Image: New agricultural products all the rage ahead of Lunar New Year
Vegetables grown in Da Lat using seeds imported mainly from Japan and the US and using high technology are becoming a big hit with customers for their quality and safety.
They are all grown to VietGap standards using drip and spray irrigation and other techniques.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Ngo Phuong Thao, director of Thom Food Company, as saying her company has received more than 200 orders for tomatoes and other vegetables.
All information about the products, including variety and growing standards, is on the packaging, she added.
Nguyen Cong Thua, general director of Anh Dao Co-operative, said more than 500 Tet gift hampers to be delivered by his co-operative on orders would have these vegetables.
The new mini vegetables would make up 30 tonnes out of around 6,000 tonnes of agricultural products meeting VietGap standards his co-operative plans to supply to Co.op Mart for Tet, he said.
Since they were still new to customers, they carried careful directions on the packaging, he said.
According to Nguyen Thi Dien Thuy of Phong Thuy vegetable farm in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, besides supermarkets, small stores supplying vegetables to restaurants also order the new products as do small traders selling gift hampers at traditional markets.
The products are popular at supermarkets and agricultural retail stores.
Da Lat now has around 100ha of land cultivating under 50 varieties of mini vegetables like tomato, carrot, beetroot and others, according to the Da Lat Department of Economics.
Nguyen Van Luc, head of the Lam Dong Province agricultural-forestry-fishery quality inspection agency, revealed that many surprise inspections of farms failed to find any samples of the new products with excessive residues of plant protection chemicals.
Besides, all the fertilisers used were biological, he added.
At least 50 new flower varieties grown using high technology in Da Lat will be also supplied for Tet.
While they are flowers traditionally preferred during the New Year like daisy, rose, gerbera, and lily, they are cross-bred to get unusual colours and sizes and grown in glass houses.
Lam Dong has more than 2,000ha growing flowers, with the new varieties accounting for 30 per cent, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The plants have begun to bud.
According to growers, each pot of the new flowers is sold for between VND30,000-100,000 (USVND28,899 - VND97,812).
Tran Huy Duong, director of Langbiang Farm Company Limited, said his company decided to import Japanese daisy because it is disease-resistant unlike domestic varieties.
But the company plans to supply 20 different kinds of flowers of which half will be daisies of different colours like yellow, red, white, and blue.
Nguyen Van Bao, deputy director of Agrivina Company Limited, said his company imported only from reputed global bio-tech companies, which have a large flower gene bank.
According to DaLat flower producers, the flowers will hit the market 10 days before Tet which falls on February 8, including HCM City and the rest of the southern region.
Chủ Nhật, 31 tháng 1, 2016
Social News 31/1
Hospital could face fine for environmental damage
The environmental crime prevention office of Binh Phuoc Province has asked authorities to impose a fine of more than VND1,700 billion (US$76,330) on Binh Phuoc General Hospital for toxic emissions.
The hospital buried more than 66 tonnes of toxic waste on its campus and discharged more than 160 m3 of untreated wastewater into the environment per day, exceeding the permissible limits of toxic waste and wastewater discharges.
The waste was found during an investigation in November 2015, which was conducted by the departments of the police department, health, and the environment of the province.
HCM City plans 2nd largest flower fest
A flower festival will be organised in the first week of February to welcome Lunar New Year in Phu My Hung City Centre in District 7 of HCM City with many entertainment events.
Considered as the second biggest flower festival in HCM City following the Nguyen Hue Flower street, the flower festival in Phu My Hung will showcase trees and flowers familiar to village life in three regions of north, south and centre.
Many hundred-year trees will also be displayed at the festival.
The festival has been organised since 2009. This year, it will have 500 booths and hope to attract over 1.6 million visitors.
Can Tho aims for 1.7m visitors
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Can Tho this year will further develop river tours and tours visiting craft villages and historic sites as well as city tour, according to the city's People's Committee.
With these efforts, the city aims to attract 1.7 million visitors, earning VND1.8 trillion (US$80 million) from tourism.
Last year, the city welcomed over 1.6 million visitors, increasing by 18 per cent year-on-year. Currently, around 40 tour operators are operating in the city and 226 hotels and hostels as well as 11 home-stay destinations.
In 2015, many investors have poured money to the city such as Vingroup, Novaland and Muong Thanh.
Da Nang expecting more visitors
The volume of visitors coming to the central city of Da Nang in the coming Lunar New Year which comes next week is predicted to increase by 20 per cent to 30 per cent in comparison with the same time last year, according to the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Preparation has been well done, he affirmed.
Da Nang is among the top destinations of tourism vessels which came from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia so that visitors coming by vessels at that time will likely increase by about 1,500 to 2,000 visitors.
According to the department, many new services will be introduced at this Lunar New Year. The department also affirmed that service suppliers in the city have committed not to increase the price.
VN named among happiest nations
The UK's online site www.telegraph.co.uk has recently selected Viet Nam as one of the world's happiest places.
It said that "the backpacker paradise of Viet Nam came second in the most recent Happy Planet Index, ahead of Colombia, Belize and El Salvador.
Highlights include the dramatic coastal scenery of Ha Long Bay, the picturesque town of Hoi An, the bustling population centres of Ha Noi and HCM City and its sandy beaches".
The list also includes Valparaiso in Chile, Juzcar in Spain, Little India in Singapore and Andorra.
Three teenagers drown in Dak Lak pond
Three teenage girls drowned while swimming in an irrigation pond in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak yesterday.
The girls were identified as 14-year-old Le Thi Nhung, 12-year-old Nguyen Thi Thanh and 13-yer-old Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung, all students of the seventh grade A3 class in Ngo Quyen junior high school in Cu M'gar District.
Dang Van Hoan, chairman of Cu Sue Commune where two of the three girls lived, said the teenagers went to swim in the pond together with two other classmates.
A resident living nearby managed to save only those two after the students accidentally slipped into the deeper part of the pond and called out for help.
Hoi An opens Cam Kim Bridge to traffic
The ancient city inaugurated the Cam Kim Bridge on the Thu Bon River, a crucial connection for people living along the river banks and in Hoi An City, before Tet.
The VND32.5-billion (US$1.4 million) steel bridge, which was completed in five months, is for two-wheelers and is 3m wide and 620m long.
Residents of Cam Kim Village can now travel more easily, instead of crossing the river by boat for their daily activities.
The bridge will also allow eco-tours and tourists to explore craft villages and rural life along the Thu Bon River.
Chairman of the city's people's committee Nguyen Van Dung said the bridge was a dream of the local people for centuries as it would help the residents of Cam Kim, Kim Bong carpentry village and Duy Xuyen District to travel and avoid the risky ferry service.
Currently, hundreds of boats, which are modified fishing vessels, carry local residents, tourists and cargo between Hoi An and Duy Xuyen District. However, travel on these vessels is risky during the rainy and flood season between October and April.
Last year, the central Quang Nam Province also put into operation the VND3.4-trillion ($151 million) Cua Dai Bridge, connecting Hoi An with Duy Xuyen and Thang Binh districts.
Hoi An City hosted 2.1 million tourists last year, of which one million were foreigners.
Vietnamese people to run for health
Seven million Vietnamese people are expected to take part in the Olympic Run Day for Public Health 2016, which will begin at 7am on March 26.
The event will take place simultaneously in provinces throughout the country for the second time.
The targeted number of participants for 2016 is double the 2015 figure of three million, posing a huge task for the sports administration.
More than 40 localities have already started preparing for the event. Many plan to combine this event with other local activities.
The general department of sports and physical training will coordinate with ministries to get students, teenagers and military personnel to participate in the Olympic Run Day.
The event aims to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Viet Nam Sports Day on March 27, as well as to encourage people to exercise regularly for better health.
Vietnam joins FAO-funded project on sustainable aquaculture growth
The Prime Minister has approved a proposal for Vietnam to take part in a project funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to facilitate sustainable aquaculture growth in the country.
The project “Regional Initiative Blue Growth – Pilot application of aquaculture planning and management tools for sustainable growth in selected Southeast Asian countries” in Vietnam will be funded by non-refundable aid from the FAO.
It aims to support sustainable growth of aquaculture in the region through improved planning and more effective management at different levels and help boost seafood supplies to meet rising demand and improve livelihoods and economic development in Asia.
The Prime Minister has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to prepare all project documents and sign them with related parties.
The project’s main activities involve selecting tools to solve key issues in aquaculture planning and management, providing training on planning and management tools for trainees and farmers, and piloting these tools in reality.-
Deo Ngang Tunnel to be widened
The Prime Minister has approved the widening of Deo Ngang Tunnel under a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model.
The transport ministry will be responsible for controlling and implementing the project.
The tunnel opened to traffic in August 2004 and has a speed limit of 60km per hour.
It is 2.76km long and 12m wide, stretching from Km591 550 National Highway 1 in central Ha Tinh province to Km594 339 National Highway 1 central Quang Binh province.
The tunnel is equipped with drainage and water supply systems, lights, ventilators and a managing station.
The tunnel widening project is expected to meet the demand for travel on National Highway 1 through Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, contributing to socio-economic development, national defence and security in the two provinces as well as the central region.
The investor will use the toll station at Deo Ngang to collect toll to recover its capital.
The project is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2016 and will be ready by the second quarter of 2018.
National Highway 217 upgraded to boost Vietnam-Laos economic ties
Nearly 90 kilometres of National Highway 217 (the first phase) connecting Dong Tam intersection in central Thanh Hoa province with the Na Meo-Nam Xoi border gate at the Vietnam-Laos border line is scheduled to be opened to traffic on January 30.
According to the Ministry of Transport, National Highway 217 is of special significance in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Economic Cooperation Programme as the road, together with routes 6, 6A and 6B of Laos ’ Houaphan province, links Northeastern Laos with Northern Vietnam , heading towards Thanh Hoa province’s Nghi Son sea port.
Therefore, the ministry said, the upgrading of the routes has won the strong support of the Vietnamese and Laos Governments in order to maximise economic potential brought about by the GMS Northeastern Corridor and will help northern Lao provinces easily access the Nghi Son port.
The first phase of the project began in June 2013 with a total investment of 97.4 million USD with 75 million USD coming from the Asian Development Bank’s preferential loans and the remainder sourced from the Vietnamese Government.
The 195.4 km National Highway starts from Do Len bridge in Thanh Hoa province’s Ha Trung district through Vinh Loc, Cam Thuy, Ba Thuoc and Quan Son districts, and ends at the Na Meo international border gate.
Technical design and land clearance work in preparation for the second phase of the project is underway.
Health sector strives to improve mother, child care
The Ministry of Health has worked hard to enhance maternal and child health services in Vietnam in recent years.
The ministry has implemented a comprehensive set of measures to step up supervision of mother and child health care establishments, including private clinics; provide professional support for local-level hospitals to reduce obstetrical emergencies; provide training on midwifery and essential care for newborns; and improve the skills of midwives in rural villages.
Maternal and child health services have been expanded at rural communes and districts nationwide between 2011 and 2015, especially essential services such as caesarean section, blood transfusion and care of the preterm and low-birth-weight newborns, in an effort to help reduce maternal and neonatal morality rates.
Vietnam has already achieved the Millennium Development Goals for decreasing maternal mortality and mortality of children under one, with respective reductions of 58.3 per 100,000 live births and 14.73 per 1,000 live births in 2015.
Skilled attendance at birth was 98.2 percent and about 90 percent of mothers and newborns received postnatal care during the first week.
More than 1,730 village-based midwives have been trained for the improvement of maternal and child care in far-flung areas.
The country has also lowered the number of children suffering acute malnutrition from 17.5 percent in 2010 to 14.1 percent last year, while the rate of children with chronic malnutrition dropped to 24 percent last year from 29.3 percent in 2010.
Since the Law on Marriage and Family legalised surrogacy on January 1 last year, as many as 65 successful surrogacy operations have been recorded, including 46 in the Hanoi-based Central Maternity Hospital and 19 in the Ho Chi Minh-based Tu Du Hospital.
The first surrogate baby was born at the Central Maternity Hospital on January 22, weighing 3.6 kilogrammes, while another 10 surrogate babies are expected in the next three months.
In 2016, the health sector plans to continue improving the quality of mother and child care as well as recovery practices in obstetrics and expanding the network of trained village-based midwives in remote areas where out-dated midwifery practices are still common.
Forest info system application reviewed
The Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reviewed the mid-term outcomes of the project Development of Management Information System for Forestry Sector – Phase II (FORMIS II).
The Finland-funded five year project is being carried out from April 2013 through to April 2018 with a total investment of 9.7 million EUR.
According to the Administration, the FORMIS II project aims to develop a management information system for the forest sector and expand the application of the system nationwide in a bid to ensure sustainable management of forestry resources.
Deputy Director General of the Administration Nguyen Ba Ngai highlighted the positive achievements the project has made over the past three years, saying that it helps raise the awareness of developing an information system for forest management at all levels.
The system has also facilitated the management of forest resources and helped enhance the capabilities of the staff involved.
The system has updated the forest coverage data of 15 localities, namely Bac Kan, Ha Tinh, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Lam Dong, Gia Lai, Dak Nong, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Tien Giang, An Giang, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, Ca Mau and Long An.
It is expected to connect the data of all localities by the end of 2016.
The first phase of the project was carried out from 2009 to 2012.
Thua Thien-Hue: Construction of Mediterraneo Resort begins
The construction of a five-star resort complex named Mediterraneo began in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue’s Lang Co town on January 28.
Covering an area of more than 7.7 ha with a total investment capital of over 600 billion VND (27.2 million USD), the resort includes 52 luxury villas, hotel rooms, halls and apartments.
The sea-viewed Resort is designed by well-known Italian architect Marco Ferrera.
Vicoland’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director Bui Duc Long said the resort complex will help generate jobs for local workers and bolster investment to the Chan May-Lang Co economic zone, contributing to the province’s socio-economic development.
The project is expected to be completed within 24 months.
US ambassador advises students to study English
At a January 29 meeting with students at Quang Binh University during his cycling tour from Hanoi to Hue, US Ambassador Ted Osius answered many questions of Quang Binh students.
“Young Vietnamese students who want to study abroad should learn English well and watch Hollywood films to gain a better understanding about American culture and people,” said Ambassador Osius.
He revealed nearly 19,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the US, much higher than the figure of 800 students of 20 years ago.
At the end of the exchange, the ambassador presented English learning and teaching documents to Quang Binh University and promised to further support the university’s research activities and students in seeking opportunities to study in the US.
Tapping the potential of the OVs community
Millions of Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) have made remarkable contributions to the homeland’s national development, says the National Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA).
Citing statistics from the World Bank, COVA said OVs in 2015 contributed US$13 billion to the national economy, ranking the nation as one of the top 10 countries receiving remittances— money sent home to help support family members.
In addition, OVs invested roughly US$20 billion in 2,000 business ventures in the homeland during 2015. In HCM City alone, OVs invested businesses have cumulatively registered funding of US$1.59 billion.
Nearly 1.35 million OVs returned to the homeland to visit their relatives during 2015, boosting tourism and more and more OVs are making the decision to permanently return to the homeland to live and raise their families.
Thanks to their knowledge and experience gained working abroad, upon their return, OVs had made unparalleled contributions to the national development in terms of advancing scientific and technological knowledge.
It is estimated that the number of OVs working in Ho Chi Minh City totals in the hundreds, including many professors, associated professors, and those possessing advanced doctoral and master’s degrees.
OVs serve as an important link to the world, says COVA and for the aforementioned reasons, the government should devise proper policies and measures to encourage their continual contribution to the homeland’s betterment.
Localities hold events to celebrate National Party Congress’s end
Celebrations took place across the country on the night of January 28 to round off the 12th National Party Congress.
Ho Chi Minh City hosted a musical concert highlighting a strong belief in the Party’s leadership.
Popular songs about late President Ho Chi Minh and the Party were performed by local children’s choruses, and artists from the city’s Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera.
Delivering a speech at the ceremony, President of the Fatherland Front’s HCM City Charter Nguyen Hoang Nang said that the successful end of the National Congress has demonstrated the political belief and patriotism of Vietnamese people from all walks of life.
They believe that new development policies on socio-economics and culture would be devised, helping the country move toward global integration, he added.
Similar concerts also took place in the northern province of Hai Duong, while a Lunar New Year gathering was organised in the northern province of Bac Ninh.
The get-together in Bac Ninh was an occasion for workers in industrial parks to unwind, share their wishes and be heard by employers, with 1,500 gifts and 5,000 bus tickets given out.
Man fined for keeping endangered bird in central Vietnam
Wildlife protection officers in the central province of Nghe An have fined a local man VND5.25 million (US$235) for keeping an endangered bird illegally.
Nghe An Park Rangers found the black kite (Milvus migrans), a rare medium-sized bird of prey, in Chu Van Cuong's house during a raid last week.
Cuong, 27, was investigated after he posted several graphic pictures on his Facebook page, showing a neighbor slaughtering six monkeys.
The black kite seized at Chu Van Cuong's house in Nghe An Province.
The man responsible for the slaughtering, Le Ba Thuan, 50, has been fined VND12.75 million for buying and killing the protected animals.
Thuan confessed that he bought the monkeys for VND3 million and killed them, together with 12 cats, to make a glue-like product, which some people believe can have medicinal properties.
The case was detected after the environment protection group Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) reported to local authorities that it had seen terrifying photos of many monkeys being killed.
Le Ngoc Huu, chief park ranger of Hoang Mai District in Nghe An, said they could not connect the case to any organized wildlife trafficking ring.
Almost 2,000 cattle die in cold weather in northern Vietnam
Residents in mountainous provinces in the north of Vietnam have lost thousands of cattle after days of extreme wintry climate, the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control has said in a report.
Nearly 2,000 cattle have died due to severely cold weather conditions since Sunday, according to the report.
A biting cold snap is hammering the northern region, bringing snow to many places, including some that have never had it before.
Northwestern provinces have been suffering the greatest damage, especially Son La and Lao Cai, which have lost 367 and 354 cattle, respectively, followed by Dien Bien, Yen Bai, and Lai Chau, where 311, 134, and 46 cattle have died due to the hazardous climatic events, the committee said in the report.
A buffalo died in a barn because of cold weather conditions in northern Vietnam.
The frosty conditions have also inflicted a severe impact on localities in the northeastern region, leading to myriad livestock deaths in Cao Bang, Quang Ninh, Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, and Lang Son.
In Lao Cai, the bizarre climate has threatened 4,473 hectares of cultivars, causing 217 hectares of industrial crops to wither and snow to envelop over 150,000 hectares of forest.
All vegetation areas in Mu Cang Chai, a district of Yen Bai Province, were completely covered with snow.
In Ha Giang, 150 hectares of vegetables, including lettuces, beans and potatoes, were severely damaged by the frigid weather.
Over 1,500 hectares of herbs cultivated in Hoang Su Phi and Vi Xuyen – two highland districts of Ha Giang – were also blanketed with snow.
About 407 hectares of rice paddies in Xiu Man District of Ha Giang are very likely to wither under freezing temperatures.
The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said that the cold spell has weakened after wreaking havoc on northern Vietnamese regions so it will be warmer from January 29 onward.
Smuggled cigarettes pour into Vietnam from Cambodia ahead of Tet
Large volumes of cigarettes are being smuggled from Cambodia to Vietnam as the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday approaches, despite Vietnamese authorities’ efforts to deter the situation.
Officers in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang have recently busted the largest ever cigarette smuggling operation, confiscating 18,500 packs of tobacco, Colonel Le Quoc Viet, captain of the local border guards, affirmed on January 24.
At 9:00 pm on January 23, police spotted two speedboats with suspicious signs traveling from Cambodia to Vietnam in the waters off of An Phu District, An Giang. They decided to surround the targets and carry out an inspection.
Four suspects quickly escaped after they noticed the officers, leaving behind their boats loaded with smuggled cigarettes, worth a combined value of VND320 million (US$14,345), according to local police.
The suspects gathered their illegal goods in Takeo Province, Cambodia then disguised themselves as fishery product traders to enter Vietnam, officers said.
A recent Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper probe showed that Takeo is a hub where smugglers often prepare shipments of cigarettes and other products to be illegally transported to the Vietnamese city of Chau Doc or to An Phu District in An Giang.
Border guards in Kien Giang Province are seen handling smuggled cigarettes on January 26, 2016.
“As the Tet holiday is coming, anti-smuggling officers have tightened security in the area. Thus, we can only operate late at night,” a member of the smuggling ring said.
Tet falls on February 8, with shopping, festive preparations, and celebratory activities going on one week before and after that date.
The smuggled goods are carried by small speedboats traveling through several canals to a market at the Tinh Bien International Borger Gate in An Giang, before being distributed throughout Vietnam.
The Tuoi Tre investigative reporters also pointed out that similar smuggling rings operate at border areas in Tan Chau Town, An Giang, and the neighboring provinces of Dong Thap and Kien Giang.
An increasing volume of cigarettes is being smuggled into Vietnam from Cambodia by sea instead of by land like in the past, said Major Su Van Thong, vice captain of the border guards at the Ha Tien International Border Gate in Kien Giang.
“It is easier to smuggle larger packages and avoid police officers or escape if detected when traveling by sea,” Major Thong explained.
Meanwhile in the southern provinces of Long An and Tay Ninh, contraband cigarettes undergo several phases of transportation before being distributed in Ho Chi Minh City.
It is common for local people to spot men carrying smuggled tobacco and driving their motorcycles at high speed on several streets in the area, according to Luong Xuan Tai, a former smuggling ring member.
When the Tuoi Tre correspondents attempted to approach the smugglers’ usual workplace, the group was on high alert and quickly cleared from the scene.
“If you don’t look familiar, they will notice and swiftly flee the area. The smugglers have eyes and ears everywhere,” Tai stated.
Police officers have faced many difficulties in their efforts to break up these rackets.
The officers are constantly being watched by members of the smuggling rings, said Captain Le Trong Tinh, vice chief of the border guards in My Quy Tay, Long An.
Customs officers hold container of foreign-made alcohol
Customs officers are checking the contents of a container have found containing foreign-made alcohol bottles, milk, and used electronic products shipped from the US without customs declaration.
The customs force in the northern province of Haiphong detected the container when it was about to be transported out of the Haiphong port, officers said.
Hundreds of bottles of foreign alcohol, milk, dietary supplements, used electronic devices, and others were found in the container that weighs 10 metric tons in total.
Customs officers check the container they found being shipped from the U.S. without customs declaration in Haiphong City, northern Vietnam, on January 27, 2016.
The value of the goods is estimated at billions of Vietnamese dong (VND1 billion = US$44,900).
Officials have said they are still checking the contents of the container.
A customs spokesperson said competent agencies will inspect the goods to decide on how to punish those responsible after the check is finished.
The owner of the container has yet to be identified.
Ministry urges precautionary measures to control bird flu
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has warned of a possible outbreak of avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, caused by complicated weather patterns.
The warning was made at a meeting of the national steering committee for cattle and poultry epidemic prevention, held in Ha Noi on Wednesday.
Vu Van Tam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the blue-ear pig disease had reappeared after 26 months, along with the return of H5N6 avian flu and the high-risk spread of the H7N9 virus from China, so localities shouldn't neglect disease prevention initiatives, especially in border provinces.
Tam has ordered local authorities nation-wide to roll out precautionary measures against the spread of the disease as the Lunar New Year approaches.
He has asked the People's Committees of cities and provinces to instruct their agricultural and rural development authorities to tighten supervision for early discovery of all bird flu outbreaks and to handle any new outbreaks promptly.
Pham Van Dong, head of the Department of Animal Health under MARD, said last year the number of bird flu hotbeds and the amount of dead poultry, including those forced to be culled, had dropped remarkably compared with the year 2014.
Dong said the disease primarily occurred in poultry birds that hadn't been vaccinated and were being raised in households.
Statistics from the Animal Health Department showed that 27 foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks were reported in cattle from the provinces of Ha Tinh, Lang Son, Son La and Dac Lac, as well as Cao Bang and Bac Giang, as of Wednesday.
As many as five H5N6 avian flu outbreaks were recorded in the provinces of Quang Ngai, Kon Tum, Tuyen Quang and Lang Son, over the last 21 days, with a total of 3,540 poultry infected and 6,720 culled.
Logo highlighting Vietnam-Thailand diplomatic ties introduced
The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an awarding ceremony of the contest on logo marking Vietnam-Thailand diplomatic relations on January 28.
Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Panyarak Poolthup, who is also former Ambassador to Vietnam, Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Nguyen Tat Thanh, and President of the Thailand-Vietnam Friendship Association Prachuab Chaiyasan, were among others at the event.
The contest was launched in late 2015, receiving 83 entries by 53 designers from 23 provinces and cities across Thailand.
Thanh and Panyarak Poolthup presented the award to the winner of the contest, Jiraporn Panomsuay, who is a student from the Chulalongkorn University.
Jiraporn Panomsuay told the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondents that she looked into the histories of the two nations’ relations, as well as the culture of the Vietnamese people for her inspiration.
She expressed her hope that the logo will help highlight the friendship and close relations between the two nations, adding that she will continue studying more about the Vietnamese culture and language.
On the occasion, numerous events were introduced to mark the event in 2016, including a photo exhibition, book launches and conferences.
BIDV provides financial support for cold-hit localities
The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has granted urgent financial support worth 2.6 billion VND (116,948 USD) for localities hardest hit by the recent cold snap, including Cao Bang, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Lao Cai, Dien Bien, Son La, Lai Chau and Ha Giang provinces.
Earlier, the bank gave 9,000 Tet gifts to those localities as part of the programme to present 50,000 Tet gifts worth 15 billion VND (674,700 USD) to deprived people nationwide.
The cold spell, which took place accross the northern region of the country from January 22-27, has caused serious damage to both crops and livestock.
According to the National Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention and Control, by 19:00 January 28, the freezing weather had spoiled 9,453 hectares of rice, 8,472 hectares of rice seeds and 16,149 hectares of vegetables. It also killed 9,409 heads of cattle and 43,242 heads of poultry.
19,000 employees needed for next month
Enterprises in HCM City are expected to need to recruit an additional 19,000 employees next month, an increase of 7,299 compared to January, according to the city's Centre for Human Resource Forecast and Labour Information.
Experts forecast that the city's economy will grow strongly in the beginning of the year, Trần Anh Tuấn, the centre's deputy head, said.
Of the 19,000 employees, 30 per cent are for part-time and seasonal jobs. Most of these will be in marketing, tourism-hospitality, event organisation, industrial hygiene-civil engineering, landscape design-bonsai care, market research and other fields.
In January, the city People's Committee told agencies and enterprises to give bonuses and other allowances for employees before the Lunar New Year holiday.
This was done to ensure that employees return to their jobs after the Tết holiday.
Unlike previous years, the number of people who will not return to their jobs after Tết is forecast to be between 3 per cent and 4 per cent of the total workforce, according to the centre.
Demand for seasonal Tet workers on rise
The rising demand for part-time workers as the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday approaches is creating more opportunities for workers and students to earn money and gain work experience.
Tran Quang Trung, a fourth year student of the Ha Noi University, said he had been offered a part-time job to deliver cakes during the holiday, expecting to earn VND3 million ($130) a month, plus an additional bonus.
"With the money, I can help my parents a little," he said.
The HCM City Student Assistance Centre (SAC) said it received lots of students searching for job information over the past few days.
A representative of the SAC said the centre strives to introduce work to 5,000 students before and during the holiday which falls on February 8.
Nguyen Manh Tu, a fourth year student of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanity, said he found a part-time job wrapping presents at a supermarket and earned VND2 million ($80) per month.
In previous years, Tu returned to his homeland to enjoy the holiday with his family. But this year he stayed in the city to earn some money for his school fees.
The demand for part-time work during the holiday increased by 20 per cent compared with the previous year, Tin Tuc (News) reported. Most frequently, employers sought product promoters, security guards, restaurant servers and cashiers.
A presentation from the Viet My Mechanics Company in Ha Noi said the company received more orders by January, the end of the 2015 lunar year, so it needed to hire about 20 business workers for a salary of VND4.5 million ($200) per month plus commission.
Nevertheless, experts warned that workers should be vigilant to avoid being swindled by illegal middle men.
Nguyen Thi Ha, from Ha Noi, said she was introduced to a job as a restaurant receptionist by an online centre, but in reality, she had to work as a server. She also must pay a VND300,000 ($13) deposit to the centre.
Vu Thi Thanh Lieu, deputy director of the Ha Noi Job Introduction Centre, said workers should carefully read the information from recruitment companies and should not fall for attractive advertisements such as easy jobs with a high salary.
Workers should reach an agreement with companies regarding the work, the number of working days and salary, Lieu said.
Part-time work often ends right before the holiday, so if the parties do not reach an agreement before then, conflicts would be difficult to resolve, Lieu added.
The Ha Noi Job Introduction Centre has advertised a great number of part-time jobs for students and other people who want to work before and during the festival.
Tran Anh Tuan, deputy director of the HCM City's Centre for Human Resources and Labour Market Information, said the demand for seasonal workers in the two last months of the lunar year has increased because the retail market and the economy have been rapidly developing.
However, Tuan said, some people and students did not study the recruitment information carefully, so they were defrauded.
The workers should find jobs via reputable centres and complete all procedures related to contracts, he said.
PM encourages preparations for safe, prosperous Lunar New Year
HA NOI - Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung requested ministries and all-level authorities to gear up to provide a happy Tet (Lunar New Year) festival for all people at the Government's monthly meeting yesterday.
The meeting took place with little more than one week left until Tet.
The Cabinet leader asked that the supply of goods be balanced with the extra demand, that goods be high quality with stable prices, that food hygiene and safety ensured, and that the drastic fight against smuggling and counterfeits strengthened.
He instructed the relevant authorities to pay special attention to low-income earners, rural residents, and social policy beneficiaries – so as to give all people a happy Tet.
While the transport sector has to ensure sufficient vehicles to meet the surging travel demand before and after Tet, public security forces must be ready to safeguard political security, and social order and safety, and strictly deal with the storage, transportation and use of firecrackers during the festival. The police were also ordered to step up fire and explosion prevention and ensure traffic safety.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang cited preliminary data that by December 31, 2015, 48 of the 63 provinces and centrally-run cities had designed measures to help companies ensure goods supplies for Tet. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning and Investment confirmed that ministries, sectors and localities were working hard to prepare for the year's biggest festival.
At the meeting, PM Dung urged special heed be given to the treatment of the consequences of the recent severe cold spell by helping farmers resume agricultural activities.
Ministries, sectors and localities were also asked to keep control of inflation and prices, consolidate macro-economic stability, continue seeking export markets while containing the trade deficit, and support businesses in expanding operations.
He also asked them to be more active in international economic integration and optimise opportunities provided by free trade agreements, particularly the new-generation accords that Viet Nam has signed with big partners.
Also at the function, the Ministry of Planning and Investment reported that in January, the Consumer Price Index remained unchanged compared to the previous month, while industrial and agricultural production and services continued developing.
Export revenue rose, which helped reduce the trade deficit. Viet Nam also recorded growth in FDI attraction and disbursement, as well as the disbursed sum of ODA and preferential loans.
The ministry also highlighted the absolute safety guaranteed during the 12th National Party Congress. - VNS