What The Papers Say April 2013

(No.3, Vol.3, Apr 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Sad ballad singer passes
english.vietnamnet.vn, 4 March
Respected artisan Ha Thi Cau, who is considered the ‘living treasure’ of the hat xam art, passed away on 3 March, at the age of 86.
Hát xẩm is a minimalist style of Vietnamese singing, traditionally performed by the poor and the blind and especially wanderers, usually accompanied with a simple đàn nhị (two-string violin) or đàn bầu (single-string zither). Hát xẩm is a Vietnamese ‘blues’ music from the 13th century. It is making a comeback, after several decades.

Local boy makes good
www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn, 5 March
Pham Nhat Vuong has become the first Vietnamese to appear in the billionaires list in Forbes magazine.
Pham Nhat Vuong ranks 974th on the Forbes list, with his $1.5 billion assets, based largely on the 53 percent stake he owns in Vingroup, a real estate development firm.
Born in Hanoi, Pham Nhat Vuong studied economics at the University of Moscow in Russia, then moved to Ukraine and founded a noodle company.
In early 2000, Pham Nhat Vuong returned home and invested in real estate projects, such as the deluxe Vinpearl Resort in Nha Trang and built Vincom Centre on Ba Trieu Street.

Fatal bus crash
tuoitrenews.vn, 8 March
Eleven passengers died and 61 others were injured in a head-on collision between two buses in Cam Ranh City, central Khanh Hoa Province, South central Vietnam, early March.
The north-south coaches were operated by the Chin Nghia Company and Cuc Dung Company.

Rushing for Russians

Tuoitrenews.vn, 12 March
The tourism industry in the South Central province of Binh Thuan is suffering from a shortage of personnel who can speak Russian, even though Russian-speaking visitors to the area have increased almost 30 percent over the last two years.
Binh Thuan received 130,550 Russian-speaking guests last year, up 28.6 percent from 2011, which accounted for more than one-third of the total international tourists to the province.
Local tourism firms now want to recruit about 300 more people with a good command of Russian, said Nguyen Van Khoa, chairman of the Binh Thuan Tourism Association.
Many of these companies have to use part-time Russian tour guides, since few Vietnamese can speak the language, Khoa added.

Fertilized woman produces quintuplets
Tuoitrenews.vn, 18 March
In a rare occurrence, a 28-year-old woman from Ho Chi Minh City gave birth to five babies at Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital in March.
The three boys and two girls, delivered by caesarean section, weigh from 1.3kg to 2kg each.
The mother went through in vitro fertilization treatment to get pregnant.
Over the past 15 years, fifteen IVF centers have been established across the country, and have produced more than 10,000 babies.
Vietnam currently tops Southeast Asia in this technique, and hundreds of foreigners annually visit Vietnam to get IVF treatment.
An IVF procedure costs between VND30-VND40million ($1,749-$2,332).

Danger in the tap
Tien Phong, 19 March
As much as 90 per cent of dangerous waste in Ho Chi Minh City is not processed, threatening the city’s environment, particularly drinking water sources. Every day, the city disposes of 2,000 tonnes of industrial waste, of which 280 to 380 tonnes are classified as dangerous. Currently, the waste is not separated by type.

Fire warning
Lao Dong, 21 March
Tens of thousands of hectares of forest in the Mekong delta are prone to fire, due to the on-going drought.
An alert has been issued for 33,000 hectares of forest in U Minh Ha, Ca Mau Province and 30,000 hectares of cajuput in Long An province.

TB treatment eludes many
www.thanhniennews.com, 21 March
Tuberculosis is still a major health risk in Vietnam, which ranks 12th in the world for TB, with nearly 200,000 new cases and 30,000 deaths recorded every year.
One of the challenges to the country’s fight against TB is the high number of TB patients who are resistant to medicines prescribed for the disease.
Vietnam now has 5,000-6,000 drug-resistant TB patients, and it was estimated that the number of TB patients that cannot be treated due to their resistance to drugs may be twice as many.

Same same, but different
Tien Phong, 25 March
Participants in same-sex marriages may be fined, according to a draft regulation on marriage and family. Same-sex marriages are not allowed under the current law, experts say such a stipulation could worsen the plights of the same-sex couples, since there is still significant confusion among officials about marriage, living together and wedding. It is feared by some that the confusion might lead to improper intervention by officials.

Heavy metal poisoning
Tien Phong, 26 March, page 9
The South Central coast is being heavily damaged due to exploitation of titanium. Titanium mines have been mushrooming along South Central coast, and as a result, forests are being cut down, underground water is overly exploited, and untreated waste is released by factories. Vietnam has the 11th biggest titanium reserves in the world. Binh Dinh and Ninh Thuan provinces account for most of the country’s titanium production at the moment.

Lao Cai catches hail
Tuoitrenews, 30 March
Over 100 houses were damaged and at least 2 people were injured during a 30-minute hail storm, with hailstones ‘as large as adults’ fists or bowls,’ in Bao Yen District, northern Lao Cai province on March 29. Three days earlier, another hail storm hit 26 communes and towns in the province’s Muong Khuong, Bac Ha and Si Ma Cai Districts, damaging more than 10,500 houses and injuring at least 26 people.

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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