News on 25 July 2016

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1) Exhibition displays paintings by Vietnamese contemporary artists

A collection of 49 outstanding paintings by Vietnamese contemporary artists are on display in an exhibition at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum. The “Green and Blue Dream” exhibition showcases works in different materials by 17 veteran artists. The highlights of the exhibition are five oil paintings by Le Thanh, 74, who was born in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang, but spent most of his life in HCM City. He captured the landscape, daily life and people of HCM City in paintings such as Vuong Cung Thanh Duong (Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, HCM City) and Nang Sai Gon (Saigon Summer). The beauty and elegance of Vietnamese women is also featured in Pretty Woman, which is considered as one of Thanh’s most appealing paintings. Thanh, a graduate of Gia Đinh Fine Arts College (currently the HCM City University of Fine Arts), painted the work after recovering from a severe illness in 2004. Speaking at the exhibition’s opening ceremony on Saturday (July 23), The exhibition showcases a painting on lotus by 80-year-old artist Nguyen Thi Tam. The artist used white as the major colour and typical shapes on soft silk material to depict the pure, charming and simple beauty of lotus in Sen Trang Tay Vuc (Indian White Lotus). Tam, a native of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, graduated in oil painting at the Gia Dinh Fine Arts College in 1958. She has 20 single and group exhibitions in Vietnam and other countries such as France, the US and Germany. The collection includes four lacquer paintings, Am Nhac (Music), Ben Thuyen (Wharf), Mystery II, and Dung Manh (Strong and Brave), by Ho Huu Thuy, 74, who has had exhibitions in France, the US, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. Golden Fish, a mix-media painting by Uyen Huy, chairman of the HCM City Fine Arts Association, is among the displayed works. All exhibits are part of the private collection of art curator Nguyen Quang Cuong, manager of Phuong Mai Gallery in District 1. Cuong said, “I have collected over 50 valuable works from many artists in Vietnam for more than 10 years. And my collection is diversified in subject, style and media.” The “Green and Blue Dream” exhibition remains open until August 2 at the museum, 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street in District 1. VNS

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2) Dropped helmet leads to multi-car crash on Ho Chi Minh City avenue

A helmet dropped from someone’s motorbike on a highway could lead to a serious crash between three cars. That’s what happened in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday (July 23). At around 2:30 pm, a four-seater car was traveling downward the Binh Loi Bridge on Pham Van Dong Avenue, when a helmet stuck into its bottom. The driver was then preparing to stop by the roadside to fix the incident, when a 16-seater bus crashed into its rear. Even worse, a five-seater car that was traveling just behind the bus could not stop in time, leading to the second crash into both vehicles. The multi-car crash destroyed the rear section of the four-seater and severely injured three people on that car. They were rushed to hospital immediately. The 16-seater bus had its head damaged, whereas the five-seater was only slightly damaged.

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3) City seeks $3.22b for anti-flood projects

Flood-prevention projects in HCM City will require an additional expenditure of at least VNĐ72 trillion (US$3.22 billion) over the next five years, according to a report from the city’s Department of Planning and Investment. The city has already received capital of VNĐ23 trillion ($1.03 billion) for flood-prevention projects under construction. The projects under construction are the Bình Hưng wastewater treatment plant, the Nhiêu Lộc-Thị Nghè wastewater treatment plant and the Tham Lương-Bến Cát wastewater treatment plant. For upcoming flood-prevention projects, the city needs more funds, which are expected to come from Official Development Assistance (ODA), the State budget, the State Capital Investment Corporation and the business community. The city said it could only allocate VNĐ6.96 trillion ($312 million) from its budget for upcoming flood-prevention projects. For other funds, the city expects to receive VNĐ36.42 trillion ($1.63 billion) in ODA, which will be used to dredge two canals and build four wastewater treatment plants over the period. The 32 km-long Tham Lương-Bến Cát-Nước Lên Canal will be rehabilitated and dredged to improve water drainage in its 14,500-hectare basin. ODA funds are also expected to be used for the third phase of the Tau Hu-Ben Nghe-Đoi-Te Canal improvement project. The four wastewater treatment plants (Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Western Saigon, Northern Saigon 1 and Binh Tan) are also expected to receive ODA funds. The city also hopes to raise VNĐ16.35 trillion ($733.13 million) from the business community and other sources for upcoming projects. Of that amount, VNĐ10 trillion ($448.4 million) would be used for construction of six sluices that would control flood tides. The investors would receive land in return for their capital contributions in the sluice projects.

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4) Japan's Takashimaya to open first store in Vietnam

Takashimaya, a popular luxury department store chain in Japan, is set to launch its first outlet in Vietnam this month, local media reported on Tuesday (July 19). The 185-year-old operator has invested $25 million in the five-floor store, which is located at Saigon Centre building in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, according to news website Saigon Times Online. With 19 stores around Japan and another three in Singapore, Shanghai and Taipei, Takashimaya has been expanding its businesses in Asia, it said. Its first store in Thailand is expected to be opened in Bangkok next year. In a report published last month, news website Nikkei Asian Review said the retailer's net profit in March-May declined by 44 percent year-on-year to 3.5 billion yen ($34.1 million). The company forecasts its net profit to grow 1 percent to 24 billion yen ($235.65 million) this year, the website reported.

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5) Years Before Truck Rampage in Nice, Attacker Wasn’t ‘Living in the Real World’

His own parents were so frightened by his violence that they kicked him out when he was 16. Desperate, by the time he was 19, they dragged him to a psychiatrist, who prescribed an antipsychotic drug, a tranquilizer and an antidepressant. “There were the beginnings of a psychosis,” the doctor, Hamouda Chemceddine, recalled in an interview in the Tunisian city of Sousse, looking over his notes from that visit in August 2004. “He wasn’t someone who was living in the real world.” In France, he even created a Facebook page with an alter ego, listing his profession as a “professor of salsa dancing” and displaying a mock image of Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, in drag. That man — a 31-year-old delivery driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel — trained his violent tendencies on a crowd watching fireworks along the French Riviera on July 14, running over hundreds of people and killing 84 in a rented cargo truck during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice. Since then, all of France has struggled to explain the single most murderous act yet committed by an individual since the country’s wave of terror began. Was Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s rampage terrorism or merely the outburst of a madman? Or both? The Islamic State quickly proclaimed him a “soldier.” Yet Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s life — pieced together in numerous interviews in France and Tunisia, where he was born and raised — showed few signs of real radicalization, and certainly no Islamic zeal. Instead, it showed plenty of signs of verging psychosis and a hair-trigger propensity for violence by a man variously described as a drinker, a wife beater, a drug taker and a chronic womanizer. “He danced, he smoked, he ate pork. It was almost as though he wasn’t even Muslim,” Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s brother Jaber, 19, said in an interview outside the family home here in Msaken, Tunisia. “He didn’t even pray.” Rather, Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s life appears to show the ways in which the unstable and aggrieved have latched on to Islamic State propaganda to shape their violent fixations and find permission to act them out. In turn, the Islamic State has latched on to them, declaring as its foot soldiers even individuals with tenuous ties to the group but long histories of personal and psychological troubles who are far from models of Islamic rectitude. It remains unclear what led Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel to his murderous rampage. But his killings have left the French authorities, like those elsewhere, struggling to define the intersection of political terrorism and personal psychoses.

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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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