Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vietnam Tours And Travel

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Vietnam is fast becoming one of the worlds most popular tourist destinations. With beautiful sights, rich culture, ancient cities, and cost affordability, now Vietnam has become one of the most sought tourist destinations in world. So for a travel bug a Vietnam tours can satisfy all needs of leisure and amusement. When you are thinking of having a vacation in Vietnam, its recommended to seek for the assistance of a Vietnam travel agency which assists you in planning everything to perfection.
Vietnam Tour-online is the leading Vietnam tours operator agency established by a group of tourism experts. They can offer you a wide range of Vietnam tours. The Essential Vietnam tours are of special interest to clients covering the most famous sites in Vietnam. The Cultural Vietnam tours give you chances to explore the unique culture of Vietnam and the local culinary treasures.  The Beach tours offer visits to amazing beaches in Vietnam where you can relax, snorkel, taste delicious seafood that will surely make your stay unforgettable.  With the Adventure tours, you can spend active holidays in Vietnam from a kayak cruise between the limestone islands of the magnificent Halong Bay, a memorable trek in Sapa or climb up to Fansipan Mountain, the highest in Indochina. The honeymoon packages can combine active and cultural holidays with romantic vacations and exotic honeymoons.
Besides that, you can also enjoy the boat cruises, the golf tours, the eco tours or tours for veterans etc. You may wish to explore the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh city, check out the sights at Hanoi, or relax by choosing the Con Dao Island getaway or Phu Quoc beach relax.
From our Vietnam tours, you can select a variety of fabulous value for money exploring and sightseeing trips that you like and experience the best that Vietnam has to offer! If you always thought that you could never afford to visit somewhere special like Vietnam, then think again because Vietnam Tours-online can easily make it possible for you.
It is becoming extremely expensive to find great value for money vacation deals to far away places, and with that in mind, Vietnam Tours-online has designed some excellent packages that will suit individual travelers, groups, or families with an unbelievable experience from start to finish. Vietnam Tours-online ‘s all-inclusive packages cater to everyone, both young and old, and you are welcome to inquire with us from this website about all the featured, great value for money vacation getaways.
Feel free to get your Vietnam Tours deal by visiting the site.
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Bestselling books the week of 2/24/11

What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.

1. HARDCOVER FICTION

1. Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell, Knopf
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson, Knopf
3. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, Viking
4. Room, by Emma Donoghue, Little Brown
5. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
6. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, by David Sedaris, Ian Falconer (Illus.), Little Brown
7. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, FSG
8. A Red Herring Without Mustard, by Alan Bradley, Delacorte
9. Tick Tock, by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge, Little Brown
10. While Mortals Sleep, by Kurt Vonnegut, Delacorte
11. West of Here, by Jonathan Evison, Algonquin
12. The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
13. Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett, Dutton
14. An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin, Grand Central
15. Clara and Mr. Tiffany, by Susan Vreeland, Random House
ON THE RISE:
22. The Secret Soldier, by Alex Berenson, Putnam
A new John Wells novel by the author of The Midnight House.
*Published Thursday, February 24, 2011 (for the sales week ended Sunday, February 20, 2011). Based on reporting from many hundreds of independent bookstores across the United States. For information on more titles, please visit IndieBound.org
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USA TODAY BEST-SELLERS


Key: F-Fiction; NF-Nonfiction; H-Hardcover; P-Paperback; E-Ebook
1. "Alone" by Lisa Gardner (Bantam) (F-E)
2. "Tick Tock" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown) (F-H)
3. "Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel" by James Patterson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) (F-H)
4. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson (Vintage) (F-P)
5. "The Girl Who Played With Fire" by Stieg Larsson (Vintage) (F-P)
6. "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson) (NF-P)
7. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House) (NF-H)
8. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen (Algonquin) (F-E)
9. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson (Knopf) (F-H)
10. "Dreams of a Dark Warrior" by Kresley Cole (Pocket) (F-P)
11. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) (F-P)
12. "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah E. Harkness (Viking Adult) (F-E)
13. "I Am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins) (F-E)
14. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth" by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books) (F-H)
15. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese (Knopf) (F-E)
16. "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) (F-H)
17. "Marrying Daisy Bellamy" by Susan Wiggs (MIRA) (F-P)
18. "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) (F-H)
19. "Awakened" by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin) (F-H)
20. "Swimsuit" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro (Grand Central Publishing) (F-P)
21. "Known & Unknown: A Memoir" by Donald Rumsfeld (Sentinel) (NF-H)
22. "Switched" by Amanda Hocking (Self-published through CreateSpace) (F-E)
23. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam Adult) (F-H)
24. "The Confession" by John Grisham (Doubleday) (F-H)
25. "Decision Points" by George W. Bush (Crown) (F-H)
26. "Wild Man Creek" by Robyn Carr (MIRA) (F-P)
27. "Her Last Letter" by Nancy C. Johnson (Penwyck Publishing L.L.C.) (F-E)
28. "Ascend" by Amanda Hocking (Self-published through CreateSpace) (F-E)
29. "The Lost Hero: The Heroes of Olympus, Book One" by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion) (F-H)
30. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5: The Last Olympian (Disney-Hyperion) (F-P)
31. "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing) (F-P)
32. "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown (Anchor) (F-P)
33. "Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Griffin) (F-P)
34. "Torn" by Amanda Hocking (Self-published through CreateSpace) (F-E)
35. "Room: A Novel" by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown) (F-E)
36. "True You" by Janet Jackson, David Ritz (Karen Hunter) (NF-H)
37. "Dead or Alive" by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood (Putnam Adult) (F-H)
38. "What the Night Knows: A Novel" by Dean Koontz (Bantam) (F-H)
39. "Beastly" by Alex Flinn (HarperTeen) (F-P)
40. "Little Bee: A Novel" by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster) (F-P)
41. "The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommom Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman" by Timothy Ferriss (Crown Archetype) (NF-H)
42. "Deliver Us from Evil" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing) (F-P)
43. "I Beat the Odds" by Michael Oher (Gotham Books) (NF-H)
44. "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake (Berkley) (F-P)
45. "Broken" by Karin Slaughter (Dell) (F-P)
46. "Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story" by Justin Bieber (HarperCollins) (NF-H)
47. "Live to Tell: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel" by Lisa Gardner (Bantam) (F-P)
48. "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel" by Jamie Ford (Bellantine) (F-E)
49. "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff (Little, Brown) (NF-H)
50. "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman (Moody Publishers) (NF-P)
Reporting stores include: Amazon.com, B. Dalton Bookseller, Barnes & Noble.com, Barnes & Noble Inc., Books-A-Million and Bookland, Booksamillion.com, Borders Books & Music, Bookstar, Bookstop, Brentano's, Davis Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, Jackson, Memphis, Tenn., Doubleday Book Shops, Hudson Booksellers, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Lexington, Ky.; Cincinnati, Cleveland), Powell's Books (Portland, Ore.), Powells.com, R.J. Julia Booksellers (Madison, Conn.), Schuler.
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2011 College Admission Rates: The Toughest Season Ever

NEW YORK –  
With applications at record levels to many of America’s best colleges, The Daily Beast crunched the numbers at 28 top schools to find projected admission rates. Kristina Dell on Harvard’s low rate and more.
Selective colleges across the country are receiving an avalanche of applications this year, with records being set from Cambridge to California. Harvard is poised to be the toughest Ivy to get into: Based on the jump in the number of applications it received, the university’s acceptance rate is likely to drop to a record low 6 percent. The University of California-Berkeley, meanwhile, is shaping up as one of the toughest state schools to crack, with just 20 percent of applicants likely to receive welcoming e-mails.

To get a handle on how tough it is to get into college this year, The Daily Beast reviewed the number of applications received at key schools across the country—figures that climbed for many institutions. We sampled the eight Ivy League schools, as well as a group of 10 major state universities and 10 selective private liberal arts schools. We calculated the projected admission rate based on information from the schools about the number of offers they expect to make this year, or, in some cases, the number of offers made last year. (The precise admission rates for this year won’t be known until after the letters are sent out and the schools work through their waitlists.) We’ve compared the likely admission rates for this year with the figures from last year and also five years ago The result: one tough admission season.
Kristina Dell is an editor at Newsweek.com and runs the education website. Previously, she wrote for TIME magazine. Her stories have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reader's Digest.
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Schools boost efforts to ID fake student addresses


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kelley Williams-Bolar, alarmed after her home was broken into, yanked her two daughters out of their urban Akron, Ohio, schools and enrolled them in her father's suburban school district nearby, using his address.

That way, said the single mom and teacher's aide, they could come to a safer home after school.

Her peace of mind proved costly. Officials in the Copley-Fairlawn district challenged the residency of her girls in 2007, when they were 9 and 13 years old. Williams-Bolar was charged and convicted of felony records tampering.

Not only was she jailed last month for nine days, but the conviction threatens her efforts to earn a teacher's license and could jeopardize her job as a teacher's aide. She plans to appeal.

Her case has become a rallying point for advocates of school choice and it has outraged residents in her northeast Ohio community — some because of her dishonesty, others for the severity of her prosecution.

"My kids are not latchkey kids," said Williams-Bolar, who had no choice but to re-enroll her daughters in Akron schools two years ago. "I am a mother, and I want to make sure my kids are safe, and I want to make sure that they're educated."

Her prosecution and incarceration are a high-profile example of how schools are getting tougher on parents who sneak their children into other districts, usually better-funded and higher-performing schools. Districts are fighting back, having students followed by private investigators, fining or pressing criminal charges against their parents — even sending them to jail.

The cases raise questions about school funding disparities and pit parents' pursuit of better academics or safer hallways against schools' interests in protecting their funding and quality.

There's little data that tracks how many parents register students using false addresses or those of relatives in violation of state, city or school regulations, but districts from New Hampshire to Texas to California report that it's a problem. Jailing parents isn't common.

"I must say this is the first case I've ever heard of where somebody has been arrested," said Susan Gates, a senior economist who studies education issues at the RAND Corporation.

Copley-Fairlawn Superintendent Brian Poe said his district "has taken a certain amount of heat," with critics saying it should educate all children. "That's not the law in the state of Ohio, and that's not our board policy."

Recent letters to the Akron Beacon Journal capture high emotions on both sides of the issue. Hundreds of Williams-Bolar supporters recently rallied with the Rev. Al Sharpton, calling for her exoneration.

"To take a viable human being and cast her aside like a dangerous criminal again proves that the American justice system is only just for some people — certainly not poor, black and struggling members of society," wrote Mary L. Tabatcher of Mogadore.

But Donna Blair of Akron was sharply critical.

"Shame on Kelley Williams-Bolar," Blair wrote. "We all want what's best for our kids, but should we commit crimes to get them the best? The message she sent to her kids was that it's OK to lie, cheat and steal."

The newspaper reported this week that one lawmaker is preparing legislation that would allow children to enroll in school districts where their grandparents live.

Around the country, transfers between districts are allowed in most places if both districts agree, with some requiring the home district to pay tuition to the receiving district, said Michael Griffith, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Education Commission of the States in Denver. Problems occur when parents seeking better academics, elite sports teams or safer environments falsify records or say students live with relatives or in rental homes when they don't.

Cases typically are resolved when a parent moves a student out, changes homes or pays tuition, but a few end up in court. Since 2005, Copley-Fairlawn has resolved conflicts with 47 other families over illegal student attendance.

Education officials say cases tend to surface more when budgets are tight and in areas where there are significant disparities between districts such as in academic success or local income level — particularly in wealthier districts near urban areas. That often means the districts in question also have racial disparities.

Williams-Bolar's attorney, Kerry O'Brien, raised the issue of race at one point in court papers, saying that because her client is black, the case raises the specter of "improper racial segregation and prosecution."

In a Pennsylvania case, Latoni Crowder used a cousin's address to ensure her eighth-grader could continue at Central Dauphin East Middle School in central Pennsylvania. Crowder had lost her job at a nursing home and, unable to afford her apartment rent, moved to a cheaper place in the underachieving Harrisburg district.

"Like any parent, I was just looking out for my daughter," said Crowder, 40, one of three Harrisburg residents prosecuted last fall and convicted for false enrollment in the better-performing Central Dauphin schools. "I just didn't want her to fall behind and not get a good education."
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Teacher who put pupils into their own sex'n'drugs novel ...


A much-praised teacher who persuaded difficult pupils to read by making them characters in their own, grittily realistic novel is about to find out whether an employment tribunal will allow her to relaunch her career.
Leonora Rustamova, nicknamed Miss Rusty by pupils at the high school where she taught English for 11 years, was sacked for gross misconduct in 2009 after the book appeared on an internet self-publishing site.
Its sexual references and a comparison between two teenagers and "gorgeous Mr Gay UK finalists" led to a furore. But Leeds employment tribunal heard from Rustamova's lawyer that the project had initially been encouraged by Stephen Ball, the head of Calder High school at Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire. He had described the printing of bound copies for each pupil as a "lovely" gesture.
Ball said he was initially supportive of the project to publish the book, Stop! Don't Read This, although he had some reservations.
The tribunal has retired to consider Rustamova's claim for compensation, after hearing that her life was "in ruins" because she became over-excited by the project's success. She told the hearing: "I am an idiot but I had good intentions." One parent had told her that the book was the first her 15-year-old son had read from beginning to end.
Rustamova, 40, wrote the 96-page story after taking charge of a recalcitrant group nicknamed the Commy Boys, who were allegedly given to sexist and racist language and showed little interest in learning. She wrote five of them and herself into a plot involving a drugs gang which was foiled by the pupils, but with sexual fantasies, bad language and truancy along the way.
The tribunal heard how Rustamova read draft instalments in class and pupils gradually became interested in adding their own contributions. Inevitably, this ratcheted up the tally of swearwords and risque episodes, but Matthew Pascall, Rustamova's barrister, said the book did not subvert "positive attitudes and values" and its denouement involved the teacher and her "five favourites" calling in the police.
Rustamova defended the Mr Gay UK passage, claiming she had thought it harmless.
There were pupil demonstrations and protests from parents when Rustamova was suspended, then sacked in May 2009 by the board of governors. Another former English teacher at Calder High, Stephen Cann, who was suspended over the project and later retired, told the tribunal that the head had praised Rustamova for "persevering with a group of lads who had largely been written off".
The school is a highly regarded comprehensive serving Mytholmroyd and the characterful community of Hebden Bridge. Andrew McGrath, representing its governors, said Rustamova had been dismissed for serious errors of judgement.
These did not only involve the book, he said, but also out-of-school activities with the boys and a "failure to acknowledge or comprehend sufficiently the seriousness of the school's concerns".
He said the text had been available on the internet for five months, after Rustamova's husband used a self-publishing site to provide 22 bound copies for pupils and staff.
Rustamova said she had been aghast when she was suspended from her £34,000-a-year job. She said: "I got a letter congratulating me on my promotion to social cohesion co-ordinator and then this happened the next day. I was in deep shock for a couple of days. I was utterly astonished."
Rustamova is out of work and relying on benefits to support her daughter. She said her sacking was wrong and her treatment by the school had "rendered me untouchable".
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Minister threatens 'overcharging' universities ....


David Willetts tells vice-chancellors very few universities would be justified in charging the maximum £9,000 tuition fees
Very few universities would be justified in charging tuition fees of £9,000 a year – the new maximum from next year – the higher education minister, David Willetts, has said in a speech to vice-chancellors.
The government wants a stratified system under which universities charge different amounts. Ministers expect the average to be £7,500. However, several universities have said they intend to charge the maximum.
The universities of Oxford and Cambridge and Imperial College London all plan to charge £9,000, while Liverpool Hope University has said it will charge less than this.
Willetts said that universities charging £9,000 tuition fees would gain an extra £2,600 in funding overall per student on top of their current fee levels. "Unless universities can prove that there will be a commensurate and very significant improvement in the education on offer, it is difficult to see how such an increase could ever be justified, let alone at a time of fiscal restraint. Institutions can clearly offer higher education at a price much less than £9,000," he said.
He warned that if universities insisted on charging the maximum, the government would be forced to make further cuts to their teaching and research budgets.
Universities must reveal far more information about the courses they offer, and will soon have to publish the number of hours that students spend in seminars and lectures for every degree course, Willetts said.
"There are few things that cost as much as higher education where the costs are so murky," he told the spring conference of Universities UK – the umbrella group for vice-chancellors – in London.
He said universities would have to publish 17 pieces of information, including data on how satisfied students are with their courses, the number of graduates out of work for each course and the hours students spend in seminars and lectures.
In return, students could be expected to sign a charter – or contract – promising to attend lectures and be a responsible part of their university's community.
The lecturers' union, the University and College Union, said universities were being told to do more with less money. Sally Hunt, the union's general secretary, said: "The situation around university fees is a complete debacle at the moment. Universities are essentially being told they cannot charge the fee they need to recoup money that the government has cut, but at the same time they must offer a better experience because students are paying higher fees.
"The government needs to review its plans to slash so much of the teaching budget. It is utterly ludicrous to expect universities to offer more for less and even more ridiculous to encourage students to complain at a time when it is clear they are getting a raw deal."
Willetts's comments came as details emerged of a new student occupation at University College London – the centre of last year's protests over the government's increase in tuition fees and cuts to post-16 education that saw tens of thousands of young people take to the streets. About 200 students are occupying the old refectory at the university's campus in Bloomsbury, central London.
"While the occupations last year were very much about the spectacle of contemporary youth rebellion, this new wave seeks to be more ambitious still," said Bernard Goyder, 19, one of those involved in this week's protest. "The occupiers aim to create an anti-cuts organising space in Bloomsbury, where representatives from the anti-cuts groups can co-ordinate their campaigning efforts in the run-up to [the national demonstration organised by the Trades Union Congress on] 26 March."
The UCL occupation last year became the focal point of the widespread anger at government plans to raise tuition fees and cut the education maintenance allowance. It was one of more than 30 student occupations across the country.
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