Vietnam: Steady as She Goes

Vietnam: Steady as She GoesNormally, the eviction of a member from the Politburo of a ruling Communist Party would be a sign of internal friction and potential political instability. In the case of Vietnam, with its unparalleled history of collective leadership such an event was barely thinkable, especially just a year after the reshuffle of top posts at the…

Nha Trang and its Tourist Lure

Nha Trang and its Tourist LureIs the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang on the way to becoming another Pattaya, the vast and notorious resort two hours south of Bangkok where sun, sex, sleaze, sports and second homes are all in abundance? Or even just another Patong, Pattaya’s younger sister on Phuket? Or could it be the center point for focusing,…

Is the TPP Dead or Merely Comatose?

Is the TPP Dead or Merely Comatose?Two weeks after his victory, US President-elect Donald Trump posted a video on YouTube in which he declared that on his first day in office, "I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the TPP, a potential disaster for our country. Instead, we will negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring…

Beyond Vietnam’s ‘Great Fish Kill’

Beyond Vietnam’s ‘Great Fish Kill’"If the problem of human rights isn't properly solved," said my friend C.V., "Vietnam is going to be isolated from the international community, and that will make it really hard to develop our country." We spoke just after blogger Mẹ Nấm was taken into custody on October 10, charged with "distorting the truth, opposing the…

Viet Protests Flare Again Against Taiwanese Polluter

Viet Protests Flare Again Against Taiwanese PolluterThe Formosa Plastic fish kill protests after millions of fish were poisoned in coastal Vietnam were never going to end so easily as a tail-off in May when the public was distracted by the spectacle of a visit by US President Barack Obama and police finally contained the street protests.  Protests flared again against Formosa…

Economics Claims an Important Vietnam Media Voice

Economics Claims an Important Vietnam Media VoiceOne of Vietnam’s best and most respected English language newspapers, Thanh Nien News, closed last week after being online since 2004. It wasn’t because the paper was too outspoken by Vietnamese standards or shuttered by the powers that be. The news industry in Vietnam is struggling and the first casualties are non-earners like English language…

Air France Faces Ruin

Air France Faces RuinIf you ask a millennial what he knows of TWA, Pan Am or Swissair, he will shake his head and ask what you’re talking about. They were three of the world’s most famous airlines, all of which went bankrupt. Is the same fate in store for Air France-KLM, one of the pillars of Europe’s aviation…

Viet Steel Mill Owners Acknowledge Huge Fish Kill

Viet Steel Mill Owners Acknowledge Huge Fish KillA sampling of public reaction suggests that the Vietnamese are impressed but hardly exuberant over an apology and a promise by the Taiwanese owners of a huge new steel plant in central Vietnam to pay half a billion US dollars for losses to fisher family livelihoods and for damage by toxic discharges from the plant…

Vietnam After Obama

Vietnam After ObamaWhen Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Vietnam last November, he was welcomed with a 21-gun salute by his hosts and protests by activists. The Vietnamese did not line the streets to get a glimpse of the China leader and there were no reports of Vietnam's young people clamoring to take selfies with Xi.…

Waiting for Obama

Waiting for ObamaI've been a freelance writer and journalist living in Ho Chi Minh City for six years, totally without license or permission. Prior to the visit this week of President Barack Obama, the folks at the US Consulate urged me to notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of this fact and I did. But I never…
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