McDonald’s has opened its first restaurant in communist-controlled Vietnam.
Hundreds of people queued for the opening of the restaurant in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh, AFP says.
Ho Chi Minh, known as Saigon during the Vietnam War, was where the US-backed government was based until it fell to communist forces 38 years ago.
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Vietnam is being run by the prime minister’s son-in-law.
Henry Nguyen flipped burgers at a McDonald’s restaurant while a teenager growing up in the United States, where his family fled at the end of the war.
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Vietnam is being run by the prime minister’s son-in-law
He said last July, after winning the franchise, it had been his dream to open a McDonald’s since returning to Vietnam more than a decade ago.
The move underlines Vietnam’s hunger for Western consumer brands and the attractions for foreign investors, say observers.
Despite the Vietnamese economy’s recent slowdown, foreign brands are popular among the youthful population whose parents had few of the food and lifestyle options now available in the country.
Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, and KFC all have a presence there.
Henry Nguyen is the founder of travel and food group Good Day Hospitality and managing general partner of investment firm IDG Ventures Vietnam. He is married to the daughter of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
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Rare protests have taken place in Vietnam over maritime territorial disputes with neighboring China.
The protests in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi were quickly dispersed by police.
Tensions are high after an incident last month in which Hanoi accused Beijing of cutting the cables of a Vietnamese oil exploration ship.
Vietnam is also unhappy at a map in new Chinese passports that shows disputed areas of the South China Sea as Chinese territory.
Hundreds of people are reported to have taken part in the protests on Sunday morning against what they see as Chinese aggression and expansionism.
But the rallies were quickly stopped by the security police – after just 45 minutes in Ho Chi Minh City and half-an-hour in Hanoi.
Protesters said that Hanoi police had detained more than 20 activists.
It is the first anti-China protest in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, in more than a year.
Rare protests have taken place in Vietnam over maritime territorial disputes with neighboring China
Public demonstrations are extremely rare in Vietnam, where the government makes social and political stability its top priority.
Police have been trying hard to prevent demonstrations, but this time it seems public anger was too great to suppress.
Tensions over maritime claims in the region have been rising.
Vietnam and the Philippines accuse China of growing assertiveness around disputed islands and shoals.
The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) said Chinese fishing boats had sabotaged one of its oil survey vessels last month in the South China Sea.
Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan have also complained to China about the new passport map, saying it is an infringement of their sovereignty.
Vietnam and the Philippines are refusing to stamp the new Chinese passports and are instead issuing visas on separate sheets of paper.
The Vietnamese authorities have jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda, in a case criticized by human rights groups.
The high-profile but brief trial took place in Ho Chi Minh City under heavy security, reports say.
The trio was given jail sentences of between four and 12 years.
The government, which does not allow freedom of expression, has been under pressure from bloggers over corruption cases and human rights issues.
The three were accused of posting political articles on a banned website called Free Journalists’ Club, as well as articles critical of the government on their own blogs.
Vietnam has jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda
Nguyen Van Hai, who uses the pen name Dieu Cay, received the longest sentence of 12 years.
The case of Dieu Cay, who was a soldier before he became a dissident writer, was raised by US President Barack Obama earlier this year.
Former policewoman Ta Phong Tan, who also wrote a blog called ”Justice and Truth”, was sent to jail for a decade. In July, her mother died after setting herself on fire in apparent protest against the detention of her daughter.
The third dissident writer, Phan Thanh Hai, was jailed for four years.
In a statement, the US embassy in Hanoi called on the Vietnamese government to free the group.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court convicted and sentenced blogger Dieu Cay to 12 years in prison for peacefully expressing his political views,” the statement said.
Activists have accused the government of stepping up a crackdown against bloggers and peaceful activists.
“Vietnam’s arbitrary use of vaguely worded national security laws to imprison critics of the government means bloggers are bearing the brunt of this assault on freedom of expression,” Brad Adams, Asia director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement urging the release of the trio.
Earlier this month, Vietnam’s prime minister hit out at three blogs critical of the government.
A statement on a government website said PM Nguyen Tan Dung had ordered police to investigate and take action against those responsible.
Nguyen Duy Hai from Vietnam has come through a 12-hour operation to remove a 198 lb tumour from his right leg
Nguyen Duy Hai from Vietnam has come through a 12-hour operation to remove a 198 lb tumour from his right leg.
Nguyen Duy Hai, 32, is said to be in a stable condition after the surgery at the France-Vietnam hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
Leading U.S. surgeon McKay McKinnon led the eight-strong team who began operating on Nguyen Duy Hai’s leg at 8:55 a.m. local time this morning.
The surgeons didn’t finish until 9:15 p.m.
Dr. McKay McKinnon, who has successfully removed other large tumours in his 30-year career, had been positive about the surgery despite it carrying just a 50% success rate.
Speaking to Tuoitrenews, a Vietnamese website, before the procedure, Dr. McKay McKinnon said it was essential for his team to take out the “nidus” or origin of the tumour to stop the growth returning.
Nguyen Duy Hai suffers from neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes disfiguring tumors to form on nerves throughout the body.
The tumour began growing when Nguyen Duy Hai was a boy and is thought to be the biggest ever recorded in Vietnam.
Over the year it has grown from the base of his spine, snaking up his back and around his thighs.
It is intertwined with bloody vessels making cutting it away potentially deadly.
The strain on Nguyen Duy Hai’s already weakened heart was also a risk. To combat this, the team decided to keep him upright throughout the operation.
While the tumour is not cancerous, its sheer mass means it absorbs vital blood and nutrients from Nguyen Duy Hai’s body, making it weak.
Dr. McKay McKinnon agreed to waive his fee for the operation while the remaining costs of around VND 252million (around $12,000) has been raised by family and well wishers at home and abroad.
Nguyen Duy Hai’s family wept after being told he had survived the operation.
They had been anxious after an attempt to remove the tumour in 1997 was unsuccessful. Doctors had been forced to amputate Nguyen Duy Hai’s right leg below the knee.
Speaking before the operation Nguyen Duy Hai told Tuoitre News, a Vietnamese website: “It’s common for people to fear death, and I’m no exception.
“But when I heard Dr McKinnon had decided to come back to Vietnam one more time to give me a new life, I became more hopeful.”
Dr. McKay McKinnon successfully operated on a similar size tumour growing out of a Michigan woman in 1999.
He said this patient was older and in worse shape than Nguyen Duy Hai, but came through the operation and is now leading a normal life.
“She survived that surgery after 50 units of blood transfusion,” Dr. McKay McKinnon told Tuoitre News.
“She was in the hospital for about six weeks, and required physical therapy for about a year.”
Despite Nguyen Duy Hai’s operation being a success the healing process will not be an easy one.
An infection on the large open wound could easily kill him and he will later have to endure multiple skin grafts and reconstruction operations.
Nguyen Duy Hai will also be in intensive care for weeks and will then have to undergo physiotherapy for months.