News on 15 July

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1)  Quang Binh holds first ever sailboat performance

Quang Binh is holding a performance week of sailboats on the Nhat Le River in an act to save the tourism industry from the mass fish deaths that have occurred since April.

The week began yesterday (July 14) and will last until the 20th of this month. The organisers, Quang Binh tourism association, said the sailboat performance was to celebrate the upcoming traditional boat racing tournament that Thai and Lao teams would join. There are 15 plastic sailboats, which were made right on the riverbank, taking part in the performance, with each carrying logos of prominent firms and agencies in the province. A number of races and photo contests will be held during the week to get locals and visitors closer to the performance week. “This is being held to offer more recreation, aiming to lure more visitors to Quang Binh,” said Nguyen Van Ky, local tourism association’s chairman. In addition to the performance of sailboats, the week will also include the crystal kayak, which helps to show the pure, transparent water of the river.

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2)   Vietnam Airlines granted 4-star certification by Skytrax

National carrier Vietnam Airlines has been certified as a 4-star airline by UK-based airline and airport rating organization Skytrax. The airline was presented with the 4-Star Airline Certification from Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted at the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards, held at the Farnborough Airshow in London on Tuesday (July 12). Headquartered in Hanoi with hubs at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports in the capital and Ho Chi Minh City respectively, Vietnam Airlines is the Southeast Asian country’s flag carrier, flying to 52 destinations in 17 countries and territories. Skytrax is an airline and airport rating organization whose rating system classifies airlines by the quality of front-line product and staff service using in-depth quality analysis across up to 800 areas. “This fantastic achievement is a testament to the hard work of all of Vietnam Airlines employees, and an important indicator of the excellent progress we are making towards our goal of becoming one of the best-regarded airlines in the Asia-Pacific region,” Duong Tri Thanh, president and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, was quoted by Skytrax as saying at the ceremony.

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3) Businesses prefer Vietnam-EU FTA over TPP

EVFTA and TPP are expected to take effect in one or two years. Businesses that have analyzed the agreements have realized that EVFTA can bring them big opportunities. The representative of an enterprise from the US noted that EVFTA gives more favorable conditions in government procurement as it allows procurement deals in localities as well. Tran Quoc Khanh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said it was not the initial intention of Vietnam to apply discriminatory treatment to imports from the EU and from TPP member countries. However, he said, the principle for all negotiations is “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. As the EU offers attractive things to Vietnam, in return, Vietnam also accepted to give preferences to the EU. Under the FTA, the EU will remove 85 percent of the tariffs imposed on Vietnamese goods as soon as the agreement takes effect. In the next seven years, 99 percent of the tariffs will be removed, a high commitment level Vietnam can obtain within the framework of trade agreements so far. An official from VCCI commented that the EU has offered attractive provisions to Vietnam regarding many production fields.

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4)   Ho Chi Minh City hosts used car fair with new features

Car traders in Ho Chi Minh City will be pleased to know that a used car fair has just opened. The car market, financed by Ho Chi Minh City-based Sago Auto Co. Ltd., is being held at the intersection of Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Mac Dinh Chi in District 1, starting from Wednesday (July 13). Featuring services related to buying procedures like financing and registration, the venue is the first to let car owners meet buyers face-to-face. Pham Van Thiet, chairman of the board of Sago Auto, said that the company aimed to make the car market outperform conventional trading methods. Sellers can hire a stand at a cost of VND100,000 (US$4.5) a day to showcase their items and meet potential buyers, according to Sago Auto. “All information related to the car is required to be clearly and fully provided, and the owner’s contact phone number is also shown both on the item and on the website,” he said when explaining how a transaction proceeds without go-betweens as per convention.

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5) Truck attacker kills up to 80 in Nice Bastille Day crowd

An attacker killed up to 80 people and injured scores when he drove a heavy truck at high speed into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday (July 14), officials said. Counter-terrorist investigators were seeking to identify the driver, who a local government official said opened fire before police shot him dead. The official said weapons and grenades were found inside the 25-tonne, unmarked truck. The attack, which came eight months and a day after Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris, appeared so far to be the work of a lone assailant. Newspaper Nice-Matin quoted unidentified sources as saying the driver was a 31-year-old local of Tunisian origin. The truck careered for hundreds of meters along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront, slamming into spectators watching the fireworks, listening to an orchestra or strolling above the beach towards the grand, century-old Hotel Negresco. "It's a scene of horror," a local member of parliament, Eric Ciotti, told France Info radio, saying the truck had "mown down several hundred people." Local government leader Christian Estrosi put the death toll at 77, while BFM TV later put it at 80. An Interior Ministry spokesman said "several dozen" had died.

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(All the above News Items have been sourced from: Reuters, ThanhNien News, Vietnam Net, Tuoitre News, Vietnam News, New York Times)

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