Vietnam parking lots like matchboxes ready to go ablaze

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A parking lot worker in Ho Chi Minh City smokes while arranging motorbikes. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre Two men are smoking as they write down parking numbers and collect changefrom customers at a parking lot near the crowded Cho Ray Hospital on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street. Another presses his burning cigarette between his fingers as he squeezes through hundreds of motorbikes to get one out. There are click sounds all over the lot as other customers flick their lighters for a smoke, under the … [Read more...]

Land dispute prompts Vietnamese farmers to attack cops

Truong Thi Sinh, 49, shows a bruise she sustained during a clash with police on April 10. Photo: Nguyen Dung

Farmers in northern Vietnam claim they attacked police and government officials last week because the officers insisted on seizing land that residents had worked hard to clear decades ago. "It used to be uninhabited sand dunes covered in shrubs," said Dao Viet Duc, 50, of Bac Son Commune in the north-central province of Ha Tinh. On Thursday (April 10), an angry mob of hundreds of people protesting a cemetery project in Ha Tinh's Thach Ha District attacked and injured nine police officers and … [Read more...]

Price instability threatens Vietnam’s salt harvesters

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Bac Lieu, often called the salt capital of Vietnam, contains 2,368 hectares of salt fields. Twenty years ago, a single kilogram of salt sold for the same amount as 10 kilograms of rice. Today, the opposite is true. A kilogram of salt fetches VND700-1,000 (3-4.7 U.S. cents); 10 kilograms are worth even less than a single kilogram of rice. The delta's salt harvesters must sell 50 kilograms of salt in order to buy a bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) in Hanoi. Early this year, the … [Read more...]

Hue bridge on fire

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Compagnie Carabosse, a group of French fire exhibitionists, lighted up the Truong Tien Bridge in Hue town with 4,000 oil lamps Friday night as part of an international festival that's underway in the imperial city. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Dong/VnExpress … [Read more...]

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

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The Sewol, carrying 476 passengers and crew, capsized on Wednesday on a journey from the port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju. The 69-year-old captain, Lee Joon-seok, was arrested in the early hours of Saturday on charges of negligence along with two other crew members, including the third mate who was steering at the time of the capsize. Prosecutors later said the mate was steering the Sewol through the waters where it listed and capsized - for the first time in her … [Read more...]

Ferry families vent rage

Grief spills over into anger as South Korean coastguard officials meet families of those still missing after Wednesday's ferry capsize. Reuters … [Read more...]

Chinese migrant shooting: injured border guards recovering

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"Most of them were hit in the face with desk legs and rifle butt… but their condition is stable now," Colonel Le Tien Thanh, Commander of the Border Guard of Quang Ninh Province told Thanh Nien. The shooting took place after Vietnamese authorities arrested a group of 16 illegal Chinese migrants, including four women and two children, at Bac Phong Sinh border gate in Quang Ninh early Friday. Around noon, while Vietnamese officers were filling out the necessary forms for their return to China, … [Read more...]

Hanoi push-up guy has his scooter stolen

Once upon a time, an athletic dude in Hanoi loves get off his scooter to do some push-up whenever he stops at red light - until some other dudes decided that he is so fit he can run himself and doesn't need a bike. Video recorded in a street in Hoang Mai District, Hanoi. The accuracy of the event was not verified, and some suspected that this was just a hoax. Thanh Nien News … [Read more...]

Distraught families of missing South Korean ferry passengers await news

Distraught family members of ferry passengers urge authorities to find their loved ones, as the search continues for 268 people still missing. Reuters … [Read more...]

High rents and poor sales, a double-whammy for Vietnam retailers

Empty shops at Lucky Plaza on Nguyen Hue Street, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre    Le Ngoc Thang runs a fashion store at shopping mall Lucky Plaza on Nguyen Hue Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

He opens only at 1 p.m. since there are few customers at other times of the day. "If I can sell anything, I'll die," he says, a Vietnamese way of saying he has no hope of selling anything. Afternoon is when people working in offices in the building break for lunch and spend some time walking around. But these days only a few dozens stop by a shop in a day, and mostly to window-shop. "They come since it is air-conditioned, and four or five visitors only buy one item between them." While … [Read more...]