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 According to the World Wide Fund

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Male Number of posts : 657
Registration date : 2011-01-31

PostSubject: According to the World Wide Fund    Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:07 pm

ich started on 30 April. Soldiers are stopping people leaving or entering the Dien Bien region, and electricity and telecommunications have reportedly been cut. It is the most serious ethnic unrest in Vietnam for seven years, analysts say. Vietnam's communist rulers keep a tight control on dissent and protests of any kind are extremely rare.

Some 5,000-7,000 people have been involved in the unrest, according to a diplomatic source cited by the Reuters news agency. The demands of the protesting Hmong - who are mostly Christians - include more religious freedom, better land rights and more autonomy. The Dien Bien region, which borders Laos, is one of Vietnam's most remote, making it difficult to verify reports.

A local official told the BBC's Vietnamese service on Wednesday that the authorities had tried to negotiate with the demonstrators. But several officials had been taken hostage by the protesters, he said. It is unclear whether they have been released. A military source quoted by the AFP news agency said the army had sent reinforcements and "had to disperse the crowd by force". He said there had been "minor clashes", but did not say whether there had been any casualties. "The situation is still being resolved by all levels of party and government so that the lives of the compatriots there can return to stability at an early time," foreign affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga told Reuters.

Smuggled African elephant tusks seized in Vietnam

DPA 6 May 2011

Vietnamese customs discovered nearly 600 kilograms of African elephant tusks hidden in a shipping container of rubber from Tanzania, authorities said Friday. The authorities made the haul on Thursday after receiving a tip. "Smuggled elephant tusks were hidden in a very sophisticated way," Vu Hoang Duong, head of customs at the port of Hai Phong, told the German Press Agency dpa. "They cut open tanks for holding rubber, filled them with elephant tusks and soldered them shut again." Duong said the container had been labeled for temporary import, and was already registered for re-export to China by a Vietnamese company in the neighbouring province of Quang Ninh. But the company refused delivery of the container after the customs inspection, saying the contained goods were not what it had ordered.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, most elephant ivory smuggled into Vietnam is ultimately destined for China, but some is sold locally for 770 to 1,200 dollars per kilogram. The biggest recent tusk haul in Vietnam was in March 2009 when customs agents in Hai Phong found more than six tons of elephant tusks in a container shipped from Tanzania. International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 with the exception of occasional auctions from stockpiles.
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