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…

‘Really Pissed Off:’ Vietnam’s Environmental Disaster

‘Really Pissed Off:’ Vietnam’s Environmental DisasterAlthough the international news media described the 100 tonnes of dead fish that washed up on Vietnam's shores last month as "unprecedented," few have bothered to separate the true magnitude of the environmental disaster from longstanding hatred of the Taiwanese factory presumed responsible. It is unclear how the anger over the disaster will impact President…

With Obama Coming, Viet Leaders in a Dilemma

With Obama Coming, Viet Leaders in a DilemmaVietnam’s fish kill saga has been the government’s first test since the national congress of January. With an American president arriving soon, protests couldn’t have come at a worse time and as yet nothing looks to be resolved. It is unusual for a US president to be visiting just when his host nation’s newspapers are…

Huge Fish Kill Tests Vietnam’s New Regime

Huge Fish Kill Tests Vietnam’s New RegimeThe story broke in Vietnam's national press on April 20: shoals of dead fish were washing up on the beaches all along a 200 kilometer stretch of the central Vietnamese coast, as far south as Hue. Coastal fishermen and local staff of Vietnam's Fisheries Agency blamed a discharge of chemicals in the vicinity of the…

Viet Stock Markets Start to Catch Up

Viet Stock Markets Start to Catch UpVietnam may be a star economic performer among the nations of Southeast Asia, but for stock market investors – foreign ones in particular – it has been an easy way to lose money. Could that be about to change?  At first glance, the market has been dull rather than disastrous. The Ho Chi Minh index…

Vietnam: Old Guard, New Tack

Vietnam: Old Guard, New TackA bitter and unprecedentedly public contest for leadership of Vietnam's all-powerful Communist party ended in late January with two-term Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's forced retirement. The party's 12th Congress awarded the man Dung aimed to unseat, Nguyen Phu Trong, another five years as the party's general secretary. As the Congress adjourned, Trong was asked…

Leading Vietnam Blogger Draws Five-Year Sentence

Leading Vietnam Blogger Draws Five-Year SentenceThe Hanoi People’s Court on March 23 sentenced prominent independent blogger Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, known also by his pen name Anh Ba Sam or “Brother Gossip,” to five years in prison for charges related to his work. Under the Vietnamese Criminal Code he was charged with “misusing democratic freedom to encroach on State interests [and] the…