Number of foreign tourists to Vietnam bounces back

PANO - The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam hit almost 600,000 in July, up by 12.1% compared to June, an increase of 5.1% in comparison to the same period last year, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. This is the first time after 13 consecutive months of decline that the number has bounced back. Foreign visitors to Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: VNA In the first seven months of 2015, there was an increase in the number of visitors from ten markets, namely the Republic of Korea, Finland, Singapore, Spain, Italy, the US, Taiwan, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. During the period, the number of domestic tourists reached more than 43 million, bringing the total turnover to over VND 214 trillion, up by 1.5% compared to the same period in 2014. Translated by Thuy Duong … [Read more...]

ASEAN has always been a top priority in foreign policy of Vietnam: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh addressing the event. Photo: vnexpress.net

PANO - The ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of Vietnam’s admission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (July 28, 1995 - July 28, 2015) and the 48th ASEAN foundation day (August 8, 1967 - August 8, 2015) was held in Hanoi on July 28th. Addressing the anniversary, the Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Mayerfas quoted his Former Foreign Minister Ali Alatas’ words as confirming that the entry of Vietnam "is a motivation for ASEAN" And highly valued the tireless efforts and contributions of Vietnam to the network, to turn it into the prestigious and highly flexible association it is today. For his part, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh underlined that in its foreign policy Vietnam has always prioritized relations with ASEAN over the past 20 years, and actively contributed to building a close-knit and united ASEAN bloc. The Vietnamese official stressed that Vietnam would try its best to help build a stronger and united ASEAN … [Read more...]

Deputy Defence Minister hosts US Ambassador, opens GPOI workshop

Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh receiving US mbassador Ted Osius

PANO - Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defence Minister, on July 27, received US Ambassador Ted Osius. The US ambassador expressed his respect for the wounded soldiers and martyrs and sent his best regards to Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh. General Vinh thanked Ted Osius for his consideration, saying that General Phung Quang Thanh placed stress on the implementation of the contents agreed between himself and US Defence Minister Ashon Carter. The Vietnamese general affirmed he highly values US support in the relief of the consequences of the war in Vietnam. The two sides agreed that, after the success of the detoxification program in Da Nang city, the same program would be kicked off in Bien Hoa Airport. The two sides also hailed the good defence cooperation between Vietnam and the US in the past and agreed on the cooperation in various fields in the coming time. After the talks, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh opened the workshop themed UN … [Read more...]

Quang Ninh seeks tourism sector reforms

The Ha Long Bay Management Board in the northeast province of Quang Ninh said it is going to increase cooperation with the private sector to implement tourism sector reforms. Pham Thuy Duong, Head of the board, said that the major goal in 2015 is to shake up all business activities in Ha Long Bay, one of the major tourist destinations in northern Vietnam. Given the scale of the task, Duong called on relevant departments and local governments to closely coordinate to seek effective measures, ensure a healthy business environment and develop tourism brands. The board, Duong said, will design plans to put farming and trading seafood, kayaking and man-powered boating services in the bay under management. At each tourist site, the board will use public-private partnerships to diversify tourism products and services. The board will also put manned-boating services out for competitive tender and called on investors to develop tourism products for the province. The public-private … [Read more...]

Quang Ninh police seizes 7,000 tablets of ecstasy and nearly 1,700 grams of methamphetamine

Photo: qtv.vn

After a long time of investigation, the Quang Ninh police has razed a drug trafficking ring from China into Vietnam, arrested five traffickers and seized 7,000 tablets of ecstasy and 1,700 grams of methamphetamine and heroin. The police arrested Hoang Minh Hai, 30, from Van Don district, Quang Ninh province; Nguyen Thi Thuy Duong, 33; and Pham Thi Loan, 43 both from Hai An district, Hai Phong city and seized 2,000 tablets of ecstasy and 740 grams of methamphetamine at the Mong Cai international border gate. On the same day, the police also arrested Pham Thi Sinh, 40 and Bui Xuan Thanh, 21, both from Cam Pha city, Quang Ninh province. Examining Sinh’s home, the police seized 5,000 tablets of ecstasy and nearly 1,000 grams of methamphetamine and heroin. The case is under further investigation./. … [Read more...]

Grass roots tourism

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One of the most popular community-based tourism products in Vietnam is the homestay. "The number of homestays in Vietnam increases rapidly every year, however, most of them are run by local families," says Duong Binh Minh, a community-based tourism expert. "The quality of local infrastructure and services does not meet international service standards and there is a worrying lack of local awareness and weak coordination between related parties, including local authorities, tourism experts and service providers." He continues: "This leads to the destruction of the natural landscape plus the business fails to meet customer expectations." Binh now devotes his life and his considerable tourism expertise to assist the development of community –based tourism all over Vietnam despite retiring from his position as managing director of a tour company two years ago. "Community-based tourism programs have not yet attracted professional travel agencies and tour operators; instead, they … [Read more...]

More foreign bankers to set foot in Vietnam

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VietNamNet Bridge - The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), in which member countries will open up to 70 percent of their banks to foreign investors, is believed to pave the way for more and more bankers to seek business opportunities in Vietnam. Dr. Can Van Luc from the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) believes that many new banks will join the Vietnamese market by the end of 2015 or early 2016. Vietnam, a member of AEC, will have to accept foreign ownership ratio of up to 70 percent in Vietnamese banks, much higher than the ceiling foreign ownership ratio of 30 percent applied to bankers from other regions. The foreign ownership ratio will be a maximum of 49 percent in insurance and securities companies. "This is why I strongly believe that more foreign banks will come to Vietnam in 2016," Luc said. The Vietnamese finance & banking market received one more foreign member when Public Bank Berhard (PBB) from Malaysia, a joint venture bank with BIDV, shifted … [Read more...]

City champs again after five years

Pushing ahead: Chuong Thi Kieu of HCM City (left) tries to pass Ha Noi 1's Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet during the final match of the National Women's Football Championship yesterday. HCM City tied the defending champions 2-2 to grab the 2015 title. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu

HA NOI (VNS) — HCM City ended their five-year title draught after drawing defending champions Ha Noi 1 in the last round match of the National Women's Football Championship yesterday in Ha Nam Province. HCM City came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw, which was enough for them to step onto the podium. Ahead of the match, HCM City had one point more than their rival and needed one more point from the match to win. This target made them play defensively from the beginning of the match, but their plan was broken when Ha Noi 1 opened the score at the 39th minute. Trinh Thi Hoan brought a perfect ball to the penalty box, where her teammate Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet was waiting. The national team striker had no difficulty in converting into a goal. Things seemed better for the champions, as the more they played the better they became. However, the situation changed within six minutes, near the end of the second half. HCM City had two goals, scored one after the other, by substitutes … [Read more...]

State budget cannot bear debt burden of SOEs

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VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has to advance $1 billion to pay debts for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) which cannot pay debts because of big losses. While public debts have increased rapidly, SOEs are still asking the government to guarantee their commercial loans worth billions of dollars. The latest MOF report to the National Assembly on the government use of loans showed that foreign debts guaranteed by the government reached $2.44 billion in 2014, up by 22 percent. This means that the government-guaranteed foreign debts have reached VND234.939 trillion, accounting for 52 percent of the government-guaranteed total debts and 10 percent of total public debts. Of the eight projects which borrowed foreign loans with the government’s guarantee, there are six power projects, including the Thai Binh 2 thermal power plant developed by PetroVietnam ($937 million) and the Lai Chau hydropower plant ($300 million). The first private invested power project … [Read more...]

Schools report high number of students with excellent marks

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VietNamNet Bridge - A report that 90 percent of students of a primary school were judged excellent has not surprised anyone. There are more excellent than bad students in large cities in Vietnam. Hoang Anh, a parent in Cau Giay district, was informed at the parents’ year-end meeting that her daughter had received the "excellent student" title for the 2014-2015 academic year. However, this, for Anh, was neither good nor bad news, because Anh’s daughter is just one of 40 excellent students out of 45 students in her class. "When I was at primary school, I rarely got the title ‘excellent student’. This title was only rewarded to very capable students, about 5-10 students in our class," Anh said about her school days 35 years ago. This situation exists not only at Anh’s daughter’s school, a school where only the best students in the district are admitted, but at the majority of schools in large cities. Another parent said his son, a student at a … [Read more...]

Turning vacant land into green gardens

Cricket Garden is seen from above.

Duc Tam Sitting by a clump of broccoli, Vu Thuy, who is in charge of the garden, says the 180-square-meter area once belonged to her neighbor who had moved to a new place. Over time, it has turned into a vacant land and then a dumpsite with people throwing away unnecessary stuff here, Thuy recalls. "That makes me think why I don’t take advantage of the area for gardening and provide the children in the neighborhood a place to learn how to grow vegetables," she says. Thuy had nurtured the idea for a long time until she met Pham Thuy Duong, a student of Saigontourist Hospitality College (STHC) and also the one who stands behind the program "Sunday Gardening," which plants vegetables on the rooftop of the college’s building. With the help from Duong and her friends, the dumpsite has been removed to make room for the green. Vegetables have been harvested from the garden, which has a simple and intimate name – Cricket Garden. Children have not come to visit the … [Read more...]

Miss Universe contest comes back after seven-year hiatus

(From L-R) Duong Truong Thien Ly, second runner-up of Miss Universe Vietnam 2008, Truong Thi May, first runner-up of Miss Vietnam Ethnicity 2007, Nguyen Thuy Lam, Miss Universe Vietnam 2008, Mai Phuong Thuy, Miss Vietnam 2006 and Vu Hoang My, first runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2010 - PHOTO: KIEU GIANG

Kieu Giang The 2015 contest will take place over four months in HCMC, Hanoi, Nha Trang and Dalat with a total budget of VND30 billion, organizers told a media conference on Tuesday. Duong Truong Thien Ly, the second runner-up of the Miss Universe Vietnam 2008 and the national director of the Miss Universe pageant in Vietnam, told reporters: "We aim to create a playground for beauties to compete in a fair and professional way. "Thus, we will gather a professional crew to organize the event. We will also work with LPMG, an independent auditing firm to examine the judging process of the semi-final and final rounds, to have clear and correct results." The qualification round will take place in HCMC and Hanoi in June. The semi-final and final rounds will happen in Nha Trang from early July to August. The coronation night will be held at the Crown Convention Center with a capacity of over 7,500 seats. This is also the location of the Miss Universe Vietnam 2008 contest. This … [Read more...]

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

Tri Thuc Tre

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...]