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Danielle Bounds is bound for Vietnam. Crowned Miss Earth United States in August, the Kansas City 6-footer will compete in November in the Miss Earth pageant in the city of Nha Trang.Full Story
#1 Oct 5, 2010
Communists keep tight grip on Vietnam
Vietnam elects a new National Assembly on Sunday, although since only the Communist Party is allowed to field candidates the outcome is not in much doubt.
The election follows a crackdown on activists who had been calling for free elections. The BBC's Bill Hayton, who in March was told to leave Vietnam by the government, has been investigating the prospects for democracy there.
Father Nguyen Van Ly was jailed for eight years in March
The sight of a secret policeman forcing his hand over the mouth of a Catholic priest, Nguyen Van Ly, to prevent him shouting out an anti-communist poem during his trial seemed to sum up Vietnam's attitude towards political dissent.
But at the same time as the country's security forces are engaged in what Human Rights Watch has called "one of the worst crackdowns on peaceful dissent in 20 years", the Communist Party is experimenting with a degree of openness.
So what are the prospects for democracy in Vietnam?
At first sight Vietnam's National Assembly looks like little more than a rubber-stamping body.
Ninety per cent of the members in the last session were members of the Communist Party and the 10% that were not all had to be approved by the party in order to stand for
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