Exploring Saigon like a Saigonese

Thursday, October 29, 2020, 11:04 GMT+7 TUOITRENEWS

Exploring Saigon like a Saigonese
An old wall is seen in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tran Hong Ngoc / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city and known as the country’s economic and financial hub. Though many visit the city to check out modern life in the metropolis, they often forget about its role as a hub of culture and scientific development. 

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Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull

Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 09:16 GMT+7 tuoitrenews

Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull
FILE PHOTO: Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via Reuters

CHICAGO — More than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said.

Global health officials are eying the animals as a potential risk for people after Denmark last week embarked on a plan to eliminate all of its 17 million mink, saying a mutated coronavirus strain could move to humans and evade future COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.S. states of Utah, Wisconsin and Michigan – where the coronavirus has killed mink – said they do not plan to cull animals and are monitoring the situation in Denmark.

“We believe that quarantining affected mink farms in addition to implementing stringent biosecurity measures will succeed in controlling SARS-CoV-2 at these locations,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Reuters on Tuesday.

The USDA said it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state officials and the mink industry to test and monitor infected farms.

The United States has 359,850 mink bred to produce babies, known as kits, and produced 2.7 million pelts last year. Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state, followed by Utah.

Sick mink in Wisconsin and Utah were exposed to people with probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases, the USDA said. In Michigan it is still unknown if the mink were infected by humans, according to the agency.

In Utah, the first U.S. state to confirm mink infections in August, about 10,700 mink have died on nine farms, said Dean Taylor, state veterinarian.

“On all nine, everything is still suggesting a one-way travel from people to the minks,” he said.

Coronavirus testing has been done on mink that die and randomly on the affected farms, Taylor said. Like people, some mink are asymptomatic or mildly affected, he said.

The CDC said it was supporting states’ investigations into sick mink, including testing of animals and people.

“These investigations will help us to learn more about the transmission dynamics between mink, other animals around the farms and people,” the CDC said. “Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.”

Coronavirus is thought to have first jumped to humans from animals in China, possibly via bats or another animal at a food market in Wuhan, although many outstanding questions remain.

Monitoring U.S. mink for virus symptoms and quarantining infected farms should limit the disease’s spread if cases are caught early, said Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“I’m fairly confident that as long as they have that surveillance going and it’s strong enough, then they should be able to prevent the spread,” he said.

U.S. authorities are urging farmers to wear protective gear like masks and gloves when handling mink to avoid infecting the animals.

In Wisconsin, about 5,000 mink have died on two farms, State Veterinarian Darlene Konkle said.

One farm is composting the dead mink to dispose of the carcasses without spreading the virus, Konkle said. Authorities are working with the second farm to determine how to dispose of the mink, and dead animals are being kept in a metal container in the meantime, she said.

Michigan declined to disclose how many mink have died, citing privacy rules.

State officials said they are working with the USDA to determine whether farmers can sell the pelts of infected mink. The pelts are used to make fur coats and other items.

The coronavirus has also infected cats, dogs, a lion and a tiger, according to the USDA. Experts say mink appear to be the most susceptible animal so far.



Hanoi chronicles: when peace exposes the horrors of war

By Long Nguyen   November 11, 2020 | 11:49 am GMT+7 vnexpress

After first visiting the capital at the height of the Vietnam War more than 50 years ago, Thomas Billhardt has kept returning to Hanoi to chronicle its changes.

However, he chose to do it not with graphic pictures of the violence, but by capturing normal, daily life that highlighted what was being destroyed.

Since October this year, the 83-year-old German photographer has been fielding numerous calls and messages from Vietnam, unable to attend an exhibition featuring 130 photos he’d taken in Hanoi during the Vietnam War.

“I am sad that I cannot be in Hanoi this time because of the pandemic, but the city is always in my heart,” he told VnExpress International from Berlin, Germany.

Billhardt has won worldwide recognition for his work in the late sixties and early seventies when the Vietnam War was at its peak. His photographs of daily life amidst the war were powerfully poignant.

Thomas Billhardt at an exhibition. Photo courtesy of Thomas Billhardt.
Thomas Billhardt at an exhibition. Photo courtesy of Thomas Billhardt.

Billhardt loved photography as a child, being raised by a photographer mother. He graduated from the University of Graphics and Book Design in Leipzig in 1963. When he made the first of his 12 trips to Hanoi four years later, he never imagined that it would give birth to an association lasting more than five decades.

He first came to the capital city with a group of moviemakers from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1967 to film a documentary about American soldiers captured in Hanoi amidst the infamous Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing blitz unleashed by the U.S. against the north of Vietnam.

He remembers that at the Metropole, the fanciest hotel in town, “there were more mouses than guests and worms in the hotel’s water.”

Seeing the devastation of the war, the bomb craters, destroyed buildings, and the sounds of air raids and sirens calling for people to take cover, he was moved to tell the story of Hanoi and its people with a “photo chronicle.”

“I was angry on seeing the Americans destroy Hanoi… I wanted to show the world the photos I took in Vietnam so they would know exactly what was going on. Then they would understand and love Vietnam, just like me.”

He decided that his wartime photography would focus on people going about their daily lives, busy working and getting ready to fight at the same time.

A tram in 1975.The tram was a popular form of public transportation for Hanoians. Photo courtesy of Thomas Billhardt.
A tram in 1975. The tram was a popular form of public transportation for Hanoians. Photo courtesy of Thomas Billhardt.
See also Thomas Billhardt exhibition: War and Peace >>

The photographs of crowds cycling under pouring rain, the happy faces of barefoot children attending an outdoor painting class, a stadium filled with people cheering and laughing as they watched a football match and many such scenes of love and care powerfully contrasted and resisted the extreme violence of war.

“I felt a connection with Vietnamese people when looking into their eyes as they suffered from the raging war,” Billhardt recalled, adding the bravery of Vietnamese was a lesson for him.

“Thomas’s photos hold up a mirror to the world while holding out hope at the same time. They tell of the world’s social inequalities, of poverty, of suffering, of war, but also of the life and laughter of the people who live in it,” said Wilfried Eckstein, director of the Goethe Institute in Hanoi.

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Remittances to fall for first time in 11 years

11/11/2020    06:45 GMT+7 vietnamnet

Remittances to Vietnam are set to fall for the first time since 2009 to $15.7 billion this year over Covid-19 impacts.

However, even though this is a 7.6 percent drop from last year’s 17 billion USD, Vietnam will remain the ninth biggest remittance beneficiary in the world, according to a recent report by the World Bank.

In the East Asia and Pacific region, the country is forecast to rank third behind China (59.5 billion USD) and the Philippines (33.3 billion USD).

This year’s remittance is estimated at 5.8 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, compared to 6.5 percent last year.

The dip reverses an upward trend that’s lasted two decades, starting at a mere 1.3 billion USD in 2000./.VNA

The US-China rivalry in tech and trade won’t end because Joe Biden is president

Analysis by Jill DisisCNN Business

Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT) November 9, 2020

See how world reacts to US presidential election results
See how world reacts to US presidential election results

Hong Kong (CNN Business)President Donald Trump spent much of his term setting up Beijing as Washington’s greatest political and economic adversary. Don’t expectdrastic changes when Joe Biden takes the helm, even if he eschews the bluster and unpredictability of his predecessor.Economists and trade experts believe that the United States and China will move further apart on trade and technology as Washington continues to scrutinize virtually every aspect of its relationship with the world’s second-largesteconomy.”We have a fundamental, systematic rivalry between these two systems,” said Alex Capri, research fellow at the Hinrich Foundation and senior fellow and lecturer at the National University of Singapore. “In many ways, that rivalry is going to intensify.”

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