Vietnam Heritage What the papers say Jan-Feb 2013

(No.1, Vol.3, Jan-Feb 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

A small victory for same-sex marriages
Tien Phong, 13 December, 2012, page 11
A Government Office’s delegation on implementation of marriage and family law proposed in December, 2012, that same-sex marriages be recognized. The current law bans same-sex marriages. An official at the Ministry of Justice responded, saying that the law will be revised so that the term ‘banned’ will be replaced with ‘not recognized’. It is estimated there are 120,000 same-sex couples in Vietnam.

Sick elephants to get care
Tien Phong, 13 December, 2012, page 2
The People’s Council of Dak Lak Province, in the Central Highlands, passed a resolution to provide support for both the treatment of sick elephants and the taking care of pregnant elephants.
The province is now home to 51 domesticated elephants that have not given birth in the past ten years.

Yok Don to be home to a different kind of plant
Tien Phong 13 December, 2012, page 8
A hydro-electric power plant of 26MW is being planned for the Yok Don National Park. The project, which has been given green light by relevant departments and awaits an environmental impact assessment before it starts building, is estimated to take up 329 hectares in the core zone of the park. There are however doubts if the plant could yield profit.

Water rights all wet
Tien Phong, 22 December, 2012, page 15
The new law regarding water resources comes into effect on the first day of 2013, recognizing for the first time the right of communities to voice their opinions in projects related to water resources where they live. Yet days before the law comes into effect, authorities are still confused as how to translate the right into specific guidelines.

Foreign firms use tricky tax technique
Tien Phong, 8 January
Tax authorities say that many foreign-invested enterprises use the price transfer technique to evade tax. Suspects include multinationals such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Metro Cash & Carry, and Big C. Firms deduct the cost of raw material (imported from their mother company, based overseas) at higher-than-actual values, while reporting lower values for their finished products. Thus the companies based in Vietnam suffer loss while the mother company makes profit.

Asian countries dominate Vietnam’s visitor list
english.vietnamnet.vn, 28 December, 2012
Visitors to Vietnam in 2012 numbered over 6,647,700, an increase of 9.5 per cent over 2011, according the General Statistics Office.
This is the highest figure of arrivals to the country ever recorded.
Of the total, more than four million came as tourists, an increase of 7.3 per cent. 1.166 million came for business (up 16.2 per cent) while close to 1.150 million came to visit relatives (up 14.3 per cent).
China topped the list with 1,428 million arrivals followed by South Korea and Japan.

Football fails to score
english.vietnamnet.vn, 17 December, 2012
Massive retreat of football investors in a short amount of time has caused Vietnamese football to fall into a severe crisis. In less than two years, eight investors gave up football for a variety of reasons.
Vietnam’s football depends largely on funds from investors rather than ticket sales and advertising.

This bunker never busted
english.vietnamnet.vn, 20 December, 2012
A secret war bunker used by leaders of the Vietnam People's Army during the Vietnam war opened in December, 2012 to the public for the first time.
The bunker, located in the Thang Long Citadel Complex in downtown Hanoi, was built in 1966 with cement blocks weighing a total of 1,000 cubic metres and it has been claimed that it can provide shelter from atomic bombs. It was hidden beneath a communications department building, which was intentionally destroyed in order to mislead American bombers.

Ancient musical devices
Lao Dong, 18 December, 2012, page 5
Last month, Phu Yen Province presented in December, 2012, its unique stone instruments, including a lipthophone and a flute to a UNESCO representative in Vietnam, in a bid for UNESCO’s recognition of the instruments as world heritage. The Tuy An lipthophone, discovered in 1990, is believed to be 2,500 years old.

New year, same mess
Lao Dong, 22 December, page 1
As many as one thousand people waited overnight at Saigon Railway Station to buy a ticket to visit their home town during the lunar New Year.
The surge in demand during the holiday is to be expected. And yet, every year the railway station is thrown into a chaos as though an unexpected problem had arisen.
While it is difficult to buy a ticket from the station, there are still many being sold on the black market.

Fossilized mammoth teeth found
dangcongsan.vn, 12 December, 2012
Archaeologist Vu The Long from the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology said that among hundreds of fossilized animal teeth and bones that have been found in Lang Son Province, in the far north, there are the remains of mammoths, elephants, rhinoceros, monkeys and many other kinds of animals, now extinct.
Dr Vu The Long said the fossilized mammoth teeth might date to about 18 to 20 thousand years ago.

Traditional culture not considered heritage yet
Thanh Nien, 7 January, page 15
The Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism announced in January a list of 33 items of national intangible cultural heritage. Most of them fall in the performing arts, festivals and belief systems. However, none is from folk knowledge. Experts say the traditional medicine recipe of the Dao people in Sapa and epics of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands as well as many other works in the form of folk songs, idioms, parables, fairy tales, and poems are worthy to be included.

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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