News on Vietnam


UNESCO week highlights culture’s role in development

VNA - The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, launched a “Culture and development” week from Mar. 5-9 in the capital city of Hanoi .

This is the first time the event has been held in Vietnam to review UNESCO-funded projects on culture and development and set orientations to enhance culture’s role in sustainable development.

A wide range of activities will be held during the week, including policy dialogues and seminars on culture and tourism in relation with social development in Vietnam.

On the framework of the event, audiences in Hanoi will have chances to enjoy free film screenings, introducing documentaries made by young Vietnamese filmmakers. The documentaries, produced during training courses funded by UNESCO, examine different cultural aspects from a community perspective. They address various issues and challenges the Vietnamese society faces, including ethnic minorities’ integration in Hanoi, and the life of residents under Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi./.

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PM Dũng's New Year message

VGP - PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng has sent a New Year message emphasizing the central tasks of 2012, which include economic restructuring, growth model renovation, fast and sustainable development. The following is the full translation of his article.


The core economic ideology spreading throughout the documents of the 11th National Party Congress is restructuring the national economy, renovating the growth model, and securing a fast and sustainable development. The premise for successfully realizing the aforesaid orientation is the effective implementation of the three breakthroughs we had adopted, of which perfecting the institution of the socialist-oriented market economy constitutes, one the one hand, a key move that would directly affect the process of economic restructuring and growth model renovation, and, on the other hand, a task that doest not require huge financial resources. The task can be fulfilled within a relatively short period of time once we have right understanding and single-minded determination.

After 20-year implementation of the renewal guidelines, our country has gained important achievements in building institutions of the socialist-oriented market economy. As a result, we have mobilized various resources for national development, attained high growth rates, created lots of jobs and improved people’s living conditions.

However, institutions for the market economy have yet been fitting and elements of the market economy have yet been taken shape fully. The land market remains imperfect. The financial market has been developing in an imbalanced manner, the bond market has just been born, and the securities market is operating one-dimensionally, yet turning into an important capital mobilization channel for the national economy, so all burdens are being shouldered only by the credit market, making it vulnerable. The science and technology market has developed slowly. The labor market, though formed relatively perfect, is featured with low human resource quality and the irrationality in salary among sectors has posed a big barrier for labor movement to the key sectors of State management and the areas providing public services. Prices of a number of commodities and services are not enough to compensate for costs, and yet regulated by market rules, thus hindering the attraction of resources and high technology for development.

The institutions of the market economy are a perfect whole consisting of various markets operating synchronously within it. A single market of which that fails to fully develop will hold back the evolvement of other markets and impede the overall movement of the market economy. In that context, administrative interference in economic phases will probably be taken. Such interference may help remove immediate difficulties but its cost will be much more than opportunities it generates and the development process will consequently been derailed. As a result, basic issues are yet solved. This can be seen as a paradox in the way of thinking that those involved in management works must gain a thorough understanding for taking actions in a right and consistent manner.

This reality, therefore, show us that in 2012, all-out efforts should be focused on making the institutions of the market economy complete as defined by the 11th National Party Congress.

In the time of globalization and fierce competition, what we should do for our country to speed up growth and narrow the development gap with other countries in the region is to build modern institutions for the market economy that will facilitate the movement of resources within sectors and to different zones across Việt Nam towards signals sent by the market with respect to the average profit axis, thus ensuring the economy grows in a harmonious and balanced way. This will stimulate businesses to develop their human resources, apply and create new production and management technologies, create dynamic competition advantages to earn them profits that are far greater than that of other business entities, thereby pushing up the relatively continuous movement of investment structure and production, to create an economy with a high degree of creativity and many new products and ensure the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy. This is dialectical understanding of development.

We should take features of institutions of a modern market economy as standards for our process of perfecting institutions. Below are basic features:

First, all types of markets develop synchronously with elements of the market economy being shaped comprehensively, operating harmoniously, supporting each other, and interacting in a perfect whole. This is the premise to allow the market to operate smoothly and all resources to move freely and to be allocated properly and effectively.

In 2012 and the following years, the Land Law must be amended to create conditions for the establishment of the land market, beef up the healthy development of the real estate market; develop the bond market, expand the insurance market; strongly develop the science and technology market. Speed up the training of human resources, particularly high-quality workforce in combination with reforming salary mechanisms to facilitate the smooth operation of the labor market. To be consistent with the roadmap to let market rules decide the prices of State-controlled commodities, etc.

Second, institutions of a modern market economy requires the establishment of an equal competition environment for participating entities. Competition is part of the market economy and constitutes as one of the criteria measuring the marketableness of the economy. A highly competitive market will help control prices better than the State does. The important thing is that competition forces businesses to reduce production costs, raise productivity, and ensure efficiency. The Government will review and evaluate the level of competition in each area of production and service, abolish discriminatory treatment that still existed in reality between businesses of different economic sectors. Improve legal legislations on competition and natural monopoly; enhance the capacity of intellectual property and competition management agencies in addressing unhealthy competition cases and cases that take the advantage of their dominant position in the market to deter competition.

Third, explanatory responsibility for management policies, development projects as well as operations of business entities must be publicized and taken in a transparent manner. Market economy institutions, impacts stemming from the open door and integration process in combination with the formation of a multi-ownership architecture and a multiple economic entity structure will lead to the shaping of “interest groups”. Objectively, these “interest groups” may affect the decision making process. Transparency and overtness not only create equal opportunities for all to gain access to information, but more importantly, encourage transparency and overtness and highlight explanatory responsibilities and create conditions for people to supervise decisions made by management agencies. It is a fundamental measure to prevent corruption and influences of “interest groups” in the decision making process to ensure that decisions are made under “common values”, for the sake of the country. Transparency and overtness will also reduce speculation and business costs while improving market effectiveness.

Over the past few years, thanks to the enforcement of the Law on issuing legal documents as well as Q&A sessions of the National Assembly and the People’s Councils at all levels, we have made great strides in implementing transparency and overtness, and carrying out explanatory responsibility of State agencies. However, the above results have yet met the requirement.

From the Party and State’s political stance of ensuring people’s rights of accessing information and participating in social debates, the Government will study and perfect regulations on the publicizing of information and the right of information accession, while enhancing dialogues on policies and development projects between State agencies and independent experts and people, not only in the post-decision making phase as we do at present but more importantly in the pre-decision making stage. The quality of Q&A sessions continues to be renovated and improved, focusing on development policies and their impacts on different walks of life.

Fourth, modern market economy institutions in the context of increasing and deepening globalization and economic integration require the redefinition of relations between the State and the market. Accordingly, the State will shift from directly interfering into economic processes to creating opportunities for development: ensuring macro-economic stability, creating a favorable environment for business and investment; creating development mechanisms and bettering the quality of public services.

A challenge emerged for State management agencies in the context of globalization is that each change on the global market will quickly and strongly affect domestic market. Thus, it is necessary for the State to improve its forecast capacity and policy response in order to mitigate negative impacts on the national economy. The market economy and globalization also put certain groups of people at risk, deepening the gap between the rich and the poor. The State needs to issue right policies and use regulatory tools to overcome the negative sides of the market economy and globalization so as to ensure economic growth and social progress and equality. It is affirmable that market operates on its rules, firstly the rules on competition and the rules on profit. The socialist-oriented development is a function of the State. The State, on the one hand, needs to promote the “self-regulating power” of the market and, on the other hand, “neutralize” negative impacts of the market to secure development orientations to go on a right track. Whereby, the role of the State will not shrink but be boosted on the grounds of new influential methods and new contents.

We should base on basic stances on building the law-governed socialist State defined by the 11th National Party Congress to perfect the State apparatus at all levels in terms of its function and organizational structure, and regulations on decentralization, and handle correctly relations between the State and market.

Fifth, a modern market economy institution must serve consumers as its subject. It is necessary to continuously perfect legal regulations to protect consumers’ interests, set up centers for consumers protection. The Government will focus on improving technical, hygiene and food safety standards; expand inspection of imports and commodities circulating in the domestic market; introduce more sanctions to strictly punish offenders; review and finalize legal documents on detailed implementation of the Law on consumers protection; build a legal basis for encouraging the development of non-governmental organizations specializing in consumers protection.

A modern market economy institution with the above features will help the country make full use of opportunities and overcome challenges in the world where globalization is broadening and competition is fierce.

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HN handles record number of international visitors

VGP - The number of international visitors to Hà Nội hit almost 1.9 million in 2011, making a year-on-year increase of 11%, said the capital city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

About 1.4 million visitors stayed in the capital city, up 15% over last year. The visitors mainly came from China (309,000), Australia (109,000), Japan (115,000) and the Republic of Korea (53,000).

The capital city also welcomed 11.66 million domestic tourists in 2011, up 10% compared to the previous year.

Tourism promotion and the launching of direct air routes were attributed to the success in the sector.

The city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is drawing up plans to boost tourism development in craft villages and cultural heritage sites and promote tours to other localities like Lào Cai, Quảng Ninh and Ninh Bình provinces./.

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Gov’t: Persistent on Resolution 11

VGP - The key tasks in the remaining months of this year and beyond will continue consistently to curb inflation, stabilize the macro-economy and ensure social security, as stated in the Government’s Resolution 11, said PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng.

The Government's regular meeting, Hà Nội, September 1, 2011 - Photo: VGP

PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng reiterated the tasks at the first monthly meeting of the 13th Government in Hanoi from August 30 to September 1.

During the meeting, the Government members heard reports and gave opinions to the cut of state investment as required in Resolution 11; a draft report on the socioeconomic development in 2011 and 2012; a draft plan on socioeconomic development in the 2011-2015 period; report reviewing the implementation of national target programs in the 2006 – 2010 period and construction of programs in 2011 – 2015; along with several draft laws.

Lowest CPI rise since early 2011

PM Dũng and other cabinet members agreed that socioeconomic situation in the first 8 months of this year gradually became stable with some fields gaining encouraging performances.

Ministries, sectors and localities have decreased or changed capital of 2,103 projects to the tune of over VND6,530 trillion. The foreign currency market changed positively, with a buy-in of foreign reserves rising by US$6 billion compared with the beginning of 2011.

From January to August, export turnover surged 33.7% year on year to over US$60.8 billion, marking remarkable soar compared with the 10% growth target approved by the National Assembly. Trade deficit stood at US6.2 billion, or 10.2% of the total export turnover.

Consumer price index (CPI) in August increased 0.93% against July, representing the lowest growth rate since the beginning of this year, and the below 1% rate for the first time. CPI in the first 8 months of this year climbed 17.64% year on year.

Meanwhile, the index of industrial production (IIP) rose 7.3% year on year; total goods retail sale and consumer services revenues surged 22.2%; international arrivals to Việt Nam increased 18.4% to nearly 4 million…

In the first 8 months of this year, 52.500 enterprises with a total registered capital of more than VND318,540 billion were established, posting year-on-year declines of 2.5% and 63.7% respectively. Meanwhile, 991,800 jobs were created, realizing 62% of the annual plan. Specifically, 61,800 people were sent abroad for working, realizing 71% of the labor export plan set for 2011.

Cabinet members also pointed out that natural disasters and diseases caused big economic losses to people, inflation rate still remained high, high interest rates and poor access to credits caused difficulties to production and business activities.

Social security needs to be better

Deputy prime ministers and some ministers proposed stronger instructions to better ensure social security, while combating corruption and waste more vigorously and accelerating administrative reform…

“Amid difficulties, we should pay special attention to social security and poverty reduction. We can sacrifice part of economic growth to ensure social security and poverty reduction,” Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Đức Phát said.

Deputy P Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and Deputy PM Nguyễn Văn Ninh proposed boosting farming production, accelerating the building of new rural areas, intensifying investment in agriculture and rural areas, and better applying scientific and technical advances in agriculture.

Minister, Chairman of the Ethnic Minorities Committee Giàng Seo Phử, and Construction Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng proposed more attentions to be paid to providing housing for poor people, students and workers in industrial parks.

Meanwhile, Governor of the State Bank of Việt Nam Nguyễn Văn Bình and Finance Minister Vương Đình Huệ assured that the economic growth of 6% set for 2011 is totally attainable.

Clinging to Resolution 11’s goals

At the end of the cabinet meeting, PM Dũng stressed that the focal tasks in late 2011 and beyond included continuing to curb inflation, stabilize macro-economy and ensuring social security in line with Resolution 11.

Accordingly, tightened monetary policies will continue, management measures will well be implemented, credit, monetary and foreign currency markets need to be better managed, agricultural production and export need to be fostered, trade deficit needs to be put under control, interest rates need to be lowered, and goods speculation and price hikes need to be prevented.

The PM also asked relevant agencies to temporarily stop licensing mining projects, and instructed ministries, sectors and localities to ensure that no residents suffer from hunger.

Regarding the 2012 socioeconomic development plan, PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng pointed out that the orientations are continuing to hold on containing inflation and stabilizing the macro-economy to reach proper growth rates in combination with transforming the growth model and boosting the economic restructuring, ensuring social security, improving the people’s living conditions, maintaining political stability, and reinforcing national defense…

Many cabinet members agreed with the prposed economic growth target of 6.5% in 2012.

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11th Party Congress opens in HN

VGP - The 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) opened at 8 am on January 12 at the Mỹ Đình National Convention Centre in Hà Nội with the participation of 1,377 delegates, representing for over 3.6 million Party members, local and international guests.

The National Party Congress also drew the attendance of former Party General Secretaries, former State Presidents, former PMs, former National Assembly Chairmen, former Politburo members, former Party Secretaries.

Representatives of Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, outstanding professionals, the youth, and members of the 10th Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission also partook in the event.

Politburo member and State President Nguyễn Minh Triết delivered the opening speech to kick off the 11th National Party Congress.

The 11th Party Congress will discuss and adopt the platform for national construction in the transitional period to socialism (supplemented and developed in 2011); the 10-year socio-economic development strategy for 2011-2020; report on the review of the Party Statute implementation with some proposals for supplements and amendments; and elect the Central Committee./.

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Solutions for socio-economic development in 2011

VGP – The Government has just issued a Resolution on seven groups of solutions for socio-economic development and estimated State budget plan in 2011.

The GDP is expected to increase at 7-7.5% in 2011

The solutions are as follows:

Firstly, economic stability and macro balances must be consolidated through controlling inflation and trade deficit, stabilizing the market, improving payment balance, securing the finance-banking system, enhancing financial disciplines, reducing State budget overspending, and maintaining public debt within safe threshold.

Secondly, to speed up economic structure transformation in combination with growth model renovation and improvement of economic efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness.

Specific solutions include infrastructure development, extensive mobilization of resources for development, adequate electricity supply, improvement of business capacity.

Thirdly, the Government will continue elevating human resource quality and speeding up scientific and technological application.

Fourthly, social welfare policies will be carried out in combination with sustainable poverty reduction programs, while enhancing health care quality.

Fifthly, more efforts will be given to prevention and control of natural disasters, climate change, and to strengthening environment protection.

Sixthly, the Government will continue perfecting the legal system, beefing up administrative reform, edging State management capacity, and fighting corruption.

Seventhly, national security and defense, social order and efficiency of diplomatic work will be consolidated and enhanced.

PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng ordered ministers, heads of ministerial-level agencies and Chairmen of People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-governed cities to quickly draft and issue their own action plans within this month (January, 2011).

They were also asked to direct competent agencies to develop strategies, plans, and programs on the basis of the Strategy for socio-economic development for 2011-2015 period which will be put forth by the 11th National Party Congress.

Earlier, the National Assembly approved the socio-economic development plan for 2011, focusing on the maintaining of macro-economic stability, inflation curbing, growth model renovation, and economic structure transformation.

Under the plan, the GDP is expected to grow at 7-7.5% against 2010, consumer price index (CPI) to increase less than 7%, total export turnover to rise 10%, trade deficit to be kept under 18% of the total export value; State budget overspending to be maintained at 5.35% of the GDP, and total social investment is equivalent to 40% of the GDP.

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More than 5 million foreign tourist arrivals visit Vietnam in 2010

CPV – The General Statistics Office of Vietnam reported that more than 5 million foreign tourist arrivals visited Vietnam in 2010, marking a 34.8% increase from 2009.

This significant figure is believed to result from economic recovery and various promotion activities to attract foreign tourists.
More than 4 million arrivals travelled by air, 50,500 arrivals by sea and more than 937,000 by road.

Among 10 markets with the largest number of tourists to Vietnam in 2010, China still took the lead with 905,000 arrivals, up 74.5%. The following markets are the Republic of Korea (RoK) with nearly 496,000, up 37.7%, Japan with 442,000, up 24%, the US with 431,000, up 7%, and Taiwan (China) with 334,000, up 23.7%.

A recent survey released by the Khanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism showed that among 600 foreign tourists in a random interview, 23% said that they came back Khanh Hoa for the second time and 20% appeared for the third time.

The number of foreign tourists who came to Khanh Hoa for recreation and ecotourism made up 74% and almost all of them were from England, France, Russia, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

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Thang Long citadel to be considered for UNESCO recognition

The World Heritage Committee will consider the request for the inscription of the Thang Long Royal Citadel on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites when it convents its 34 th session in Brazil from July 25 to August 3.

According to a recent press release from UNESCO, at the meeting, 35 members of the World Heritage Convention will submit a list of sites for recognition.

Among 32 newly-submitted sites are six natural, 24 cultural and two natural-cultural heritage sites.

The committee will also evaluate the preservation of 31 recognised world heritage sites which are now in danger of being lost and consider adding new sites to the list.

Currently, the world heritage list comprises 890 sites, of which 689 are recognised for their cultural value, 176 for their natural value and 25 for their natural-cultural value to the world’s heritage./.

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Vietnam's tourism sector makes headway

Vietnam's tourism sector has thus far held a worthy position in the national economy. The country has been listed among the top five ASEAN countries in attracting international tourists.

Vietnam has a geographically favourable position with great potential for tourism development as it has many places of interest, well known beaches, thousands of historical sites, festivals, biosphere reserves and the world cultural heritage sites.

Despite having developed over the past 50 years, tourism activities in Vietnam actually went into full swing in the 90s thanks to the government's open door policy for international integration. In different development periods, in spite of certain difficulties, the tourism sector has maintained a steady growth, worthy of a key economic sector in the national economy.

Significant contributions to socio-economic development

According to the Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VAT), Vietnam welcomed only 250,000 international tourists in 1990 but the figure hit 3.8 million in 2009, a 15 fold increase, while domestic tourists were 25 million, up more than 20 times. Currently, Vietnam ranks fifth among ASEAN countries in terms of both the number of international tourists and revenue from tourism.

The workforce in the tourism sector has developed rapidly in both quantity and quality, currently boasting around 1 million tourism workers. From 1991 to 2009, direct tourism workers rose by 20 times, from 21,000 to 370,000 while indirect workers were estimated at more than 700,000 in 2009.

The tourism sector is always seen as a magnet for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam. In 2009 alone, the country attracted US$ 8.8 billion out of US$ 22.48 billion in total FDI for tourism.

Vietnam earned nearly US$4 billion from the tourism sector in 2009 which contributed around 5 percent of the country's GDP and had a positive impact on economic restructuring and development in different localities throughout the country as well as on the restoration of traditional craft villages and the preservation of cultural identities.

Developing tourism into a smoke free industry

The Head of the VAT, Nguyen Van Tuan said that despite having great tourism potential, the number of international arrivals in Vietnam annually remains low compared to those of some other regional countries like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia due to inappropriate investment in infrastructure and the poor skill-base among human resources.

In the context of deeper international economic integration, to develop the tourism sector into a smoke free industry which can greatly contribute to the country's development and has a high competitive capacity, Mr Tuan said it is essential to revamp tourism-related mechanisms and legal policies, deal with inter-sector issues, develop tourism products bearing Vietnamese trademarks, promote advertising activities, sharpen competitiveness and modernise tourism infrastructure.

A number of solutions for tourism development were worked out at a recent national seminar on Vietnam's tourism development in international integration. Many people said that Vietnamese tourism should be based on its cultural foundation with investment and development priority given to a number of key tourism sites such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Van Don-Ha Long-Cat Ba, Da Lat, Hue and Hoi An instead of the current investment in 150 national and international tourism sites.

Vietnam's deeper integration into the world economy has offered a wealth of development opportunities while posing a lot of difficulties and challenges for the tourism sector. The country has set a target of attracting 12 million foreign tourists and 35 million domestic ones by 2020.

The upcoming 1000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi will provide an excellent opportunity for Vietnam's tourism to tap into its potential and advantages to make a greater contribution the country's economic development and international integration.

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Foreign capitals to celebrate Hanoi’s anniversary

Up to 22 capital and cities around the world and foreign embassies in Vietnam have registered to take part in activities marking Hanoi’s 1,000th anniversary that will be held later this year.

According to the National Steering Committee for the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, the city of Fukuoka , Japan , has registered for Japanese culture days in Hanoi .

The capital city of Seoul in the Republic of Korea has offered to organise a wide range of activities, entailing artistic performances, a Seoul-Hanoi friendship night, a Seoul-Hanoi trade fair, and a seminar on the Red river project.

The capital city of Moscow in Russia has proposed organising Moscow days while Berlin , Germany has offered to hold a classical music concert during the event.

The Ile de France region of France said it wants to organise a fashion show and a seminar featuring French architecture in Hanoi , and other French cities such as Toulouse , Lyon and Rouen have registered to participate in street shows, and various musical, circus, and modern dance performances.

The committee said a number of cities and international organisations have registered to take part in projects to light the Long Bien bridge and public works located in the heart of Hanoi , such as the Government Guest House and the Ly Thai To garden.

The Australian embassy has registered with a programme to introduce its country’s ancient and aboriginal culture, while the Danish embassy has offered a street art performance, the Italian embassy, a photo exhibition and a musical concert, and the Argentine embassy, a performance of tango./.

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Vietnamese film wins prize at int’l festival in Russia

The film “Choi voi” (Adrift) , directed by Bui Thac Chuyen, has won the Bronze Taiga at the 8th international film festival in Khanty-Mansiysk city, Russia .

The film was singled out for the resonance of its thematic and art performances.

A total of 112 films from 17 countries were screened during the festival “Spirit of Fire”.

Earlier, “Choi voi” won the Fipresci International Critics’ Prize at the 66th Venice Film Festival and the Best Sound Effects award at the 2009 Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Kaohsiung City , Taiwan./.

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Overseas Vietnamese gather for New Year meetings

Vietnamplus - Vietnamese diplomatic missions around the world continue to hold celebrations of the Lunar New Year, sharing the joy with overseas Vietnamese communities and local friends.

At a reception hosted by the Vietnamese mission to the UN in New York on Feb. 6, Head of the Vietnamese mission to the UN Ambassador Le Luong Minh spoke of Vietnam ’s important achievements in 2009, saying he believed in the country’s bigger successes in the new year.

The New Year meeting in Australia on Feb. 7 brought together almost 200 Vietnamese expatriates.

Charge d’affaires Nguyen Trac Toan said that amid the global economic crisis, Vietnam and Australia are amongst a few countries that still managed to record growth.

He took the occasion to highlight the contributions made by Vietnamese expatriates in Australia and across the globe to Vietnam ’s socio-economic development last year.

A similar meeting was held the same day by the Vietnam Consulate General in Sydney for overseas Vietnamese living and working in New South Wales.

On the occasion of the New Year, Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Ngo Anh Dung on Feb. 6 gave more than 300 gifts, each worth 20 USD, to overseas Vietnamese in Kien Svay district, Kandal province.

Earlier, the Overseas Vietnamese Association in Cambodia and Vietnamese expatriates’ enterprises distributed more than 500 gifts to poor Vietnamese in Meanchey, Dankao and Rusey Keo districts, Phnom Penh .

Vietnamese Ambassador to Morocco Ngo Thai Duong met with around 100 Vietnamese on Feb. 5 to wish them a happy New Year and praised their contributions to the homeland’s flood victims./. 

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A number of nations and cities to participate in activities marking the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi

CPV - A number of embassies in Vietnam and foreign countries have expressed their eagerness to participate in activities marking the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.

The statement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung at a meeting of the National Steering Committee for the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi held in Hanoi on January 26th.

He said that localities across the country have actively joined in such preparations.

The Deputy Prime Minister also asked the capital city of Hanoi to increase promotional activities to polish Hanoi’s image as a city for peace.

So far, 26 out of 34 key infrastructure facilities have been completed for the great event. UNESCO issued a resolution on the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi and created favourable conditions for the promotion of the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi to other countries and international organizations. 

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A record for Overseas Vietnamese to enjoy 2010 Lunar New Year

CPV - According to the Vietnam National Committee for Overseas Vietnamese under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of overseas Vietnamese to enjoy 2010 Lunar New Year is expected to reach a highest record of over 500,000.

There are two major reasons for the forecast, including the positive changes for the development of the world economy in 2009 and a lot of back - to – the - root festive activities in 2010, said Mr Tran Duc Mau, Deputy head of the Vietnam National Committee for Overseas Vietnamese.

As usual, on the coming Lunar New Year, the Committee for Vietnamese Overseas under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Vietnam Television, will broadcast live an international television show titled Homeland Spring for Vietnamese Overseas on December 23 lunar year.

Last year’s event was held in the Temple of Literature called Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam in Hanoi with the participation of over 500 overseas Vietnamese. State President Nguyen Minh Triet attended and sent best wishes to representatives.

This November, the biggest ever meeting for overseas Vietnamese was held in Hanoi, luring over 900 representatives.

Currently, there are over 4 million overseas Vietnamese are living in nations and territories worldwide. This community has transferred about 8 billion USD remittances in 2008. 

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Learning Vietnamese overseas

Many second and third generation overseas Vietnamese cannot speak Vietnamese fluently or pronounce it correctly.

There are as many as four million Vietnamese living and working in 102 countries and territories. They all have made a great effort to integrate into their residence countries.

One of the factors in making many Vietnamese successful in their careers is the Vietnamese cultural value that they have picked up over the years, including the Vietnamese language.

The Vietnamese language not only reflects national traditions but also helps to bring overseas Vietnamese closer to each other and to their home country.

In order to preserve the mother tongue among the Vietnamese communities abroad, the Prime Minister has approved a project to support overseas Vietnamese in learning the mother tongue.

Under the PM’s decision, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has published two books for both Vietnamese adults and teenagers abroad and asked Vietnam Television and the Voice of Vietnam to set up an audio and video syllabus to broadcast on VTV4 and VOV channels to help them study Vietnamese.

However, it is still not easy for Vietnamese people in some countries to get access to the programme.

Vietnamese language classes for overseas kids needed

Yukimo Ho from Japan says that it is necessary to have classes to teach the mother tongue to overseas Vietnamese kids as the Japanese is doing.

The Japanese government has always attached great importance to teaching Japanese to overseas people. It holds Saturday Japanese classes for kids and their parents only have to contribute a small amount. The classes enable children to reintegrate into the community when they return to their home country.

Parents’ determination needed

According to Bui Ai Phuong from Italy, there are some Vietnamese classes available and most of them are run by volunteer overseas Vietnamese students. In other areas where Vietnamese classes are unavailable, people can study Vietnamese via the Internet. She says that a parent determination has great influence on their children’s ability to speak their mother tongue, the kids can easily forget unless they have the chance to use it at home everyday.

Mrs. Phuong also hopes to access a more modern methodology so she can teach her children better.

Vietnamese language textbooks unavailable

Nguyen Thi Kim Hien from Russia says there are several reasons that Vietnamese children cannot use their mother tongue. Firstly, their parents live like local people and are not discriminated against. Secondly, they are too busy working so they have no time to teach their children. Lastly, there are not many Vietnamese classes in Russia. In addition, it is not easy to buy a Vietnamese language textbook in Russia.

Mrs. Hien hopes that the State will pay more attention to the teaching and learning of the mother tongue to overseas people in Russia as well as in other countries.

Suitable syllabus for different age groups

Vu Khac Loc from Thailand says that most fourth and fifth generation overseas Vietnamese could not learn Vietnamese due to the Thai government’s unfavourable policy. Now, the policy has changed, Vietnamese people in Thailand have a better chance to learn their mother tongue. The Vietnamese Association in Thailand has put together a suitable syllabus to teach pupils of different ages.

Syllabus needs improving

Nguyen Van Tho from German says that it is much easier to learn Vietnamese in Germany thanks to local governments, Vietnamese associations, organisations and individuals.

However, Mr Tho says, overseas Vietnamese children in Europe are not very interested in learning their mother tongue because of the boring textbooks, so the syllabus needs to be improved. 

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Vietnam – one of world’s most peaceful nations 

Vietnam was named among one of the most peaceful nations in the world at a Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations held in Washington, DC, from November 1-3.

The symposium, co-organised by the Fulbright Centre and the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP), two US non-profit organizations, aims to build a more peaceful world and honours the most peaceful countries in the world.

The symposium attracted the 18 countries with the highest Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2009. The GPI, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney, Australia, is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators.

Vietnam ranks 39th among 144 countries in the GPI’s ranking and second after Singapore in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

According to a report of the symposium’s organizing board, Vietnam has made significant contributions to peace. Although the country recently fought two wars it is now one of the most peaceful countries in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has achieved stability through an economic reform that the world knows as “Doi Moi”.

The report emphasised that Vietnam is always committed to peace and security in the region and the world and sets an example in military restraint.

Pham Van Chuong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Peace and Development Fund said many countries have praised Vietnam’s success in maintaining peace through economic development, improving local people’s living condition and supporting other countries.

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Overseas remittances to reach US$6.8 billion in 2009 

The Ministry of Finance has forecasted that the total amount of money sent by overseas Vietnamese to back home would reach US$6.8 billion by year’s end, US$0.4 billion less than last year.

Early this year, the figure was first projected to drop by 15-20 percent to US$5.8-6 billion. 

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Hanoi marks 10th anniversary of City for Peace recognition

(VNA) A ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of Hanoi’s recognition as City for Peace by UNESCO was held on October 27.

Addressing the event, the Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen The Thao stressed the title was the recognition of the international community, adding that the UNESCO General Assembly’s decision to take part in the organisation of Thang Long-Hanoi’s millennial celebrations in 2010 is a great honour for the city.

On the occasion, he sent out a message that the capital city of one thousand years is dynamically developing and together with international friends trying for an everlasting peace on earth, creating a stable ground for development, prosperity and integration.

Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Fredesman Turro Gonzalez who have been living in Hanoi for more than 20 years also expressed his love to the city as his second homeland.

“Hanoi today is making great efforts to deserve the title,” he said. “It has become an important city in the Southeast Asia, having hosted and will host important events during Vietnam’s integration process into the region and the world, and contributing actively to the common struggle for peace in the world.”

In 1999, Hanoi was among five cities in five continents presented with the “City for Peace” award by the UNESCO to recognise its contributions to the struggle for peace as well as its development that meet the organisation’s standards of equality in the community, the urban construction, living environment protection, culture and education promotion, and care for young generations.

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UNESCO recognizes Quan họ as world’s cultural heritage 

VGP - The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on September 30 recognized Quan họ (folk songs and their performances in the northern provinces of Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang) as one of 76 new additions to the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Quan họ Bắc Ninh is recognized by UNESCO as the world’s cultural heritage.

The 76 inscriptions were honored from 111 nominations from 34 nations by the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage at its 4th session in the United Arab Emirates from September 28 to October 2.

The UNESCO highly appreciated Quan họ’s special cultural values in terms of social practices, performance arts, singing techniques, cultural behaviors, lyrics and costumes.

Many of the villages still practicing the singing are twinned and reinforce their relationship through customs such as Quan họ folk songs. The songs are performed as alternating verses between women from one village who sing in harmony, and men from another village who respond with the same tune but different lyrics.

To date Việt Nam has had three such intangibles recognized by UNESCO. They are the Huế royal court music, the Central Highlands gong cultural space and now the Quan họ folk song.

On October 1, the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee inscribed Việt Nam’s ca trù (ceremonial singing) on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

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Vietnam’s ‘Best Brands’ climb rankings

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An town, and several hotels and resorts in the country have won a number of Best Asian Travel Brands 2009 after a recent travel poll by the Hong Kong-based Smart Travel Asia online magazine.

The ancient quarter of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam climbed one place to fifth among the Top Ten Holiday Destinations, Hanoi climbed two places to 6th among the Top Ten Cities for Shopping, while Ho Chi Minh City, together with Seoul and Taipei, placed 10th in the Top Ten Cities for Business.

The rankings for a number of Vietnam’s major hotels and resorts also improved over last year’s poll. Sofitel Metropole Hanoi ranked second and Nam Hai resort in Hoi An town came in 9th among the Top 25 Leisure Hotels and Resorts. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Smart Travel Asia’s annual online poll collects people’s opinions about tourism destinations, aviation services, hotels and resorts.

Vietnam’s entry into several Top Ten lists marks growing improvement in its profile as a tourist destination.

The VNAT stated that the achievements were attributed to the country’s stimulus measures to recover the industry from the impacts of the global economic crisis and the A/H1N1 influenza epidemic.

The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam saw signs of recovery after steadily decreasing in the early part of the year. The agency reported that the country welcomed almost 315,000 foreign arrivals in August, a 16% increase over July.

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Giong Festival expected to be recognised world intangible cultural heritage 

VNA 20/07/2009 - The Hanoi People’s Committee has requested that steps be taken for the local Giong Festival to be considered for UNESCO’s recognition as intangible cultural heritage of the world.

The Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism has been asked to consider the proposal, which if accepted would put the Vietnam Culture and Art Institute in charge of creating a dossier for submission to UNESCO in August.
The Giong Festival is held from the sixth to the 12th day of the fourth lunar month every year at Phu Dong (or Giong) Village in Gia Lam District, Hanoi, as well as in some other regions of the capital including Phu Ninh Village in Soc Son District and Xuan Dinh Village of Tu Liem District. The main festival day is on the 9th day of the month.
The festival is original, because it commemorates a legendary character that ancient Vietnamese turned into an immortal saint, according to Professor Nguyen Chi Ben, head of the Vietnam ’s Culture and Art Institute.
Cultural researcher Ben said: "This is not only the biggest festival in the capital city, but also the biggest in the entire northern plain."
The festival celebrates Saint Giong, a legendary Vietnamese hero who fought against the northern invaders.
The legend says that once upon a time, a poor woman from Giong Village went to the rice paddy and saw a giant step. Curious, she stepped onto the step; not long after, she discovered she was pregnant and then gave birth to a son she named Giong. As a three-year old, the boy still didn’t know how to speak and never laughed. But when the country was invaded, the boy suddenly began to speak and asked the King to give him an iron horse, an iron suit of armour and an iron rod, so that he could fight against the invaders. He then rose up to become a giant.
After having fought triumphantly the enemy, he and his horse went to Soc Mountain . On the mountain top, he removed his armour and flew into the sky with his horse.
This festival is considered one more testament to the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese nation when pitted against foreign invaders.
Festival performances recount Saint Giong’s celebrated battles as his troops squared off against the aggressors, symbolised by crowds of people from four communes in Phu Dong Village .
The festival also involves young boys and girls acting out the performance’s most important parts, after having practiced for the festival all year./.

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Legendary beauty of Nui Coc Lake 

Nhan Dan – Nui Coc Lake, the man-made reservoir, located in Dai Tu district, Thai Nguyen province is well-known for its spectacular and legendary beauty.

Nui Coc Lake also surprises tourists by a mysterious legend of a romantic but tragic love story between a girl named Cong and a man named Coc. As the legend has it, the Cong River and Coc Mountain are named after the names of the ill-fated couple.

The tourism zone of Nui Coc Lake covers a large mountainous area with natural landscape and exciting entertainment areas. The lake is surrounded by mountains, forest trees and green tea hills which help to make Nui Coc more like an artistic painting. Visiting Nui Coc Lake, tourists can explore natural beauty of the vast lake, amazing islets, giant mountains as well as enjoy entertainment activities and the region’s specialties.

Nui Coc tourism area is divided into two parts: the north and the south of the lake. The northern zone provides visitors with varieties of entertainment facilities like water park, dinosaur park, electric railway, swimming pools and so on. Along the hill’s slope, many lodging houses and guest houses are available to tourists who want to stay overnight. A thing that should not be missed is the region’s specialties such as shrimp, tench bream….How enjoyable it is to sit in a restaurant floating on cool water and enjoying the region’s specialties.

The southern zone of Nui Coc Lake shows all kinds of services and a busy tourism zone which can meet diverse needs of tourists.

Discovering caves is a great choice to those who love adventurous tourism. Such caves as ‘Legendary Palace’, ‘Three Pine Trees’ and ‘Fairy Tale World’ will certainly amaze tourists. Inside the caves there are fanciful mazes and natural masterpieces of all kinds. More interesting, many old fairy tales are carved on the cave’s walls. Fairy tales along with legendary beauty of caves will lead tourists to a miraculous world to forget all their fatigue and sorrow in life.

Once getting out of caves, exploring overall Nui Coc Lake on a boat will give tourists much pleasure. Many beautiful islets are waiting to be explored. You can visit Co Island (the island of storks) covered with wild myrtles and bamboos where live many kinds of birds and storks. Along the way, you can also drop into Thuong Ngan temple or Nui Cai islet to enjoy as many as 1,000 Vietnam traditional handicraft products on display. Enjoying the region’s specialties like bream, shrimp and so on has become indispensable part of Nui Coc tourism.

Currently, infrastructure facilities in Nui Coc tourism area have been in good service to diverse needs of tourists.

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Đà Lạt Flower Festival 2009 to be held in December 

VGP - A five-day festival, under the motto "Đà Lạt - a City of Thousand Flowers," will take place in Đà Lạt City of Lâm Đồng Central Highlands Province on December 18-22. 
The festival will center on programs to honor the value of floriculture in Đà Lạt.

During the festival, a series of events will be organized, including the display of flower streets, flower towers, and flower islands in the city center, an international exhibition of flowers and bonsai, and a flower parade.

In addition, there will be a wine gala dinner and flower wedding ceremonies.

The biennial Đà Lạt Flower Festival was selected by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as one of the most important national events to welcome the 1000th birthday anniversary of Thăng Long-Hà Nội.

The festival will forge a playing ground for local floriculturists and their domestic and foreign counterparts as well as flower lovers, businessmen and scientists to meet and exchange views.

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A group of right-handed steering wheel cars from Thailand in the central region of Vietnam
For right-handed steering wheel cars coming from countries that haven't signed agreements on right-handed steering wheel cars with Vietnam, the diplomatic agencies of that country have to send diplomatic notes to the Vietnamese Transport Ministry to ask for permission. The Transport Ministry will consider them and answer.

Some groups of tourists using right-handed steering wheel cars, called canavan tourists, have recently came to Vietnam from Indochinese countries. Because of the lack of regulations on this type of car, travel agents and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism had to ask for the prime minister’s permission.

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