News on 27 July 2016

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1) Opera House to hold shows more frequently

The culture ministry has decided to facilitate regular drama, chamber music and traditional opera shows at the Hanoi Opera House beginning this autumn. The move aims to provide audiences with high-quality performances in the historic Opera House right in downtown Hanoi. It is also an answer to recent public complaints that the Opera House has hosted too few high-quality shows. Starting in September, the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra, Vietnam Drama Theatre and Vietnam Cheo (Traditional Opera) Theatre will take turns performing at the Opera House. Artist Thanh Ngoan, director of the Vietnam Cheo Theatre, said the theatre’s performance schedule will include award-winning plays at national theatre festivals. By 2017, the theatre will perform there every Saturday and Sunday. The Vietnam Tuong (Traditional Drama) Theatre will launch performances on October 30 and November 2, while the Vietnam Cai Luong (Reformed Opera) Theatre will start performing in October.

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2) Environment protection campaign launched

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union yesterday (July 26) called on youths nationwide to join the “Green Sunday” and “Let’s clean up the ocean” campaigns. The launching ceremony of the events was held in Phan Thiet City in the central Binh Thuan Province. The campaigns aim to encourage youths to assume pioneering roles in protecting the environment and fighting climate change through small actions. Nguyen Anh Tuan, secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, said pollution, especially ocean pollution, was an urgent issue for the society. Phan Thiet City is a tourist destination. Pollution of the beaches has brought several challenges for the tourism sector, he said. After the campaign was launched, more than 500 local youths, soldiers and officers of the armed forces collected garbage and cleaned up the 2km-long beach in Mui Ne Ward in Phan Thiet City.

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3) Vietnam gets loans from World Bank to aid competitiveness, green growth

The World Bank and Vietnam on Monday (July 25) signed agreements under which the country will get $371 million in loans and grants to support its economic competitiveness, green growth and water management. The bank, Switzerland and Canada will give a combined $162 million loan and grant mixture to boost Vietnam's financial sector stability, reform state-owned enterprises and improve the business environment, the bank said in a statement. Separately, Vietnam will borrow $90 million from the World Bank to support its climate change and green growth policy actions and $119 million for urban water supply and wastewater treatment project, the statement said.

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4) Post-Brexit vote rise in hate crimes prompts Britain to review policing

Britain will order a review of how police deal with hate crimes after a sharp rise in offences reported following last month's vote to leave the European Union. Almost 6,200 hate crimes have been reported in Britain over the month since the June 23 referendum, which saw immigration become a key issue during a bitter and deeply divisive campaign. The most common crimes were harassment, assault and other violence such as verbal abuse or spitting, with Muslims and Eastern Europeans saying they had been particularly targeted. "Those who practise hatred send out a message that it's ok to abuse and attack others because of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background," interior minister Amber Rudd said in a statement ahead of the publication of a "Hate Crime Action Plan". We will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone. Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out." Critics of the "Leave" campaign say its focus on immigration helped stoke xenophobia and racism, an accusation its leaders reject.

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5)  Islamists attack French church, slit priest's throat

Knife-wielding attackers interrupted a French church service, forced the priest to his knees and slit his throat on Tuesday (July 26), a murder made even more shocking as one of the assailants was a known would-be jihadist under supposedly tight surveillance. As the attackers came out of the church shouting "Allahu akbar" (“God is Greatest”) they were shot and killed by police. The men arrived during morning mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a working-class town near Rouen, northwest of Paris, where the 85-year-old parish priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was leading prayers. "They forced him to his knees and he tried to defend himself and that's when the drama began," Sister Danielle, who escaped as the attackers slayed the priest, told RMC radio. "They filmed themselves. It was like a sermon in Arabic around the altar," the nun said. Three other worshippers were held hostage until the assailants were killed, one of them was badly wounded during the attack.

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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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