What The Papers Say Mar-Apr 2015

(No.2, Vol.5,Mar-Apr 2015 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Vietnam to build nature
museum system
Tuoi Tre News, 23 January
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has given the go-ahead for a project to develop the Vietnam National Museum of Nature into a system of facilities by 2025.
The Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology had proposed such a project and the premier has already approved it, according to the government’s news portal.
The existing Vietnam National Museum of Nature, located in Hanoi, will be turned into a leading research institution that plays a leading role in helping other museums regarding research, collection, preservation, and exhibition of specimens.

Rock ‘detained’ in central Vietnam
tuoitrenews.vn, 28 February
Police in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong are holding a huge precious piece of rock weighing up to 30 tons, recently excavated by a farmer in Dak Mil District while gardening, local authorities reported.
The value of the piece of rock is estimated at dozens of billions of dong (VND1 billion is equivalent to roughly $47,000), Hoang Xuan Vinh, a senior official at the district People’s Committee, said.
Regarding the value of the rock, Nguyen Huu Trung, head of the Mineral Office under the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said it belongs to the Canxedon variety, which has been formed in the process of geological weathering.

Reward for those reporting
littering, tourist bothering
tuoitrenews.vn, 1 March
Doan Ngoc Son, deputy chair of the Hai Chau District People’s Committee, said on Saturday that his committee will pay natives and tourists VND200,000 ($9.32) for each piece of accurate information on such behavior as littering, beggary, pestering tourists to buy wares, and unauthorized advertising in public places.
The informants will also be lauded in other forms, Son said.
He added that the local People’s Committee is poised to form a rapid action team which will operate all day long and set up a hotline to receive such information, starting this month.
Upon receipt of the information, the team will impose fines on the perpetrators.

Rips along beaches put bathers in peril
tuoitrenews.vn, 1 March
Two gorgeous beaches in central Vietnam are plagued by perilous rip currents, which have killed eight, including a foreign tourist, since January.
Bai Dai and Bai Tay Beaches in Nha Trang are home to the highest concentration of rips in Vietnam and most of them can be identified with the naked eye, Dr Le Dinh Mau, deputy head of the Oceanography Institute noted.
The beach sees the most vibrant rip activity during the transition time between summer and winter each year, he added.

Curdled oil found again
tuoitrenews.vn, 3 March
In early March, beaches in Vung Tau were covered with tons of clots of curdled oil that has become an annual phenomenon whose cause has yet to be identified.
According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the oil clots, a hazardous waste, cannot be re-used and must be collected for destruction.
The appearance of curdled oil along the coast of the province has taken place each of the past several years, usually during March and April, when the wind changes its direction from northeast to southwest.

US to provide for UXO removal
tuoitrenews.vn, 3 March
This year the U.S. government will grant $8 million for clearing unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Tri, Rose Gottemoeller, Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security for the U.S. State Department said.
Over the past 20 years, with funding from the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations have helped clear 8,399 hectares of land in Quang Tri and safely removed and destroyed 556,448 UXOs.
UXO-related accidents kill 1,500 people and maim another 2,300 every year.

Hanoi to build ‘smoke-free’ areas
tuoitrenews.vn, 4 March
The Hanoi government has requested that competent agencies take action to build models of smoke-free environments, including tourist sites and workplaces, for the sake of society and health.
The Vietnamese capital city will make available several non-smoking models, including ‘smoke-free tourist sites’, ‘smoke-free restaurants and hotels’, and ‘smoke-free offices’.
Similar models will be built in other public places such as trade centres, Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, and others.
Such smokeless models will contribute to promoting a civilized lifestyle in public places and bring beautiful images of the capital city – one of the country’s leading attractions – to both domestic and international visitors, the local government said.

Quang Binh may delay
high cave fees
Viet Nam News, 30 January
The Vietnam Administration of Tourism has suggested Quang Binh Province postpone any increase in the price of entrance tickets to local caves.
The move was made to settle opposition from travel agencies against the price hike.
Several weeks ago, authorities in the central province announced that cost of visiting the caves would be doubled and the new price of entrance ticket would be applied early in the New Year.
The decision angered hundreds of travel agents across the country, as tour programmes had been already sold according to the old prices. They found it difficult to explain to foreign tourists that the Vietnamese tourism mindset was that ‘more visitors meant higher costs’.

Salt water intrusion threatens
delta rice crops
Viet Nam News, 3 March
Saline intrusion is threatening thousands of hectares of rice crops in many coastal areas in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.
In Soc Trang Province, saline intrusion has occurred most severely in Long Phu District's Long Phu, Tan Hung and Tan Thanh communes and Long Phu town. Many rice plants that are blooming are facing a severe shortage of water.
The district Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said this year's saline intrusion had occurred a month earlier compared to normal years. It has prepared measures to maintain fresh water, but canals are silted up and cannot store water, he said.
In Tien Giang Province, salinity intrusion appeared 20 days early compared to last year, causing a shortage of fresh water for nearly 30,000 ha of rice in Go Cong Dong, Go Cong Tay and Cho Gao districts.

Allies to fight wildlife crime
Viet Nam News, 3 March
A new alliance formed to end wildlife crime, especially rhino horn trafficking, was launched on 2 March.
Officials of the newly launched Operation Game Change (OGC) project announced it would be run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Biodiversity Conservation Agency under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Apart from forging a new alliance against wildlife crime, the project would raise public awareness and spark a reduction in demand for illegal wildlife, while simultaneously improving bilateral and global ties in environmental security, officials said.
The launch marked Vietnam's observance of the World Wildlife Day (3 March).

Bitexco Tower is among ‘most
innovative buildings’
www.thanhniennews.com, 25 February
Bitexco Financial Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City, has been named in a list of the 50 most innovative buildings of the last 15 years.
According to the Council of Tall Buildings, the Chicago-based organization of architects and designers, the buildings included in the list had to challenge the ‘traditional typology of tall buildings in some way, through innovation in form, design, façade, environmental approach, or technologies’.
In 2013, the tower was also selected by CNN as one of the world's 25 greatest skyscrapers and icons of construction.

Phu Quoc named among
top honeymoon places
www.thanhniennews.com, 28 February
British popular travel site Rough Guides has named Vietnam’s biggest island Phu Quoc among the world’s best honeymoon destinations.
The top-20 list describes the country’s southern island as one of the most appealing honeymoon islands among abundant candidates in Asia.
The site suggested visitors to go beyond Phu Quoc to the ‘unspoilt’ An Thoi islands to the south, which have ideal waters for snorkelling.
Other honeymoon paradises listed include Treasure Beach of Jamaica, Santorini of Greece, Buenos Aires of Argentina, KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa, Venice of Italy, and Bagan of Myanmar.

72-year-old Japanese photographer travels Vietnam to capture birds
www.thanhniennews.com, 3 March
Ohsaku Eiichirou, 72-year-old Japanese photographer, spent two weeks visiting Vietnam during the Lunar New Year holiday and added to his portfolio nearly 400 new photos of 40 bird and 15 butterfly species in Vietnam.
He spent most of his time taking photos at Cat Tien National Park and in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Asked about differences between birds in Japan and Vietnam, Eiichirou pointed out a sad thing that he has observed.
‘Birds in Vietnam are very afraid of humans and can sneak away very fast. I think it is because many people here often keep them in cages and hunt them for food.’

Vietnam considers vehicle
confiscation to curb drunk driving

Thanh Nien News, 4 March
Drunk drivers in Vietnam with high blood alcohol levels could have their vehicles taken away permanently under a new rule being considered by the government.
The rule, proposed by the National Traffic Safety Committee, states that police officers can confiscate cars and motorbikes from drivers with high concentrations of blood alcohol, exceeding 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, or of breath alcohol, exceeding 0.4 mg per litre.
These drivers will also have their licenses suspended for two years and will have to retake another driving test after that.
Currently, vehicles of drunk drivers can only be impounded for a maximum of 30 days. The new penalties are expected to be approved this month.

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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