What The Papers Say Nov-Dec 2014

(No.10, Vol.4,Nov-Dec 2014 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

No more bile
www.thanhniennews.com, 22 October
The last two bear bile farms in Halong Bay have finally been closed down.
According to Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV), the two had continued to defy the law, selling bear bile to tourists though authorities had banned it and had shut down four local bear farms in 2013.
This year, the provincial People’s Committee ordered the two to not to sell bile to tourists and set up a taskforce comprised of officials from related departments and ENV volunteers.
The bear bile tourism industry in Halong Bay began around 2007, after six bear farms were established. They would receive bus-loads of tourists, mainly Korean, to witness the extraction of bile from a live bear before being encouraged to buy the bile and other bear products, all illegal.

Cable car in world’s largest cave planned
www.thanhniennews.com, 23 October
A local resort developer has received the green light to build a $212-million cable car system inside the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, in north central Vietnam.
The route will start in Tien Son Cave and go through various openings of Son Doong, which has at least 150 individual caves, a dense subterranean jungle, and several underground rivers.
Meanwhile, on 1 September, Quang Binh authorities suspended tours in Son Doong but said they would reopen the cave next January for eight tours a month with around 10 people each.

3rd best place for expats
www.thanhniennews.com, 23 October
Vietnam is the third best place in Asia for expats looking to improve their quality of life, with 62 percent saying they strongly associate the country with a high quality of life, according to a survey released by HSBC in October.
Around 52 percent of expats in Vietnam said they earn more than they would have at home, compared with a global average of 53 percent, according to the 7th Expat Explorer survey, which polled nearly 9,300 people from over 100 countries online.

$250 million needed for dioxin clearance
tuoitrenews.vn, 22 October
A seminar was held by the Management Board for the Project for Handling Dioxin Hotspots in Vietnam and the National Steering Board for Tackling Consequences of Toxic Chemicals, the bodies in charge of coping with the consequences of toxic chemicals used by the U.S. troops during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) in October.
The event is aimed to assess the reality of dioxin contamination at the Bien Hoa Airport, formerly a major military airbase of the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War, and discuss what should be done to clear the chemical, a highly toxic chemical compound that can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems and damage to the immune system.
In order to strictly handle the entire soil contaminated with dioxin at the Bien Hoa Airport, the project needs to have a budget of at least $250 million, Associate Professor Le Ke Son, director of the project, said.

Sexual bribery exists in Vietnam, officially
tuoitrenews.vn, 30 October
Giving bribes in the form of sex to people in positions of power absolutely exists in Vietnam, an official said Wednesday at a conference in Hanoi.
Nguyen Doan Khanh, deputy chief of the Central Internal Affairs Commission, told local media at the conference on perfecting regulations on bribery that sex is now offered as a bribe to officials in the country.
‘According to international experts, sex is considered a type of non-material interests offered to officials as a bribe,’ the official said.
Many international judiciary experts have recommended that Vietnam further amend its Penal Code, which was revised in June 2009, to include ‘sexual bribery’ as a crime, the official said.

Portions of Saigon Tax Trade Centre may be preserved
english.vietnamnet.vn, 28 October
HCM City authorities are considering the preservation of parts of the more than 100-year-old Saigon Tax Trade Centre, including the bottom of the stairs, the mosaic floor, and the handrails or carved balustrades.
The building, one of the oldest shopping centres in HCM City, is being torn down to make way for the metro construction and a new building.
The proposal to save portions of the building came after foreign diplomats proposed solutions to preserve part of the building.
The HCM City People's Committee has asked the local Department of Planning and Architecture to coordinate with the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to conduct research and offer suggestions on the preservation of parts of the Saigon Tax Trading Centre.

First Vietnamese film on bisexuality screened in HCM City
Viet Nam News, 14 October
The first Vietnamese movie about bisexual love, Lac Gioi (Paradise in Heart) produced by Tincom Media, had its premier showing on 12 October in Ho Chi Minh City, with 800 people attending.
Featuring relationships between a bisexual man, a gay man and a straight woman, the film is a rare event in Vietnam, where action and comedy films dominate.
After the film was shown, it received strong support from the audience, especially the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT).

Experts unearth Champa artefacts
Viet Nam News, 18 October
Numerous rare Champa artefacts have been found at the excavation site of Champa tower relics in the Rung Cam forest of a central province.
The Binh Dinh Museum said the excavation work has unearthed about 600 artefacts, including a broken Kala (time god) statue, Shiva god's hand, Champa reliefs and ancient terracotta artefacts.
Hoa revealed that the terracotta items showed signs of Vietnamese, Cham and Chinese origins. The items also include bronze artefacts that have never been seen at Champa tower relics, he added.
Excavation for the artefacts, dating from the 12th to the 13th centuries, was carried out at the province's Binh Nghi Commune from August till early October.

My Lai survivor writes book
Viet Nam News, 20 October
Pham Thanh Cong, 57, was one of only a dozen survivors of 1968's infamous My Lai massacre. More than four decades later, he has written a book about the mass murder, in which American soldiers killed 504 unarmed civilians.
In Ky Uc Lang Hong (Pink Village's Memory), scheduled for publication in December, he recalls what took place in the village. Cong's mother and six brothers were killed by American soldiers in their house, while he was seriously injured but eventually saved by his father. The book will be sold at the Son My Vestige Site and museums nationwide.

Champa item recognized as national treasure
Viet Nam News, 21 October
The central province of Quang Nam has proposed that the Mukhalinga, a statue of the Hindu god Shiva that was unearthed at the My Son Sanctuary site in 2012, be officially recognised as a national treasure.
The yellow-brown stone statue, which dates back to between the 7th and 8th centuries, is 146.5cm tall and 41.5cm wide. It has three parts shaped like a circle, an octagon and a square. The top part is a sculpture of the head of Shiva.
In Hindu mythology, Mukhalinga or Mukhalingam (literally "lingam with a face") is a lingam with one or more human faces. The lingam is an iconic representation of the Hindu god Shiva and is sometimes interpreted as a phallic symbol.

Oldest brothers in Vietnam are aged 102, 105
Viet Nam Net English, 3 November
Two men in Quang Tri province, central Vietnam, have been recognized as the oldest brothers in the country. They are 102 and 105 years old.
Mr Tran Dinh Thang (born 1909) and his brother Tran Dinh Lien (born 1912) live in Dong Luat Village of Thai Vinh Commune, Vinh Linh District. Their younger sister, who is still alive, was born in 1916.
Both men’s wives died a long time ago. The only daughter of Mr Thang is nearly 60 years old. Mr Lien has four children; the oldest is 72 years old.

Vietnam protests Taiwan’s live firing in Truong Sa
Tuoi Tre News Nov 4
Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan’s live firing on Ba Binh Island in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago is a serious violation of Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty in the East Sea. The live firing on the island was conducted from November 3 to 4. The Vietnamese ministry said it threatened peace, stability, maritime security and safety, further complicating the East Sea situation.
‘Vietnam strongly opposes the act and demands that Taiwan immediately stop the illegitimate act and prevent similar occurrences in the future,’ it said.
Vietnam claims it has sufficient legal and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over both Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos.

Hoi An revives silk weaving with new centre
Viet Nam News, 6 November
The UNESCO world heritage site of Hoi An, always a popular destination, has recently added a silk-weaving centre to its attractions.
The silk centre has been fully restored. A showroom of silk products and a high-end restaurant have been praised by tourists.
Silk farming and weaving, based around ancient mulberry trees, continue to live on. The two-hectare area cultivates 40 strains of mulberry, including some that the former rulers of the area, the Cham, used to produce the best quality silk.

Health ministry asks other agencies to join in Ebola prevention
Tuoi Tre News, 5 November
The Ministry of Health has called for urgent coordination from other ministries to take measures to prevent the spread in Vietnam of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa.
The ministry on November 3 issued an urgent official letter to the ministries of Public Security, Foreign Affairs, and Culture, Sports and Culture, asking for a close coordination in monitoring visitors from the Ebola-hit areas.
The health ministry also sent an urgent message to the Ministry of Transport asking it to direct all airports to arrange isolation rooms, and isolation areas at international airports to receive suspected Ebola patients, if any.

Vietnam approves two more
GM corn strains

Thanh Nien News November 8
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has just issued biological safety certificates to two varieties of genetically modified corn, marking the second and third such approvals in Vietnam.
The GM corn strains were approved after a careful assessment by government experts charged with protecting the country's environment, agricultural sector and public health.
The strain, GA21 is produced by Syngenta Vietnam, and NK603 is of Dekalb Vietnam (a local subsidiary of Monsanto).

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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