What The Papers Say Mar-Apr 2014

(No.2, Vol.4, Mar-April 2014 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Vietnamese cry ‘fowl’
14 February
Vietnam has banned the import of poultry from China after the FAO and WHO sounded a warning that the new and virulent H7N9 bird flu strain could enter the country from China at any time.
The virus has infected fowls and people in Guangxi, which shares a border with four Vietnamese provinces.
The virus was first detected in China in March last year and has since killed 73 out of 330 people who contracted it, including 130 this year.

Good news for the
vietnamnews.vn, 24 February
Students with severe disabilities will be allowed to enter universities and colleges without taking examinations, according to a recent joint circular on educational policies.
The school admissions will be based upon candidates' school records in high school, as well as their health conditions and the requirements at each college and university.
Disabled students will also be exempted from some subjects, be prioritized in studying results, tuition fees, scholarships and fees for learning tools.

Cookie-cutter cuisine
Thanh Nien News, 14 February & New York Times, 7 February
McDonald’s, the fast-food giant, which has restaurants in more than 100 countries, opened its first Vietnam location in February.
KFC opened in Vietnam in 1997, two years after the country normalized relations with the United States. There are now 134 KFC locations and 34 Pizza Hut locations in the country. American-style Asian fast-food chains, like Lotteria from South Korea and Jollibee from the Philippines, have slowly introduced restaurants in a few major cities.

Sudden death
18 February
Deputy Minister of Public Security Pham Quy Ngo, alleged to have received $510,000 in bribes at a recent high-profile corruption trial, died of cancer in February.
Senior Lieutenant General Ngo, a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, headed a team that investigated wrongdoings which resulted in losses of billions of dollars to the state exchequer at the state-owned shipping group Vinalines .
Former Vinalines chairman Duong Chi Dung, who was arrested after fleeing the country and sentenced to death last December for embezzlement, alleged that Ngo had tipped him of his arrest in advance in return for two payments totalling $510,000.

Jade district?
Vietnam should establish red-light districts as a way to control prostitution, Chung A, former deputy chairman of the National Committee for Prevention and Control of AIDS, told a conference on measures to prevent and control prostitution in February. He said that while prostitution is not recognized as a legal profession in Vietnam, a series of ‘sensitive services’ - a common term used for businesses that can be easily abused for prostitution activities like massage parlors, hotels, or karaoke bars - are licensed and thus flourishing.
Prostitutes, once caught, face administrative fines ranging $14 up to $189, which, according to A, would not deter them from relapsing into the illegal business.
According to the Department for Prevention and Control of Social Ills, there are currently around 32,700 sex workers in Vietnam, up 9.3 percent compared to 2012.

Hoi An shifts into high gear
english.vietnamnet.vn, 21 February
From 1 April, all officials and government employees of Hoi An ancient town will have to go to work on bicycles.
Employees of the Party Committee of Hoi An will have to go to office by bicycles from 15 March, officials of communes and wards from 20 March and employees of other state agencies from 1 April.
The use of bikes, according to the Hoi An authorities, is to contribute to environmental protection and to build Hoi An as an ecological, cultural and tourism city.
There are over 1,600 people working in party and government agencies in Hoi An. Hoi An is also the first city in Vietnam to launch the event ‘Car Free Day’ in 2012.

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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