“HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — President Obama told a gathering of young Vietnamese on Wednesday that the country need not worry about losing its most talented people, but then he proceeded to describe conditions for emigration that fit Vietnam perfectly.“
The places that lose talent, it’s where there’s a lot of corruption,” Mr. Obama said in Ho Chi Minh City at a town-hall style meeting of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, a United States-sponsored mentoring program.Mr. Obama said that people despair of having to pay bribes to start businesses or do the things they want to do, so they leave.Vietnam is deeply corrupt, and development agencies and businesses say they must pay bribes to government officials for anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the cost of a project to get it completed.Another reason people leave their home countries is environmental issues, Mr. Obama added. “No job is so important that it’s O.K. if your children have asthma and they can’t breathe.
”Photo President Obama greeting the crowd after the gathering in Ho Chi Minh City. Credit Doug Mills The New York Times
The United States Embassy in Hanoi, the capital, recently installed air pollution monitors, and during Mr. Obama’s speech, the level of the most dangerous particles in Hanoi was 158, which is considered unhealthy. High pollution levels substantially increase the risk that children grow up with asthma and weakened lungs. Heavy pollution also increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes in adults.”
Source: Obama, Perhaps Slyly, Calls Attention to Vietnam’s Brain Drain – The New York Times
HANOI, Vietnam — President Obama won enthusiastic applause here on Tuesday with a supportive reference to Vietnam’s disputes with China, saying in a speech that “big nations should not bully smaller ones.” But several activists who had been scheduled to meet with him before the speech were prevented from doing so, underscoring the gulf with Hanoi on human rights.The White House had requested the meeting as a signal to Vietnam’s Communist government that the United States cares about human rights here. Mr. Obama spent more than his allotted time with the six Vietnamese civil society leaders who did attend the meeting at a JW Marriott hotel, but he said that several others had been prevented from coming.
“Vietnam has made remarkable strides, the economy is growing quickly, the Internet is booming, and there’s a growing confidence here,” Mr. Obama said when a group of reporters were briefly allowed into the meeting. “But as I indicated yesterday, there’s still areas of significant concerns in terms of areas of free speech, freedom of assembly, accountability with respect to government.”
Source: As Obama Presses Vietnam on Rights, Activists Are Barred From Meeting – The New York Times
HANOI, VIETNAM — Dr. Bui Xuan Hiep, the head of tuberculosis control in this city’s Hoang Mai district, paged proudly through a large handwritten patient log.“This district’s cure rate averages 90 percent,” he said. Still, Dr. Bui could see problems.Seven patients had turned up with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; four had been cured, two had died — and one had simply disappeared.It’s a story repeated throughout Vietnam. The nation was once racked by a tuberculosis epidemic, one of the worst in which H.I.V. was not the driving force. But officials fought back fiercely.Twenty-five years ago, battered by the aftermath of a long war, chronic poverty and a heavy-handed government isolated from much of the world, Vietnam had nearly 600 cases of tuberculosis for every 100,000 residents. Today, it has less than 200.
Source: Vietnam’s Battle With Tuberculosis – The New York Times