SAVING HANOI FROM ITSELF

UNSCARRED BY DECADES OF WAR, THIS REMARKABLY GRACEFUL CITY NOW STRUGGLES TO SURVIVE THE ASSAULT OF CAPITALISM

Designed by the French, bombed by the Americans and never appreciated by the Russians, Hanoi not so long ago was written off by outsiders as a crumbling bunker for Vietnam's communist leaders. No more. These days the capital's colonial villas and tree-lined boulevards catch the sentimental eye of nearly every Westerner who visits. Australian, British and French ministers have made Hanoi's renovation a personal cause. U.S. Senator John Kerry spent a good portion of a November 1994 visit outlining plans for a ``reconstruction fund'' with the city's chief architect. ``Hanoi is a real asset, an extraordinary jewel,'' says the Massachusetts Democrat,...

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