31 enero 2010

Organizer backs out of 2010 Miss World contest

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The authorized organizer of the 2010 Miss World pageant in Vietnam on Friday made a surprise withdrawal from the event, claiming it did not want to get embroiled in an inter-provincial dispute.

Chairman of US-based Rare Antibody Antigen Supply (RAAS), Hoang Kieu, said his company would not organize this year’s pageant as it does not want to “hurt the relationship between Khanh Hoa and Tien Giang,” the provinces caught in a dispute over the official venue for the event.

Both the government and the Miss World Organization have authorized RAAS as the organizer of the event in Vietnam.

At first, the company planned to hold the pageant in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa and intended to build a resort there as the event venue.

But the resort project was criticized by experts on concerns it would destroy the environment of the Nha Trang Bay, causing RAAS to drop the plan in November 2008.

About a year later RAAS said it would shift the event to Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta and would construct a five-star ecotourism resort for the pageant.

The administration of Khanh Hoa Province, however, said the central government has granted the right for Khanh Hoa to host the event and that a venue change could not be decided unilaterally by RAAS. The province had already hosted the Miss Universe contest in August 2008.

Now that RAAS has withdrawn from the beauty pageant, Khanh Hoa Province will have to confirm with the Miss World Organization that it has the US$10 million needed to organize the event itself by February 12.

Le Xuan Than, deputy chairman of Khanh Hoa People’s Committee, said Friday that provincial authorities would decide whether to hold the event next week.

The Performing Arts Department, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the government will not allocate state budget for the pageant, suggesting Khanh Hoa should raise funds from both foreign and domestic sponsors to organize the event.

Reported by Do Tuan-Hoang Phuong

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