Vietnam to allow greater foreign stakes in banks

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A man walks past the State Bank of Vietnam in Hanoi. Vietnam is changing rules to allow foreign investors bigger stakes in local banks in its latest move to rebuild a financial sector battered by bad debt, according to the country's prime minister. The government will soon issue a decree to permit foreigners to buy stakes "above the current 30 percent ceiling", Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was quoted as saying in a government statement late on Monday. He did not elaborate. The 30-percent cap covers total foreign shareholdings and limits a single foreign strategic investor to a one-fifth stake. That has proved unattractive for many foreign lenders which see little incentive in a minority share and limited control of banks requiring restructuring and recapitalisation. "At least the policy would help expand the market because with the current 30-percent limit for foreign ownership, Vietnamese banks will be out of sight of financial investors," said Trinh Hoai Giang of Ho Chi Minh … [Read more...]

Major events this week Apr. 20 – 25

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Concert with Parallel Asteroid and Musicians of Domdom Wed 22 Apr 2015, 8 pm L'Espace 24 Tràng Tiền, Hà Nội DomDom-The Hub for experimental music in collaboration with L'Espace -Institut français- proudly present: Concert with PARALLEL ASTEROID and YOUNG MUSICIANS OF DOMDOM. "Parallel Asteroid": Two musicians, two styles, one vision. The duo combines experimental, acoustic sounds with free form improvisations. The musicians are Cao Thanh Lan originally from Hanoi, Vietnam at the piano, prepared piano, objects and Gregor Siedl from Austria on saxophone and Game Calls. Cao Thanh Lan has a strong classical contemporary music background and Gregor Siedl is a jazz musician with roots in improvised and experimental music. Their common ground is free improvisation with vigorous use of extended techniques and new forms of expression. The duo is actively connected to the thriving music scenes of Vienna, Berlin, Cologne and Brussels. This time Parallel Asteroid returns to Vietnam by … [Read more...]

Only in Vietnam: Taking the bride home by tractor and pick-up truck

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VietNamNet Bridge - A wedding in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak used five tractors decorated with 1,000 balloons to pick up the bride, attracting a great deal of local attention. The wedding took place on April 12 in the district of Cu Kuin. The groom is Nguyen Xuan Huy, who lives in Dak Lak, and the bride is Thuy Duong, from Ho Chi Minh City. Xuan Huy said he used tractors not to attract public attention, but to have great memories of the great day in his life. Huy and his friends hung more than 1,000 balloons to the tractors, which were borrowed from his neighbors. On April 9, a man used 18 pick-up trucks to take his bride home. … [Read more...]

Musical show delves into population shifts

City folk: Band The Six Tones perform during the Arrival Cities. The show, which deals with the dissolution of the relationship between tradition and urbanisation, will be performed for the first time in Viet Nam at Hong Ha Theatre on April 4 and 5. — Photo courtesy of The Six Tones

VietNamNet Bridge – A musical show dealing with the fading of tradition as urbanisation approaches will be staged in Ha Noi on April 4 and 5. Titled Arrival Cities, the work is a joint project between band The Six Tones and Swedish artist Jorgen Dahlqvist who made a documentary from recordings and interviews with people in transition zones in the city. The work was inspired by Canadian journalist Doug Saunders, who discusses 21st century migration in his book entitled Arrival Cities (2010). Building on research on five continents, his book chronicles the final shift of human populations from rural to urban areas, which Saunders argues is the most important development of the 21st-century. He also argues that this migration creates neighbourhoods and slums on urban margins that are linked both to villages and to the core cities, suggesting that the fate of these centres is crucial to the fortune of a nation. Arrival Cities is built around the life of Luu Ngoc Nam, an actor … [Read more...]

International Francophonie Day marked

Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc presents the State President’s Friendship Order to OIF and the Agency of Francophone University(AUF) in recognition of their contributions to the relationship between Vietnam and the OIF over the past 20 years.

(VOVworld)- On Friday, the Vietnamese Foreign Minisrtry and the Organization of International Francophone (OIF) held a meeting to mark International Francophonie Day, which falls on March 20. In his address, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc praised the Francophone Community’s contributions to promoting solidarity and cooperation for peace and development between member countries. Mr. Ngoc said Vietnam treasured its cooperation with the Francophone Community, a prioritized partner that helps Vietnam implement its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of relations, and international integration. Anissa Barrak, Regional Representative of OIF’s Asia Pacific Region highlighted cooperation between Vietnam and OIF in recent years and acknowledged Vietnam’s position in the organization. On the occasion, Deputy Foreign Minister Ngoc presented the State President’s Friendship Order to OIF and the Agency of … [Read more...]

7th graders suspended one week for brutally beating classmate

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Nguyen Thanh Nguyen (C), director of Tra Vinh Department of Education and Training, announces the decision on March 16. Photo: Dinh Tuyen Three 7th graders have been suspended for a week after a video went viral showing they involved in a brutal attack on a classmate at a school in Tra Vinh Province. The students include Duong Thuy Vy, the class president who instructed the attack on the student, identified only as P; Lam Tran Binh Trong who threw a stack of plastic stools on the victim; and Nguyen Thuy Duong, who recorded the movie. The disciplinary measure was part of a decision announced Monday by the provincial Department of Education and Training, which also suspended Phan Thanh Nguyen, principal of Ly Tu Trong Junior High School, and his deputy Vo Thanh Vu for a month. Six other students involved in the attack were officially rebuked. Vo Thanh Tat, the class head teacher, was suspended indefinitely. Nguyen Thanh Nguyen, director of Tra Vinh Department of Education and … [Read more...]

Art & Entertainment News 27/2

Party features finest reggae music Once a month, The Skank The Tank – the Reggae Sound System based in Ha Noi, provides the finest reggae selections from the early 60's to the future dub sounds at CAMA ATK. Tomorrow, the music party which has been running for the past two years will return to the venue. DJ Mr Gonjaman will be playing a selection of LPs and teaming up with some live performances. Put on your skanking shoes and come to dance. The party will take place from 8-12pm at 73A Mai Hac De Street. Free entry. French films screen next month The Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF) will host a series of French films in March. They include Et maintenant, on va ou (Where Do We Go Now?) which won the People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, 2 Automnes 3 Hivers (2 Autumns, 3 Winters), Vandal and Les Beaux Jours (Bright Days Ahead). The films, which will be shown with Vietnamese subtitles, will be scheduled at 3pm every Saturday. … [Read more...]

Young artist shares thoughts through paintings

Some of the works that will be on display in Dương's exhibition, entitled Nhin qua cua so

Nineteen of the latest oil paintings by Vietnamese artist Dương Thùy Dương will be displayed at the French Institute in Ha Noi from February 27. The exhibition, entitled Nhin qua cửa sổ (Looking through the window), will give the public a chance to understand better the profound thoughts of a young artist and a young mother. "I love the mornings, after my children go school, when I stay at home alone. With a hot coffee in my hand, I listen to the magical and melancholic melodies of Rachmaninov, and look through the window. It has a large frame and through it, I can see the endless green space full of summer sunshine, the falling leaves of autumn, the grey and sad days of winter, and the fragile beauty of spring," Dương confided. "I love sitting down like this, thinking and thinking. Nothing is important, just simple thoughts of a normal person, a normal woman and a normal mother." "When the coffee becomes cold, the music stops and the four seasons pass…I begin to paint," she … [Read more...]

The kind-hearted expatriates

Ms. Huong and Mr. Binh presenting gifts to the disabled children in Tuy Hoa city

Tet festival is etched in the memories of expatriates who send their hearts to their native land place with a constant memoirs. As for Vietnamese overseas, the nostalgia is sharper. From thousands of miles away, their feeling towards the homeland is expressed through the warm shares. Ms. Han Thu Ha, living in the U.S, confided, "From Phu Yen Newspaper online, I’ve read the column ‘Together relieving A/O pain’ about the desperate circumstance of the family of the elderly Tran Thi Guong (aged 90, living in Phong Nien village, Hoa Thang commune, Phu Hoa district), I feels so sorry for her. My relatives and I send VND 20 million to help her". Despite being 90 years of age, everyday, she has to care her two daughters (Miss Nguyen Thi Ngan, Miss Nguyen Thi Nhung) with three meals by putting each spoon of porridge or rice. The two daugthers cannot move, just lying in bed; their faces are bewildered by sequelae of Agent Orange/ dioxin. A few years ago, from dawn every … [Read more...]

Romantic novels can kill real-life romance

VietNamNet Bridge – Nguyen Ngoc Truc, a freelancer, can be seen sitting in front of her home television screen, rapt in attention as she watches Ben Nhau Tron Doi (Being Together the Whole Life), which is currently on air. Ben Nhau Tron Doi, a show adapted from a popular Chinese romantic novel with the same name, has recently gained widespread popularity among domestic viewers, especially females. Truc is among a group of Vietnamese readers, who mostly devote their reading time to this genre. "You can call me a true admirer of this genre. I have read more than 30 novels in this genre, and I never get sick of it. I bet many other ladies will be sitting like me at this time, watching the drama, as it is one of nine novels in the genre that have been adapted as a TV drama," Truc said. The novel tells the story of a romantic and long-lasting relationship between an extremely attractive boy and a plain looking girl, whom he befriends in high school. Eight years later, when the girl … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s Schools Shed Light on Opportunities for Innovation

Mc. Donald introduces students to the US university system.

Christopher Mark McDonald now works as head of the Olympia Schools (TOS) in Hanoi, a comprehensive educational system established as an extension of the Dream House Educational System. The TOS system is comprised of Olympia High School, Olympia Middle School, and Olympia Primary School. Under the management of Christopher Mark McDonald, these three private schools provide children in Hanoi with a high-quality, international-standard education which are based on the US educational model. Besides meeting all standards and fulfilling all requirements of the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, these schools focus on fostering academic, creative, and intellectual growth as well as the individual talents of Vietnamese youth. Therefore, the constituents here access not only knowledge, but also practical education and real-life skills which will help them feel more confident and independent in their life outside the classroom. According to McDonald there is no other school in … [Read more...]

Social News 5/2

HCM City to use loans for kindergartens The HCM City People's Committee has approved the use of bank loans to build 72 public kindergartens worth a total of more than VND 2.7 trillion (US$128 million). The public kindergartens will be built by the end of the year. Of the public kindergarten projects, Cu Chi District accounts for the largest number (14), followed by Binh Tan District (nine) and Binh Chanh and Can Gio districts (seven each). To speed up the progress of building public kindergartens, the HCM City People's Committee has decided to start a bank loan programme to build public kindergartens. The move represents the city's determination to speed up the progress of building kindergartens, according to Nguyen Dinh Thai Chau, the municipal Department of Education and Training's Finance and Planning Division. Phan Thi Thang, deputy director of the municipal Department of Finance, said last year the city had 117 public kindergarten projects that needed capital for … [Read more...]

Young Vietnamese, tourists take up riding tandem bikes

A pair of young racers are seen in this 2013  Tuoi Tr e photo fixing their tandem bike right on the track.

Apart from tourists who pamper themselves with tandem bike rides around scenic spots, young Vietnamese, particularly students, have been keen on the sport in recent years. Tandem bikes are readily available for rent at many tourist spots nationwide, especially coastal towns, such as Vung Tau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in the south, and Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh Province and Da Nang in the central region. Da Lat, in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa are among the localities with booming tandem bike rental services. Tourists, including foreigners, can easily rent such bikes for VND10,000-20,000 (US$0.47- $0.93) per hour. The sight of foreign couples or parents and kids enjoying themselves on tandem bikes is now quite common at such tourist attractions across Vietnam. Services offering tandem bikes for rent in Ho Chi Minh City have also proliferated in recent times. One such place is the so-called Ho Chi Minh … [Read more...]

Korean Culture Classes for Vietnamese Wives

Each class has about 32 participants who are the wives-to-be in South Korea. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

We visited a class in Thanh Xuan District at a time when Vietnamese wives were learning how to prepare Kimchi (picked napa cabbage), a traditional dish of South Korea, with instructions from a native teacher. Here the instructor covered everything from the prosaic to the paramount, from Kimchi and snowy winters, to emergency numbers and dual citizenship. The participants were also provided with a "Guide to Korean Life". The booklet is filled with photos of traditional clothing, instructions on the differences between Korean and Vietnamese child-rearing, tips to deal with in-laws, and a reminder that having a refrigerator doesn’t mean one should keep food for more than a week. Seeing their eagerness for each lesson in class, we acknowledged their desire for a happy life when going with their husbands to this country which is very different from Vietnam culturally. Bui Thi Huong, a participant of the class, talked with us while preparing Kimchi. For her and those who are going … [Read more...]

Authorities moot curtailing of peripheral areas of Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay

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Authorities of a northern Vietnamese province, which is home to UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay, proposed on Monday that the heritage’s peripheral areas be reduced for better management. Nguyen Van Doc, chair of the People’s Committee of Quang Ninh Province, expressed the proposition at a meeting on Monday, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism reported on its website on Wednesday. He added the zoning of the site’s peripheral areas was conducted over 10 years ago, before the province’s capital city of Ha Long experienced robust economic and tourism growth. The current peripheral areas include the area around Cat Ba Bay in neighboring Hai Phong City and the area spanning from National Highway 18 to Hon Gai District, also in Quang Ninh Province, which is home to several urban and tourist construction projects as well as bustling mining activity. Tuan Chau Corp., a local conglomerate late last week petitioned the provincial People’s Committee … [Read more...]

Illegal aquaculture threatens Ha Long Bay

Floating houses in Cua Dai Fishing village in Ha Long Bay.

Efforts to prevent local residents from living on houseboats in Ha Long Bay have largely failed due to a lack of aquaculture planning and management. Their continued presence has some concerned that they will continue to contribute to Ha Long Bay's growing pollution problem. According to the Bay Management Board, some households were allocated resettlement houses but still came back to live on their houseboats. Other Ha Long bay occupants are households that already have houses inland and those who are not registered as city residents. Last year, authorities of Ha Long City moved 364 houseboats on Ha Long Bay to new resettlement areas to tackle the worsening pollution situation at the UNESCO world heritage site. These houseboats not only do aquaculture activities but also provide unofficial tourism services such as selling seafood products to tourists. Local authorities set up inspection teams to check the houseboats' operations. Recent inspections found that most of the … [Read more...]

Property developer wants to build villas on Ha Long Bay

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VietNamNet Bridge – Tuan Chau Group, a powerful real estate developer, plans to pour 20 million cubic meters of soil into the Ha Long Bay over 400 hectares of water surface to build three flower-shaped villas on the sea. The group also wants to develop a 27-hole golf course on an area of 14 hectares, expand the road linking the mainland to the proposed Tuan Chau Island, and build a bridge 120 meters long. The group reportedly has asked for permission to adjust the Tuan Chau Tourism & Entertainment Complex project seven times. The latest suggestion by the Tuan Chau Group has stirred up the public because of the project’s large scale and the planned encroachment on Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage site. The Ha Long Bay Management Board said the details of the project on the Tuan Chau Tourism & Entertainment Complex in 2011 were updated in a master plan on Ha Long Bay conservation and development. The board said that since the complex is located in the buffer … [Read more...]

EVENTS SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 20-31 (daily updated)

Symphony Concert with Spanish Conductor David Gómez Ramírez Fri 30 Jan 2015, 8 pm Vietnam National Academy of Music 77 Hao Nam, Hanoi You are invited to a symphony concert with: Conductor: David Gómez Ramírez Piano Soloist: Vu Ngoc Linh and the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra Program L.V. Beethoven Overture Egmont P.I. Tchaikovsky Concerto No 1 for piano and orchestra Interval F. Mendelssohn Syphony No.3 About Conductor David Gómez Ramírez David Gómez Ramírez is one of the most promising young conductor and composer in Spain. He has been director of the Lira Saguntina Symphony Orchestra in Valencia, as well as director of the Conservatory of Music "Joaquin Rodrigo" in Sagunto, Valencia since 2007. He has been the resident conductor in Seville and Coutances (France) Orchestre. During the past seven years, he has conducted all the major Spanish orchestras and he appears as a guest conductor in Europe (Italy, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, in Asia and in South … [Read more...]

Six more golds for Vietnam at AUG 17

Jakarta , December 19 (VNA)- Vietnamese athletes on December 18 snatched six gold and one silver medals at the ongoing ASEAN University Games 17 (AUG17) in Palembang , Indonesia , increasing their total number of medals to 23. Among the gold medals, two came from Pencak Silat artists Nguyen Thi Thu Ha and Duong Thi Anh Nguyet in the women’s performance doubles and their teammates Vu Quoc Viet, Hoang Quang Trung and Nguyen The Hien in the men’s team performance. In the track and field, Vu Thi Huong, Nguyen Thi Huyen, Quach Thi Lan and Nguyen Thi Thuy brought home the third gold medal in the women’s 4X100m relay while the fourth was bagged by Quach Thi Lan, Nguyen Thi Huyen, Do Thi Thao and Nguyen Thi Thuy the women’s 4x400m relay. The remaining two golds were pocketed by Duong Van Thai and Do Thi Thao in the men’s 1,500m track and the women’s 1,500m track, respectively. The AUG is held every two years by the ASEAN countries in rotation. This … [Read more...]