5.26 TONS OF PANGOLIN SCALES WERE SEIZED LAST MONTH.
Vietnamese customs and anti-smuggling forces found 5.26 tons of pangolin scales hidden in two containers carrying cashew nuts in the southern Vietnamese port of Cai Mep, the government said in a statement posted on its website. Trade in pangolin is illegal in Vietnam, where a large number of people still believe consuming products from the critically endangered and defenseless mammal is good for their health. The scales are often ground up and used as a scientifically unproven supplement to treat liver and bone issues, and for mothers to produce breast milk. The raid came nine days after authorities in the northern Vietnamese city of Haiphong seized 8.3 tons of pangolin scales shipped from Africa, the government said in the statement. Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife told Reuters last December that most of the pangolin scales seized in Vietnam originate in Africa and are bound for China.
72,602 PIRATED TEXTBOOKS WERE SEIZED IN VIETNAM
A multi-department inspection team has discovered a large number of fake textbooks at a bookstore
in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, in the country’s largest pirated course book bust. Officials found 72,602 pirated versions of official textbooks used in Vietnam’s K-12 system at the My Huyen Bookstore in Hoai Nhon District. In Vietnam, authentic textbooks are published by the Vietnam Education Publishing House, each of which is placed with an anti-counterfeiting stamp. “The bookstore owner failed to provide relevant documents to prove the origins of the books as per requested,” one member of the inspection team said. The bookstore’s owner admitted that he sourced the textbooks at cheap rates to sell at lower prices than market rates, just to help people to buy them at affordable prices. “The textbooks have the exactly same contents as authentic ones published by the Vietnam Education Publishing House, except for their low paper quality,” he said in defending
his ‘good deed.
1,200 CHURCHES IN VIETNAM HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED
FOR CONSERVATION BY DR. TOMOHARU KATANO.
Dr. Katano was a doctoral fellow when he conducted a field trip across the northern Vietnamese provinces of Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Thai Binh between June and November 2007 to document churches in the northern region. The six-month expedition, and another one he made in January 2009, took him to 1,224 churches in the three provinces, belonging to some of Vietnam’s largest and oldest Catholic dioceses.
On rented motorbikes, Katano’s mission was to access churches in even the most remote of places in order to photograph the exterior and interior of each building he visited and map their location into a GPS coordinate system. All data collected from the research has been sent to Vietnam’s Department of Cultural Heritage and the local culture departments of Vietnamese provinces where the churches being studied are located. Dr. Katano said he found it fascinating that these Vietnamese churches are supported by a system of wooden columns and truss, similar to those found in local pagodas, but the front of these buildings are built from bricks with hints of Europe’s Gothic or Romanesque architecture.
20TH CENTURY ARTWORK BY LATE VIETNAMESE ARTIST
SOLD FOR RECORD USD1.4 MILLION.
The painting Nude, or Nue, which was painted in oil on canvas by late artist Le Pho in 1931, was put up for auction at a starting price of USD520,000-USD770,000 by Christie’s Hong Kong at its 20th Century & Contemporary art sales session. Nude eventually went under the hammer to an anonymous bidder for nearly USD1.4 million, 2.5 times higher than the starting point, setting a new record for the most expensive work by a Vietnamese artist sold at auction. The artwork previously belonged to a private collection of 20th-century Vietnamese art pieces amassed in 25 years by Tuan Pham, a US-based art collector of Vietnamese descent. Le Pho (1907-2001) was first discovered by American art gallerist WallyFindlay in the 1960s. Christie’s and Sotheby’s are two of the world’s most prestigiousauction houses that have continuously auctioned off his paintings since.
5,000 VIETNAMESE E-BOOKS GIFTED TO A LIBRARY IN
The copyrighted Vietnamese-language books, covering
a wide range of topics and genres, are now available for readers at the Taipei-based National Taiwan Library. The books were handed over by Vietnam’s Tre Publishing House to celebrate the opening of the new reading room for Southeast Asian Books, including Vietnamese titles, at the National Taiwan Library. The library also allocates annual budget to purchase Vietnamese books for Vietnam’s community in Taiwan and Taiwanese learning Vietnamese, according to director Zheng Lai-chang. The Vietnamese section of the
library currently has hard copies of Vietnamese books from well-known authors such as Son Nam, Nguyen Nhat Anh and Nguyen Vinh Phuc. Vietnamese has, since the 2018-19 academic year, become one of the seven Southeast Asian languages being taught as a second language at schools in Taiwan.
USD525 MILLION TO BE INVESTED IN BUILDING ELECTRIC BUSES BY THE HCMC TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT AND SOUTH KOREA’S TECHNOLOGY
According to DATAM, the electric buses will have 17 seats, including a seat for
the driver and one for a disabled person. It will be 1.49 meter wide, requiring a
lane at least 1.5 meter wide to operate. These medium-sized 17-seater electric buses will be suitable for narrow roads in HCMC. Of the total investment of USD525 million, USD300 million will be used to produce 20,000 electric buses and USD225 million to install solar LED streetlights with AI cameras
and free wifi. The system will first be tested on a two-way 30km road, and will cost USD10 million. Tran Chi Trung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Public Transport Management Center, said Ho Chi Minh City has only 44 percent of roads with a width of over 7 meters. The city of 10 million people has 85 percent of them living in alleys, meaning congestion is frequent and it is not easy to organize public transportation.