Ha Long Bay among 28 finalists in New 7 Wonders pole

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Halong BayThe New7Wonders on July 21 announced the names of the 28 landscapes that have advanced to the final round of the online poll for seven new world natural wonders. According to the New7Wonders’ website, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is among the 28 famous world sites, such as the Dead Sea, Grand Canyon in the US, Angel Falls in Venezuela and Fundy Bay in Canada.

A panel of experts chose the finalists from among the 77 nominees that gained the most votes in an early round of polling. People had suggested 261 landmarks in countries from all over the world.

The panel chaired by Federico Mayor, former chief of UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, picked the finalists based on geographical balance, diversity and importance to human life.

High voter participation has been seen in several Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, as well as from Latin America, according to New7Wonders.

Around 100 million people voted in the selection of the seven man-made wonders in 2007. The winners were the Colosseum, Italy; the Great Wall of China; the Taj Mahal, India; Petra, Jordan; Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil; Machu Picchu, Peru; and the Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico.

Choosing world wonders has been a continuing fascination over the centuries. UNESCO keeps updating its list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 890 places.

The New 7 Wonders campaign aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments and natural sites. It relies on private donations and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.

According to New7Wonders announcement, the poll will last until 2011. On July 7, 2011, the names of seven new world natural wonders will be made public.

The 28 finalists: Amazon rainforest, Bu Tinah Shoals archipelago (United Arab Emirates), Galapagos islands (Ecuador), Iguazu Falls (Brazil – Argentina), Komodo National Park (Indonesia), Milford Sound (New Zealand), Table Mountain (South Africa), Angel Falls (Venezuela), Cliffs of Moher (Ireland), Grand Canyon (USA), Jeita Grotto (Beirut), Maldives Islands, Mud Volcanoes (Azerbaijan), Ayers Rock (Australia), Bay of Fundy, Dead Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Jeju Island (South Korea), Masurian Lake District (Poland), Puerto Princesa Underground River (Philippines), Mount Vesuvius (Italy), Black Forest, El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Matterhorn Mount (Switzerland and Italy), Sundarbans Delta (Bangladesh – India) and Yushan (Taiwan).