In this picture taken on December 9, 2014, Le Anh Duc (R) points at fish in a cage at a sturgeon farm at the Da Mi hydroelectric reservoir lake in Tanh Linh District, Vietnam's central southern province of Binh Thuan. Photo: AFP/ Hoang Dinh Nam At a sturgeon farm on a pristine lake near southern Dalat town, a worker hoists a large white fish out off the water. "It's an albino," says Vietnam's eccentric 'Caviar King' Le Anh Duc adding triumphantly, "Gold eggs!" Not only are the eggs from the rare sturgeon -- Duc has just 40 albinos out of half a million fish -- an off-white 'gold' color but they are also a money-spinner. Albino caviar can sell for up to $100,000 per kilogram, compared to black Beluga caviar, a snip at just $5,000 to $10,000 a kilo according to industry figures. Duc, a jovial Russian-educated businessman with a love of risky ventures, is a man with a mission: to get Made In Vietnam caviar onto dinner tables across the world at a reasonable price -- starting with the … [Read more...] about From Vietnam with love: local caviar aims to make a splash
Where does gold come from
A number of people have earned their living by painstakingly scavenging for gold nuggets from the waste, or "pig," discarded by goldsmiths' shops. "Pig" is the mixture of waste from goldsmiths' shops which, after some time, maybe two or three years, gold scavengers scoop up from the manholes near the shops before "reprocessing" into gold nuggets. They coin their finds "pig" as it's dirty and smelly yet financially rewarding. Hunting for "pig" A group of workers came all the way from southern Hau Giang province to Ho Chi Minh City's District 8. Their "workplace" was the manhole near a goldsmith's shop on Pham The Hien street. Khuong, the group leader, and his workers painstakingly dredged up the sewer. Their job differs from that of sewer sanitation workers in that the group cleared up and collected everything, even the mud smears on the wall of the manhole. Even the water used to dredge the sewer didn't go to waste, as the workers carried the water home in large cans. Khuong … [Read more...] about In photos: The gold scavengers
Short Story (04-05-2008) Lunar New Year's Eve by Nhat Phuong New Year's Eve was drawing near and her boyfriend had yet to come home. This former courtesan sat on a shaky bamboo bed in a corner of the hut. She sat there, coughing and coughing. "What will he bring home tonight?" she asked herself. "The same as last year, perhaps? Just a small bundle of hand-me-downs and a few skinny chickens." Thinking of chicken made her mouth water. It was a long time since she had eaten meat, especially chicken, to her heart's content. She remembered the sweet and fragrant taste of boiled chicks with their plump legs. Many years ago, when she was still at her prime in the bustle of a major urban centre, decadent meals were a dime a dozen. She was rolling in money. It was when her beauty started to wane that she resigned herself to the humble plight of a street worker in a small town, earning her living in shanties, barely making ends meet. Year after year, pork, beef and finally chicken gradually … [Read more...] about Lunar New Year’s Eve
The Hanoi Times - Vietnam doesn't just import cars from the US and beef from Argentina.Now it also imports apples and pears from South Korea and vegetables from Italy. That's a part of the explanation why the trade deficit has grown sharply in the last months of the year. Our appetite for imports has become our headache.Experts warn that as a consequence of the decision by the State Bank to resume gold imports in November, Vietnam's trade deficit for all of 2009 will be much higher than the $10.2 billion recorded for the year's first eleven months. Vietnam imports more cheese than China The French Lactalis International Group late last week officially appointed Hoang Lan, a HCMCity company as the distributor of its dairy, cheese and butter products in Vietnam.Hoang Lan's 'impressive achievement' is that in ten years of market development, Lactalis sells 500 to 600 tonnes of President brand cheese in Vietnam every year. The sales volume is the highest in Asia. Minh Sao, a company … [Read more...] about Where does the trade deficit come from?
Banacol workers load a banana boat. Banacol is the successor-in-interest to Banadex, the former subsidiary of none other than Chiquita Brands which pled guilty to paying paramilitary death squads $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004, and supplying them with 3,000 AK-47s, the Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission (IJCP) explains. Photo: upstart.bizjournals.com On the CounterPunch masthead are these words proudly written, "Tells the Facts, Names the Names." It's because CounterPunch lives up to these words that I happily write for it and proudly donate to it. Human Rights Watch (HRW), on the other hand, fails to name the names in its recent report on Colombia entitled, "The Risk of Returning Home, Violence and Threats against Displaced People Reclaiming Land in Colombia."  And, this is much to HRW's discredit. Before diving into the report and its grave shortcomings, some general comments about HRW are in order. For years, I have been concerned about what … [Read more...] about Down where the death squads live: How Human Rights Watch covers for companies in Colombia