News & Articles

Việt Nam Notes (Saturday, 13 June 2020) News updates, opinions, essays, and criticisms from Viet Nam and elsewhere

Compiled by Chuck Searcy

British pilot is remembering passwords for mobile phone, writing notes; another recovery and no new cases of COVID-19Compiled by Chuck Searcy

A doctor gives flowers to patient 303rd who is has recovered from COVID-19.
Photo Courtesy of Ministry of Health

Patient 91, a Brit who has now been publicly named – Stephen Cameron, a 43-year-old Vietnam Airlines pilot – is making good progress at Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City. Medical staff say the formerly critically ill patient has sat up, responded to doctors, moved his legs, and adjusted the height of his bed.  He is remembering passwords for his iPad and mobile phone and is writing notes. Meanwhile, Viet Nam News reports a 48-year-old Vietnamese man is the latest person to be given the all-clear from COVID-19.  He is the 321st person to recover from the virus.  The man was admitted to hospital on May 15 and has now tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 virus twice. He will remain in quarantine for a further two weeks before being allowed home.  It is now 56 days since any community transmissions.  More than 9,200 people are currently under quarantine and supervision at hospitals, medical stations and at home.  At present, there are 11 patients being treated for COVID-19. Three of them have tested negative once and two twice.  [MORE]

Vietnam ranks 20th among safest countries for COVID-19 protection

Forbes has announced a list of the world’s leading 100 safest countries in guarding against the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  The guide is based on data provided by the Deep Knowledge Group.  Vietnam is placed 20th overall, with 331 coronavirus cases recorded and more than 95% fully recovering.  Zero deaths have been reported.  [NOTE:  A number of international medical personnel who have been working with the Ministry of Health verify that is a factual claim, despite some questions of credibility from skeptics and critics of the government outside the country.]  Forbes lists Switzerland as the safest country in the world right now in protection against the COVID-19, with Germany number two, both “because of their economy’s resilience, and due to the careful ways in which they are attempting to relax lockdown and economic freezing mandates in a fact and science-based manner, without sacrificing public health and safety,” the study notes.  [NOTE:  Viet Nam, with a population of 95.5 million, has experienced zero deaths, compared to Germany with a population of 82.9 million and 8,851 deaths, and Switzerland with a population of 8.6 million and 1,937 deaths.  Might the survey’s conclusions be slightly biased?]  The other countries in the list’s top 10 are Israel, Singapore, Japan, Austria, China, Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.  Viet Nam placed in 20th position, just behind Hungary and the Netherlands and followed by Kuwait and Iceland.  The United States is 58th in the rankings, just behind Romania, and two places ahead of Russia. [MORE]

Walk in Hanoi calls for environmental protection 

The walk was to raise public awareness of environmental protection. (Photo: VNA)

Last Sunday a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi was held to raise public awareness of environmental protection.  The event was part of the “Green Earth” programme initiated by the Vietnam Energy magazine since mid-May, in response to World Environment Day (June 5) and World Ocean Day (June 8).  It encouraged people to walk more and reduce dependence on private vehicles in the hope of keeping fit and cutting down on the use of fuel, greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution.
Vietnam ships 30 million masks to North America

Workers make face masks at a factory in the southern province of Long An.
Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

Thirty million medical face masks have been transported from Vietnam to North America, where the novel coronavirus continues to rampage, reports VNExpress.  They were sent last week from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi according to logistics firm ITL Corporation.  In May the company shipped 1.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment to New York.  However, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry warned there are signs that low quality products are being produced to meet volume targets, threatening to give a bad name to made-in-Vietnam products.  [MORE]

Many Vietnamese and most foreigners living here might ask the above question about Pham Nhat Vuong, billionaire CEO of Vingroup JSC and the country’s richest man.  From gated luxury communities, shopping malls, hospitals and resorts, to production of Viet Nam’s first automobile brand called VinFast, 51-year-old Vuong has turned his early success in Ukraine, selling packaged noodles, into Viet Nam’s largest conglomerate. Vuong shared his plans with Bloomberg’s Anubha Rohatgi In this interview published in the Hindustan Times.  [MORE]With just 332 Covid-19 cases, why Vietnam’s richest man is making ventilators

Vingroup CEO Pham Nhat Vuong. Photo credit: Forbes magazine.

Criminal proceedings started on former head of Drug Administration of Vietnam

The Ministry of Public Security has begun criminal proceedings against a former deputy head of the Drug Administration of Việt Nam (DAV) and the former head of the Drug Registration Division under DAV for trading counterfeit cancer medicine.  They were banned from leaving their places of residence during the investigation.  In December last year, the agency launched legal proceeding against the former head of the Drug Price Management Department, under DAV, on the same charge, which resulted in a 17-year prison sentence.  “Manufacturing and trading counterfeit medicines for treatment or prevention of diseases” was the Article under which they and ten accomplices were charged.  Sentences so far range from 3 to 12 years in jail.  More than $USD 2 million in drugs allegedly manufactured in Canada were supplied to Vietnamese hospitals by the accused, using fake documents.  Some of the shipment contained the ingredient capecitabine, of unknown origin and poor quality, and not intended for use as a medicine for humans. [MORE]

Nguyễn Minh Hùng, Võ Mạnh Cường and accomplices accused of “manufacturing and trading counterfeit medicine for treatment or prevention of diseases” at an appeal trial in HCM City on May 20. — Photo

Racism: As American as Apple Pie

W.D. Ehrhart is a fellow Viet Nam vet whose poetry, essays, books and articles give voice to a generation of Viet Nam vets who still struggle with the profound wartime experience that shaped our lives, then, and still now.  Ehrhart was in the U.S. Marine Corps, he received a Purple Heart and Navy Combat Action Ribbon for his service in Vietnam.  He earned a PhD from the University of Wales at Swansea, and then devoted years to teaching high school students.  His students are fortunate to have been exposed to his experience and his wisdom.  In this article, Ehrhart explores the profound and painful struggle that all of us, together, must deal with as the ugly face of racism again confronts us in ways that we cannot ignore or avoid.  [MORE]

The Failed American Experiment

In this piece from Consortiumnewscom, Patrick Lawrence says that we’re coming to “the front edge of a new era, one in which America finally falls off its horse, its global standing properly diminished.”  He notes that “the American experiment” is a familiar phrase among us. “When we reference it,” Patrick writes,”we do so fully confident that it has proven out: America is an enduring success. But our moment – in its largeness, its immense consequence – faces us with the prospect that our great 18th-century experiment now comes to its historic denouement. Experiments, by definition, are just as liable to fail as to succeed. Is it our fate to join the sad list of failed or failing states?”  [MORE]

America’s Eternal Battle With Itself

The nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody have continued, with no end in sight. Frank Rich of New York Magazine asks, “Are we, as some journalists, historians, and politicians have suggested, at a crossroads of American democracy?”  [MORE]

Israelis Trained the Minnesota Cop How to Kill

Paul Craig Roberts reports that Minnesota police received Israeli training in the knee-on-neck restraint hold that Israeli forces use for breaking Palestinian necks.  “I doubt the Minneapolis cop intended to kill Floyd,” Roberts writes.  “He probably thought he was just using a restraint technique.”  Roberts says another main cause of police-inflicted death and injury are middle-of-the-night home invasions, sanctioned by courts and local authorities.  “There is absolutely no reason for these invasions.  They are nothing but murder weapons,” Roberts claims.  [MORE] [MORE]

Minnesota police confirm slashing car tires of reporters, others in a parking lot during Minneapolis protests

Picked up by The Week from a story documented by Mother Jones, Minnesota’s Department of Safety and the Anoka County Sheriff’s office acknowledged Monday that their troopers and deputies had knifed the tires of parked, unoccupied vehicles in Minneapolis during protests against the police killing of George Floyd. Video from May 31 protests captured unidentified law enforcement officers slashing tires.  [SOURCE and VIDEO] value.”

Where defunding police has already worked

With the nation’s attention now intensely focused on racial inequality and the systemic history of problematic policing, “defund the police” has become a new rallying cry for advocates pushing for reform.   That has quickly brought to light the shining example and metamorphosis of policing in Camden, New Jersey, a city that was once among the nation’s most dangerous with a homicide rate equivalent to that of El Salvador before a funding upheaval and list of reforms resulted in the lowest murder rate the town had seen since 1987. Add to the fact that local police have accomplished as much with a noted drop in use of lethal force and the viral image of its Chief of Police marching hand-in-hand with protesters, and it’s easy to see why people are quick to look to replicate it.  [MORE]


The Generals Are Speaking Up. Is That a Good Thing?

Katie Bo Williams is Senior National Security Correspondent for Defense One, a blog site that does a pretty good job of calling out the military when errors and missteps occur, and pointing to excesses in spending or carelessness or cover-ups when rules and regulations are violated.  In this article, Williams asks if the satisfaction some of us are enjoying in seeing military professionals’ speak out against Trump may turn out to be viewed as bad judgment in the future, in different circumstances.  The generals are speaking up. Is that a good thing?  [MORE]

Bases named for Confederates changed to Afghan War generals, continuing tradition of naming bases after losers

Following a growing chorus of people calling to remove Confederate generals from the names of Army bases, Duffelblog reports that the Pentagon has announced intentions to rename posts for a different set of generals who lost a military campaign.  “We have a longstanding tradition of honoring generals who squandered vast amounts of resources who were ultimately left with nothing to show for it,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.  [MORE]