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Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

‘100 best’ for foreign tourists in HCM City

In Vietnam Travel on February 28, 2010 at 11:33 am

‘100 best’ for foreign tourists in HCM City

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:22 (GMT+7)

Ho Chi Minh City on February 25 announced the winners of the top 100 prizes in a tourist programme to promote its image as an attractive and safe destination and the busiest economic hub in Vietnam.

Programme “ HCM City -the 100 best” selected the top ten names in various categories: city tours, eateries, medical stations, entertainment venues, shopping centres, sight-seeing spots, streets for night eating and specific products.

The best eateries include the Nam Bo ‘grilling village,’ the Com Nieu Saigon, which specialises in clay-pot rice dishes, and the Pho Hoa (rice noodle) restaurant.

Among the best entertainment spots are Dam Sen park, Karaoke Nice, the Suoi Tien (Fairy Spring) Tourist Site, Dong Dao (Country Song) Tea Room and several stage theatres.

An Dong Plaza , Ben Thanh market, BigC supermarket and TAX Mart are named as ideal for shopping.

The top ten sight-seeing sites are the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Museums of War Relics and History, the Ben Thanh market, the Vinh Nghiem pagoda, the Independence Palace, the war-era tunnel in Cu Chi district, the Can Gio-Vam Sat Eco-tourist site and the French-styled Notre Dame Cathedral.

Ao dai (traditional long dresses), coffee, pottery, embroidery, cashew nuts, natural silk, Thu Duc spring rolls, durian, star apples and Hoa Loc mango were selected as the city’s top ten products.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Price ceiling lifted for domestic flights

In Vietnam Travel on February 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

Price ceiling lifted for domestic flights

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

Airfares for domestic air routes will increase by 100,000 VND – 80,000 VND starting March 1, according to a recent decision of the Ministry of Finance.

The cap on domestic airline tickets will be applied on four kinds of flights.

New airfares for flights with a distance of less than 300km; 300-500km; 500-850km and more than 850km will cost 682,000 VND; 864,000 VND; 1.182 million VND and 1.819 million VND, respectively.

With the increase, the cap for a one-way airfare on Hanoi-HCM City route will go up to 2.03 million VND (inclusive of tax and airport fees) from the current 1.811 million VND.

Vu Van Chinh, deputy head of the Ministry of Finance’s Price Mangement Department, said the ceiling on fares had remained unchanged since 2008 while input costs in the aviation industry fluctuate greatly.

The exchange rate between the US dollar and the local currency also affects the industry’s operation, and there will have to be another adjustment if the exchange rate fluctuates strongly, he said.

Hoang Thanh Quy, deputy head of Vietnam Airlines’ Sales and Marketing Department, said the airline would launch a wide range of fares, with the highest fares equalliing the cap of 2.03 million VND and the lowest 25 percent under the cap.

In addition, it will also launch promotion programmes during the non-peak travel season.

The budget airline Jestar Pacifiic applies 12 levels of airfares, with the highest price at 2.03 million VND.

Currently, Vietnam Airlines and Jestar Pacific serve the domestic market.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Journey through history with antique sword

In Vietnam Culture on February 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

Journey through history with antique sword

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

An exhibition of 99 ancient swords recently opened in Hanoi, offering visitors a chance to learn more about history’s most popular weapon.

The swords were selected from the private 300-sword collection owned by collector Duong Phu Hien.

Four generations of Hien’s family have maintained and added to the collection. “By collecting and preserving ancient Vietnamese artefacts, especially those relating to the defence of our nation, every member of my family has demonstrated their love for the country,” Hien said.

The exhibition features a large array of swords, including 37 that were made in Vietnam. The others came from different countries, including China, Japan, and the UK.

Each scabbard is decorated with unique and sophisticated patterns, including typical ancient royal Vietnamese designs like pine trees, daisies, bamboo, apricots and dragons.

Hien said almost all of the Vietnamese swords in his collection date from three centuries ago.

The collector was visibly filled with pride when he talked about one of his rare Samurai sword, which is considered as one of the “stars” of the exhibition. The 2.02m-long and 18kg sword is the biggest and longest in his collection.

According to Hien, the 18 th century sword was made out of very special steel. “A very complicated refining technique was necessary to create such a long sword. For this reason, long swords were very rare,” he said.

The valuable collection also includes a bayonet with a solid golden handle, two 17 th -century royal swords covered with Han Chinese characters, and a 1,500-year-old Cham sword.

Historian Duong Trung Quoc said: “The unique sword collection has a historical value which is much more significant than its material value.”

American visitor Brian Brousseau said the exhibition was “beautiful and interesting”. However, he added that the displays needed to be more organised because “it is difficult for people to know detailed information, such as which swords were made in Vietnam ”.

A limited number of informational captions about the history of each sword disappointed another Vietnamese visitor.

“All I can do is look at the swords and admire them, but there are no stories to go alongside the experience,” said Thanh Ha.

However, she was still interested in taking the time to enjoy the exhibit.

“Before I only knew about swords from TV, movies and the theatre, which are usually all the same. Here I see that there are many differences in their shapes and decorations,” she said.

The exhibition also includes five bronze drums from the Dong Son civilisation which date back to 3,000 years ago.

The exhibition will last until the end of May at the Museum of Military History , 28A Dien Bien Phu Street , Hanoi.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Vietnam’s businesses canvass investment chances abroad

In Vietnam Economy on February 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

Vietnam’s businesses canvass investment chances abroad

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

A number of Vietnamese businesses are expanding their activities in foreign markets that offer promise and less competition.

The Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group plans to invest 200 million USD in minerals and industrial crops in Cambodia.

Meanwhile, the Thu Duc Housing Development Joint Stock Company has spent 6 million USD to buy a number of villas and houses in the US during the downturn in its real estate market. The company has also joined its partner in Tashkent , Uzbekistan , to invest in building a complex in the country.

The Saigon Travel Service Company (Saigontourist) has announced that it has bought a 252-room hotel in San Francisco and that it will develop more hotels bearing Saigontourist trademark in Tokyo , Berlin , Hong Kong and Moscow.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Department, Vietnamese businesses are expanding their investment activities in developed markets, including Japan , the US , the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Singapore , instead of pouring their capital into traditional markets like Laos, Cambodia and Russia.

A number of Vietnamese projects have expanded in scale and have focused on hi-tech industries such as aviation, banking, insurance and real estate.

Vietnamese businesses’ investment capital in 50 countries and territories reached a record of 7.2 billion USD in 2009.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Government approves Bien Hoa City growth

In Vietnam Economy on February 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

Government approves Bien Hoa City growth

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

Authorities of Dong Nai province said the southern province has received approval from the Government to expand its capital, Bien Hoa City by more than 26,400 ha and 284,000 residents.

Under the expansion projects, Bien Hoa City will include the communes of An Hoa, Long Hung, Phuoc Tan and Tam Phuong, which cover 10,899 ha with more than 92,000 residents in total. The communes are presently located in Long Thanh district.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Price of power to rise 6.8 pct next month

In Vietnam Economy on February 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

Price of power to rise 6.8 pct next month

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

The price of electricity will increase by an average of 6.8 percent starting March 1, the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced on February 26.

Accordingly, the price will stand at 1,058 VND/kWh and the retail price for production and trading services will go up by 6.3 percent, standing at 1,009 VND/kWh and 1,919 VND/kWh, respectively.

However, the retail power price for families using less than 50 kWh per month will remain at 600 VND/kWh as a support for low income households.

The higher rates will have no great impact on the public or the economy, Do Huu Hao, deputy minister of Industry and Trade said at a press briefing.

It will reduce the growth of the country’s gross domestic product by around 0.34 percent and directly push up the consumer price index by 0.16 percent this year, he said, adding that electricity expenditures for the production sector would grow by nearly 1 percent.

Deputy General Director of Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Dinh Quang Tri said with the increase, the average electricity price in Vietnam will reach about 5.54 cents/kWh–higher than the price in Laos but lower than that of other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Conference members advocate alternative medicine

In Social life on February 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

Conference members advocate alternative medicine

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

The benefits of complementary and alternative medicine in serving public health were highlighted by experts at a conference held in HCM City on Feb. 24.

At the conference held by the UNESCI Centre for Public Health, they said this branch of medicine, a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine, give patients more health care choices.

Alternative medicine has also become popular in industrially advanced countries including the US, they noted.

A survey conducted by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the US found 74.6 percent of its residents used complementary and alternative medicine therapies and 54.9 percent used it in conjunction with western medicine.

Most of them use the complementary and alternative medicine to treat and prevent problems involving their joints.

Another study conducted by the Health Forum under the American Hospitals Association also showed that many hospitals in the US are providing complementary and alternative medicine therapies to meet patients’ demands.

In 2008, 37 percent of hospitals in the US used these therapies, an increase of 26.5 percent over 2005.

Complementary and alternative medicine has been applied widely in Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Australia, the conference heard.

Experts at the conference also noted that “Universal Energy”, one of the complementary and alternative medicine therapies, has also been applied in other fields including agriculture in Vietnam in order to limit the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides to protect farmers’ health as well as the natural environment.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Tougher controls on taxis’ “must remain”

In Politics-Society on February 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

Tougher controls on taxis’ “must remain”

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

Tightening controls over taxi operations in the capital is vital to stopping the massive boom that has caused traffic and service problems across the city, according to the HanoiDepartment of Transport deputy director, Nguyen Hoang Linh.

Linh made the comment over the taxi businesses’ opposition to the department’s proposal that no new licences would be granted until after March.

“Currently, there are more than 12,000 taxis running in the capital’snine inner districts. This means that about 20 taxis operate in each square kilometre, on average,” Linh said.

Nearly 300 taxis are estimated to start operating each month, not to mention the replacement of 4,000 old cars last year alone.

Linh said that 80 percent of the 14,000 taxi drivers in Hanoi are from surrounding provinces. Due to a shortage of drivers, many businesses hire under-age drivers or drivers without licences.

Thus, violations such as scrambling for clients, speeding, parking cars in prohibited areas or wearing well-known taxi firms’ uniforms to cheat passengers have become commonplace. Statistics from the department show that more than 5,000 violations were found last year. Nearly 260 taxis were seized and fines were up to 1.1 billion VND (57,800 USD).

“New regulations will require taxi companies to meet compulsory trade conditions, such as owning a certain number of cars and improving the quality of cars once they are approved,” Linh said.

He said that the department would try to keep the proposal not to increase the number of taxis.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

First H5N1 fatality of 2010

In Politics-Society on February 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

First H5N1 fatality of 2010

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

On February 26 the Preventive Healthcare and Environment Department under the Ministry of Health officially confirmed the death of a female H5N1 patient in Tien Giang – the first fatality of the disease in 2010.

The 38-year-old patient came from An Thai Trung commune, Cai Be district, the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang. She was diagnosed with the disease on February 13 and was sent to Sa Dec hospital in Dong Thap province on February 21. She died two days later.

The patient was confirmed to be carrying the H5N1 virus by the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City on February 23.

The Preventive Healthcare and Environment Department has advised people to inform local authorities immediately when their poultry fall ill and not to slaughter them without instructions from the functional agencies.

People have also been instructed not to slaughter, transport or sell poultry from infected areas. Individuals are advised to go to hospital for a medical examination whenever they have breathing difficulties or notice any symptoms of influenza.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Fire stamped out in national park “buffer zone”

In Politics-Society on February 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

Fire stamped out in national park “buffer zone”

QĐND – Friday, February 26, 2010, 22:23 (GMT+7)

Around 3,000 sq.m of grassland at the buffer zone of the Phu Quoc National Park in Kien Giang province was burnt down on the evening of February 25, reported the park’s director Pham Quang Binh.

Binh said that the fire might have been caused by local people who burnt trees to expand their fields. Luckily, the fire was stamped out the same day.

He said that over 31,000ha of the core and 6000ha of the buffer zone are in serious drought, and are reaching the highest alarm level of fire.

The park currently has less than 50 staff, who have to take care of more than 31,000ha, so it has to cooperate with local armed forces, border guards and local people to patrol the forest 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

At the same time, the water level at the U Minh Thuong national park, also in Kien Giang is now at its  lowest level since the fire in 2002 and the threat of fire is also at very high level.

The park’s director, Le Hoang Huong, said that he would set up 2-3 more sentry-boxes in the park.

If drought continues, the park will close its door to tourists.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND