Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
As has happened every few years since the mid-1940s Vietnam’s Communists won parliamentary elections last month by a landslide, claiming 91.6 percent of the chamber’s 500 seats, officials announced on Friday. No surprises there. The Communist Party has a constitutionally-mandated monopoly on power.
We noted in a story on election day that the vote was rigged to retain party control although the outcome would allow for the legislature’s role in policymaking to continue to grow incrementally.
On Friday the results showed that more self-nominated candidates and more businessmen were elected to the unicameral body this time around than ever before. Four out of 15 self-nominated candidates made it this year, including the vice chairwoman of Hanoi’s young businesspeoples’ association and a doctor who runs his own hospital. Four years ago at the last National Assembly election only 1 of the 30 self-nominees who ran landed a seat.
Voters handed seats to Dang Thanh Tam and Dang Thi Hoang Yen, two of the country’s best known capitalists and perhaps the country’s richest brother and sister duo. They preside over the conglomerate Saigon Invest Group and other companies. Pham Huy Hung, head of VietinBank, the country’s biggest partly-private bank, also got seat. So did Dinh La Thang, chairman of state oil and gas group Petrovietnam, which is probably the country’s most influential company. State media said its revenues this year are expected to be close to a quarter of the nation’s GDP and it makes annual tax contributions that put it in a league of its own.
from Afghan Journal:
[Women at a cemetery in Kabul, picture by Reuters' Ahmad Masood]
As U.S. President Barack Obama makes up his mind on comitting more troops to Afghanistan, the search for analogies continues. Clearly, Afghanistan cannot be compared with Vietnam or Iraq beyond a point. The history, geography, the culture and the politics are just too different.
The best analogy to Afghanistan may well the very area in dispute - the rugged Pashtun lands straddling the border with Pakistan and where the Pakistani army is in the middle of an offensive, argues William Tobey in a piece for Foreign Policy.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Every now and then, either when there is a fresh setback or a key moment in Afghanistan's turbulent history, like last week when it went to the polls to choose a president, the debate flares anew.
from UK News:
The death toll among British troops in Afghanistan is rising fast. The soldier who died on Tuesday was the seventh to die in the last week and the 176th since the war began.
Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to die in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand. British commanders are quoted as saying things are going to get worse before they get better.
For many, Vietnam has always been two things – a war and a country. Since probably the mid-1990s, though, when Washington and Hanoi established diplomatic relations, the balance — in terms of headlines at least — started to tip decisively toward “Vietnam the country”.
Vietnam’s economic transition and integration with the world has, indeed, made for some decent reading. So it’s been interesting to note since moving to Hanoi a few months ago the strong comeback that “Vietnam the war” has made in the form of articles about Afghanistan and the Obama presidency.
The breathtaking growth of the economy since the pro-market reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping has led to an extraordinary increase in real living standards and an unprecedented decline in poverty. According to World Bank estimates, more than 60 percent of the population lived under the $1 per day poverty line at the beginning of economic reform. This had fallen to 10 percent by 2004, so - on this narrow measure at least – about 500 million people were lifted out of poverty in a single generation.