NA Vice Chairman calls for reform

VietNamNet Bridge – National Assembly (NA) Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien has said it was necessary to raise the role of the NA in law and justice reform.

NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien. (Photo: VNN)

He said so while attending a seminar yesterday on law and justice reform, organised by the European Commission-funded Institutional Support Project to Viet Nam.

Kien said more efforts are needed to build and complete institutions.

“Because of a shortage of experience, Viet Nam’s legal system is still not complete so executive and justice offices still face many difficulties in law implementation,” he said.

Ham Farnhammers from a delegation of the European Commission to Viet Nam said the projects funded by the European Commission in general and the Institutional Support Project to Viet Nam in particular had contributed an important part in law and justice reform in Viet Nam.

The Institutional Support Project to Viet Nam, in co-ordination with the NA’s Office, Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuracy had created many good results, he said.

Dr Nguyen Si Dung, deputy head of the National Assembly Office, said that after two years of global economic integration, the people expect the most in the NA’s role to the important decisions.

“The NA has partly manifested its role, as for the first time, the Prime Minister stood in front of the NA to answer questions by the NA deputies straightforwardly and responsibly,” he said.

A high-ranking expert of the European Commission, Ian Harris, clerk of the Australian House of Representatives, said strengthening of the legal and justice systems could not only bring benefit to legislative offices and relevant offices, but also help reduce poverty in long term.

At the seminar, many legal experts also agreed that law and justice reform helped implement hunger eradication and poverty alleviation in Viet Nam.


Vietnam to go ahead with bauxite mines despite opposition

Vietnams Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (centre) who has vowed to to open a controversial bauxite mining project

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (centre) who has vowed to to open a controversial bauxite mining project

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is determined to go ahead with a bauxite mining project in the Central Highlands region despite public protests, the government said Thursday.

Earlier media reports said Dung had approved a directive allowing the mining, processing and use of bauxite ore in the mountainous coffee-growing region.

The project has met with protests from scientists and local residents, who fear the open-cut mining will destroy vast forest and crop areas and create mountains of toxic sludge.

On Wednesday Dung told domestic reporters in Hanoi the plan was “a major policy of the party and the state”, according to the government’s website.

It also quoted the premier as saying there would soon be a conference on how to exploit the bauxite resources in a sustainable and efficient way.

Last month Vietnam’s famed war hero General Vo Nguyen Giap, 97, sent an open letter to Dung asking for plans for bauxite mining to be put on hold until international experts had studied the ecological impact.

Vietnam capital bans poultry transport by motorbike: report

Vietnam capital bans poultry transport by motorbike

Vietnam capital bans poultry transport by motorbike

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam’s capital Hanoi has banned the transportation of poultry and cattle on motorbikes and bicycles for fear it could help spread epidemics, state media said Tuesday.

The ruling, which was issued on January 22 but only became effective Monday, said poultry, cattle and their associated products must be transported using specialised vehicles only, said online VietnamNet.

However, the newsite ran a video clip showing live meat products were being driven in the city early Tuesday morning on motorbikes, a popular means of transport in Vietnam for poultry, pigs or even dogs.

At present, Vietnam, which has been frequently hit by the H5N1 strain of bird flu since 2003, reports the avian influenza among ducks only in the Mekong delta province of Ca Mau.

The country has already seen a human bird flu case this year, an eight-year-old girl from northern Thanh Hoa province who has now recovered.

According to health officials, her 13-year-old sister earlier died in hospital but was not tested for H5N1 before she was buried.

Bird flu has killed 52 people in Vietnam, while the world’s highest death toll belongs to Indonesia with 113 fatalities.

Switzerland wants to open air route to Vietnam

10:56′ 04/02/2009 (GMT+7)

Deputy PM Nguyen Thien Nhan and Swiss Vice President and Economic Minister Loris Leuthard.

VietNamNet Bridge – During his trip to Switzerland, Deputy PM Nguyen Thien Nhan on February 2 met with Swiss Vice President and Economic Minister Loris Leuthard, Minister of Home Affairs Pascal Couchepin and State Secretary for Education and Research Mauro Dell’ Ambrogio.

In the meeting with Vice President Loris Leuthard, the two sides exchanged information about the socio-economic development situation of each country and measures to cope with the ongoing financial crisis.

Vice President Leuthard affirmed that Switzerland considers Vietnam a top priority in its development assistance policy, including assistance for Vietnam to integrate into the world economy in the WTO period.

To promote trade and investment cooperation with Vietnam, Switzerland urged Vietnam to consider negotiations on the establishment of a free trade area with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein. The two sides agreed to assign experts to research this issue.

Deputy PM Nguyen Thien Nhan said education and training is a key field for cooperation between the two countries. Switzerland welcomed Vietnam’s proposal on the signing of a framework cooperation agreement on tourism training and asked Vietnam to consider the opening of a direct air route between the two countries.

In the meeting with Swiss Home Affairs Minister Pascal Couchepin and the State Secretary for Education and Research Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, the two sides discussed bilateral cooperation in education and training.

Accordingly, Switzerland pledged to assist Vietnam in training in tourism, restaurant, hotel, finance and banking and some hi-tech fields. Switzerland will also help Vietnam train at least 10-15 doctors per year (granting 2-3 full scholarships).

Owl and the Sparrow: A Look Inside Vietnam

by Melody Erhuy
Feb 02 2009

The Beatles passionately fantasized about this, Cassavetes’ “The Notebook” (2004) was purely based on this, and Cinderella found this when she located her missing shoe. Can you figure it out?

As the only universal bond that can break the barrier of language and culture, this less-than-three phenomenon, labeled love, is the most wanted item on everyone’s lists. Responding to this trend, director Stephane Gauger’s “Owl and the Sparrow” (2007) is a sophisticated, simplistic take on the classic love story, but it’s done like you have never seen before.

“The movie was shot in Saigon, Vietnam, the city of my birth. I wrote the film as a love letter to the city,” Gauger said.

Flight attendant Cat Ly, zookeeper Le The Lu and runaway Pham Thi Han are all missing the same things in life: love and family. These solitary characters meet by chance in modern-day Saigon, where their lives collide and transform to become one in the course of five days. Through their experiences together, they find the purpose for the rest of their lives – each other.

“The movie wasn’t about the plot,” said Hannah Moshier, a second-year English major. “I didn’t sit there and think ‘what’s going to happen next?’ I knew what was coming, but I was still enthralled in the movie for the characters. So much of it was shown more than said; I loved every minute of it. Everyone should see this movie.”

Gauger also stated that “the film is about how Saigon has opened up in the last 10 years through economic and social changes. The zookeeper represents old, traditional Vietnam, while the flight attendant characterizes new Vietnam. Both of them are brokenhearted souls. The small, [runaway] child bridges together the new and the old world.”

The film was awarded the Crystal Heart Award in the Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Festival, while also receiving a nomination for the John Cassavetes Award for film in the Independent’s Spirit Awards. The Big Apple Film Festival named the film as Best Feature Film, and both the Los Angeles Film Festival and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival honored the film with the title of Best Narrative Feature.

Gauger added, “I wanted to be able to show the film internationally [by placing] universal themes of love and family that anyone can relate to. I originally intended the film to be seen by a European audience, the critics were a bonus.”

Gauger was raised in Garden Grove in Orange County, California, but he frequented France over summers with his relatives.

“Growing up in the suburbs is great as a kid, but the European influence on me [unleashed] my creative side,” Gauger said.

This creativity has appeared to pay off as there has been a general positive reaction to the film.

“It was so touching to see life and love through the eyes of a child,” said Rachel Han, a first-year Spanish major. “This movie made me think, laugh, cry, smile and sigh an extended ‘awwww.’ I think that the whole audience felt some sort of attachment to the characters. It was beautifully made and wonderfully enjoyable.”

This was the first feature film for actress Pham Thi Han, the runaway Thuy. Gauger believes that she exceeded expecetations.

“Two days before we started shooting, she was cast, and yet she was able to memorize everything. She completely immersed herself into that role, which made people believe who she was. We were very lucky,” Gauger said.

MTV personality Tila Tequila, star of “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” “lent herself for a promo [for the film] so her fans could support a Vietnamese movie being shown in America. She wanted to bridge the gap with the youth,” Gauger said.

Gauger also explained that ‘“Owl and the Sparrow” is a vision of Vietnam usually unseen.

“Vietnam is portrayed in historical films that focus on wars and such; people don’t get to see Saigon in the present,” Gauger said. “I wanted to be able to take the audience on a journey to see the beauty of Vietnam. Making films, Vietnamese or English, helps me speak to a general audience and tell them a universal story. It’s a really special film and I’d love students to see it.”

“Owl and the Sparrow” is currently showing at Irvine Westpark 8.