The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Foreign Soap Operas Play a Dramatic Role in Vietnam

    This borders on scandalous. Thousands in the Socialist Republic are tuning in daily to watch shows like Balika Vadhu (“Child Bride”). But the characters aren’t Vietnamese — instead viewers are watching actors from India, China, Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea duke it out on-screen in what is proving a diplomatic play for the Southeast Asian country’s hearts and minds. These regional neighbors are looking to boost trade with Vietnam and its growing economy, and they’re seeping into living rooms to jostle for cultural influence.

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