The first "Vietnamese Cultural Month in Italy" will be held in Rome from June 16, said Enrico Gasbarra, President of the Province of Rome at a press conference on May 23.

This cultural activity will be jointly organised by the Province of Rome, Air France, Cofthecs Service and UBS Financial Services Inc.

During the month, an exhibition titled ‘Dragon and Butterfly’ is expected to open on June 16 and will display nearly 100 Vietnamese modern artistic works, including oil paintings, lacquer paintings and Vietnamese people's costumes.

Other events include an exhibition displaying photos of the land and people of Vietnam taken by the Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Alfredo Matacotta Cordella, a fashion show by designer Minh Hanh featuring Vietnam's traditional long dresses, and three seminars.

The organisers also plan to introduce the people of Rome to Vietnamese cuisine and will screen the film ‘Mui du du xanh’ (The Scent of Green Papaya).

Speaking at the press conference, Mr Gasbarra expressed the view that Vietnam is becoming much more developed, and is now an attractive destination for Italian people.

The Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Van Nam expressed his thanks for the Italian people's friendship towards Vietnam over the past years. He said that Vietnam is trying hard to build a rich and civilised country with regional and international co-operation. (VNA)

Published on TaipeiTimes
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worldbiz/archives/2006/05/29/2003310617

LATEST FAD: Coffeeshop chatter in Vietnam used to focus on real estate. Now, with the nation's major stock index up 80 percent this year, stocks are the obsession

AFP , HO CHI MINH CITY
Monday, May 29, 2006,Page 10

Investors watch stock price index at a securities office in Ho Chi Minh city on Friday.
PHOTO: AFP

Vietnam's stock exchange has outpaced every other Asian bourse this year as investors in a country with a passion for betting have discovered the newest game in town — equity trading.

Eager to cash in on booming economic growth of 8.4 percent last year, the urban middle class has fuelled nascent exchanges in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and a flourishing "grey" market of as-yet unlisted stocks.

The HCMC Securities Trading Center, set up in the communist-ruled country in 2000, is still in its infancy, with just 37 listed companies and a market capitalization of US$1.94 billion.

But it's growing rapidly: trading has exploded in a share market that was worth just US$250 million a year ago. So far this year, the VN Index has gained over 80 percent, closing up 0.4 percent at 545.39 points on Friday.

Studying the numbers recently on the electronic board of a major broker, Saigon Securities Inc, was Nguyen Quoc Truong, 49, a restaurant owner who said he has invested 5 million dong (US$300) so far.

Truong said he understands only the basics of stock-trading and sometimes takes advice from his teenage nephew while sticking to simple, prudent rules.

"The market goes down when many people sell, and it rises when many people buy," he said. "I choose the biggest company. It's safer."

"With a lottery ticket," he added, "you have less chance to win."

Truong is part of a new wave of rookie investors discovering the rules of capitalism in Vietnam which hopes to join the WTO this year. Without access to company reports or an aggressive financial press, most investors rely on rumors, friends' advice and gut feelings.

"Most people buy and sell stocks without analysis, without caring for the company's performance and financial results," a 31-year-old woman investor in Hanoi said. "Trading stocks for them is just like gambling."

And gambling, many Vietnamese will admit, is a national obsession — whether it's on card games, buffalo fights, European football or the wildly popular and illegal so de game, a bet on the last two numbers of the state lottery.

So it comes as little surprise that the number of investors on the HCMC market has shot up from 20,000 in January to 50,000 today.

In Ho Chi Minh City, many people now hotly debate the latest news on what state-owned enterprise will equitize next, or which bank may be targeted by a foreign giant.

"Before, in coffee shops, people were talking about real estate," said Doan Viet Dai Tu, managing partner of investment and consultant group Open Asia. "Now they talk about the stock exchange."

Hoa, a 45-year-old mother of three, said, "I gamble so that I can invest in my children's studies," referring to stock trading. "I look at the Internet and take into account information gathered by my friends."

In a bid to calm the red-hot market, the finance ministry recently told state banks to tighten credit for share purchases, fearing a market downturn will lead to a wave of bad loans.

Many shares are also traded on the "grey" over-the-counter market, where people put their money on whatever unlisted company is thought to be the next big thing.


(18-03-2006)

HA NOI — Younger Vietnamese film directors are expected to shine at tonight’s Viet Nam Cinematography Association’s annual awards ceremony in Ha Noi.

Young directors Dao Duy Phuc, Le Bao Trung and Ngo Quang Hai are all vying for the prestigious Golden Kite award, which is handed out annually by the association.

Up-and-coming director Dao Duy Phuc’s film 2 Trong 1 (2 in 1), a comedy that contains serious lessons, should be a strong favourite.

When making the film, Phuc moved from his home in Ha Noi to work in HCM City with private film company Thien Ngan.

Only two months after its release, the film attracted thousands of moviegoers around the country, earning nearly VND9 billion (US$560,000) in ticket sales from cinemas in Ha Noi and HCM City alone.

"I’m not sure how my film will fare at the ceremony, but it is one that young people enjoyed watching," said Phuc.

"We hope our new films signal a trend in the industry, and that the cultural authorities and senior officials of the Cinematography Association will take notice," said the 37-year-old director.

Another young director, Le Bao Trung, hopes his blockbuster De Muon (Hired Pregnancy) will set a trend for more commercially appealing films in a local industry that is still dominated by by somber and safe topics.

De Muon is a story about a young couple who pay a surrogate mother to have a baby for them. With its action and sexy scenes, it is the first film made by Vietnamese producers that will be restricted to viewers 18 years old and under.

De Muon helped its producer, the private film studio Phuoc Sang, earn more than VND10 billion ($625,000) in ticket sales.

Unlike these so-called entertainment films made by private companies, Chuyen Cua Pao (Pao’s Story) by actor-director Ngo Quang Hai features a theme that may not have as wide appeal as the more titillating De Muon.

Pao’s Story depicts the lives of remote villagers and a young girl named Pao, played by renowned actress Hai Yen, who was featured in the international hit The Quiet American, directed by Australian Philip Noyce.

Nine films produced by State-owned companies, including ones by older and more experienced directors Bui Cuong and Long Van, are expected to be tough competitors.

Other films considered heavyweight contenders are Song Trong So Hai (Living in Fear) by director Bui Thac Chuyen, and Giai Phong Sai Gon (To Liberate Sai Gon) by Long Van, both produced by the State-owned company Viet Nam Film Studio.

These films feature traditional themes about historical events and post-war problems.

The Cinematography Association will also hand out prizes to productions of different types, including TV series and documentaries.

The organising board and judges said this year’s awards would take into consideration both film quality and commercial appeal. — VNS

   05/31/2006 — 18:16(GMT+7)
 

New York (VNA) – The International Herald Tribune on May 30 carried an article written by Seth Mydans about Dang Thuy Tram’s diaries.

“The lost wartime diary by a female doctor that tells of love, loneliness and death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail has become a best seller in Vietnam, bringing the war alive for a new generation of readers,” the International Herald Tribune reports.

According to the daily newspaper, the journey of the diary itself added to its special postwar symbolism for people in Viet Nam. It was returned to her family just last year by a former American soldier who recovered it after Tram died on the battlefield in 1970.

The writer of the diaries, Dr. Dang Thuy Tram, was killed at the age of 27 in an American assault after serving in a war zone clinic for more than three years. Among her intertwining passions are her longing for a lost lover and her longing to join the Communist Party, the daily said.

The paper reported that when the diaries were first serialized in newspapers last year, people cut and saved the articles, passed them on to friends and read them aloud to each other. When published as a book, its print run was a sensational 300,000 or more in a country where books are generally published in small quantities.

The book's huge press run reflects real demand, Peter Zinoman, a professor of Vietnamese history at the University of California at Berkeley, was quoted by the daily as saying.

He said Tram might now enter an official pantheon of wartime heroes who include a number of brave young women.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anh Kyong Hwan of the Republic of Korea (RoK)-based Youngsan University’s Vietnamese language faculty, is translating the diaries into Korean. The translation is expected to be published this July.-Enditem

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

No reason given in vote to cancel offer to new Westminster superintendent.

By MADISON PARK
The Orange County Register

 
 
Westminster School District
Enrollment: 10,024
Black: 1.1%
American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.5%
Asian: 35.4%
Filipino: 0.7%
Hispanic or Latino: 38.6%
Pacific Islander: 1.2%
White: 17.5%

Source: California Department of Education

 

WESTMINSTER – The Westminster school board, without citing a reason, voted 3-2 Tuesday night to rescind the hiring of Kimoanh Nguyen- Lam as the district's new superintendent.

The action followed an hourlong closed session.

Former Westminster Councilman Tony Lam, who is not related to the candidate, stood up after the announcement and shouted, "It's a racist type of action!"

Nguyen-Lam would have been the first Vietnamese- American superintendent of an Orange County school district.

Board member Judy Ahrens, who voted May 23 to hire Nguyen-Lam, changed her position Tuesday.

"My only comment is I felt the process was too rushed," she said.

Board President Blossie Marquez voted to hire Nguyen-Lam.

"I'm so hurt and very upset," she said of the reversal. "This decision is very disappointing and very prejudiced. Race played an issue."

Marquez said she and the other Hispanic board member, Sergio Contreras, wanted to hire Nguyen- Lam on Tuesday but that the three white members – Ahrens, Jo-Ann Purcell and James Reed – did not.

Purcell stood by her decision and said Nguyen-Lam "has not had any superintendent experience."

Reed was vacationing in Oregon and cast his vote by telephone.

Nguyen-Lam, 46, is associate director at the Center for Language Minority Education and Research at Cal State Long Beach and a trustee of the Garden Grove Unified School District.

She was tapped to head the 10,000-student Westminster district May 23 by a 4-1 vote, with Purcell dissenting.

Three days after the initial vote, at least three trustees called for the closed session to discuss the hiring.

Interim Superintendent Mel Lopez said before the closed session that the purpose was to quell rumors surrounding her hiring. He declined to comment on the rumors.

He said that if the board waited until its next regular meeting, June 15, "the rumors would keep escalating."

Nguyen-Lam announced her resignation from Cal State Long Beach last week and was expected to join the district July 1, she said.

"I am stressed and concerned, disappointed about the whole process," she said earlier Tuesday. "I'm just waiting and seeing."

She was not present for the announcement Tuesday night.

Ahrens said before the closed session that the meeting would give fellow board members an opportunity to deliberate more in depth.

"It's healthy to get some concerns ironed out before you make a decision on a superintendent," Aherns said. "Sometimes you have your reservation. The person has not been a superintendent before. Let's make sure we're thorough in our deliberation. We just want to get a feel tonight, just for more dialogue with board members."

The re-evaluation of the hiring has divided the board.

"I really feel in my heart, the entire Orange County community will benefit from having Dr. Lam," Marquez said before the closed session. "She'll bridge the gap. She'll really give us what the district needs.

"I feel good about the selection," she said. "I'm sorry the others feel bad – if it's their personal agenda, whatever their views are, they need to put that aside and put what's best for the children."

Westminster School District has been the center of controversy in the past. In 2004, the district was embroiled in a battle between the school board and state education officials over the definition of "gender" in a state law.

Earlier this month, some teachers picketed during a board meeting over an ongoing contract dispute.

6/1/2006

VIETNAM'S stock exchange has outpaced every other Asian bourse this year as investors in a country with a passion for betting have discovered the newest game in town-equity trading.
Eager to cash in on booming economic growth of 8.4 per cent last year, the urban middle class has fuelled nascent exchanges in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and a flourishing "grey" market of as-yet unlisted stocks.
The HCMC Securities Trading Centre, set up in the communist- ruled country in 2000, is still in its infancy, with just 37 listed companies and a market capitalisation of 1.94 billion dollars.
But it's growing rapidly: trading has exploded in a share market that was worth just 250 million dollars a year ago. So far this year, the VN Index has gained over 80 per cent, closing up 0.4 per cent at 545.39 points Friday.
Studying the numbers recently on the electronic board of a major broker, Saigon Securities Inc, was Nguyen Quoc Truong, 49, a restaurant owner who said he has invested five million dong (300 dollars) so far. Truong said he understands only the basics of stock-trading and sometimes takes advice from his teenage nephew while sticking to simple, prudent rules.
"The market goes down when many people sell, and it rises when many people buy," he said. "I choose the biggest company. It's safer."
"With a lottery ticket," he added, "you have less chance to win."
Truong is part of a new wave of rookie investors discovering the rules of capitalism in Vietnam which hopes to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this year. Without access to company reports or an aggressive financial press, most investors rely on rumours, friends' advice and gut-feelings.
"Most people buy and sell stocks without analysis, without caring for the company's performance and financial results," said a 31-year-old woman investor in Hanoi. "Trading stocks for them is just like gambling."
And gambling, many Vietnamese will admit, is a national obsession-whether it's on card games, buffalo fights, European football or the wildly popular and illegal "so de" game, a bet on the last two numbers of the state lottery.
So it comes as little surprise that the number of investors on the HCMC market has shot up from 20,000 in January to 50,000 today. In Ho Chi Minh City, many people now hotly debate the latest news on what state-owned enterprise will equitise next, or which bank may be targeted by a foreign giant. "Before, in coffee shops, people were talking about real estate," said Doan Viet Dai Tu, managing partner of investment and consultant group Open Asia. "Now they talk about the stock exchange." Hoa, a 45-year-old mother of three, said, "I gamble so that I can invest in my children's studies," referring to stock trading. "I look at the Internet and take into account information gathered by my friends."
In a bid to calm the red-hot market, the finance ministry recently told state banks to tighten credit for share purchases, fearing a market downturn will lead to a wave of bad loans.
Many shares are also traded on the informal or "grey" over- the-counter market, where people put their money on whatever as- yet unlisted company is thought to be the next big thing.
Merrill Lynch fuelled the excitement in January with a bullish report on the emerging market of 83 million people, where it said "wealth is being created at a turbo-charged rate," labelling Vietnam shares a 'ten-year buy.'
Foreign investors, too, have discovered Vietnam, calmly buying low during a sudden dip last week when some local investors experienced their first market wobble.
Experts warn that share-trading holds dangers for the first- timers.
"Retail investors don't really understand the process," said Kevin Snowball, a director of investment fund PXP Vietnam Asset Management.
"The level of sophistication is ridiculously low. It's just blind trust in what other investors say."
The HCMC centre now offers classes on the basics of stock- trading-but another problem remains assessing the worth of the companies themselves.
To comply with WTO rules, Vietnam has passed new company laws that mandate greater disclosure, but so far there is little transparency, said researcher Martin Gainsborough of the Bristol- Vietnam Project. In a country where corrupt tax officials and other state agencies often prey on enterprises, companies have little incentive to open their books, he argues in a recent report.
"While the companies that have listed on the market are arguably the leaders in terms of paying attention to corporate governance," he said, "doubts still linger on… whether one can trust the information they have made available."

 
16:21' 31/05/2006 (GMT+7)

Soạn: AM 792983 gửi đến 996 để nhận ảnh này
A work by Phan Ke An.

VietNamNet – Eighty artworks by 30 Vietnamese painters will be displayed at an exhibition of modern Vietnamese art at the Palazzo Vittoriano Museum in Rome, Italy, from June 16 to July 16, 2006.

 

The exhibition is one of several activities of the Vietnamese Cultural Days in Rome. This is considered a rare chance for Vietnamese painters to introduce their works to Italian art lovers.

 

The exhibition is the pride and also a challenge for Vietnamese artists, whose works are being shown for the first time.

 

Nguyen Huu Hung (a Vietnamese Italian who returned to Vietnam in 1995 and was granted the Knight title by the Italian government in 2000 for his contribution to strengthening the friendship between Vietnam and Italy) takes an important role in organizing this exhibition.

 

Mr Hung said that under the assistance of the Vietnam Arts Museum, Gallery Apricot, Gallery Art Vietnam, some Vietnamese collectors of paintings and experts, the organizers selected 80 modern artworks to show in the exhibition. The works are the fruits of painters like Phan Ke An, Khuc Thanh Binh, Nguyen Thanh Binh, Trong Cat, Thanh Chuong, Le Thiet Cuong, Do Quang Em, Quach Dong Phuong, Dinh Thi Tham Phong, Phan Cam Thuong, and Le Quoc Viet.

 

Also in the exhibition will be costumes of ethnic minority groups in the northern mountainous region of Vietnam, along with some minority groups from the south, like Van Kieu, Ede, Gia Rai, Cham and Khmer. The costumes are selected from 286 outfits collected by the Vietnam Arts Museum.

 

The Vietnam Arts Museum will also present four lacquer and two oil paintings selected from its archives, including Learning a trade by Le Ngoc Hieu (1967), Work for the South by Nguyen Trong Cap (1966), Evening sun by Cao Trong Thiem (1994), Missing an afternoon in the northwestern region by Phan Ke An (1955), Binh Lang night by Do Dong (1975), and Prepare to cross the river by Nguyen Hoang (2000).

 

(Source: Van Hoa)