Hanoi (VNA) – The Sherpa Company Limited, a subsidiary of Masan Group Corporation , has acquired a 20-percent stake in Phuc Long Heritage JSC, which owns one of the leading tea and coffee brands in Vietnam – Phuc Long, for 15 million USD, according to an announcement. VinCommerce Truong Cong Thang, for his part, said: “With the goal of serving daily essential products that meet ‘The Very Best of Fresh’ standards, we believe that each VinMart store will transform into a symbol of modern lifestyle, a destination for all ages, from youths to housewives, across Vietnam.”
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Nguyen Van Thai, 39, is the director and founder of non-profit Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), which helped rescue 1,540 pangolins from the illegal wildlife trade just between 2014 and 2020.
Thai also established Vietnam’s first anti-poaching unit, which has since 2018 destroyed 9,701 animal traps, dismantled 775 illegal camps, confiscated 78 guns, and arrested 558 poachers, leading to a significant decline in illegal activities at the Pu Mat National Park in the central Nghe An Province.
Instituted in 1989 the Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the ‘Green Nobel,’ seeks to “honor grassroots environmental heroes by recognizing individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.”
Thai said he was “surprised” to be a recipient of the prize.
“I am very proud as all efforts in wildlife conservation have been recognized, not only in Vietnam, but around the world.”
Thai is the second Vietnamese to win the award after Nguy Thi Khanh, director of Green Innovation and Development Center, who received it in 2018 for doing research that prompted government agencies to take up long-term sustainable projects that have helped reduce dependence on coal.
Pangolins are considered the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal despite an international ban on their trading, reportedly accounting for as much as 20 percent of all illegal wildlife trade as heavy demand for their meat, scales and blood threatens them with extinction.
All eight pangolin species across the world are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
The animal is hunted in Vietnam and neighboring countries for its meat and the alleged medicinal properties of its scales.
An investigation last year by the Netherlands-based Wildlife Justice Commission found that in both 2018 and 2019 more than 500 kilograms of shipments each were seized at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and five ports in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hai Phong, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is given to six people each year from Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America.
This year the other five recipients are all women. Gloria Majiga-Kamoto of Malawi has fought the plastics industry and galvanized a movement in support of a national ban on thin plastics.
Kimiko Hirata of Japan has led a campaign that resulted in the cancellation of 13 coal power plants.
Maida Bilal of Bosnia and Herzegovina fought to cancel two proposed dams on the Kruščica River in 2018.
Sharon Lavigne of the U.S. successfully stopped the construction of a $1.25-billion plastics manufacturing plant alongside the Mississippi River in Louisiana.
Liz Chicaje Churay of Peru has fought to create the Yaguas National Park, of which size can be compared as more than two million acres of Amazonian rainforests.
Each of them receives a $200,000 cash prize aside from a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent biting its tail, a symbol of nature’s power of renewal.
The Ho Chi Minh City Museum of History’s archive contains two special imperial mantles with autographs by Emperor Dong Khanh – the ninth emperor of Vietnam’s last monarchy, the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).
Despite time, these autographs – written in red ink on brocade fabric – still look bright and sharp.
These two imperial mantles are also precious artifacts carrying untold stories of culture and royalty.
After the 1968 Spring Mau Than General Offensive and Uprising, many families including former royalty in Hue City ran to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in search of shelter.
Along with them, they carried many antiques once being used and placed in imperial palaces and pavilions.
One family’s collection included three emperor’s mantles and two prince’s gowns.
The collection caught the eyes of Saigon antiquity hunters.
However, during their stay in the city, the family asked some brokers to sell all artifacts for the Saigon Archaeological Institute.
The event set a significant milestone for a collective effort of stopping Vietnam’s royal objects from being drained to other countries.
The attire was later transferred to the Vietnam National Museum, now the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of History, in 1974.
The museum’s report on September 25, 1974 numbered the two emperor’s mantles 5134 and 5135, which were bought at VND250,000 and VND420,000 then, respectively.
As one tael of gold in Saigon in 1972 was priced at VND32,000 (a tael is equal to 1.2 troy ounces), the two gowns were bought at about 20 taels.
That price was simply the sale price of two imperial mantles.
Their values are immeasurable, according to Hoang Anh Tuan, the museum’s director.
Fabric, patterns, and sewing techniques are important topics for researchers to learn about the royal culture of the Nguyen dynasty.
The two gowns, one in red and another in yellow, are both long, wide-sleeved.
The yellow mantle was embroidered with a big U-shaped five-clawed dragon. Its scales were stitched with golden glitter threads.
On its front, there are four Chinese words written in red ink, literally translated as ‘Emperor Dong Khanh has seen.’
|The autograph of Emperor Dong Khanh is seen on the front of the yellow mantle. Photo: Lam Dien / Tuoi Tre|
It is the emperor’s autograph as he wrote the line after the mantle was finished, Tuan said.
This is the authentic evidence proving that the royal robe belonged to Emperor Dong Khanh.
The red one was embroidered with a golden four-clawed dragon.
There are 15 Chinese words found on its back lining and collar which say the gown was worn by Emperor Dong Khanh when he was still a crown prince.
It explains why the main decoration is a dragon with four claws.
The autograph on the red gown reveals a feature of the Nguyen royalty’s inner life in which the emperor gave his own attire to his son.
According to the monarchy’s regulations, princes – Emperor Dong Khanh’s sons – were granted their own clothes.
However, the emperor might find his imperial mantle used when he was a crown prince then specially give it to a son.
The story was implied in the Chinese words, saying “specially gifted to the prince this gown” and “used a long time ago and stored in the palace.”