Vietnam’s Top 2008 cultural events named

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Cultural exchanges throughout the year topped the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s annual list of top events of the year, published by the ministry on Dec. 24.

The first Culture Day of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups, held last April 19, took second place on the list, followed by Nha Trangs hosting of the Miss Universe pageant last July, Festival Hue in June, Festival Tay Son-Binh Dinh in August, the first international firecracker festival in Da Nang city in March, the Ban Me Thuot Coffee Festival earlier this month, the United Day of Vesak Celebration 2008 in May, and the 700th anniversary of the death of King Tran Nhan Tong.

The ministry also noted outstanding achievements in cinema and photography, noting that the film, ‘When The Tenth Month Comes’, was selected as one of the 18 best Asian films of all time by CNN.

The black-and-white photograph collection, Traditional Culture Identities of Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) Ethnic Groups also won the FIAP World Cup in Slovakia in August, the ministry said.

In sports, the ministry honored Vietnam for ranking 71st among 200 teams participating in the Beijing Olympics in August, coming home with a silver medal in weightlifting.

Vietnam also hosted the World Youth Chess Championships in August and won four gold medals, five silvers and three bronzes, ranking second among 80 nations and territories competing.

A Vietnamese mountain-climbing team conquered Mt Everest for the first time in May, the ministry also noted.

In football, Vietnam’s national team won the Merdeka Cup in Malaysia in October and has made it to the final round of the ongoing ASEAN Foolball Federation-Suzuki Cup.

In the field of tourism, the campaign to include Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and Fansipan Mountain among the new Seven Wonders of the World has gathered international support, the ministry said, noting also a series of events that took place as part of the National Tourism Year for the Mekong Delta and Can Tho 2008.

Lastly, the ministry also identified five problem areas in culture, sport and tourism over the past year.

Topping the list was a striptease performed by students at the FPT Centre Arena as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of software giant FPT in September.

The incident illustrated problems in controlling youth lifestyle and better educating youth, the ministry said.

Also cited by the ministry were the misrepresentation by Tien Phong (The Vanguard) newspaper of the rules of the Miss Vietnam pageant in August, and increasing domestic violence against the elderly, women and children.

In sports, the ministry criticized fan violence in Vinh city following a football match between Song Lam Nghe An and Hai Phong Cement, while, in tourism, the ministry warned that pollution, lack of concern for the environment around tourist attractions were negatively affecting the quality and attractiveness of Vietnam to foreign visitors.

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