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Archive for December 26th, 2009|Daily archive page

Stock market advances for fourth straight day

In Vietnam Stock Market on December 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm

The VN Index, a measure of 187 companies and four mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, gained 5.51 points, 1.18 percent, to 470.75 on December 23.

It is the fourth straight advance of the index after falling to 434.87 points last weekend. However, slumping bank shares prevented the index from climbing higher.

On the index, 88 advanced, 70 fell, and 41 were unchanged with most blue-chips rallying.

Hanoi’s HNX-Index rose 3.75 points to close at 153.26. There were 119 gainers, 86 losers, and 39 remained unchanged. Trading value reached more than VND2.3 trillion.

Experts said the markets may remain high until the end of the year thanks to positive economic reports.

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Central bank maintains prime rate at 8 pct

In Vietnam Banking Finance on December 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm

The State Bank of Vietnam decided December 25 to keep the prime interest rate for dong deposit accounts at 8 percent.

Transaction conducted at an Asia Commercial Bank branch in Ho Chi Minh City.

Other interest rates remain unchanged compared to last month. 

The refinance interest rate is set at 8 percent per annum and the discount rate at 6 percent. The overnight rate in inter-bank electronic payments, and the rate of loans to finance balances in clearing transactions between the State Bank and commercial banks are all 8 percent per annum.

The decision will take effect as of January 1, 2010.

The bank said the management of basic interest, refinance and discount rates will be flexible in 2010 to keep market interest rates at reasonable rates to facilitate mobilization of funds and achieve growth targets. 

In 2010, the State Bank is aiming for a credit growth rate of 25 percent, lower than this year’s 37.73 percent.

The bank’s governor also asked commercial banks to provide loans to agricultural, forestry and aquaculture enterprises. 

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Viewers treated to 4th ‘Miss Charming TV’

In Vietnam Culture on December 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Contestants of the Miss Charming TV pageant gather onstage during the first final round this year in HCMC (Photo: Phan Thanh Tin )

The fourth “Miss Charming TV” competition officially kicked off December 20 in Ho Chi Minh City with 13 contestants from 12 TV stations nationwide vying for the title. The annual talent competition, sponsored by Vina Acecook, seeks outstanding female TV broadcasters, editors and program hosts.

Over the course of several days, contestants have the opportunity to showcase their personality, talent, appearance, and ability to speak articulately in front of an audience. Demonstrating a passion for their careers and employers is also a must.

On December 23, an ao dai (traditional Vietnamese tunic) show was held along with an introduction session in which contestants share personal details; introduce their TV station; and highlight the sightseeing and cultural activities where they live or work.
On December 26, the women will recount their most memorable career moments and perform in a gala and ASEAN costume event. They will also share humorous and touching stories about their careers and work environments.

On the final night December 28, contestants will compete in three events: a costume show, a demonstration of their aptitude for arts and culture, and a question-and-answer session. Competitors will perform in the traditional clothes of the region they are from.

In previous years, audiences have been treated to surprising performances by contestants in the aptitude event in which they sing modern songs, dance, tell stories, play instruments or sing cai luong (a southern Vietnamese form of modern folk opera).

Miss Charming TV is broadcast live on HTV9 on December 23, 26 and 28.

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City celebrates holidays with host of entertainment options

In Vietnam Culture on December 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Ho Chi Minh City’s theaters and entertainment venues have invested much time and energy this year to offer special activities for the festive season.

Ho Chi Minh City’s entertainment venues are decorated splendidly in these days.  (Photo: KK)

In addition to Phu Nhuan Theater and Hong Van Drama Theater, the Van Tuan Entertainment Company has just opened its new stage at Superpowl Supermarket in Tan Binh District. The venue will stage “Saigon’s Smile” directed by Doan Khoa on December 24, said Director of the company Meritorious Artist Hong Van.
Idecaf Theater, meanwhile, introduces a children’s play about the Sūn Wùkōng (Monkey King) from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en at Ben Thanh Theater.

HCMC Drama Theater artists will be performing a comedy at Cong Nhan Theater, while comedian Minh Beo has also released a musical comedy on DVD with participation of several famous artists.

Movies have also been extremely popular during the holiday season.

Tickets for the 3D version of the sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” have sold out in Hanoi and HCMC cinemas through January 2010. The picture is regarded as the most ambitious 3D film ever to appeal to a worldwide audience.

Actress Ngo Thanh Van and actor Johnny Tri Nguyen in the film Bay rong (Dragon trap)

Another foreign film directed by Dominic Sena, “Whiteout,” is screening at Galaxy cinemas.

HCMC’s Megastar cinema, meanwhile, will offer a free screening of the animated movie “Chipmunks 2” for 100 children from 8-12 years of age, accompanied by parents, on the morning of December 27 at Megastar Hung Vuong in District 5.

Vietnamese action film Bay rong (Dragon Trap) featuring actor Johnny Tri Nguyen and actress Ngo Thanh Van will also screen nationwide during the festive season.

HCMC’s Dam Sen Culture Park will host a masquerade for teenagers, and music and fashion show in celebration of Christmas. In addition, two plays, “Aladin and the Magic Lamp” and “The Little Mermaid,” will be performed by Idecaf Theater troupes in the park. Hundreds of families are expected to attend.

There is no admission charge for visitors who dress up as Santa Claus.

The Suoi Tien Tourist Area, situated 19km northeast of HCMC on Hanoi Highway, is decorated with millions of colorful lights and features a snow forest, magical castles, the Cave of Bethlehem, the holy city of Jerusalem, Saints, Santa Claus and angels.

A week-long children’s book exhibition featuring more than 2,000 titles is also being held from now until December 25 at Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi Street in HCMC’s District 1; Sky Garden on HCMC’s Nguyen Van Linh Street in District 7; and Vincom Galleries in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District. The event is organized by the Phuong Nam Cultural Joint Stock Corporation.

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Annual charity concert, auction to ring in New Year

In Vietnam Culture on December 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

An annual charity event titled Noi vong tay lon (Joining Hands Together) will be held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on December 31 and broadcast live on Vietnam Television’s VTV3 channel and HCMC Television’s HTV9 channel.

Valuable items including a gemstone painting, a set of bronze incense burners (L), Lac Hong cup and a 24K gold-plated cup (R) will be auctioned to raise money for the poor.

The highlight of the concert will be an auction of valuable items including Vietnam’s biggest cup, called Lac Hong, and a 24K gold-plated cup.

In addition, a gemstone art piece depicting the Ha Long Carnival Festival, a set of Vietnamese bronze incense burners decorated with carved a lion playing with a ball, and a Vespa motorbike granted to the Blind Association by State President Nguyen Minh Triet will be auctioned on the website to raise funds for the poor.

The annual New Year’s Eve program organized by the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and Vietnam Television will also review the 2009 movement themed “Day for the poor.” The program aims to continue achievements in poverty elimination by providing poor families with new homes and social security policies.


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Hanoi flower festival to mark millennial anniversary

In Vietnam Culture on December 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

A festival of flowers will take place at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi from December 30 to January 3 to cerebrate the New Year and mark the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi. Nguyen Khac Loi, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, announced the event on December 25.

Visitors enjoy Hanoi’s first flower streeton January 1, 2009. 

Titled “Lung linh sac hoa Hanoi” (sparkling Hanoi flowers), the festival will display an installation work of 2,000 tulips from Holland on Hang Khay street. Near the statue of Ly Thai To, a nine-meter-tall flower tower will be exhibited with nine dragons weaved from fresh  flowers and fruits.

Installment works made from drums and flowers, a temple made of bamboo, a miniature model of Long Bien Bridge with images of a cherry blossom village, and Vong Thi kumquat trees will be on display on Dinh Tien Hoang Street. Visitors can also enjoy traditional artistic performances of Thang Long-Hanoi on a specially decorated flower stage.

The festival will kick off with fireworks during the opening ceremony at the statue of Ly Thai To and The Huc bridge area.

A flower arranging competition will also be held on December 31 with participation of representatives from 29 districts in the capital.

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Viva Macau Airlines to start Hanoi service in Lunar New Year

In Vietnam Travel on December 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Viva Macau CEO Reg Macdonald gestures while opening the airline’s new booking office in Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 7, 2009 (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

Viva Macau, which increased frequency from four weekly flights to daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City this July, announced Wednesday it would fly to Hanoi in February next year.

The new Hanoi service will commence on February, 13, 2010, the final day of the old lunar year.

There will be three flights weekly on every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, with a choice of morning, evening or afternoon flight departing Macau at 7:45, 20:10 and 14:20 arriving in Hanoi at 8:45, 21:10 and 15:20, and return flight departing Hanoi at 9:30, 21:55 and 16:20 arriving in Macau at 12:30, 0:55 and 19:20.

As it is a new service, the airline is offering promotional fares from US$25 one way on economy class between Macau and Hanoi. Business Class tickets are also available from US$199.

On Dec. 7, Viva Macau celebrated the 2nd anniversary of its Ho Chi Minh City service, officially opening the new booking office located at the Sheraton Saigon Hotel. Viva Macau chief executive officer Reg Macdonald said Vietnam was one of the best markets for his company.

The carrier currently flies direct from Macau to Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo and Sapporo in Japan, Jakarta, and Sydney and Melbourne in Australia.

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Da Nang opens first casino

In Vietnam Travel on December 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm

The Crowne International Casino, the first gambling venue in the central coastal city of Da Nang, officially began operations on December 23.

The Crowne International Casino in Da Nang City opens its doors on December 23.

Located on some 800 sq.m on Bac My An Beach in Ngu Hanh Son District, 7 km from downtown Da Nang City, the casino offers Baccarat, Blackjack, Sic bo, Roulette and Caribbean Stud Poker games with capacity for hundreds of guests.

Crowne International Casino is part of the five-star Silver Shores International Resort covering 20 hectares on Bac My An Beach.

The 584-room resort boasts 52 sea-facing villas with a total invested capital of US$1.6 billion, said the investor of the project, Hoang Dat Silver Shores Exceptional International Entertainment.

The first stage of the complex offering 270 rooms will open in January 2010, said General Manager of the Silver Shores Resort, Felix Zhang.

The project is expected to hold its grand opening in July 2010.

According to the general manager, the casino anticipates most guests will be from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

There will be two weekly flights from Guangzhou, China, to Da Nang. Another air route from China to Da Nang is also under consideration.

Under Vietnamese law, casinos are off-limits to local citizens. The venue only allows foreign passport holders and overseas Vietnamese.

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Health resort opens in Da Lat

In Vietnam Travel on December 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm

An exhibition of photos marked the opening of a resort in Da Lat December 24 (Photo: SGGP)

Cadasa Company opened a high-grade health resort in the upland city of Da Lat December 24.

For the purpose, it restored a complex of 13th-19th century villas at a cost of US$10 million.

The six-hectare resort is designed in northern French architecture style and has 65 rooms that cost $70 – 100 a day.

To mark the occasion, the company and Xua & Nay Magazine organized a photo exhibition titled “Hanoi – Da Lat in the past.”

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S.Korea regrets Japan’s stance on disputed islands

In World on December 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm

South Korea expressed regret Friday about Japan’s official reference to a decades-old territorial dispute, even though Tokyo’s new government has apparently softened its stance on the issue.

Seoul’s foreign ministry was responding to a Japanese education handbook released earlier in the day.

The manual calls for high school teachers to tell pupils that Japan is locked in a territorial dispute with South Korea over a tiny island chain known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

South Korea controls the islands in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and insists its ownership is incontestable.

“Whatever claim the Japanese government makes, our government stresses the position once again that no territorial dispute exists between the two sides,” ministry spokesman Moon Tae-Young said in a statement.

The revised educational guidelines inject a wrong perception into Japan’s future generation, he said, describing the move as regrettable.

Japan claimed the islands in 1905 and went on to annex the Korean peninsula from 1910 until its World War II defeat in 1945. South Korea says its ownership dates back centuries.

South Korean officials quoted by Yonhap news agency noted that Japan’s education ministry did not directly mention Dokdo in the new document.

The handbook merely says teachers “need to deepen the understanding on territorial issues by providing accurate information based on the Japanese government’s proper claim and their study at junior high school”.

But Japan said the decision not to explicitly refer to the small rocky outcrops did not mean Tokyo had stopping asserting its sovereignty.

Seoul reacted angrily last year to Japanese guidelines issued for junior high schools saying students should have a “deeper understanding” of Tokyo’s claim over the islets, known as Takeshima in Japan.

A new teaching manual issued Friday for high school students says that study of Japanese territories “should be based on junior high school education.”

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