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Red light warning

Hanoi, July 13 (AFP): Few have taken Vietnam’s previous pledges to eradicate prostitution seriously, but new legislation could result in state employees caught with their pants down finding themselves in an unfamiliar and embarrassing position.

Under the new decree that came into force on July 1, names of all civil servants, military and police personnel found to have frequented the services of a lady of the night will be passed on to their superiors for punishment.

a country with 1.3 million state employees, civil servants account for 60 per cent of prostitutes’ customers, according to official figures. “It is the first official decree on this matter and is aimed at people who pay for sexual services and work in the public sector,” said Vu Ngoc Thuy of the National Committee for Progress of Women.

Those caught in the uncompromising act will face fines of between $15 and $250 and be barred from promotion for a given period. Repeat offenders risk suspension.

Hollywood

Los Angeles (AFP): The world famous “Hollywood” sign, that sits on a hill here overlooking the home of movie-making, celebrated its 80th birthday on Sunday with a large cake, live music and historians. The huge white letters that stand 13 metres in height originally had four extra letters and read “Hollywoodland.” The original sign was erected in 1923 by Harry Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, to advertise land for new homes. Built at an initial cost of $21,000, the letters have since become an international symbol for the mystique of Hollywood and film-making. The sign was only meant to be in place for a year and a half, but the letters remained and in 1949 the local chamber of commerce decided to remove the sign’s last four letters stripping it down to read “Hollywood.”

Love parade

Berlin (Reuters): Scantily clad ravers danced through the streets of Berlin on Saturday as the world’s biggest street party, the Love Parade, returned for another year after narrowly avoiding financial collapse. Around half a million techno fans grooved their way through the German capital’s Tiergarten park at the 15th Love Parade, dancing to the latest electronic music blasted out by over 250 DJs spinning discs on 30 floats. Leopard-skin bikinis and outrageous wigs were much in evidence at the rave.

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