish species in Vietnam on the verge of extinction.
The exploitation has seriously affected the ecosystem, obstructed migration routes and narrowed food sources for fish.
Hydropower projects are required to incorporate fish migration routes or create supplemental flows for fish. However, no project in Vietnam has yet achieved this requirement.

Park opens again
english.vietnamnet.vn, 20 May
After nearly three years of infrastructure upgrades, Bach Ma National Park, near Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, reopened to visitors in late April.
The highest point in the park, Mount Bach Ma, is 1,450m above sea level.
Visitors have been coming to Bach Ma since the 1930s, when the French colonialists built a hill resort here to escape the heat and humidity of the plains during the summer months.
The 22,031ha park is home to 233 species of birds, 55 species of mammals and more than 500 species of plants.

Government to allow tourist complaints
english.vietnamnet.vn, 20 May
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has requested local people’s committees to set up hot lines so tourists can register complaints during their stays.
Danang has a hot line (0511) 3868. 888 for tourists to make calls when they are ripped off.
Hanoi is considering setting up tourism police.
Recently, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism apologised to an Australian tourist who was overcharged by a taxi driver.

Dirty deeds in Hanoi
Tien Phong, 14 May
Most of new urban areas in Hanoi do not have a waste-water treatment facility, although they are required to do so by law.
There are hundreds of new urban areas, covering tens of thousands of hectares in the city and providing homes for over two million people. The violations worsen the city’s pollution.

Saigon River makeover
Saigon Tiep Thi, 13 May
Ho Chi Minh City plans to invest more than a billion dollars over the next two years to develop its river for tourism.

The money will be spent on quays, river routes and tourist sites.

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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