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Sep 15, 2013: A neglected peril: Vietnamese Americans and Agent Orange. SAN JOSE -- After his eighth round of chemo, Trai Nguyen was exhausted, his body ravaged. The 60-year-old has a rare and aggressive form of cancer that he believes resulted from his contact with the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
For the most part, Vietnamese Americans, especially former South Vietnamese veterans, have not demanded redress for harm caused by herbicides, even though there's evidence they are suffering from higher rates of some cancers tied to Agent Orange exposure. By blaming American military action for their community's illnesses, many feel, they would be siding with a Vietnamese Communist government they disdain against their new. More SJMN.
Joint Statement by President Barack Obama of the United States of America and President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. More TheWhiteHouse.
Jul 12, 2013:Vietnamese-American vote could play critical role in District 2 supervisor's race. SAN JOSE -- Vietnamese-American voters could play a crucial role in the Santa Clara County District 2 supervisorial runoff between labor leader Cindy Chavez and water district communications manager Teresa Alvarado.
In the June 4 primary that featured six candidates, large blocks of the ethnic group supported Scott Hung Pham, who is Vietnamese-American. The San Jose City College instructor earned 14 percent of the vote, landing in third place.
Since no candidate won more than 50 percent, Chavez and Alvarado are in a July 30 run-off. Santa Clara County has the highest percentage of Vietnamese-Americans in the country -- 7.6 percent of the county's total population in 2010. And while a growing number of politically active members of the Vietnamese community are involved in both campaigns, each candidate still has some liabilities with Vietnamese-American voters. More SJMN.
Jun 17, 2013:Vietnam: Debunking persistent myths about its politics, prospects for the future. Vietnam remains a stark reminder of our national fallibility, and of a missed opportunity. After my third trip there this spring, I am certain that the Vietnamese people would be better off today had the U.S. succeeded in keeping South Vietnam democratic. Yet our attitude toward Vietnam is colored by too many persistent myths about the nation -- about its politics, its relationships with global powers and its prospects for the future. More SJMN.
Mar 1, 2013: As Obama signs the order, sequester is enacted. It’s official. Late Friday evening, President Barack Obama signed an order – as required by the “sequester” legislation – to enact broad cuts to federal spending, according to a White House release. Those cuts will now officially go into effect at midnight Friday. Budget sequestration, which formally begins when the president orders it into effect sometime before 11:59 p.m. ET tonight, will result in $85 billion in spending cuts this fiscal year.
San Jose: Funeral insurance scam in Vietnamese community lands businessman in prison. Dozens of victims from the local Vietnamese community, swindled out of money they thought would go toward funeral expenses, gathered in Judge Jerome Nadler's courtroom Friday to see a once-trusted businessman sentenced to three years in prison.Davie Ba Ngo, 53, and his former assistant Stephanie Tuyet Le, 32, were "genuinely remorseful" at the sentencing, said Santa Clara County prosecutor Georg Behrens, and apologized to those who attended.
Ngo pleaded no contest in January to felony charges of embezzling more than $200,000 as head of the Concerned Members Committee, a defunct company that collected fees from hundreds of local Vietnamese families -- money that was supposed to ensure death-related expenses were covered for elder relatives. More SJMN.
Feb 23, 2013: Vietnam Town (San Jose, California) seeks bankruptcy protection to avoid foreclosure. Vietnam Town, a 20-acre retail project on Story Road in San Jose, has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after lender East West Bank sought to foreclose on the project.
San Jose-based developer TWN Investment Group LLC lists $58.2 million in assets and $53.37 million in debt in the voluntary petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Feb. 13, a day before the bank had scheduled an auction of the property.
Reached by phone on Friday, Lap Tang, managing partner of San Jose-based TWN Investment, said he hoped to buy time with the Chapter 11 filing to begin paying back the bank and eventually start Phase 2 of the development. Tang, well-known in the Vietnamese-American business community, said the project ran into trouble not because of a lack of buyers, but because those buyers had a hard time obtaining loans to purchase the spaces because of tight lending practices on the part of commercial banks. More Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Feb 3, 2013: Tet Festival unites generations of the Bay Area Vietnamese. Toting iPhones and Nikons, young Vietnamese-Americans clustered around old military medals and fading memorabilia on Saturday from a war they didn't know, but will never forget.
The exhibit was displayed at the annual Tet festival, a happy celebration of the dawning of the Lunar New Year on the San Jose Fairgrounds. More SJMN.
Vietnamese eat rats and are aggressive, Stanford professor says in article, triggering online uproar. An article penned by a Stanford University professor that alleges Vietnam's "aggressive tendencies" are tied to its penchant for eating meat -- particularly rats, birds and dogs -- has triggered a social media backlash from Vietnamese and others around the world.
The opinion piece -- "Despite increasing prosperity, Vietnam's appetites remain unique" -- was written by Joel Brinkley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for The New York Times and posted Tuesday on the Chicago Tribune's website. Describing a trip he made to Vietnam, Brinkley said he observed a dearth of squirrels, birds and rats. He also said the "World Wildlife Fund describes the state as the world's greatest wildlife malefactor." More SJMN.
Jan 3, 2013: Buck Gee and Vish Mishra: Silicon Valley and our Asian-American advantage. Our Asian-American workforce has grown to 50 percent of high-tech jobholders from 39 percent in 2000, as recently reported by the Mercury News. Yet in Silicon Valley's 25 largest companies, only 12 percent of the executive leaders and 8 percent of board members are Asian-Americans, a situation that has not substantially changed in the past decade.
As Silicon Valley veterans with over 70 combined years of experience in leadership in the tech and venture capital industry, we see leverage as the key to tapping into the underutilized potential in the Asian-American community to generate innovation, boost the Bay Area economy, and confirm the region's leadership in the global marketplace. More SJMN.
Nov 23, 2012:Bay Area-based chef Khai Duong is on mission to elevate Vietnamese cooking. The street-side seafood restaurant -- long metal tables, plastic chairs, beer girls in short skirts -- is the last place one would expect a classically trained French chef to give a cooking lesson. But there was the unassuming Bay Area-based Khai Duong, one of America's most acclaimed Asian chefs, giving intricate instructions. For one dish, Duong ordered the restaurant to grill fresh sea urchin with scallion oil, chopped peanuts and lemon. He then sent it back for more grilling when it didn't meet his exacting tastes.
So why is the chef who graduated first in his class from the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Academie d'Art Culinaire De Paris -- and once cooked at Michelin Guide three-star Le Bernardin in New York City -- sitting at a restaurant where blue-collar workers sling beers all night, chanting: "Mot hai ba zo!" or "One, two, three, cheers!"?
Numerous Vietnamese-Americans have returned to their homeland to chart new careers, start a company or invest in the growing Southeast Asian nation's economy. Duong is back on a mission to help create a new generation of Vietnamese chefs, who don't always garner a lot of respect as professionals in their own country. And he hopes to help transform the nation's culinary culture by promoting new approaches to traditional Vietnamese cuisine, elevating it to rival the fine cooking found in Europe and the United States. More SJMN.
Nov 7, 2012: President Obama re-elected as President of the USA. Popular vote: Obama 50% Romney 48%, Electoral vote: Obama 303 Romney 206 (270 needed to become the president). The Senate Democrats 53 seats, Republican 45, Independent 3. House: Dem 195 GOP 233.
Nov 1, 2012: November 6th Election. Do your duty! Voting information in Santa Clara County to find your polling place and other information here.
Oct 8, 2012: Presidential Debate Schedule:
Oct 3, 2012, Domestic policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time University of Denver in Denver, Colorado;
Oct 11: VP debate Foreign and domestic policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time Location: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky;
Oct 16: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York;
Jul 8, 2012: Asian-American voters could become game-changers in presidential election. Add Asian-Americans to the list of voting blocs that candidates and political parties ignore at their own peril.Just as "soccer moms" proved to be a crucial swing vote in 1996 and Latinos have become a much-sought-after constituency, the Asian-American electorate is now emerging as a game-changer.
The signs are ominous for Republicans: Not only has the Asian-American population exploded in the past decade, but recent polls show Asian-Americans are turning away from the GOP in droves.They've "started to understand they have the leverage," said Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell. "A marginalized community has become a margin of victory." More SJMN.
Jun 26, 2012:King's herb' one of many from Vietnam taking hold in U.S. market. In 1990, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram learned of a rare herb that for centuries was used to treat royal family members in the imperial capital of Hue.
Known as "the king's herb," the plant was believed to ease symptoms associated with prostate problems and menopause. "This was medicine for the emperors," said Nguyen, who first heard about it while chatting with a street-side tea vendor.
"It was a secret. The doctors were not allowed to talk about it."Nguyen devoted 15 years to developing the plant, officially known as Crinum latifolium, into an herbal medicine. More SJMN.
June 23, 2012: Despite pleas for leniency, judge sentences activist Ly Tong to jail. Ly Tong, who galvanized much of San Jose's Vietnamese community with his private war against communism -- a war that two years ago became very public when he attacked a singer from Vietnam while wearing a dress -- was sentenced Friday to six months in jail for the assault.
Despite recommendations of leniency from the Probation Department and even prosecutors, Tong proved to be his own worst enemy in court. Judge Andrea Y. Bryan mentioned Tong's attempt to "mock our system of justice" as she pronounced the sentence. But because of the time he's already served, Tong will only spend 54 more days in the Santa Clara County jail. More SJMN.
May 12, 2012: Neten Rinpoche Tulku The 9th Reincarnated has returned to Toronto, Canada at his Jam Tse Cho Ling Dharma Center after over a month in san Jose of teachings and blessings. Photos and videos of his teaching can be watched at his center website: www.jamtsecholing.org. Vietnamese television has televised 3 teaching sessions such as: Transforming the Mind, Seven-Limb Practice, which contains the main elements for accumulating merits and purifying oneself of obscurations and bad karmas and The Practice of Patience for Vietnamese audiences only. More information at Jamtsecholing Center.
Apr 1, 2912: The 9th Reincarnated Neten Rinpoche Tulku in San Jose giving Dharma Teachings and Blessings. The reincarnated Tulku is known as Neten Rinpoche Tulku Tenzin Gelek and recognized by the His Holiness Dalai Lama in 1986. At that time he was already a great scholar at SeraMey Monastic University in South India. He is also the Abbot of Jungpa Monastery, Tibet and Jam Tse Cho Ling Dharma Center in Toronto, Canada.
He attained the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Ph.D in Buddhism) and the highest degree in Tantrayana studies known as Ngagrampa and accepted position as Dicipline Master at Gyumed Tantric Monastery. Later on he came back to SeraMey University and taught there.
Free admission on all Buddhism discourses and blessings in San Jose at VIVO, 2260 Quimby Road, San Jose 95122 on Sunday Apr. 1, Apr 8, and Saturday Apr. 14 and Sunday Apr. 15 at 2:00 pm. In addition to the above sessions, on Apr. 2 at Di Lac Veggie Restaurant 1644 E. Capitol Expw, San Jose 95121 at 5:00 pm; also at An Lac Buddhist Temple on Thursday Apr. 12 at 6:00 pm, 1647 E. San Fernando St., San Jose CA 95116.
Yamantaka Purification Ritual, Medicine Buddha Innitiation and Empowerment ceremonies are observed as well as teaching of Transforming the Mind, the Practice of Patience, the Eight Verses for Training the Mind will be given.
Mar 12, 2012:Former San Jose resident spotlights Vietnamese-American nail salons in new film. The nail salon, long an important milieu and financial toehold for Vietnamese immigrants in America, is the setting of a new and critically acclaimed film inspired by the director's experience growing up in San Jose.
"We all know somebody who has worked in a nail salon," said Minh Duc Nguyen, who wrote and directed "Touch," an independent movie that opened Friday at AMC Eastridge 15 in San Jose.
The film tells the tale of a young Vietnamese woman working in a nail salon and her troubled relationship with her father, but also explores such universal themes as love, loss and the importance of human connections. More SJMN.
Mar 5, 2012: A passage through Asia leads San Jose State student to a soft launch. Aimi Duong is 24, so the fate of the world is naturally a matter of some concern to her. Not surprisingly, she believes there may still be some hope for it, although urgent action may be required. That's where she comes in.
Duong was well into her studies as a business major at San Jose State when she realized that the primary objective taught by virtually every business class she took -- maximize profits, destroy the competition -- posed a conflict for someone determined to save the world.
So after returning to San Jose from Asia two months ago, she launched Oimei Co., a socially conscious startup where the only bottom line that matters is empowering marginalized workers in developing countries. "Oimei" is the Chinese version of Aimi; it means "love beauty," which, as a matter of fact, she does. More SJMN.
Jan 22, 2012: Garden Grove to see broader Tet festival. GARDEN GROVE – A human chess board and cultural village filled with re-creations of Vietnamese landmarks will help bring the country's culture and traditions to life this weekend at the 31st annual Tet Festival.
The festival, celebrating the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dragon, begins Friday at Garden Grove Park for three days of live entertainment, food and games. More OC Register
Jan 21, 2012: Lumar New Year's Festival Events: Vietnamese Hoi Tet Festival of Northern California. 11 a.m. Saturday today, continuing Sunday, Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose.
Vietnamese Hoi Xuan Festival 10 a.m to 10 p.m Saturday Jan 28, Sunday 29 of January; Vietnam Town Shopping center on Story Road located between Walmart and Grand Century mall 1001 Story Road, San Jose.
Dec 22, 2011: IRS yanks nonprofit status of 3,200 O.C. charities. What could the Christian Blue Collar Workers in Aliso Viejo, the Korean Dentists Association of USA in Buena Park, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Irvine have in common? They used to be nonprofits — but they are not nonprofits any more.
The Internal Revenue Service has yanked the nonprofit status of nearly 3,200 organizations in Orange County, according to its latest updates – an increase of nearly 1,000 since the first wave of revocations was announced in June. The IRS is culling hundreds of thousands of charities nationwide for failing to file financial details for three consecutive years. .More OC Register
Dec 11,2011: Vietnamese residents of Santa Clara County suffer health gap. Vietnamese residents of Santa Clara County suffer from higher rates of cancer, tuberculosis and heart disease than most other racial and ethnic groups, concludes a new report being released Monday by county officials.
Vietnamese community leaders say the grim findings can help in the development of better, more strategic outreach programs, screenings and public health campaigns.
Santa Clara County's Vietnamese population has burgeoned in recent decades, from 11,700 residents in 1980 to 134,525 people last year -- roughly 8 percent of the total population. San Jose has the largest number of Vietnamese of any American city, and the number of county residents is surpassed only by Orange County.
But inadequate English language skills, a lack of employer-sponsored health coverage and a difficult-to-navigate health system, many Vietnamese fare worse than their counterparts in every other racial or ethnic group -- aside from Latinos, the report states. Researchers found 1 in 4 of the county's adult Vietnamese residents lacked health coverage. More SJMN.
Nov 6, 2011: Vietnamese-American women place strict rules on men returning to homeland. HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam -- The trouble for Henry Liem begins every time he prepares to return to his homeland.Getting the required visa from the Vietnamese government is a breeze. It's the "second visa" -- from his wife worried that he will stray over there -- that requires diplomatic skills.
"My wife is always cranky every time I go," said Liem, a philosophy instructor at San Jose City College who visits Vietnam twice a year to teach at a university. "So I rarely disclose my upcoming trip until the last minute. It's pain minimization. The longer she knows, the longer I have to bear the pain." Thirty-six years after the Vietnam War ended, Communist government officials openly welcome Vietnamese-Americans back, even those who fought against them.
But another Civil War has erupted, this one pitting Vietnamese-American women against their husbands and boyfriends who want to return to the Southeast Asian country. The men's significant others contend that Vietnamese women lie in wait to ambush them, often eager for the financial stability such a match would bring. More SJMN.
Jun 12, 2011: Computer class gives Vietnamese orphans a window to the world. The children sat at their desks, bare feet dangling next to power cords, as the instructors unpacked the small, plastic laptops. As they waited, they kept their eyes fixed on the tiny machines that transport them beyond the high walls of the neat but sparse orphanage — if only for a few hours. More SJMN.
Jan 18, 2011: New Vietnam Communnist Party Chief. Nguyen Phu Trong, current Speaker of the House was elected Vietnam Communist party Chief as the general secretary of the polibureau on Jan 18, 2011 which also has 14 members and including current prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung. To be announced would be the new Head of State and the coming prime minister soon. More Vnexpress, ThanhNien, SaigonTT.
Nov 25, 2010: Le Van Ba, the Ray Kroc of Vietnamese sandwiches, dead at 79. Le Van Ba was a successful businessman in Vietnam when war forced his family to start over from scratch in a foreign country. Arriving in San Jose in 1980, Le and his children within three years had launched Lee's Sandwiches, a chain that now has more than 30 Vietnamese sandwich shops in California, plus locations in four other states.
Le Van Ba, who died of cancer Tuesday at the age of 79, was the patriarch of a creative and industrious clan that includes his wife, Nguyen Thi Hanh, and their five sons and four daughters. The family landed in San Jose as refugees, with Le becoming the Ray Kroc of Vietnamese sandwiches by adapting the American fast-food restaurant principles of Kroc's McDonald's to the delicious meats, pates and spices of Vietnamese cuisine, all served on freshly baked French-style baguettes. MoreSJMN.
Nov 15, 2010:Vietnamese-American returns to Vietnam as U.S. general consul. When Vietnamese first meet An T. Le, they don't know quite what to make of the new U.S. consul general in this bustling commercial center.
"They are curious, 'Who is this guy? Why is he so tall?' " the broad-shouldered, 6-foot-2-inch diplomat recalled in his office at the American compound on Le Duan Boulevard. "They think I'm a Korean-American or Japanese-American or Chinese-American. I say, 'I must have ate Wonder Bread.'
"They are even more taken aback when Le, the first Vietnamese-American to hold such a high-level diplomatic post -- he is ranked just under the ambassador -- speaks to them in Vietnamese. The appointment of the seasoned State Department official, whose previous postings include Beijing, Singapore and Paris, has created a stir among the Vietnamese diaspora, from Silicon Valley to France. The Vietnam-born official assumed the three-year post in August. More SJMN.
Nov 3, 2010: A Humbling Loss for Obama: How it Happened. Hope and Change Put Democrats in the White House -- A Recession and a Series of Miscalculations Cost them Control of Congress. More CNN.
Democrats Outrun by a Two-Year Comeback Plan. The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback.
How they did it is the story of one of the most remarkable Congressional campaigns in more than a half-century, characterized by careful plotting by Republicans, miscalculations by Democrats and a new political dynamic with forces out of both parties control. More New York Times.
Sanchez, Tran keep watch on election results. Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Van Tran hunkered down Wednesday to wait out election officials who were still counting thousands of last-minute votes, with central Orange County's seat in Congress hanging in the balance. Sanchez held what appeared to be a commanding lead, but refused to declare victory until late absentee and provisional ballots were added to the tally. Tran needed those late ballots to break his way in big numbers, but said it was still too early to concede defeat. More OC Register.
Oct 30, 2010: Intel opens billion-dollar factory in Vietnam. Intel's new billion-dollar factory, which opened Friday and has a clean room the size of five-plus football fields, rises up from former rice paddies like a Walmart on steroids."On behalf of Intel's 85,000 employees, I would like to say, 'Hello Vietnam,' '' company CEO Paul Otellini told an auditorium packed with enthusiastic government officials, employees and other dignitaries during a ceremony that featured a dragon dance and women in ao dais, traditional Vietnamese gowns. more SJMN.
Oct 10, 2010: After tanking in China, Yahoo's a hit in Vietnam. After failing miserably in China under the tight restrictions of the Communist government, Yahoo is enjoying spectacular success next door -- in Communist Vietnam. Even officials of the authoritarian government here prefer Yahoo over politically correct local services.
Ninety-five percent of Vietnam's Internet users -- now topping 23 million -- rely on Yahoo's sites and services. Young people squeeze into Yahoo-sponsored Internet cafes, tapping away at keyboards day and night. The company's Mail and Instant Messenger technology -- on PCs and mobile phones -- are part of the daily rhythms of the country. Yahoo's 360 Plus blogging service is a platform for millions of Vietnamese to gossip about celebrities and write. More SJMN.
July 23, 2000: New charge against Vietnamese activist Ly Tong in Santa Clara attack. Santa Clara County prosecutors filed a new felony charge this morning against controversial activist Ly Tong, increasing his maximum possible prison sentence to six years and eight months. Details of new charge filed by Santa Clara D.A. office here, by SJMN.
Hundreds flood courtroom in support of Vietnamese activist Ly Tong. Wednesday's first court appearance for "freedom fighter" Ly Tong — accused of dressing like an old woman so he could pepper-spray a Vietnamese pop star during a concert last weekend in Santa Clara — lasted barely a few minutes.
His bail also was increased from $52,000 to $100,000, with a hearing on whether to lower that amount set for Friday morning. Tong faces as many as five years in prison if convicted of all charges, or he could receive a penalty as light as probation. Given the crowds that poured in nearly two hours before Tong's brief appearance, extra deputies were on hand to quell any outbursts in the courtroom, said Amy Cornell, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office. Not that they were necessarily needed."Everybody was very quiet and respectful," Cornell said.
Tam Nguyen, one of Tong's attorneys, said supporters are hoping to bail him out by Friday so he can attend protests outside Hung's next show, scheduled for Saturday in Anaheim. Nguyen said Tong is proud that he ambushed Hung and that the choice of pepper-spray — typically used in self-defense — was purposeful. More SJMN.
Santa Clara police: Activist Ly Tong arrested in pepper spray attack on singer. It was a seemingly sweet moment, captured on video near the end of a Vietnamese pop star's concert Sunday in Santa Clara. Someone who appeared to be an old woman approached the stage with a long-stemmed flower, and singer Dam Vinh Hung bent down — amid great applause — to accept it. And that sweet would-be admirer? Santa Clara police say "she" was none other than Ly Tong, the self-styled anti-communist "freedom fighter" best known locally for a 2008 hunger strike aimed at persuading San Jose officials to name a retail district "Little Saigon." More SJMN.
Jun 10, 2010: San Jose mayor breezes to re-election, council fights for 2 open seats. But Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, who last year handily defeated a recall attempt, seemed likely to face a November runoff against Minh Duong.
In Central San Jose's District 7, Nguyen was the only incumbent to draw well-funded opposition. Duong, a furniture store owner, enjoyed backing from the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Patrick Phu Le, a pharmacy manager, lent heavily toward a campaign aimed chiefly at Vietnamese voters. Vietnam Nguyen, a recreation program specialist, raised no campaign money, and Rudy Rodriguez, an insuranceagency specialist, largely self-financed his bid. More SJMN.
May 31, 2010: San Jose council race features echoes of 'Little Saigon' brouhaha. Accusations are flying as the only seriously contested race against a sitting San Jose City Council member heads into the home stretch. That movement spawned a lawsuit accusing Nguyen and other city officials of violating the state's open-meeting law and a recall vote that Nguyen survived by a 10-point margin last year. Rodriguez ran against Nguyen in 2005, when she defeated another Vietnamese-American candidate in a bitter campaign to become the city's first-ever council representative from that ethnic community. About one in 10 city residents is Vietnamese. More SJMN
Feb 14, 2010: Tet Festival launches San Jose's Lunar New Year celebration. It was Lunar New Year's Eve, which meant that throughout the first day of the 28th annual Tet Festival at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds on Saturday, everyone was eagerly awaiting the moon's appearance.
Families streamed into the fairgrounds all day under a surprisingly warm sun, dressed in brightly colored ao dai, traditional formal wear of the Vietnamese New Year celebration.This is the Year of the Tiger, or more precisely the white metal tiger. More SJMN.
Feb 8, 2010: Vietnamese community's Year of the Tiger celebration will go on despite tough times. Nothing brings people closer together than hard times. That includes San Jose's Vietnamese community, whose members have bickered over signs, politics, sponsors, festivals and parades. Some say that the recent global economic recession has actually revealed a silver lining on the road to organizing the 2010 Tet Festival at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds next weekend to celebrate the Lunar New Year. More SJMN.
Jan 30, 2010: San Jose police chief chooses Vietnamese-American as new deputy chief. At a time when relations between his department and the Vietnamese community are seriously strained, San Jose police Chief Rob Davis announced Friday that he has chosen a Vietnamese-American as one of his four deputy chiefs.
The appointment of Capt. Phan S. Ngo, who as a child was airlifted out of Saigon during the last days of the Vietnam War, is historic. He is not only the first Vietnamese American to serve as a deputy chief in San Jose, but he is believed to be the highest-ranking Vietnamese-American officer on any major U.S. police department. More SJMN.
Jan 12, 2010: Citing cyber attacks, Google threatens to pull out of China. Responding to a highly sophisticated cyberattack on opponents of the Chinese government, Google said Tuesday that it is no longer willing to operate a government-censored search engine in China — and may shut down its Chinese operations altogether.
Google's stunning announcement could cost the company billions of dollars in lost future revenues, since experts said it's unlikely the Chinese government — which broadly filters Web content and blocks access to social networking sites such as Facebook — will back down and open up what has been dubbed "the Great Firewall." More SJMN. The Washington Post. The New York Times.
Nov 11, 2009: Unique homecoming to Vietnam for US commander. DANANG, Vietnam -- On the day his side lost the Vietnam War, Hung Ba Le fled his homeland at the age of 5 in a fishing trawler crammed with 400 refugees. Thirty-four years later, he made an unlikely homecoming - as the commander of a U.S. Navy destroyer.
Le returned on the Lassen, an $800 million, 509-foot destroyer equipped with Tomahawk missiles and a crew of 300. The ship and the USS Blue Ridge, the command vessel for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, are making the latest in a series of goodwill visits to Vietnam, which began in 2003 when the USS Vandergriff paid a port call to Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. "I thought that one day I would return but I really didn't expect to be returning as the commander of a Navy warship," Le said after stepping ashore Saturday. "It's an incredible personal honor." More Washington Post. U.S. Officer Revisits His Past in Vietnam, The New York Times.
Oct 27, 2009: Cops' attorneys: Officers in video did nothing wrong. Speaking through his attorney, the officer who was captured on a cell phone video last month hitting an unarmed college student with a baton insisted Monday that the student was "responsible" for the violent confrontation because he combatively resisted the officer's orders.
"Mr. Ho is responsible for his conduct, and he is responsible for not taking lawful directives from a police officer," said Bowman. "He is being combative and noncompliant, and he raises the stakes of the game." The grainy video depicts the event as Siegel struck Ho, a math major from Vietnam, more than 10 times with a baton in the hallway of the house. Payne shocked Ho with a Taser gun. Ho does not appear to be combative in the video, although it does not record the entire interaction between Ho and the officers. More SJMN.
Oct 26, 2009: San Jose police officers caught on video using baton, Taser gun on suspect. A cell phone video shows San Jose police officers repeatedly using batons and a Taser gun on an unarmed San Jose State student, including at least one baton strike that appears to come after the man is handcuffed, as they took him into custody inside his home last month.
The confrontation arose as Phuong Ho, a 20-year-old math major from Ho Chi Minh City, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting another of his roommates. The video shows police standing over Ho in a hallway of his house for more than two minutes. During that time, one officer strikes Ho with a metal baton more than 10 times — at times swinging it with both hands — while another officer leans in and uses his Taser gun.
The Mercury News was unable to reach either officer seen using force during the incident, despite written requests sent both through department officials and their union. More SJMN.
Sep 12, 2008: Where newspapers thrive: Orange County's Little Saigon. The enclave is home to five papers catering to Vietnamese Americans' interests - and one of them just started up this summer. Despite the economy, all are doing well. In a dimly lighted warehouse at the end of an alleyway in Orange County's Little Saigon, five reporters sat side by side on mismatched chairs, talking on telephones and typing away on their keyboards. There was no air conditioning, and two large fans provided little relief from the muggy air.
Sep 03, 2009: Westminster city councilman pleads guilty to DUI. Andy Quach sentenced to three years of informal probation, nine months of alcohol education and community service. Councilman Andy Quach this morning pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving charges stemming from an Aug. 2 traffic accident when he crashed his Mercedes S550 into a pole knocking out power to about 300 homes. Quach did not attend the hearing, but his attorney Bart Kasperowicz entered the guilty plea on the councilman's behalf. Commissioner Thomas Rees sentenced Quach to three years of informal probation, a nine-month alcohol education program, 10 days of Caltrans community service to be completed by Feb. 2, a $390 fine and various other fees and penalties. Quach did not return phone calls Wednesday. More OC Register.
Jul 18, 2009: Budget cuts raise concerns for future of Southeast Asian archive. UC Irvine's extensive collection preserves the stories of refugees, but researchers worry that cuts will hinder documentation of the evolving immigrant community. Researchers and academics from across the country, even from as far as Japan and Germany, have come to dig through UC Irvine's Southeast Asian Archive -- the only collection in the world that continues to document the transitions of refugees and immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to life in the United States. "This is part of a larger picture of public universities facing severe cutbacks," said Linda Vo, head of UC Irvine's Asian American Studies Department, who is also a member of the archive advisory board. "We are facing drastic cuts that are going to impact our libraries and collections in various ways."More LA Times.
Jun 30, 2009: Vietnamese American returns to homeland to help disabled. At age 15 in 1968, Do Van Du lost a leg and part of an arm while serving as a combat interpreter for the U.S. Special Forces near the Cambodian border. He moved to the United States in 1971 and became a successful software engineer and systems analyst. Then, seven years ago, Du returned to his homeland to help found a college-level program run by Catholic Relief Services to train disabled young people to be software engineers and tech workers — a first for Vietnam. More SJMN.
May 22, 2009: Tech-reliant Vietnam hit hard by downturn. HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — It's hard to see hints of an economic downturn on the horn-blaring streets of this commercial hub. High-end restaurants are overflowing, fashionably dressed young women fill chic stores, and everyone seems to be talking on cell phones while plowing motorbikes through roundabouts swarming with Honda scooters and SUV taxis. Vietnam's main stock market, after losing 66 percent last year, has been riding a seven-month high, up more than 20 percent this year. More SJMN.
May 20, 2009: Despite their success, Asians not rising to heights of Silicon Valley's corporate world. In Silicon Valley, "Asian" and "success" often seem synonymous. Asians lead all racial groups in levels of education and income, and they are a quarter or more of undergraduates at elite universities like Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley. Last week, the Census Bureau said Santa Clara County had the largest annual Asian population growth in the United States — for the third successive year.
But an eye-opening first-of-its-kind "census" of local executives shows that while Asians make up more than a third of the work force at some of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies, they are far less prominent in the boardroom or the highest executive offices: Asians represent about 6 percent of board members and about 10 percent of corporate officers of the Bay Area's 25 largest companies. More SJMN.
May 1, 2009: Orange County's Vietnamese immigrants reflect on historic moment. Every April, as the anniversary of the communist takeover of their homeland approaches, they look back -- and try to make sure their descendants know and appreciate their history. Thirty-four years after tanks smashed through the gates of Saigon's Presidential Palace, marking a symbolic end to the Vietnam War, the bitter memories still burn among many of the refugees who live in Orange County's Little Saigon. LA Times.
Apr 20, 2009: Vietnamese man wins defamation case. OLYMPIA, Wash. A former South Vietnamese army lieutenant who fled after the communist takeover has been awarded $225,000 for defamation after being called a communist sympathizer. Turning aside defense warnings of damage to freedom of expression, a Thurston County Superior Court jury on Thursday found in favor of Duc Tan, 65.
It also awarded $85,000 to the Vietnamese Community of Thurston County, which he founded to help Vietnamese refugees and promote Vietnamese culture and traditions among immigrants. To find against defendants Norman Le, Phiet Nguyen, Dat Ho, Nga Pham and Nhan Tran, jurors had to find that they acted in "reckless disregard for the truth." The defendants made no immediate comment after the verdict. Testimony indicated about 60,000 Vietnamese-Americans live in Washington. Seattle Time.
Apr 15, 2009: Multinationals take a longer view of Vietnam. Vietnam's motivated workforce, stability and young population attracted investors. But companies found that many university graduates lacked the practical and technical training needed for careers with them.
By other measures, Vietnam's economy is faring better than most in the region. Thanks to a rise in trade of consumer goods, government spending on infrastructure and numerous plant openings in the past, the country's gross domestic product, or total economic output, is likely to grow by 5.5% this year. That would be the second highest in East Asia after China, according to the World Bank.
Businesses complain that, even after several years, workers still haven't finished the highway from Ho Chi Minh City's airport to downtown. Unlike China, relocation of families is painstakingly slow.
Cost of Iraq war will surpass Vietnam's by year's end. If Congress approves the latest funding request, as expected, the Iraq war will have cost about $694 billion, making it the second most expensive conflict in U.S. history behind World War II. Added to the amount spent through 2008, it would mean the Iraq war will have cost taxpayers a total of about $694 billion. By comparison, the Vietnam War cost $686 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars and World War II cost $4.1 trillion, according to a Congressional Research Service study completed last year. LA Times.
Vietnamese Americans take action against redbaiting. Some in Orange County's Little Saigon who have been labeled as communists, including a former school superintendent and the owner of a newspaper, are suing their accusers for slander and harassment. Being called a communist sympathizer is enough to ruin a reputation in Little Saigon.
But now, some Vietnamese Americans -- including a former superintendent and the owner of the nation's oldest Vietnamese-language newspaper -- are pushing back by taking their accusers to court, suing for slander and harassment. More LA Times.
Mar 28, 2009: New UC admissions policy gives white students a better chance, angers Asian-American community. A new University of California admissions policy, adopted to increase campus diversity, could actually increase the number of white students on campuses while driving down the Asian population.
Now angry Asian-American community leaders and educators are attacking the policy as ill-conceived, poorly publicized and discriminatory."It's affirmative action for whites," said UC-Berkeley professor Ling-chi Wang. "I'm really outraged "... and profoundly disappointed with the institution." More SJMN.
Mar 5, 2009: Recall message failed to resonate beyond Nguyen's foes. A host of factors helped San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen handily fend off Tuesday's recall attempt — more money, support from the city's political institutions and division within the city's Vietnamese-American community, to name a few.
But when Tuesday's votes were tallied, the 5,696 who backed the recall barely surpassed the number who signed the petition. Nguyen garnered 7,083 votes to keep her in office, about as many as the 7,179 who backed her unopposed 2006 re-election."This did not go beyond the boundaries of a small group of people who were quite vocal but nonetheless small in numbers," said San Jose State University political science Professor Larry Gerston.
Ballot returns suggest turnout was highest among the district's Vietnamese, who comprise about a third of its residents. Of the 5,698 ballots issued in Vietnamese, 4,067 were returned, said Elma Rosas, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. But that number was dwarfed by the 6,061 English-language ballots returned — about half of the 12,553 issued. Of the 1,591 ballots issued in Spanish, Chinese or Tagalog, fewer than half were returned. More SJMN.
Mar 4, 2009: San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen survives bitter recall attempt. In a hard-fought display of political tenacity, San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen on Tuesday triumphed against a fervent recall effort — born from outrage over a shopping district's name — that pitted her against many in the Vietnamese community who first elected her three years ago.
The stunning result was all but certain soon after the polls closed at 8 p.m., when the results of more than 9,500 votes cast in the weeks before Election Day were released. With all precincts counted a few hours later, and fewer than 1,200 late and provisional ballots left to tally today, voters had favored Nguyen by a wide 55 percent to 45 percent. More SJMN.
Mar 3, 2009: Polls are open for Nguyen recall. Polls opened on time at 7 a.m. and voters began casting ballots in the recall election of San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen this morning. Elma Rosas, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County registrar of voters, said as of noon she had no reports of irregular activity in the voting for the District 7 seat. "There's just not a lot going on,'' she said. But she said it was to early to assess if voting is heavy or light. It has been raining most of the day.
Nguyen would be just the second council member recalled in the past 50 years — and the first since Kathy Cole was bounced in 1994 after making racially insensitive comments. More SJMN.
Mar 2, 2009: Recall of San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen hurtles into last days. Residents of San Jose's District 7 on Tuesday will decide a question asked just a handful of times in the city's long history: Should a sitting council member — Madison Nguyen, in this case — be removed from office?
Only once have voters said yes. For four other council members, the answer was a resounding "no." Now, with Election Day fast approaching— and as Nguyen's friends and foes brave wet, gray skies in their exhausting final push to turn out as many voters as possible — whether history winds up on Nguyen's side is very much an open question. But one thing is utterly certain:
Once the flurry of door-knocking and phone-banking subsides, the result — no matter which side prevails — will mark an end to one of the most contentious chapters in San Jose's recent political past. More SJMN.
Feb 24, 2009: 7,100 ballots already cast in race to recall San Jose councilwoman Nguyen. More than 7,100 absentee ballots had been turned in as of Monday, officials with the Santa Clara County registrar's office reported — a total approaching all the votes cast in each of the 2005 races that catapulted the city's first Vietnamese leader into office.With about 12,300 absentee ballots yet to be returned, that number will climb by Election Day. Turnout could reach as high as 40 percent of the district's 30,777 registered voters, the registrar's office said, an unusually high portion in a district where turnout typically has been low. More SJMN.