What The Papers Say Jan-Feb 2014

(No.1, Vol.4, Jan-Feb 2014 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Ain’t gonna work the farm no more
www.thanhniennews.com, 22 December
Many poor rice farmers across the country are giving up farming because it fetches them too little money and they are turning to other livelihoods.
Official figures show that 42,785 families left their fields (6,882 hectares) untouched this year. Another 3,407 families have returned 433 hectares.
A few hundred square metres of land yield less than four dollars a month on average.

Headless remains found
vietnamnews.vn, 19 December
Six skeletons, dating to 6,000 years ago, have been unearthed in a cave in the Ngan Son District of northern Bac Kan Province, according to scientists from the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute.
Hundreds of objects, including stone working tools, ceramic wares and even samples of flower pollen, have been unearthed at the site.

Snow job
english.vietnamnet.vn, 18 December
Losses from the recent prolonged, heavy snowfall in northern mountainous Lao Cai Province, where the well-known town Sapa is, amount to nearly $4.7 million.
More than 100 hectares of chayote and another 100 hectares of flowers were buried under snow. Thick ice also blocked about 10 kilometres of Highway 4D linking Lao Cai and Lai Chau Provinces. Meanwhile, thousands of tourists flocked to Sapa to see the snow, which is rare in Vietnam.

Heavy penalty for theft
www.thanhniennews.com, 16 December
Two former heads of the state-run Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) were sentenced to death in December for embezzling $474,000.
They are Duong Chi Dung, the former chairman of Vinalines, and Mai Van Phuc, its former general director. Vietnam has not given death sentences to corrupt officials for decades.

Kerry visit
www.thanhniennews.com, 16 December
US Secretary of State John Kerry talked climate change, Mekong river security and East Sea peace during his Vietnam visit in December.
Since the US lifted its embargo on Vietnam in 1995, bilateral trade between the two countries had grown 50-fold to more than $25 billion a year.
’I can’t think of two countries that have worked harder, done more, and done better to try to bring themselves together and change history and change the future and provide a future for people which is now very, very different,’ he said, adding that Vietnam has potential to become one of the US’s leading economic partners in the region.

VN brings home the gold
vietnamnews.vn, 23 December
The 27th Southeast Asian Games closed in December in Myanmar.
Thailand came first with 107 gold medals. Host Myanmar ranked second with 86, while Vietnam came third with 73.

Banks want to eat cake and have it too
www.thanhniennews.com, 12 December
Commercial banks in Vietnam have laid off thousands of employees this year to cut costs in the face of declining profits, but they are struggling to find qualified people who can help turn things around.
Vietinbank, BIDV, ACB and SHB have together laid off nearly 1,200 people in the first half of this year; and Eximbank has said it will also cut thousands of jobs in the coming months.

Flood of problems
www.thanhniennews.com, 15 December
Ho Chi Minh City has spent $387 million since 2011 to curb rampant flooding, but expensive measures have failed to rectify the problem.
City councillors complained that flood projects were fragmented, as one flood spot cleared would be followed by flooding in a new location soon after and that many areas along the city's outskirts still flooded with every high tide or rain shower.

Hue Festival returns
www.thanhniennews.com, 20 December
The biennial Hue Festival, 12-20 April, will feature 37 art troupes from 29 countries, a night street market outside the imperial palace, a cuisine festival featuring dishes from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and China, and calligraphy and painting exhibitions, a kite flying competition, street art performances, a festival for needy children and a tourism fair.
Other highlights will include an international dance festival, ao dai shows, a traditional Imperial Night featuring royal ceremonies, and the famous circus play ‘Lang toi’ (My village).

New flights to vacations spots
www.thanhniennews.com, 17 December
Budget carrier Jetstar Pacific began daily services from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc Island and Nha Trang 15 December.
The flight to Nha Trang departs at 11:35 a.m. the one and to Phu Quoc at 12:25 p.m.
It leaves Nha Trang at 1:05 p.m. and Phu Quoc at 1:50 p.m.

Hand in the cookie jar
www.thanhniennews.com, 28 December
The country’s three major mobile operators, VinaPhone, MobiFone, and the military-run Viettel, have been caught cheating customers by embedding services in SIM cards without asking customers if they want them and not indicating their prices, authorities said.
The three account for almost the entire market, and have been pocketing millions of dollars from the scam.

Trade expansion hopes
www.thanhniennews.com, 26 December
The Vietnamese embassy in the US will try to talk the world’s leading retailer, Walmart, into selling Vietnamese products, the embassy’s trade counsellor said.
Vietnam’s Trade Commission in San Francisco has plans to invite the vice president of Walmart to Vietnam to join talks with related ministries and trade agencies.
Earlier this year, US second-leading retailer Kroger met with 128 businesses in Ho Chi Minh City and has signed memorandums of understanding with some of them.

New airport coming
www.thanhniennews.com, 28 December
Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat, Vietnam’s largest airport, has reached its designed capacity of 20 million passengers per year, three years sooner than expected.
44 international and local airlines operate from there and the annual passenger count has grown at 15 percent annually in recent years.
Work on the new Long Thanh Airport in the neighbouring province of Dong Nai will begin in 2015, with a capacity of 25 million passengers by 2020.

Pollution continues
vietnamnews.vn, 30 December
The excessive number of industrial parks and export processing zones has caused serious environmental pollution in the country, experts said at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City in December.
As of last year, the country had 289 IPs, EPZs and hi-tech parks, and 878 industrial clusters.
Up to half of IPs and EPZs have not built waste treatment systems.
Many companies have built such systems but have not used them.
Instead, they directly discharge waste water into the environment, causing serious pollution in local areas and affecting the lives of local residents.

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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