06/07/2006 — 21:26(GMT+7)

Ha Noi (VNA) -The Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) has presented an insignia to Prof. Kaneko Kazushige, President of the Institute of Asian Ethno-Forms and Culture, for his contributions to promoting the Vietnamese culture to the world and boosting cultural exchange between Viet Nam and the region.

The insignia "For the Cause of Social Sciences" was granted to Prof. Kazushige, who is also President of Asian School of Japan, by VASS President Prof. Do Hoai Nam in Ha Noi on June 7.

An ethnology expert, Prof. Kazushige has conducted research into Vietnamese culture for nearly 30 years. He has visited various Vietnamese cities and provinces to collect ethnological objects.

On this occasion, Prof. Kazushige presented 560 ethnological objects from 28 Asian countries to the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology.

These objects, including Japanese prayer books, pottery plates and altars, Indian puppets, Korean clothes and paintings, and Cambodian knitwear, will be displayed in the Kaneko Kazushige Room at the Museum's Southeast Asia House, which will be inaugurated in 2008.-Enditem

Vietnamese designer Minh Hanh  

France has conferred on Vietnamese designer Minh Hanh the “Knight of Art and Literature” award for her contribution to promoting Franco-Vietnam cultural cooperation, particularly in fashion.

French Minister of Culture and Information Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres announced the decision in a letter sent recently to Hanh, director of the Vietnam Fashion Design Institute (Fadin).

The award is given to people making a great contribution to the development of literature and arts in France and the world.

Hanh has got it in recognition of her outstanding activities to strengthen Vietnam-France relations in the fashion industry through programs signed with the French Fashion Design Institute.

Hanh, one of Vietnam’s leading ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress) designers, has also collaborated with French directors and artists to direct Vietnamese and French cultural programs at Vietnam’s Festival Hue and introduced Vietnamese fashion in France.

She was once invited to study fashion in France for two months when she held a fashion show White Night which left strong impression on French audiences.

Source: Tuoi Tre, Sai Gon Giai Phong – Translated by Thu Thuy

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Posted on Jun 5, 2006
Vietnamese bestseller
Doan Bao Chau for The International Herald Tribune
Dr. Tram’s mother, Doan Ngoc Tram, with a picture of her daughter. Mrs. Tram and another daughter traveled to Texas to recover Dr. Tram’s diary. 

The author, a 27-year-old woman who was killed in 1970, wrote of “love, loneliness and death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail." It has become an Anne Frank-like sensation in Vietnam. The universal nature of her themes is an incredible reminder of the folly of war and of demonizing our enemies.

N.Y. Times:

A lost wartime diary by a doctor in which she 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 journey of the diary itself has given it a special postwar symbolism for people here. It was returned to the doctor’s family just last year by a former American soldier who recovered it after she died on the battlefield in 1970.

The writer, Dang Thuy Tram, was killed at the age of 27 in an American assault after she had served in a war-zone clinic for more than three years. Among the intertwining passions she expressed were her longing for a lost lover and her longing to join the Communist Party.

Asia’s Casino Boom

June 12, 2006



Oxford Analytica 06.09.06, 6:00 AM ETFollowing a competitive bidding process, on May 26 Singapore awarded a license to the Las Vegas Sands to build the first casino in the city-state.

The $3.2 billion project in the Marina Bay district is expected to be the world's most expensive casino complex and will include a conference center, hotel and shops. The casino will have a significant economic influence when it opens in 2009, boosting tourism, jobs and gross domestic product, and stimulating Singapore's transition to a service economy.

The Las Vegas Sands beat bids from MGM Mirage and Southeast Asia's biggest property group, CapitaLand; Harrah's Entertainment and prominent Singapore developer Keppel Land; and Star Cruises and Genting International, which operates the Genting Highlands casino complex in Malaysia.

The selection of the Las Vegas Sands positions it as one of the leading developers of casino gambling in East and Southeast Asia, where the market is expanding. The choice also highlights the importance of Las Vegas-based capital investment and know-how in establishing or reshaping casino gambling as part of a wider range of activities, from conference halls and theaters to shopping centers and restaurants.

Although gambling is illegal in many East and Southeast Asian countries, and in spite of lingering opposition on religious, moral and ethical grounds, governments throughout the region have been re-assessing the case for casinos.

Countries planning to expand existing facilities include South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam, while Japan, Taiwan and Thailand have been considering legalizing casino gambling. Arguments in favor include:

–the desirability of competing for a share of the fast-growing regional gambling and tourism market, which is being boosted by rising prosperity in China;

–the potential economic benefits from tax revenues and new jobs;

–the gradual integration or re-packaging of casino gambling within leisure and entertainment; and

–a belief that the legalization of casinos will serve to displace illicit forms of gaming and gambling, and to facilitate government control over these activities.

Strategies aimed at appeasing opponents include:

–the social and/or geographical separation of casino gambling from the mainstream population;

–restrictions qualifying who may gamble, including banning or imposing surcharges on local citizens; and

–the gradual merging of casino gaming with other leisure and entertainment pursuits.

Regional competition for a share of the tourism and casino market has been triggered by the massive growth in casino revenue and visitor numbers in Macao.

U.S. casino interests and capital have increased the special administrative region's capacity for tourists, shifting Macao's focus from high rollers to the mass consumer.

Macao will expand further:

–MGM plans a $1 billion casino.

–Las Vegas Sands intends a second, $3 billion casino resort.

Melco International and Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. (PBL) want to build a Hyatt Park Hotel as well as an underwater casino along the newly developed Cotai Strip.

Under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore has adopted a more tolerant attitude than under his father, Lee Kuan Yew. Last year, the city-state lifted a four-decade-old ban on casino gambling. Approved after divisive public and parliamentary debate, the decision paved the way for the construction of two casino facilities.

Genting Highlands is Malaysia's sole casino operation. In 2004, it received more than 17 million visitors. Responding to developments in Macao and Singapore, Genting has undergone a major overhaul and re-branding of its facilities.

Until recently, gambling had been illegal in Thailand, with the exception of the national lottery and two horse racing tracks in Bangkok. In March 2004, Thailand's parliament voted 216 to 23 in favor of legalizing casinos. Although most Thais were opposed to the reform, economic arguments prevailed over concerns about gambling dependency and increased crime and violence.

Gambling is illegal in Japan under 1908 legislation. However, the introduction of casinos has been under discussion for several years. Legalization is supported mainly by local, municipal and prefectural governments, which would benefit from tax revenues generated.

Casino gambling in East and Southeast Asia continues to expand, in spite of legal, religious and moral opposition. Investor interest, evidenced by recent bidding for Singapore's first casino license, suggests it will expand further, providing a major fillip for local economies across the region.

To read an extended version of this article, log on to Oxford Analytica's Web site.

Oxford Analytica is an independent strategic-consulting firm drawing on a network of more than 1,000 scholar experts at Oxford and other leading universities and research institutions around the world. For more information, please visit www.oxan.com. To find out how to subscribe to the firm's Daily Brief Service, click here.

The World's Best Big Companies

   06/09/2006 — 11:01(GMT+7)

Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) –– It's not difficult for a visitor to Hue these days to see a traditional Vietnamese ao dai. However, the hundreds of ao dai designs featured in a glamorous performance at Hue Festival 2006 on the nigh of June 8 intrigued visitors.

The innovative ao dai with subtly different designs and glamorous colours were worn by beautiful fashion models from Ha Noi, HCM City and Hue on the poetic Huong River under the glittering lights of a firework-lit night.

Entitled Colour of the Time, the performance featured works from 10 prominent Vietnamese designers. The 300 designs were inspired by the central city's antique charm, picturesque landscapes, and the images of birds, plants and flowers. The collections included: Thu Giang's Phoenix collection, Anh Vu's Patterns from the Royal Palace, Xuan Thu's Dragon and Cloud, Cong Khanh's Patterns on Pottery-Porcelain, and Minh Hanh's Hue Citadel Gates. All showed innovation in the Vietnamese designers' use of paint, embroidery and other special embellishments. And each collection was woven on high-tech Toan Thinh silk.

Accompanied by the music of Trinh Cong Son, the performance started impressively when each designer sat with 25 fashion models on the same sampan floating along the river to greet the spectators. Surrounding each sampan were 10 little boats, which created a special stage for the performance. On land, 50 girls in traditional ao dai drove their bicycles leisurely along Trang Tien Bridge as the glittering fireworks performance was launched by French artist Pierre Alain Hubert.

According to designer Minh Hanh, the general director of the performance, the sampan on the Huong River and the Trang Tien vaporous bridge were two typical images of the city and that was why they were selected as the main "stages" for the event.

This was the secondtime an ao dai event of this magnitude was launched at the biannual Hue Festival, but what made this performance groundbreaking was the special stages and the combination of modern and traditional elements in each collection. As most of the designer were also artists, they viewed the ao dai as a sort of canvas for their art.-Enditem


Thu, June 08 2006

World Cup trophy

Soccer’s world governing body has instituted extraordinary measures to ensure the legitimacy of the World Cup, which opens June 9 in Munich, Germany, following a series of betting and match-fixing scandals in Europe and South America.

For the first time in the sport’s global championship, players, referees and coaches are being required to sign pledges that neither they nor their immediate families will place bets on the games.

FIFA, soccer's Zurich-based world governing body, created a company called Early Warning System. It is intended to work in concert with the international gambling industry to spot attempts to manipulate the outcome of World Cup matches.

FIFA officials have said they were concerned about the proliferation of Internet gambling and the influence of Asian betting syndicates as well as recent scandals in Brazil, Italy and Germany, the New York Times reported.

Recently, The Asian Pacific Post reported that Vietnam police are investigating a high profile corruption case involving government officers in Hanoi following the arrest of a Canadian alleged to be the head of an international soccer mafia.

The crime gang called “Long Haul” operates in Canada, Europe and Asia specializing in drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized betting on international soccer games, police said according to Vietnam-based news sources.

The Canadian was identified as 46-year-old Ngo Tien Dung alias Dung Kieu. The Vietnamese native also uses the names Dung Hanoi and Lai Thanh Huu and reportedly operated out of Vancouver and Toronto.

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Canada told The Asian Pacific Post that the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi is aware of the detention and is providing consular assistance.

Major-General Pham Xuan Quac, head of Vietnam’s Department of Investigation of Social Order Crimes, said Dung collected an average pot of over US$1.5 million during every major international football game.

He said police were investigating how the gang channeled this money abroad to the bookies

The arrests in Vietnam, which has dismantled a large international soccer betting syndicate, comes as police in many Asian countries work together to tackle the expected surge in illegal betting during the World Cup.

In Malaysia, police said the will use preventive detention laws and deploy plainclothes police personnel to eavesdrop at stalls, coffee shops and pubs to catch bookies and punters.

They are working undercover with counterparts in Hong Kong and Singapore to nab bookies.

Malaysia's Federal police anti-vice and gambling chief Sidin Abdul Karim said Hong Kong has become the region's illegal betting centre, with bookies in Malaysia and Singapore linking their operations there.

During the last World Cup, Malaysian police busted 10 illegal gaming syndicates.

FIFA said that if any suspicious betting patterns were detected, officials have said they might take pre-emptive action, such as switching a referee before a match, the New York Times reported.

"A number of scandals have affected football, for instance, the problem with the referees," Joseph S. Blatter, the president of FIFA, said at a news conference in Munich.

"When you see a circle drawn, the referee is at the heart of it," he said.

At the 2006 World Cup, referee assignments for the opening matches were announced a week ahead of time. During the tournament, the 81 referees and assistant referees are being housed at the Kempinksi Gravenbruch Hotel outside Frankfurt.

The hotel, which is in a wooded area, has booked no other guests except airline flight crews and longtime visitors who are familiar to the hotel staff, FIFA officials said. Ten security guards have been stationed inside the hotel while four police officers patrol the hotel grounds, according to FIFA.

Referees said they were not allowed to receive phone calls direct to their rooms from outside the hotel. The world governing body also said this week that it would establish an independent ethics committee in an attempt to curb corruption scandals that could threaten fair play, according to the New York Times.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version

HANOI: Vietnamese police have charged 17 referees and coaches with involvement in match-fixing, state media reported on Friday. Just hours before the opening match of the World Cup finals in Germany, the Lao Dang (Labour) newspaper said the coaches were accused of giving the referees, including one FIFA-certified official, up to $750 to fix two league matches in March and April 2005. Executive manager Vu Tien Thanh and coach Nguyen Thanh Vinh of East Asia Bank-Pomina Steel (EABPS), the club involved in both games, were arrested last year accused of bribing referees to help win promotion to the top tier V-league. The officials were also accused of fixing several other matches in 2004 and 2005 and face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty. Reuters