Thứ Tư, 28 tháng 6, 2017

 HCM City launches digital traffic app

Commuters can now plan their routes to avoid getting stuck in HCM City’s congestion hotspots as the city’s Transport Department has announced the launch of a digital traffic app aimed at informing commuters of traffic congestion.

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Home page of the digital traffic app which aims to inform commuters of traffic congestion in HCM City. Photo sggp.org.vn
The move aims to curb the worsening traffic congestion in the southern metropolis.
To access the free-of-charge app, users can visit www.giaothong.hochiminhcity.gov.vn on their computers or smart phones or download the ‘TTGT Tp. Ho Chi Minh’ app on Android smart phones.
According to Tran Quang Lam, deputy director of the city’s Transport Department, the website, which is designed with four key functions, operate using data collected from the city’s traffic cameras and other sources.
The app provides recommendations for the most appropriate route for commuters to reach their destination, helping them to avoid certain streets with serious gridlock or where accidents have happened.
The application updates its users on traffic situations at specific times, including the volume of traffic, speed of vehicles, and traffic flow images at congested hotspots across the city (by more than 300 cameras operated by the department).
The app also provides other useful information on streets such as the allowed speed of vehicles on specific streets, parking locations, streets which allow parking with fees and public restrooms.
During the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which begins this week, citizens will also be informed where local festivals are organised.
The website is equipped with a tool to receive feedback or reports from the city’s residents on any issues regarding road infrastructure.
The digital map will be accessible 24/7, according to Lam.
Le Van Khoa, vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, highly appreciated the transport department’s efforts in applying IT in curbing traffic congestion, contributing to building a smart city.
Traffic congestion has become one of the most serious problems in the country’s large cities like HCM City and Ha Noi.
With a population of more than 10 million, HCM City is seeking drastic measures to tackle traffic jams, especially during peak hours.
The city is considering making some major streets become one-way streets, building elevated roads and even banning private vehicles from downtown areas to ease congestion.
Nearly 9 million motorbikes are currently running on more than 4,000 kilometres of roads in HCM City, not to mention private cars and bicycles.
Nearly 4,200 new cars and 9,000 new motorbikes are registered every month, while public transport is limited to only buses. 
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Social News 28/6

Binh Thuan forbids state staffs to use social networks at work

Binh Thuan forbids state staffs to use social networks at work, German university aids climate change adaptation in Hue, Quang Tri to complete compensation for marine incident in June


State agency employees in the central province of Binh Thuan are not allowed to use social network while working at their office.

Chairman of People’s Committee in Binh Thuan Province Nguyen Ngoc Hai yesterday sent a document to leaders of agencies and departments in the province ordering managers must re-arrange working behaviors of all state staff.

In the document, it said that state employees are not allowed to use social network (facebook) in office hours as well as release comments, information which invade others’ personal lives. In addition, employees are banned to publicize indecent photos.

Information for farmers

Local farmers’ achievements are undeniable. Vietnam has gained reputation worldwide, taking top positions among the world’s leading exporters for numerous types of farm produce ranging from rice, coffee, cashew and pepper to shrimp, tra fish and some other seafood. But farmers are not gaining the good fruit.

Sadly enough, farmers for the most parts are still grappling with difficulties, as millions of them have incurred huge losses in relentless “boom and bust” cycles. Numerous rescue programs have been initiated of late to call for efforts from the society to help farmers overcome their hardships.

Live pig prices, for example, have stayed at around VND25,000 a kilo for months on end, a sharp plunge from around VND50,000 a kilo a year earlier, and the same picture is seen for many other types like chickens and eggs and crocodiles. Similar outcries are also heard from farmers growing dragon fruit, watermelon, banana, and dozens of other agricultural products.

Why does the picture still depict gloomy dabs instead of bright shades despite the aforesaid achievements? This question has been repeatedly asked, one year after another, but it seems no one has worked laboriously enough to give a right answer.

Farmers, in pursuing profits, are all ears at news that a certain product brings better profit, and then are ready to empty their pockets into rearing that certain animal or planting that certain crop. Upon gaining a decent profit, they will expand farming without knowing whether such farm produce output has doubled or even tripled while the market has become saturated. After the booming comes the busting, and battered by huge losses, farmers will usually shift to another animal or a new plant in the same way, and the same cycle begins.

The key problem is that farmers are not kept updated on market developments. If pig farmers had learned with reliable data that the market glut was looming large, perhaps they would have not taken such risks; if pepper farmers had known for sure that the global pepper market was reaching the saturation point – forcing prices down from VND200,000 a kilo last year to a mere VND70,000 now – they would have probably thought twice before chopping down their coffee plants for this spice.

Apparently they need reliable information.

State agencies cannot dictate what farmers should do, but they can give advice and good information so that farmers can rely on to make well-informed decisions. Information must be easily accessed so that farmers can instantly learn of market demand each year through statistical reports and get updated on the number of pigs or dairy cows being reared in comparison with output in recent years. Farmers should also be informed of market trends locally, regionally and globally, and all possible predictions on supplies and demands. They need to be kept abreast of market changes.

And, among training programs for farmers, there should be special programs to show them how to access information.

German university aids climate change adaptation in Hue

The Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences under the German University of Postdam has sponsored 85,545 USD for a flood resilience project in the central city of Hue.

Key activities of the project include suggesting pilot investment to improve the drainage system and natural water reserves, boosting women’s role in flood management and training students at the Hue University of Sciences on natural disaster prevention.

Chairman of the Thua Thien – Hue People’s Committee Nguyen Van Cao said flooding is increasing in Hue City due to climate change.

He noted urbanisation is also a problem, as cement surfaces prevent water absorbtion and increase flooding risks for lower areas with weak drainage facilities.

Hue City is 20km from the coast, so faces storms and rising seawaters.

NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan meets Can Tho constituents

National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan met constituents in Cai Rang and Phong Dien districts, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 27 to inform them about outcomes of the recently-ended third session of the 14th legislature.

Constituents raised more than 30 opinions regarding site clearance and compensation for displaced residents, employment, rural infrastructure, health insurance and vocational training, which were answered by local authorities.

On suggestions about site clearance and compensation, Ngan asked the municipal authorities to protect people’s interests in the spirit of placing their interests above others and in line with the Law on Land while seeking solutions to harmonising interests of parties concerned.

Sharing with concerns over food security in face of site clearance for industrial zone and urban development, she said as part of the agricultural restructuring plan, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has zoned off rice cultivation acreage to ensure national food security. The NA also issued a Resolution to guarantee 3.8 million ha of rice farming.

She also explained regulations on lending for hi-tech production, saying that incentives are provided for projects with outcomes certified by local authorities.

The top legislator also answered questions regarding effective exploitation of Can Tho airport, expansion of international Tan Son Nhat airport, construction of Long Thanh airport, and management of information on the social media.

On the occasion, she also visited and presented gifts to several policy beneficiaries in Can Tho city and Phong Dien district.

Quang Tri to complete compensation for marine incident in June

The central province of Quang Tri is working to complete the distribution of a compensation batch for local victims of last year’s marine environment incident within June.

So far Quang Tri authorities have allocated to local administrations more than 679 billion VND (29.87 million USD) for the compensation.

To date, over 618 billion VND (27.19 million USD) of the sum have been disbursed.

Nguyen Duc Chinh, Chairman of the Quang Tri People’s Committee, urged local agencies of different levels to speed up the progress for completion on June 30.

Fishery activities and tourism across 16 coastal communes in the four districts of Vinh Linh, Gio Linh, Trieu Phong and Hai Lang have so far recorded good recovery.

Four central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue were affected by a marine environment incident that caused mass fish deaths last year. The pollution affected more than 260,000 people who earn their living from the sea.

In late June 2016, Taiwanese-invested Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company admitted responsibility for the incident and pledged 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD) in compensation.

Thanh Hoa busts heroin traffickers from Laos

Police in the north central province of Thanh Hoa has arrested three people for smuggling heroin from Laos to Vietnam.

The three residents of Muong Ly commune, Muong Lat district, were caught red-handed transporting three bricks of heroin was arrested on June 26 in Trung Son commune, Quan Hoa mountainous district.

The police seized three bricks of heroin and other objects relating to drug trafficking.

The men confessed that they purchased the drug in Laos and brought it to Thanh Hoa to sell.

More investigation is underway.

Vietnam updates contribution to Paris agreement implementation

Workshop on the review and update of Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) as part of the implementation of the Paris Agreement was held on June 28 in Hanoi.

The workshop was held by  the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the German Development Cooperation GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

Participants include members of the Steering Committee for the Implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement; members of Vietnam Panel on Climate Change; representatives of ministries, development partners, embassies, enterprises, national and international scientists and media.

Speaking at the workshop, First Counselor of the German Embassy Martin Hoppe emphasized that he highly appreciates the attempt of the Government of Vietnam to update the NDC and start this process very timely.

The historic Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015, is the first legally binding document that formalizes the responsibilities and commitments – through NDCs – of Parties in the global response to climate change. Under the Agreement, countries are expected to submit updated NDCs every five years, defining their commitments in order to contribute to holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C, pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C, and achieving net zero emissions by the second half of this century.

In recognition of the importance of Vietnam’s NDC implementation, the Prime Minister, in Official Dispatch No. 199 / TTg-QHQT dated 8 February 2017 and at the 8th meeting session of the National Committee on Climate Change on 18 May 2017, assigned MONRE to cooperate with other ministries, sectors and stakeholders to review and update Vietnam’s NDC.

The workshop aims to build a consultative NDC review process on the content, roadmap and roles of key stakeholders in reviewing and updating the NDC from now to 2020.

Through this, Vietnam aims to apply a holistic approach in reviewing commitments from each sector as well as to evaluate its related impacts to the economy as a whole. The process will also explore opportunities to identify synergies and co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation measures across sectors, which is key to ensure ambitious and effective climate actions in Vietnam.

“NDC is a national contribution, and requires careful consideration by all major contributors and ensures transparency in the process of implementation.

vietnam updates contribution to paris agreement implementation hinh 1 The stakeholders should understand what their contributions are; what to prepare to implement; what responsibilities they need to do after NDC is approved,” said Vice Minister Vo Tuan Nhan.

He also called for close cooperation and support from all ministries, local agencies, development partners and other related stakeholders to this important process of reviewing and updating NDC, which will complete by 2020 before COP 26.

Toyota Vietnam starts football camp for kids

Thirty best young players will take part in the Toyota Junior Football Clinic & Camp 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City from July 30 to August 6.

They were selected after four qualifying rounds in HCM City, Danang, ThanhHoa and Hanoi. The list of the young footballers is updated on website www.toyotavn.com.vn or Facebook www.facebook.com/toyotavnsports.

toyota vietnam starts football camp for kids hinh 1 After the training, 18 best footballers will be chosen for a Japan trip on August 23 – 29. During the trip, they will take part in the Toyota Junior Football Cup with Toyota teams from Thailand and Japan, visit famous tourist attractions in the sunrise country and study its special and unique culture.

This year, Toyota Vietnam also offers scholarships to five outstanding young footballers. They will join a training course provided by football clubs in four big cities in Vietnam for one year. The move aims to nurture and develop talented future footballers.

Activities highlight Central Highlands' culture

A wide variety of activities will be held at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Dong Mo, Son Tay district, Hanoi throughout the entire month of July to introduce the unique cultural identities of the ethnic minority groups from the Central Highlands region.

The highlight of the programme will be an arts exchange programme featuring folk songs and dances performed by ethnic minority people who are living at the village as well as songs praising the beauty of the Central Highlands region.

In addition, activities displaying and introducing Central Highland traditional musical instruments, including gongs, T’rung and K’rong put (local traditional bamboo xylophones), will be expected to attract a large number of visitors.

A training course will be organised at the Khmer people’s pagoda, offering an opportunity for children to play as well as learn about beautiful things in life, filial piety and human virtue.

A requiem for martyrs who sacrificed their lives for national independence and freedom will also be held at the village, as part of activities to mark the 70th anniversary of War Invalids' and Martyrs' Day (July 27, 1947-2017).

The daily life and the process of making traditional handicrafts of ethnic minority groups, including Tay, Muong, Dao, Kho Mu, Ta Oi, E De and Khmer, will be reproduced during the month, highlighting the unique cultural identities of the region.

Visitors will also have a chance to enjoy traditional cuisine and folk art as well as join folk games of ethnic minorities.

On the occasion, 21 sovereignty rocks and a photo exhibition will be displayed to affirm Vietnam’s dominion over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spartly) archipelagos. In addition, a photo exhibition will be held featuring the beauty of the Central Highlands.

Project helps disabled children in Quang Binh

Over 650 children with disabilities have had access to early detection, intervention and inclusive education services during a three-year project in central Quang Binh province.

These children, who are at kindergarten and primary school ages, were helped to integrate into society and unblock their potentials, according to a workshop to review the results of the project “Early Identification and Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities in Quang Binh province” in the locality on June 27.

The project was carried out in nine communes of Le Thuy and Quang Trach districts and Dong Hoi city under the joint effort of Switzerland-based Caritas and the provincial People’s Committee.

Launched in September 2014, the project has achieved positive results in all three components – healthcare, education and community’s awareness improvement.

It has not only given rehabilitation equipment, wheelchairs, and hearing aids to children with disabilities but also provided training for medical workers and teachers.

The project’s management board took the occasion to honour six organisations for their contributions to the project.-

Tourist arrivals to Khanh Hoa rise by 22 percent

The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa welcomed more than 2.6 million tourists in the first half of 2017, up 22 percent from the same period last year, earning more than 7.5 trillion VND (330 million USD) in revenue.

International arrivals rose by 180 percent year-on-year to 949,000 and average length of stay also increased by 90 percent to 3.3 days.

The number of foreign visitors from China and Russian jumped by 263 percent and 248 percent, respectively, while tourists from Japan, the US, the UK, Canada, France and German decreased.

Khanh Hoa and its resort city Nha Trang are among the country’s most popular destinations thanks to beautiful beaches and islands alongside friendly locals, the safe environment and affordable prices.

This year, the province hosted several international and national events, notably the first 2017 APEC Senior Officials Meeting, Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa Beach Festival and the Ponagar Temple Festival.

According to the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa, the locality is working to improve local services by upgrading infrastructures and adding more tourism products.

Dak Nong: More than 2.2 trillion VND for power grid development

The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong will spend more than 2.2 trillion VND (96.8 million USD) to upgrade the provincial power transmission grid under the local power development plan until 2025.

The money will come from the power sector, the state budget, the provincial budget and from organisations and individuals.

By the end of 2025, the province aims to build nearly 650 medium-voltage transmission lines and more than 1,400 kilometres of low-voltage transmission lines.

Some 1,000 medium-voltage power stations with total capacity of 130,000 kVA will be constructed while 660 hectares will be used to construct power facilities in the next eight years.

Dak Nong province is a sparsely populated locality with poorer infrastructure than other localities in the region.

Socio-economic development has driven demand for power in the locality, particularly in urban areas and large industrial zones. In addition, expanding the power grid system to remote locations inhabited by ethnic minority groups will help ensure economic development and national security.

Long An sets aside nearly 750 million USD for water work construction

The Mekong Delta province of Long An plans to invest more than 17 trillion VND (748 million USD) by 2030, or some 1.21 trillion VND (53.2 million USD) each year on average, to construct water works to supply clean water to the localit’s entire 1.5 million population.

The investment will be sourced from the State budget, official development assistance (ODA) and other foreign-funded capital as well as private firms.

The province will build 35 water works in 15 districts, towns and Tan An city at a total cost of about 13 trillion VND, along with 200 rural water plants at more than 4 trillion VND.

As part of efforts to provide clean water to all locals by 2030, Long An will encourage the private sector to invest in the water supply by providing them with preferential policies.

Long An will allow the use of natural rivers for plants using surface water, while helping investors exploit underground water. The province will also support enterprises in land use and capital access.

Currently, about 20 percent of people in Long An have accessed clean water. The province has been allocated about 200 billion VND each year for water work construction, while private firms have invested about 100 billion each year to the water supply sector, mostly in Can Duoc and Can Giuoc rural districts.

Soc Trang inaugurates hi-tech water supply station

The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang inaugurated its modern water supply station on June 26.

The station cost to build 5.9 billion VND (about 259,630 USD). Of which, three billion VND (132,000 USD) was sourced from the Central Vietnam Disaster Prevention Support Fund and the rest was from the local budget and social resources.

The station has an operational capacity of 240 cubic metres daily. With a 7,400 metres long pipeline, it will provide clean water to 410 households in Tong Cang hamlet, Tran De district. To date, 173 household have access to clean water from the station.

Tran De district of Soc Trang was among localities hit hardest by drought and saline intrusion in 2016.

The station is the first in Soc Trang province to apply reverse osmosis technology which uses saltwater to produce clean water meeting Health Ministry standards.

Le Van Hieu, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee stressed the water station is expected to meet demand of people living in dry localities, contributing to building new style rural areas.

World Anti-Drug Day marked in Vietnam

Activities to mobilize the public to help drug-rehabilitated people re-integrate into the community are underway across Vietnam to mark World Anti-Drugs Day, June 26.

Vietnam’s National Anti-Drug Day is also observed on this occasion.

Da Nang city has introduced drug rehabilitation model which involves support from the community and families of drug addicts.

After one year of implementing the model, more than 300 drug users have re-integrated into the community.

Ms Nguyen Thi Thuan, Head of the Hoa Hai Communal Women's Association in Da Nang, said, “There are certain difficulties because drug addicts tend to be reckless. We should sympathize with them to change them.”

The B93 post-rehabilitation club in Mai Dich ward, Hanoi, was set up in 2005.

It helps drug addicts give up drugs and create a good environment for them. The club also helps them get loans to start a business.

Le Minh Xu, Head of the Club, said, “Most of the club members are poor. We asked the communal administration to loan them money to do business. In the beginning, many families hesitated to meet us to talk about their problems. I just want to help them.”

Ba Ria Vung Tau province has approved a project to provide free consultancy and treatment for drug addicts.

Other localities have continued mobilizing resources to help drug users rehabilitate themselves and reintegrate into the community.

Vietnam women footballers rise in world ranking

Vietnam women’s national football team moved up one spot to finish No 32 with 1644 points in the world ranking for the second quarter of 2017.

Vietnam ranks 7th in Asia, followed by Japan, Australia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

The team is currently in training in Hanoi to prepare for the upcoming SEA Games 29 in Malaysia.

Globally, the US ranks 1st in the list, followed by Germany in second place and France in third position.

Undersea internet cable out of action for another three weeks

International internet connections in Vietnam are likely to remain slow for another three weeks with repair work to a major internet cable which broke off central Vietnam last week expected to take until July 14, a service provider said.

The source told Vietnam News Agency that repair work on the Asia Pacific Gateway won't start until July 3 and is expected to take 10 days. The cable should be fully reconnected by July 14, depending on the extent of the problem, said the representative.

The cable snapped on Tuesday afternoon about 125 kilometers off the coast of Da Nang.

Service providers such as Viettel and VNPT said they have prepared contingency routes to minimize downtime.

No announcement on the cause of the problem has been made.

The cable was officially launched on January 3, but was quickly hit by a technical problem that took two weeks to fix.

The cable cost US$450 million and has a capacity of more than 54 Tbps, promising to double internet speeds in Vietnam and ease reliance on the notorious Asia America Gateway, which has ruptured or been shut down for maintenance on numerous occasions since 2011.

The new system took four years to build, and links Japan with Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nearly 49 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are online.

World leading orthopaedic expert transfers technologies to Hanoi’s hospital

Well-known US paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Stuart L. Weinstein, has conducted free consultations and screenings for children with scoliosis at the Hanoi-based Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital.

At the same time, Prof. Stuart Weinstein, who is former president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and head of the Orthopaedic Surgery Department under the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, also briefed Vietnamese doctors on the latest knowledge in relation to paediatric chiropractic treatment.

According to Dr Dinh Ngoc Son, head of the Spinal Surgery Department of Hanoi hospital, if spinal diseases are not promptly treated, patients are more susceptible to serious damage or injury, resulting in severe consequences such as paralysis of the limbs or the whole body, causing a major disadvantage to their lives and making a burden for their families and society.

For that reason, examination and treatment is very important as the rate of children with scoliosis in Vietnam is quite high.

In cooperation between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons with Vietnam Orthopaedic Association and the Vietnam-Germany Hospital, from 2012 to present, Prof. Stuart Weinstein has directly operated on over 100 children with complicated spinal anomalies and offered free medical screenings to hundreds of other paediatric patients.

Thanks to his support, spinal deformities have been detected and prevented, such as scoliosis, kyphosis and other spinal cord defects.

Prof. Tran Binh Giang, Director of Vietnam-Germany Hospital, said that the sharing of knowledge and the latest skills in spinal specialisation is essential to help doctors improve their professional qualifications and meeting treatment requirements for patients.

Prof. Stuart Weinstein visit to Vietnam not only helps to improve treatment for patients, but also helps domestic surgeons improve their skills, contributing to the development of children's spine surgery in Vietnam, said Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Van Thach, President of the Vietnamese Orthopaedic Association cum Vice President of Southeast Asia Orthopaedic Association.

This is also a very important issue because the field of spinal surgery in Vietnam is still new and error-prone, added Assoc. Prof. Thach.

CPV delegation attends Mexican Labour Party’s congress

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and Vietnamese people will always stand side by side with the fraternal Labour Party (PT) of Mexico in the common struggle for peace, stability, national independence, democracy and social progress, said a CPV official.

In his speech delivered at the PT’s 10th Congress held in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, from June 24-27, Deputy Chief of the CPV Central Committee Office Le Quang Vinh commended the cooperation and friendship between the two parties in recent years.

The two sides signed various cooperation agreements and achieved positive outcomes in communications, training and agriculture, thus helping to enhance mutual understanding, friendship and solidarity between the Vietnamese and Mexican people, Vinh noted.

The official took this occasion to thank the PT and Mexican people for their great support to and unity with Vietnam over the past years.

Vinh conveyed a congratulatory message from the CPV Central Committee and expressed his belief that the congress will open up a new period for the PT.

On the sideline of the congress, the Vietnamese delegation had a meeting with PT’s General Secretary Alberto Anaya, who said that the presence of the Vietnamese delegates at the event showed the CPV’s solidarity with and support to the PT as the two parties are celebrating the 20th founding anniversary of relations.

Anaya spoke highly of the achievements made by the Vietnamese Party and people during 30 years of reform, considering them as encouragements to the PT. He also hoped for stronger friendly and cooperative ties between the two parties and the people of Mexico and Vietnam.

While in Mexico, the Vietnamese delegation also held separated meetings with participating international delegations, visited the Vietnam Embassy in Mexico and laid wreaths at a monument of late President Ho Chi Minh in Mexico City.

Shipbuilders asked to fix substandard steel fishing boats

Two shipbuilders were found to be violating shipbuilding contracts, delivering dozens of substandard steel fishing vessels to fishermen in central Bình Định Province.

Under the Government Decree 67 dated July 7, 2014 on fisheries sector development policies, shipowners building steel vessels with total main engine capacity between 400CV and 800CV can borrow from commercial banks a sum of money that does not exceed 90 per cent of the total investment in the building of the ships.

The interest rate is 7 per cent per year, of which shipowners are required to pay 2 per cent per year, while the State budget will subsidise 5 per cent. Many fishermen who received loans from commercial banks to buy steel ships built under the decree have complained about the poor quality of these ships, saying they continued to face malfunctions and were forced to make repairs.

In central Bình Định Province, 18 steel fishing ships were found to be of substandard quality, of which 13 were built by Nam Triệu One Member Ltd Company and five were built by Đại Nguyên Dương Shipbuilding Company.

According to examination by the province’s agriculture department, the ships suffered from frequent breakdowns and degradation.

In particular, main engines on nine ships built by the Nam Triệu company were broken, while the power supply machines on three other ships were working intermittently. Shipowners reported that under contracts signed with the companies, materials to build the ships were to be made in Japan or the Republic of Korea, but in reality they were made in China.

To re-examine the steel fishing boats after problems were detected, Bình Định Province People’s Committee early this month established a specialised team.

At a meeting with the provincial leaders, relevant agencies, shipbuilders and shipowners, the team asked the two shipbuilders to replace substandard vessel shells with shells regulated under the contracts on design, material, origin, instruction for use and maintenance.

Nam Triệu Company was asked to replace 10 major engines in a vessel built for a shipowner named Trần Đình Sơn as the current engines were unsuitable.

Vice chairman of the province’s People’s Committee Trần Đình Châu said all the substandard steel fishing boats must be fixed by the end of next month.

The two ship builders were responsible for repairing, covering the repair cost and compensating ship owners since the vessels were undergoing repairs and could therefore not be used for fishing, Châu said.

The provincial People’s Committee would recommend Central agencies and banks to allow owners of substandard fishing vessels to delay returning loans and interest, Châu said.

Colonel Trần Huy Giáp, vice director of the province’s police department, said the police would continue investigating economic violations related to the shipbuilders as they violated economic shipbuilding contracts, resulting in poor quality fishing vessels.

Trần Văn Hương, vice chairman of Phù Cát District People’s Committee said the new vessels experienced problems after being used for just a year, which caused losses for shipowners and left many fishermen without a job, thus affecting their livelihood.

He asked for compensation from the shipbuilders.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by the end of last year, there were 771 new steel fishing ships being built under the decree, most of which are in good condition.

Political-military conference lays out tasks for army

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence to continue effectively implement the national protection strategy in the new situation.

The government leader made the request at a political-military conference for the entire army in Hanoi on June 27, which reviewed the performance of military and national defence tasks in the first six months of 2017 and lay out missions for the second half of the year.

PM Phuc pointed out other short-term tasks for the entire army such as improving the institution-building and forecasting work, bettering training quality, combat capacity and preparedness, and effectively carrying out the Politburo’s Resolution No. 06-NQ/TW on building and developing the national defence industry until 2020 and beyond.

He also emphasised the need for the army to pay more heed to mass mobilisation activities, defence diplomacy and international integration.

PM Phuc also affirmed that, in any circumstance, the Party, State and people always support the army and create the best possible conditions for the army to fulfil its tasks.

A report delivered at the conference showed that in the first half of 2017, the Central Military Commission and the Defence Ministry instructed military agencies and units to realise Resolutions of the 12th National Party Congress and the 10th Congress of the Army Party Organisation on military tasks, national defence and Party building in the army.

Apart from giving advices to the Party and State as well as local Party Committees and administrations on issues regarding military, national defence and defence policy, the army has teamed up with the police and other forces to timely deal with circumstances to firmly protect national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the nation’s land border, sea and airspace security.

Regular army units have also closely coordinated with local armed forces in overcoming natural disaster consequences, conducting search and rescue activities and clearing bombs and mines left from the war.

Efforts have also been made to prevent degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as manifestations of internal “self-evolution” and “self-transformation.”

In the next six months, the Military Party Commission and the Defence Ministry will bring into full play the achievements while preventing all “peaceful evolution” schemes.

The focal tasks are to improve training, combat preparedness and discipline compliance, help people with poverty reduction and socio-economic development, building new-style rural and civilised urban areas, dealing with consequences of wars, natural disasters and diseases and combating crimes and smuggling.

At the same time, the army will participate in the UN peace-keeping operations and build up a regular, elite and modern revolutionary army to firmly safeguard the nation in the new period.

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE
Large corporations compete for market share in food sector

The long-term demand of the market has prompted large corporations to spend trillions of dong making food, although 2017 is expected to be a tough year.

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Kido Group has announced a plan to launch chili sauce, its new product, in August. The group, formerly a sweets manufacturer, sold the sweets production facilities to Mondelēz International last August and jumped into the food sector.

It has acquired vegetable oil, spices and frozen food production companies, moves that helped it join the food market in the quickest way.

In 2016, PAN Group, a business operating in many fields, decided to withdraw capital from two of its subsidiaries to gather strength in two major fields – agriculture and food. 
The long-term demand of the market has prompted large corporations to spend trillions of dong making food, although 2017 is expected to be a tough year.
Within one year, PAN increased its ownership ratio in Ben Tre Seafood (ABT), Long An Food Processing (LAF) and Bibica (BBC) and established PAN Food with charter capital of VND1 trillion. All the moves are a part of a strategy to develop business in the food sector.

Other large corporations, whose core business fields have no relation with the food sector, have also expressed their willingness to invest in food production projects.

These include Vingroup (real estate development), FPT (information technology), Hoa Phat (steel manufacturing) and Thaco (automobile).

The growing tendency of investing in the food sector and fast-moving consumer goods, plus the wave of foreign groups taking over Vietnamese enterprises, shows the great potential of the Vietnamese food market.

A report from Stoxplus shows that Vietnamese average spending on food increased from $28.1 a month in 2011 to $61.3 in 2015.

In 2016 and the first months of 2017, Kido obtained the controlling stakes in two large vegetable oil companies – Tuong An and Vocarimex.

A Kido senior executive said Kido would wrap up the procedures to acquire a 50 percent stake in Dabco Food in some days.

As for Masan Consumer, known for its meat, spice and fast-moving consumer goods, has set the target of $2-3 per consumer each month in the next three years.

In 2009, one consumer paid $0.2 a month for Masan products. The figure rose to $0.7 in 2016 and is expected to increase to $2-3 by 2020, which means sales of $2-3 billion.

According to EIU, the total consumption of individuals and households in Vietnam in 2015 reached $128 billion. Of this, the spending on food, drinks and tobacco was $55.3 billion, or 43.3 percent.

The amount of money was equal to spending on four fields – housing & building materials; entertainment & education; transport & telecommunication; and on healthcare services.

Kim Chi, VNN
Reader's response to 'Do Vietnamese like picking on foreigners?'

Editor’s note: Annie Nguyen, 29, works in PR management. She was born and grew up in Vietnam. She graduated from a university in Australia, and is currently residing in Ho Chi Minh City. She wrote this email to us in response to our article "Do Vietnamese like picking on foreigners?"
We believe that constructive opinions from readers are crucial in keeping us in check and our journalism as open as possible. Thus, we publish Nguyen’s email with her prior permission. Don’t hesitate to send yours to ttn@tuoitre.com.vn.

 A foreigner (in red) is seen engaging in a fist fight with two locals in a road rage in Hanoi on June 24, 2017
Dear Tuoi Tre News,
As a loyal reader of your articles, this is the first time I’ve written to express my distress towards the article "Do Vietnamese like picking on foreigners?" due to its inappropriateness and misguidance.
First, you raised an ethnicity/nationality issue that directly aims at Vietnamese – your main readers, those you wish to inform and educate. Whether this was intentional or unintentional, this kind of title will make readers assume that it is actually an existing issue.
Second, there has been a subtly uninformed discontent between Vietnamese men and Western men. The false belief of "foreign is better/nicer than local" has created a trend that draws Vietnamese women to date Western men blindly, without knowing that they may be used, emotionally abused, discriminated and manipulated. Such a lack of awareness not only creates unfairness for Vietnamese men, but also fuels the belief of supremacy (or "white male privilege") in some individuals.
Hence, such a title neither created fairness for both sides nor erase the stereotypes, but it gave rise to a label that Vietnamese men are violent, gangsters and misogynists. The outcome of this kind of article will only make Vietnamese women binding to the misjudgment that "dating Westerners is better", encourage Vietnamese men to stay opposed to Western men and lead Westerners to believe in the existence of this bias. 
Thirdly, as a Vietnamese media outlet, you run to serve Vietnamese readers and deliver the news as objectively and fairly as possible. As a news publisher, you are expected to be neutral in the way you provide the contents and make people change their thinking, instead of creating hatred and prejudice.
If you actually watched the clip and reported it objectively, you would see that the woman was also hit by those men. Then why didn't you mention the fact that road rage in Vietnam includes everyone, regardless of their gender, race or nationality? Why didn't you mention that men need to learn how to control their temper and to behave appropriately? Why didn't you mention that public violence between genders is alarming because it is not the only case during the recent years that a man hit/beat mercilessly a woman and nobody did anything. No hard punishment was made, no viral clip has been done, and we women are given 2 days per year (National Women’s Day and International Women’s Day) to take care of our wounds and bruises?!
However, I hereby attach a comment of a Westerner under an article on The New York Times about the truth of living and dating in Vietnam. This is what you should be concerned about, to awake and to raise awareness and also to educate Vietnamese men to stop picking on "Women", not "Westerners".
 
Sincerely,
Annie Nguyen
TUOI TRE NEWS

Thứ Ba, 27 tháng 6, 2017

Social News 27/6

Rural transport development helps promote poverty reduction

 

Measures to promote transport infrastructure development in rural areas and the use of official development assistance (ODA) for the work was the focus of a seminar held by the Dai bieu nhan dan (People's Deputy) newspaper in Hanoi on June 26.

The event aimed to gather opinions of NA deputies, experts, scientists, and managers on the current rural transport development and issues in the coming time.

Participants said transport has significantly contributed to promoting socio-economic development in general and serving agricultural production and rural development in particular.

In recent years, capital sources for developing rural transport infrastructure have been increasing, including ODA. The Government has spent a remarkable amount of ODA capital for rural transport projects.

In the last five years, about 48 trillion VND (2.1 billion USD) was poured into rural transport, up over 10 trillion VND from those for the 2005-2010 period. The ODA capital for rural transport accounted for between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total source for transport construction.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong underlined the importance of stepping up transport development, which he described as a foundation for developing other sectors.

While highlighting the role of rural transport in poverty reduction, deputy head of the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs Bui Si Loi affirmed the NA and Government need to continue prioritising investment for transport development, and consider the work as part of activities to promote sustainable poverty reduction.

Deputy head of the NA Council of Ethnic Affairs Nguyen Lam Thanh emphasised the involvement of local people and authorities in rural transport development.-

Hai Phong asked to turn private sector into momentum of development

The northern port city of Hai Phong should make greater efforts to turn the private sector an important motivation of its economic development, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

At a working session with the municipal Party Committee’s Standing Board on June 26, PM Phuc said that, despite its strong performance in the first half of 2017, Hai Phong has yet to meet requirements as the major industrial hub of the country and the driving force for socio-economic development of the northern coastal region.

The government leader asked Hai Phong to mull over development orientations to deserve its position as the third largest city of the country and develop itself into a green, modern port city, and a big centre of services and industries with high competitiveness edge.

To contribute to the country’s economic growth of 6.7 percent this year, Hai Phong must strive to achieve a 14 percent GDP growth rate in 2017, he said.

The PM suggested that Hai Phong coordinate with domestic and foreign agencies in completing its development planning to make it a leading seaport centre of the country and the region.

At the same time, Hai Phong should continue improving its investment environment, enhancing its competitiveness through speeding up administrative reform, and complete its infrastructure system for tourism, turning tourism an important economic sector of the city, he said.

Statistics released at the working session showed that in the first half of 2017, Hai Phong saw the highest gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth in the past 10 years.

The total volume of goods handed by Hai Phong port reached 43 million tonnes, up almost 13.8 percent, while total social investment was 23.9 trillion VND, an increase of 22.56 percent. The city’s budget collection topped 35 trillion VND, a rise of 10.7 percent.

Hai Phong remained one of the top 10 most attractive investment destinations with 24 foreign-invested projects licenced in the first six months of this year, while 20 existing projects permitted to increase their investment, with a combined capital of 617 million USD.

The city also disbursed over 3.7 trillion VND as public investment, equivalent to 40.8 percent of the annual plan. The number of newly-established firms in the first six months of 2017 was 1,598, 23.7 percent higher than the same period last year, with a combined capital of over 7.4 trillion VND.

Vietnamese in India, Nepal look towards homeland’s sea, islands

The Vietnamese Embassy in India on June 26 launched a campaign themed “Looking towards the homeland’s sea and islands.”

The programme aims to promote solidarity among Vietnamese in India and Nepal to protect sea and islands of the homeland.

At the launching ceremony, the participants, including the embassy staff and officials of other Vietnamese agencies, donated their one day’s salary to support forces who are protecting national sovereignty at sea.

The campaign will last until September, 2017.

More martyrs’ remains repatriated from Cambodia in dry season

The team for searching and repatriating martyrs’ remains of the southern province of Long An brought home 21 sets of remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers and experts from Cambodia during the 2016-2017 dry season.

At a conference to review the work on June 26, the team also revealed that it helped move and rebury 38 sets of remains of martyrs who laid down their lives in domestic battlefields.

On this occasion, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Can presented certificates of merit to five collectives and ten individuals who made important contributions to the search and repatriation of remains of Vietnamese martyrs who died in Cambodia.

Also during the 2016-2017 dry season, two teams for searching and repatriating martyrs’ remains in Tay Ninh province collected 263 sets of remains of Vietnamese martyrs in Cambodia.

From the 2001-2002 dry season until now, the two teams discovered and repatriated 4,131 sets of remains of martyrs from Cambodia.-

PM pledges actions to build facilitating Government to voters

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that not only the central government but also grassroots administrations must take actions to build a transparent and facilitating Government while meeting with voters in the northern port city of Hai Phong on June 26.

“The construction of a transparent and facilitating Government must be carried out with actions, not just through words”, he said.

The PM also spoke about the government’s measures to address a number of socio-economic issues of great public concern.

Answering a question on the settlement of 12 prolonged loss-making projects, PM Phuc reiterated the Government’s viewpoint of quickly recover the lost property.

The investigating bodies have launched criminal proceedings against and detained some stakeholders who will be strictly punished according to law, he added.

Regarding numerous violations of the order to close natural forests in the Central Highlands, the PM stressed that the responsibility of local authorities will be clarified in implementing the Government leader’s directions while resolutely preventing violations from re-occurring.

Regarding the fight against corruption, Phuc said positive changes have been recorded in the detection and handling of corruption cases, adding that many corruption cases will be drastically addressed in the coming time.

Talking about the East Sea issue, the PM stated that Vietnam pursues the policy of building peace, friendship, and freedom of aviation and navigation in the sea, on the basis of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while well implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and working towards a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

“Vietnam protects her legitimate interests via implementing international law on the East Sea issue”, he affirmed.

At the meeting, the PM also explained policies for persons who made contributions to the nation and the revolution, the implementation of policies on high tech agriculture development and education reform.

He also briefed the outcomes of the third session of the 14th National Assembly and his official visits to the US and Japan.

GCF funds project to increase Vietnam’s climate change resilience

 

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on June 26 announced a GCF-funded project to increase the resilience to climate change for coastal residents in Vietnam.

The 29.5 million USD project, approved by the GCF in 2016, has been developed as a partnership between the UNDP, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Construction, the MPI and coastal provinces.

It will focus on supporting communities vulnerable to natural disasters to protect themselves from the impacts of frequent typhoons and floods and improve their livelihoods.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong said that Vietnam has an urgent need for investment to mitigate climate change impacts, reduce risks and develop the low-carbon economy.

This project is the first step in the long-term strategic partnership between Vietnam and the GCF, he stated, adding that the country also wants to contribute to the fund and share its experience with other GCF-supported countries.

Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, said that UNDP is working with the Vietnamese Government on initiatives to strengthen the resilience to extreme climate phenomena for poor people in rural areas, many of whom are women and ethnic minorities.

Vietnam is one of the 30 countries rated as at “extreme risk” of climate change by Maplecroft, a global risk and strategic consulting firm based in the UK, in its Climate Change Vulnerability Index within the next 30 years via 42 socio-economic and environmental factors.

During 1992-2012, natural disasters claimed the lives of 457 people, destroying over 96,000 houses, and caused losses equivalent to 1.3 percent of GDP each year.

The rate of poor households accounts for 23 percent in coastal areas, two times higher than the average rate of the country, which is partly caused by natural disaster-related losses.

Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the central coastal province of Thanh Hoa, Nguyen Duc Quyen said to cope with climate change, it is necessary to mobilize resources from the private sector in the forms of public-private partnership, official development assistance (ODA) and aid of non-Governmental organisations.

He also stressed the need for the Government to upgrade sea and river dykes, improve the early disaster warning system, support poor households in production and build livelihood models adaptive to climate change.

At the event, delegates also discussed Vietnam’s strategy to access the GCF with focus on the country’s strong commitments to climate change, investment in climate change adaptation and green growth and strengthening strategic cooperation between Vietnam and the fund.

Vietnamese students in Belgium convene third congress

The Vietnamese Students Association in Belgium (SIVIBI) on June 25 convened its third congress to review activities during 2014-2017 and set out orientations for the next three years.

Attending the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vuong Thua Phong encouraged Vietnamese students to further participate in external activities of the embassy and affirmed that the embassy would continue support for the students in the host nation.

He suggested that the association should enhance connections with the General Association of Vietnamese in Belgium to popularise Vietnam’s culture and cuisine to international friends.

In its 2014-2017 tenure, the association gained significant achievements, including sharing learning experience, supporting new students with learning materials, accommodation, travel and other necessary procedures.

The congress elected a new executive board for the 2017-2020 tenure with seven members led by Trinh Hoang Khai.

There are some 300 Vietnamese students living and studying in Belgium’s big cities like Brussels, Gent, Louvain, Liege and Antwerp.

Social investment in Central Highlands increases

Social investment in the Tay Nguyen Central Highlands has increased in recent years thanks to the improvement of the business environment.

According to the regional Steering Committee, total social investment in the region reached 267.6 trillion VND (11.77 billion USD) in 2011-2015 from 40 trillion VND (1.76 billion USD) in 2001-2005.

The proportion of non-State capital poured into the region rose from 38.37 percent in 2006 to nearly 70 percent in 2015, with Gia Lai the most attractive destination.

Central Highland provinces focused investment on developing the transport system and building irrigation facilities in Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Lam Dong.

In 2016, total gross regional domestic product exceeded 151 trillion VND (6.64 billion USD), a year-on-year rise of 7.47 percent, and per capita GRDP was estimated at 39.56 million VND (1,740 USD), up 8.57 percent.

The Central Highlands comprises Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong provinces, with total population of about 5.64 million people and 47 ethnic groups.

1 dead, 1 injured after motorbike crash in southern Vietnam

A province of Dong Nai motorbike driver is dead and his passenger left clinging to life in a hospital bed after a crash this morning (June 26) in the southern Vietnam city of Bien Hoa.

The motorbike was travelling at a high rate of speed on National Highway 51 in the city of Bien Hoa when it lost control and collided head on with an oncoming truck, according to police officials investigating the accident.

Police officials said their preliminary investigation revealed that the driver, Nguyen Van Giau, 58, of the motorbike was travelling to fast for road conditions and was killed upon impact with the truck.

The female passenger of the motorbike was transported to the hospital with serious life-threatening injuries.

The name of the woman has not been released pending notification of the family.

Quảng Ninh coal mining sector to protect environment

The People’s Committee of northern Quảng Ninh Province has ordered the coal mining sector to implement urgent solutions to protect the environment.
Accordingly, the committee has asked for lowering the height of coal dumps, planting trees to cover the dumps and stepping up monitoring of the environment.
Việt Nam Coal and Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) and Đông Bắc Corporation under the Ministry of Defence have proposed solutions under six groups.
The proposals include solutions to avoid landslides and rocks floating to protect the environment; dredging and improving water drainage system; relocating inhabitants out of risky areas; treating waste water, water on the surface, toxic waste and solid waste; and reducing level of dust, noise and emissions. Vinacomin also proposed recovering environment of some 190ha of land with dumps at Chính Bắc Núi Béo, Đông Cao Sơn and Hà Ráng areas within this year.
In addition, the corporation aims to stop dumping of coal at dumps exposed to Highway 18A during the 2018-20 period and construct conveyor belts to transport coal from and to ports and power plants by 2020.
To effectively implement the proposals, deputy chairman of Quảng Ninh Province’s People’s Committee Đặng Huy Hậu asked the two corporations to share the conveyor belt system to avoid waste, reduce released dust while using the mistorising system and launch projects to dredge rivers and streams.
The companies were also urged to build automatic environmental monitoring stations following standards.
Earlier, households living in Mông Dương Ward, Cẩm Phả City, submitted a petition to local authorities detailing the risks they face from coal mining activities of the Thăng Long One Member Ltd Company, located nearby.
Within this month alone, three downpours have washed mud from the company’s dumps towards houses in the area, causing floods and landslides. Some families have been forced to leave their homes for temporary shelters.
Hoàng Ngọc Chí, a local, said the company started coal mining activities in July 2015, dumping piles of soil and rock 30 to 70m high without any safety measures. The dumps are less than 50m from the houses of locals.
The company often drills the ground for mine explosions without informing the public.

Drop in traffic accidents, deaths

More than 9,500 traffic accidents occurred across the country in the first six months of this year, killing more than 4,100 people and injuring more than 7,900, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

The numbers represent a drop of 636 in the number of accidents, 229 in the number of dead and 1,004 in the number of injured compared with the same period last year.

The dealiest accident occurred in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai at the beginning of May when a coach crash into a lorry killing 13 people and injuring dozens of others.

In June, more than 1,500 traffic accidents were recorded with more than 600 dead and more than 1,300 injured.

Teen survives being stabbed in heart

Doctors at the Định Quán Town General Hospital in the southern province of Đồng Nai successfully operated on a 16-year-old after he was stabbed in the heart.

Nguyễn Minh Sang was hospitalised on Thursday in a serious condition with the wound about two centimetres deep.

Doctors conducted surgery within two hours.

Tạ Quang Trí, deputy director of the hospital, said that Sang might have died if he hadn’t undergone the timely surgery.

Sang is now stable and should be discharged from the hospital in 7-10 days.

Eight weak bridges in dire need of repairs

Hà Nội Urban Traffic Works Investment Management Board has proposed the city allocate fund to upgrade eight weak bridges.

In 2011, the municipal People’s Committee was approved to appoint contractors to build or upgrade 34 bridges in the city. The projects were deemed urgent to ensure traffic flow and safety, yet not all the bridges have received upgrades.

After six years of implementation, 16 bridges have been reported as downgraded. Of those, eight were seriously weak, including Chiếc Bridge in Thường Tín District, Suối Hai 1 in Ba Vì District, Phú Tiên Bridge in Hà Nam District, Hạ Dục in Chương Mỹ District, Gốm in Chương Mỹ District, Hồng Phú in Thanh Oai District, Phú Thứ in Thạch Thất District and Ái Mỗ in Sơn Tây Town.

These bridges have a high usage rate, causing traffic congestion and danger, especially during stormy season. Management units have installed warning signals on trucks’ weight and mobilised staff to be on duty during peak hours to monitor the bridges.

Chiếc Bridge was built in 1999 with maximum capacity of 10 tonnes. In 2010, the bridge was reinforced with steel plates on its surface and a barrier was installed to prevent trucks taller than 2.1 metres getting through.

However, since the Giáp Bát-Kim Bài bus route was set up, the barrier has become useless.

A resident in Hiền Giang Commune’s Nhân Hiền Commune said that the bridge was slippery in the rain and traffic jams struck everyday.

Other bridges are in the same situation. Ái Mỗ Bridge even lacks a pedestrian path, forcing them to walk under the bridge on the road for vehicles.

Phùng Tuấn Minh, director of Hà Tây Road Management No1 Company said that among these eight bridges, some were built in the previous century with outdated technical criteria and low capacity, which failed to ensure traffic flow.

Head of Thạch Thất District’s People’s Committee’s Urban Management Unit Phí Đình Phùng said these bridges had not been upgraded due to a shortage of funds.

He cited Hạ Dục, Gốm, Hồng Phú bridges as examples. The bridges were approved for upgrades in 2012, but these have not been carried out.

Capital investment for these bridges was about VNĐ10-115 billion (US$440,000-5.06 million) depending on the repair levels.

Phùng said that upgrading the bridges was necessary and should be done promptly to ensure socio-economic development in the city.

Fishermen resuced at sea

The Việt Nam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre (VMRCC) and the Nghệ An Border Guards yesterday rescued 17 seamen from a floundering fishing ship.

At about 3pm on Friday the VMRCC received signals asking for help from the fishing ship, owned by Hoàng Văn Hoa, from Cửa Lò Town, the central province of Nghệ An. The ship’s enginge stopped working, water was going to flood the ship and the seamen had ran out of food and water. At that time the ship was about 110 nautical miles off the province’s Lạch Quèn seaport.

The VMRCC reached the vessel at 9am on Saturday, with the crew having been battered by strong waves.

The ship and its crew were taken to the Cửa Lò seaport.

Programme honours Raglai ethnic people’s culture

 

An arts programme, introducing the unique cultural identities of the Raglai ethnic minority people from Ninh Thuan province, will take place at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Dong Mo, Son Tay district, Hanoi, on June 24-25.

Themed ‘Giac mo Chapi’ (Chapi dream), the programme will offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy the performances with the Chapi, a traditional musical instrument of the Raglai people.

In addition, visitors will have the chance to learn about the origin of the instrument, as well as the way to make the Chapi.

During the programme, the ‘bo ma’ ritual, an important and traditional ceremonial ritual in which the Raglai ethnic group pays tribute to the dead, will also be reproduced. Raglai people believe that two separate worlds exist at the same time – one for the living and one for the dead. The ritual is believed to help the dead unite with their ancestors and become reborn into a new life.

The programme will also honour the cuisine of the Raglai people in Ninh Thuan province, including traditional food and offerings in their spiritual rituals.

Notably, the relationship between Raglai and Cham ethnic group will be introduced at the programme.

As many as 20 photos on the beauty of Ninh Thuan province, as well as activities in the daily life of local Raglai people, will be on display during the two days of the programme, which is expected to attract a large number of visitors.

Number of visitors soars 50% during Da Nang firework festival

The number of visitors to the Da Nang International Firework Festival (DIFF) 2017 has surged by 50% in the two months of festival.

The information was announced on June 22, by the organising board of the 2017 DIFF, at a press conference outlining the programme during the festival’s final round and the result of the 2017 Firework Display on Computer Competition.

Themed “Shining Marble Mountains”, the 2017 DIFF has offered a lot of activities to entertain visitors, in addition to the eight nights of fireworks on display from April 30 to June 24.

The festival featured the participation of eight teams from different eight countries – Switzerland, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Austria and Vietnam.

Over 6,000 artists and actors have also participated in the event. Up to now, the investment cost for the event stands at nearly VND130 billion, with nearly 100,000 tickets being issued. In particular, the amount of funding from donors (including artifacts) is around VND37.5 billion.

According to General Director Le Quy Duong, the final round of the fireworks festival promises to bring spectacular performances combining harmony and light. During the final round, three fireworks teams from the UK, Australia and Italy, who are considered as the "players" in the world of fireworks, will showcase their most modern techniques.

The winners of the 2017 DIFF Championship will be awarded a US$ 10,000 prize after the final round.

As part of the press conference, the organising board honoured the three most outstanding works in the 2017 Firework Display on Computer Competition.

HCMC says to cut tourism services checks

Tourism services providers in HCMC will not have to meet as many inspection teams of authorities as before, said city vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen.

The city government told relevant agencies to strictly implement Decree 103/2009/ND-CP of the Government governing cultural activities and services.

The city has fetched VND451 trillion (US$19.8 billion) from retail and tourism in the first six months of the year, a year-on-year rise of 10.3%.

The city has welcomed about 2.8 million visitors in the year to date, up 14.7% year-on-year and accounting for 51.5% of the year’s plan. Tourism revenue rose 12% to VND53.6 trillion, representing 47.9% of the full-year plan.

Switzerland assists Vietnam to develop natural ingredients

Hanoi last week saw the launch of a Switzerland-funded project designed to conserve biodiversity through sustainable trade of natural ingredients following the BioTrade principles in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

The BioTrade project is financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, a Swiss government agency, and carried out by Helvetas Vietnam, a Swiss-based international non-government organization.

Total capital of the project for Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar is US$4.9 million, with US$2.7 million for Vietnam by 2020, according to a statement issued by Helvetas Vietnam.

The natural ingredient sector has been facing a slew of challenges. For instance, the overexploitation of biodiversity-based resources from natural forests for exporting to low-quality markets like China is threatening the environment and livelihoods of upland farmers, and limiting export opportunities for local companies, said Nguyen Que Anh, director of Vietnam Star Anise Processing and Exporting Co Ltd.

The project pays special attention to enhancing the competitiveness of local exporters and producers, and the livelihoods of rural residents, and encouraging them to apply BioTrade principles, according to Miroslav Delaporte, head of cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam.

“Over the next three years, we will work to increase the competitiveness of local exporters and enable them access high-end markets, while providing better income and job opportunities for harvesters and producers. By incorporating the principles of BioTrade, we will ensure that, biodiversity is protected and encouraged during this process,” said Andrew Wilson, regional project manager of Helvetas Vietnam.

BioTrade refers to the collection, production, transformation and commercialization of goods and services derived from the native biodiversity in line with the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Natural ingredients are products processed from plants, animals and microorganisms collected and cultivated in the wild or domesticated and produced in an ecological way, without the use of petrochemicals. They are used in many ways in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics or food industries for commercial purposes.

In Vietnam, regional museums are a state budget black hole

While museums in Ho Chi Minh City lack the exhibition space to display prized artifacts and national treasures, counterparts elsewhere crave both the funding and technology to protect their exhibits from permanent damage.

Several lack the essential infrastructure to operate or exhibit their valuable artifacts publicly, and receive scarce visitors, let alone appeal to tourists.
Some are unable to employ qualified staff and have made basic mistakes in identifying their own artifacts.

During a recent visit to the Museum of Vietnamese History, near the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden, at 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the municipal Department of Tourism, made the observation that local museums should create more compelling ‘narratives’ in order to make them regular destinations for tourists instead of attempting to cram such a large number of items into a limited space.

Speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, Hoang Anh Tuan, the museums director, acknowledged the shortcomings.

“While the museum space remains unchanged, its number of artifacts has surged eightfold since 1975 to 40,000 individual pieces, with the majority covered in dust inside a warehouse,” he added.

The institution has become desperate for space to properly showcase and preserve its collection of national treasures.

One of these is the museum’s collection of more than 100 age-old Buddha statues. Currently, only 20 are on public display.

An appropriate area to exhibit more antiques from Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), the country’s last monarchy, remains Tuan and his predecessors’ burning desire, as they can now only display around one-sixth of their total assortment.

The Museum of Southern Vietnamese Women, at 202 Vo Thi Sau, District 3, does not fare much better.

Its valued collection includes wartime banknotes, 200 ao dai (a traditional Vietnamese gown) worn by celebrities, and approximately 15,000 war mementos still awaiting their first public showing.

Unbeknownst to most, eight years ago the municipal People’s Committee granted the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, at 65 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, VND3 billion (US$ 130,793) to purchase a collection of 220 gold and silver coins and bars used as bonuses during the Nguyen Dynasty.

Luu Tuyet Trinh, the museum’s deputy director, said they had so far only been able to put a portion of the collection on view due to a lack of proper exhibition space.

The situation is equally grim and even worse in other parts of the country.

A worrying number of artifacts, including some designated as national treasures, have suffered from years of neglect.

Among them are two of the three Uy Phuc cannons, both named Bao Quoc An Dan Dai Tuong Quan (High-ranking General who fights to safeguard his country and people), which were recognized by the government as national treasures in late 2013.

The otherwise cherished items are currently lying neglected in an aisle at Ha Tinh Museum in the namesake province in north-central Vietnam.

Nguyen Tri Son, the museum’s director, acknowledged the risk of extensive damage, adding they had no other choice, other than spending millions of dong (VND1 million = $44) saving the items from further decay.

The cultural facility is currently home to more than 8,000 prized artifacts which fill four warehouses to capacity.

“Our ‘cutting-edge’ equipment includes electric fans and vacuum cleaners. It really makes our hearts ache to see the items wasting away, but our hands are tied,” Son noted.

Nghe An Museum in the namesake province in the north-central region, which prides itself on 25,000 pieces, is in a similar state.

Its centuries-old collectibles from Vac Village, representing the peak of the Dong Son culture that flourished between 700 and 100 BC, lie dormant and at the mercy of the elements.

Several of these priceless cultural exhibits, including exquisitely adorned daggers and iconic bronze drums, currently fetch thousands of U.S. dollars on the open market.

According to Nguyen Duc Kiem, the museum’s acting director, the institution can do little to prevent the collection, as well as others crafted from paper, leather, fabric or herbs, from further deterioration.

Meanwhile, Hue Cultural Museum, located in Hue City, the country’s former imperial capital, in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, remains ‘an empty institution.'

Established in 1989, the facility did not settle into its current home, two French villas, until 2012, after its directorate had sought an official premise for years.

With a mere 752 artifacts and 12 staff members, only two of whom are qualified, the museum’s regular activities so far include leasing space for exhibitions, and ca Hue (traditional Hue music) performances.

Nguyen Hong Hoa Tranh, its director, admitted that they were yet to hold any exhibitions given the paltry number of items, and are yet to receive sufficient funding to make purchases, which is also a time-consuming process.

Experts, however, have pointed out that even if museums manage to recruit qualified personnel, most of the staff are not knowledgeable about the artifacts, particularly how to tell fakes from the genuine articles.

Commune officials take high school graduation exam

The recent National High School Graduation Exam saw some special candidates, one of whom was Hoang Thi Dong (46), a member of the Women's Union of Hong Tien commune, Huong Tra town, Thua Thien Hue province.

Ms. Dong took her 2017 national high school exams at Kim Dong Primary School (A Luoi town, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province).

According to Ms. Dong, she had failed nine high school graduation exams.

Ms. Dong taking her 2017 national high school exams at Kim Dong Primary School (A Luoi town, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province).

Although not being confident in her answers, she still hoped to pass the exam at her 10th attempt.

"I have become a grandmother this year. However, to better serve career, I still have to try my best to study and get a high-school certificate. Learning is a lifetime job and I want to set an example for my children, showing thema lesson: never be discouraged", she said.

Mr. Huynh Truong Than, Chairman of the Examination Board of Kim Dong Primary School, said that 200 candidates from 3 high-schools in the area participated in the exams. There were some aged examinees.

The oldest examinee was Nguyen Van Quy (47), a resident of Hong Tien commune, Huong Tra town while a number of others were communal-level officers.

New Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism appointed

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has appointed Mr. Trinh Thi Thuy as Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Ms. Thuy was former Director-General of Grassroots Cultural Department, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Noi Bai airport tells airlines to reduce delays

The Nội Bài International Airport has asked all domestic airlines to improve operations so as to cut down on the increasing number of flight delays recorded recently.

Airlines that have been asked to get their act together includes national carrier Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific.

Figures from June 1 to 15 show that VietJet Air led the list, with 435 of its total 1,094 flights being delayed, or 39.8 per cent.

Vietnam Airlines had 191 delayed flights of its 1,489 flights, or 12.8 per cent. Its subsidiary Jetstar Pacific operated a total of 244 flights, of which 26.2 per cent was delayed.

The Nội Bài airport has instructed the airlines to strengthen their flight operations control to minimise the number of delays, and to improve the experience for passengers.

Houses on farmland in HCMC can be reconstructed

Existing houses on farmland that had been in use prior to July 1, 2006 can be repaired, upgraded or reconstructed with a height limit of three storeys, according to a new decision on construction licensing issued Tuesday by the HCMC government.

In particular, houses built before the planning scheme of scale 1/2,000 was approved by government agencies can be repaired, upgraded or reconstructed but not exceeding three storeys.

Houses that were built after the planning scheme of scale 1/2,000 was approved by government agencies can be repaired (raising the floor, raising the roof, upgrading the floor and roof by using light materials and repairing the walls) but changes to the houses’ structure and functions are disallowed.

For houses inside safety corridors for bridges, their owners are allowed to do simple repairs that do not affect or change the houses’ structure, scale and functions, such as raising the floor and the roof, repairing the walls, and upgrading the floor and roof by using light materials.

Besides, the municipal government allows the management boards of the Saigon South New Urban Area, Thu Thiem New Urban Area and Tay Bac Urban Area as well as the management boards of Saigon Hi-Tech Park and other industrial zones and export processing zones to grant construction permits to buildings within their assigned precincts, except individual houses, special buildings like historic or cultural monuments and statues.

Social Insurance Fund may get nod to invest in high-return projects

The Vietnam Social Insurance (VSI) reports accumulated revenue of a whopping VND500 trillion (about US$22 billion), so part of the fund may be used to invest in high-return national projects apart from the bulk being used now to buy Government bonds.

The organization plans to invest the fund in the banking sector, and some key national projects that are financially viable, said a VSI representative at a conference in HCMC last week.

In a bid to safeguard the fund from risks, VSI has issued a board resolution on the 2017 investment plan focusing on purchasing G-bonds.

The combined proportion of funds to buy G-bonds and lending to the State budget is around 85% of the total by the end of this year. VSI intends to make the most of the remaining capital for other investment forms in line with the Government’s Decree No. 30/2016/ND-CP dated April 28, 2016.

Specifically, the agency plans to diversify its investment channels, such as placing term deposits at banks, purchasing promissory notes, securities, and certificates of deposit at banks.

Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, said the fund has enjoyed higher returns than interest rates at banks, with last year’s average rate reaching 7.8%.

In the coming time, the NA committee recommends VSI invest in some financially viable projects of national importance for higher returns.

VSI said at the conference that the total number of enterprises partaking in social insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance was over 208,397 as of end-2016. Notably, 7.7% or 16,085 companies of the total were from the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector.

VSI has earned revenue of more than VND151.5 trillion from the business community, with over VND71.6 trillion, or 47.2% of the total, from the FDI sector. The total number of employees joining these insurance programs was over 8.7 million, with 3.7 million from FDI enterprises.

However, VSI deputy director Trinh Dinh Lieu said the total insurance premium arrears at FDI enterprises amounted to VND1.24 trillion, equivalent to 3.9% of the amount the agency should have collected.

Many enterprises have been late in paying insurance premiums for their employees due to business difficulties; some were even disbanded or suspended. Meanwhile, some companies deliberately tried to find ways to evade or delay their payments for other investment purposes.

These have had adverse effects on the legitimate rights and interests of employees, and social security in general.

Int’l students to learn about Vietnam agriculture

Twenty-six students from Vietnam and seven other Asia-Pacific countries will spend two weeks learning about sustainable agriculture and impacts of climate change on smallholder farmers in the country.

The students majoring in agriculture from Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Korea and will participate in a field trip to HCMC and the Mekong Delta from June 25 to July 7 to gain an insight into small farming households and the role of agricultural enterprises, governmental and non-governmental organizations in assisting smallholder farmers and improving food security in the region.

The program “Connecting students 2017” is co-organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Syngenta, a supplier of genetically modified (GM) corn varieties. The program is also supported by Winrock International, Rimfire Resources, MimosaTek and Grameen Intel.

Launched in 2010, the annual program benefits developing countries in the region. This is the second year Vietnam has been chosen to host the program.

Subscribers’ vexation

Enhancing the effectiveness of State management for the benefit of the society is a justifiable goal, but it is also generally agreed that even the right end cannot justify the means. When the means employed to achieve a righteous end causes public disturbance, tough reactions and protests are understandable. That can be the case of a new rule requiring all mobile phone subscribers to have their portraits submitted to mobile carriers to facilitate State management.

Angry voices are heard in local media these days, when the Ministry of Information and Communications orders mobile carriers to send digitalized data of subscribers, including their portraits, to the ministry within one year. Those subscribers who fail to have their photos submitted will have their mobile services suspended, in line with the Government’s Decree 49/2017, effective from April 24, 2017.

Local media is flooded with questions as to whether such a demand is logical or not, what the cost-effectiveness of the new rule is, and why the disturbance is unnecessarily imposed on not one or two, but tens of millions of people nationwide.

Under the decree, all mobile carriers will have to take pictures of those people subscribing to new mobile services after Aril 24, 2017, which is quite an easy job for them. For those people who have subscribed mobile phone services prior to this date, carriers will have 12 months to complete the required data.

Such a rule triggers public outrage, as it “causes difficulties for users and is not necessary,” says Sai Gon Giai Phong. The newspaper explains that when subscribing to mobile services, users already have to submit the scanned copies of their identity cards and other personal data with photos included in such papers, so any extra requirement for them to add portraits is a waste of time and money.

In explanations to local media, the Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications gives various important reasons to assert that adding portraits to subscribers’ data is of utmost importance for the benefit of the society.

Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy director of the Telecommunications Department, says in Dan Viet that full data of subscribers is critically necessary to safeguard national security and social order and safety, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the people. She refers to the practice in some other countries such as the U.S., India and Pakistan, where subscribers have to submit not only photos, but also their fingerprints or even blood samples, all to ensure national security.

Asked about the data previously collected from subscribers’ legal papers, Mo says such personal data, and even copies of identity cards of subscribers available in databases or mobile carriers, can be falsified. A report from the Telecommunications Department, Mo says, shows that as of early 2016, data from over 80 million subscribers out of the total 120 million subscribers were incorrect, as identity cards could be forged beyond the recognition of mobile service agents.

“Without the corrective measures, certain subscribers can make unidentified phone calls or messages intended to cheat or harass others, send spam or even poisonous information beyond the control of management agencies,” she is quoted in Nguoi Lao Dong as saying. As such, the new requirement is meant to verify the personal status of each and every subscriber, according to Mo of the Telecommunications Department.

Such an argument is challenged by the widespread public.

Nguoi Lao Dong, quoting several people, says that if data including photos and fingerprints from legal papers like identity cards can be forged, then photos or portraits can face the same fate. “If mobile service agents can send fake information into the system, they could do the same with portraits,” the paper quotes a reader as saying. Therefore, the new rule only spells trouble, leading to a waste of time and money for both enterprises and the people.

As of the end of 2016, there had had some 140 million subscribers nationwide, according to Thanh Nien. To implement the new rule, all these subscribers will have to come to mobile service agents to have portraits taken, which is impossible due to such a huge number, economist Nguyen Minh Phong says in the paper.

In addition, extra costs will be huge. Each mobile carrier has over 1,000 agents, and if such agents have to acquire new equipment to conform to the rule, then cost will be hundreds of billions of Vietnam dong, says Thanh Nien.

National Assembly deputy Luu Binh Nhuong, speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing NA sitting in Hanoi, estimates the total social cost may amount to trillions of Vietnam dong due to the new rule, according to the news site of the Voice of Vietnam radio station.

Echoing the point, Lawyer Truong Thanh Duc with the law firm Basico says in Thanh Nien that if each subscriber spends just a few minutes to implement the rule, the total social resource spent on this move will be tremendous, let alone costs borne by enterprises. “Why did the State agency before issuing any new regulation fail to estimate the benefits in relation with the expenses? If the expenses outweigh the benefits, the rule should not be implemented,” he is quoted as saying.

Bui Trinh, an economic expert, also affirms the new rule is troublesome. Any policy before being issued must be weighed in terms of pros and cons, from reality in the society to possible impacts. “Don’t let it repeat the case of a rule by the Ministry of Transport to force drivers to change their driving licenses from paper to plastic, which was later dismissed by the Ministry of Justice as illegal,” says Trinh in Thanh Nien.

Nguyen Ngoc Son, dean of the Economy-Law Faculty of Ton Duc Thang University, says in Thanh Nien that stringent requirements for telecommunications already exist, but unidentified SIM cards for mobile phones are still awash, which is the fault of mobile carriers in their management, while subscribers are not to blame. It is the responsibility of such carriers as well as State management agencies to correct their faulty practices, rather than to place a new burden on users. The first step should be to deal with fake subscribers, singled out to be 80 million as stated by the deputy director of the Telecommunications Department early on, rather than to choose the easier way of forcing all subscribers to redo their contracts with carriers by adding portraits. Such an approach will only increase the subscribers’ vexation.

Chemical in dialysate hundred times higher than allowable level

The test results of the investigation carried out by the Criminal Science Institute of the Ministry of Public Security indicated that the concentration of fluoride in water dialysis exceeds a certain level up to 245-260 rolling causing the catastrophe in Hoa Binh Hospital.

Tests of water used for dialysis showed that dialysate, the fluid in a dialysis machine, has high fluoride concentration; accordingly, it failed to meet water quality for dialysis.

Concerning to the dialysis catastrophe in Hoa Binh Hospital in the northern province of Hoa Binh infecting 18 patients and killing eight others, the provincial Department of Health June 26 decided to continue suspend director Truong Quy Duong for further investigation.

Before, director of Tram Anh Company Bui Manh Quoc, hospital employee Tran Van Son, and doctor Hoang Cong Luong had been detained for their involvement in the catastrophe.
Quoc was arrested on the charge of “accidentally causing human death because of violating career regulation”, Tran Van Son was prosecuted for irresponsibility leading to serious consequences while Dr. Hoang Cong Luong was facing prosecution of violating treatment regulation.
Before, director of the Department of Health Tran Quang Khanh said that Thien Son Pharmaceutical Company in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District is a medical supplier to clinics including dialysis equipment in the General Hospital Hoa Binh.
One day before the incident, on May 28, Thien Son hired Tram Anh Company owned by Bui Manh Quoc to carry out maintenance of RO water filtering system in Hoa Binh Hospital’ dialysis ward.

Subsidized medicine program achieves good results

Subsidized essential medicine program in the 2016-2017 period achieved good results, said the Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the Department, the quantity of medicine in the program increased and stores selling subsidized drugs have been mushrooming in the city. Consumption of these drugs also went up.
Subsidized drugs comprise 21 local drug groups: 176 active ingredients, 563 medications for normal and chronic diseases with huge demand.

Some 12 new drugs are added into the list of subsidized medication, meeting the demand of infirmaries and pharmacies that participated in the program.
Of additional 164 participating drug stores, 154 private pharmacies and 10 stores of enterprises registered to partake in the program bringing the total number of subsidized drug stores to 4,016. Prices of subsidized drugs are 5-10 percent lower than market prices.
Sale figure of subsidized drugs gradually increased monthly; for instance the sale figure of subsidized medicine in 2016-2017 reached VND78.2 billion meanwhile sale figure in hospital pharmacies accounted for 30 percent of the program’s total sale figure in the city.
Tran Van Muoi who is in charge of the program said that enterprises well implemented the regulation of production plan and stock.
Hospital stores even sell subsidized drugs 5 percent lower than the current market price to offer patients good prices. The program contributed to maintain domestic medications’ price therefore.
To have good result, the program has received regular instruction from Party Committee, People’s Committee, and related agencies.
Many hospital management boards adopted measures to encourage doctors to use domestic drugs in their prescription.
The Department of Health in coordination with media, pharmaceutical companies continued to increase information of the program plus enhanced inspection to distribution and sales of subsidized medicines.
Yearly, the health authority liaise with enterprises to find out more drugs for the program.
Overall, the program is also to help to raise participating enterprises’ capability and encourage them to invest in facilities and technologies as well as expand the consumption market to satisfy patients’ demand.

HCMC administrations urges people to strengthen environment protection

People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resource to enhance information on environment protection programs.

Related agencies and people in districts, unions will carry out the program, including spreading information of environment protection and raising quality of the Environment Award for individuals, teams or enterprises that have great contribution in protecting environment.
The municipal People’s Committee also asked district people’s committees to call for people’s agreement in implement the regulation of environment protection by planting trees, build civilized lifestyle and keep the living space clean and fresh.

Chairmen of people’s committees in districts will be in charge of keep good hygiene in the jurisdictions. Enhancing inspection is needed to check locals’ obedience of the regulation.

HCMC might install smart pumps to cope with street flooding

HCMC leaders yesterday worked with Quang Trung Industry Joint Stock Company about pilot installation of a smart pumping system to cope with flooding in Nguyen Huu Canh street, Binh Thanh District.

The leaders comprised secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee Le Van Khoa and agency representatives.
At the meeting, chairman of the company’s board of directors Nguyen Tang Cuong said that coping with flooding in Nguyen Huu Canh street needed a smart pumping system, automatically removing garbage and soil while pumping water out from the street.
The company’s system designed with centrifugal pumps moves water from low to high ground at the capacity of 27,000-96,000 cubic meters an hour. The pumps operating with oil or electricity will be connected with the available sewer system of the city.
Investment capital will total VND88 billion (US$3.88 million). The company pledged that it will not receive money if the system does not work.
Director of the Department of Transport Bui Xuan Cuong said that the agency had collected opinions from experts and scientists about the feasibility of the project. Most of them said no doubts about the pumping ability of the system.
Still, they said that the street has been flooded because the drainage system has been damaged due to depression in the area. Therefore more surveys should be conducted to prove that the sewer system is able to receive water volume from the pumping system. The project should count locations to install pumps and environmental impact.
Mr. Cuong said that radical solution to solve flooding in Nguyen Huu Canh street is to upgrade the street and rebuild the drainage system.
The Department of Transport has assigned Urban Traffic Management No.1 to be investor of a project to repair Nguyen Huu Canh street, part of a priority program to reduce traffic jam in the phase of 2017-2018 with the total investment capital of VND473 billion ($21 million).
Deputy chairman Le Van Khoa said that previously a delegation of agency representatives led by the Department of Transport had visited anti-flooding pumps of Quang Trung company at its plant in Quang Ninh province.
He required agencies to urgently study the sewer system, water flow and pump installation locations within ten days before reporting to the city People’s Committee to decide.
Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan said that the pumping system project must meet all relevant requirements to be implemented, stressing that it is unfeasible for the city to spend VND88 billion on the system now.
He suggested the company to rent the pumping service with a specific and clear price frame.

SCG & Hanoi FC provide game-day fun

SCG partnered with the Hanoi Football Club on June 24 to create activities aimed at lifting professional football in Vietnam and encouraging youth development via sports.
At the V-league match between Hanoi FC and Hai Phong on the same day, SCG offered free tickets to hundreds of children and university students to watch the game, arranged pre-match activities, and donated sports facilities to local communities.
“Based on the principle of human development and sustainable development, SCG is delighted to partner with the Hanoi Football Club to inspire and engage Vietnamese youngsters in football,” said Mr. Montri Mahaplerkpong, Deputy Country Director of SCG Vietnam. “Creating more exciting activities on the field and improving the club’s performance will attract more fans to the stadium to watch the game and encourage the younger generation to develop via football.”
“As part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR), SCG continues to donate sports facilities, like football, badminton, and basketball equipment, to Hanoi neighborhoods to provide opportunities for local youth to have a healthy lifestyle in their free time,” he added. “This is in line with SCG’s corporate vision of creating better lives for Vietnamese.”
Early this year, SCG announced its sponsorship of the Hanoi Football Club in the 2017 and 2018 seasons out of a desire to support the development of professional football in Vietnam and as part of its corporate sustainable development strategy, with the goal of human development. The cooperation between the two also marks a milestone for SCG, as its first sports sponsorship in Vietnam.
SCG is widely known for supporting regional sporting talent to head to the global stage. It has sponsored Ariya Jutanugarn to become the world’s Number 1 golfer and also sponsors famous Thai football club SCG Muangthong United and the SCG Badminton Academy in Thailand.
Aside from sports sponsorship, SCG leads many CSR projects that focus on human development, such as the SCG Sharing the Dream Scholarship program, the SCG Sharing the Dream Playground at Hoang Van Thu Park in Ho Chi Minh City, and the SCG International Internship Program for university graduates, among others.

HCM City urged to improve transport infrastructure

Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong said HCM City’s infrastructure projects had lots of problems during a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 23.
   
Dong said even though HCM City was Vietnam’s key economic hub, its road infrastructure left lots to be desired and this was an obstacle to the city's development. HCM City must quickly finish slow road and metro projects including Ring Road 3 and the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway.

"HCM City's infrastructure is a far cry from Hanoi's. In Hanoi, all roads entering the city are wide, there are routes to various provinces and the closed ring roads helps make travel to the airport easily. HCM City doesn't have closed ring roads and the road and traffic to Tan Son Nhat Airport is a huge problem," he said.

He urged the quick completion of Ring Road 2 and deal with difficulties in the construction of Ring Road 3 that play an important role in the city's and the region's traffic planning and economic development.

"There's congestion whenever goods are brought in from Cat Lai Port. There's hours-long traffic jams every few days. The damage to the economy is immeasurable," he said.

HCM City needs fund from the government to complete the Ring Road 3 and the metro line. Currently, the city is trying to improve the traffic around Tan Son Nhat Airport by government directive.

He said, "With a population of over ten million, HCM City needs its own urban railway network. Only three million-plus population cities already have metro lines."

Dong also constantly urged the government to give additional ODA to key traffic projects. With the current slow disbursement rate, contractors had sued and demanded the city to pay them interest. If no money is forthcoming, contractors may stop working or the project completion dates will be delayed by two years to 2022.

The Ministry of Transport will prioritise on-going construction and give the contractors funds first to complete the projects on time, ensuring the good relations with other countries and credits institutes.

HCM City to open maiden river bus route in August

Ho Chi Minh City is expected to operate its first-ever river bus route this August to help relieve the increasing traffic pressure on local streets.

After nearly eight years of preparation, the river bus route No.1 is set to connect Bach Dang Port in District 1 with Linh Dong Ward in Thu Duc District.
The 10.8-kilometer-long route will run along the Saigon River and Thanh Da Canal.

The construction of the second route stretching from Bach Dang to Lo Gom in District 8, measuring 10.3 kilometers, is anticipated to begin in 2018.

The two projects cost a total of VND125 billion (US$5.48 million).

The upcoming inauguration of the maiden river bus route has received quite positive feedback from local residents.

Nguyen Minh Phong, a student from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, expressed his joy at the new form of transportation.

“My house in District 2 is only 20 minutes away from the school. However, I’m often late for class due to serious traffic jams,” Phong said.

“I will absolutely switch to using the river ‘bus’ to avoid the jams as well as smoke and dust on the road,” he continued.

Nguyen Thi Huyen Mi, a law student, said she could not wait to get on the waterway bus.

“It will be a great convenience as my school is located near the Bach Dang Port,” Mi elaborated.

Trinh Thi Phuong Anh, a resident in District 6, considered the river bus a good way to ease road congestion and air pollution, and to take advantage of the city’s river and canal system.

According to Nguyen Kim Toan, director of Thuong Nhat Company, which is the investor of the river bus project, the new transport system has to meet a variety of requirements regarding esthetics, convenience, and punctuality.

Aside from providing a comfortable journey and sightseeing opportunity, these buses have to be on time in order to attract passengers, Toan stated.

A one-way journey will take approximately 21 minutes, during which the boat will drop by seven stops besides the two main terminals, Toan explained.

Each trip will cost VND15,000 ($0.66), he continued, adding that the fare would remain the same in the first one or two years.

While supporting the river bus, Associate Professor Nguyen Van Hiep, a lecturer from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, still voices some concern over the new means of transportation.

“Water pollution has to be addressed to maximize the potentialities of these river buses,” Hiep remarked.

“I have been on speedboats and cruises along the Saigon River so many times and I notice that garbage in the water affects the speed of the boats,” the expert explained.

It is necessary or dredge the river and deal with rubbish properly for the smooth operation of the waterway bus, thus attracting more passengers, he added.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the city’s Traffic Safety Committee, asserted that dredging activities should be carried out promptly to ensure pleasant scenery for passengers.

The project investor and the municipal Department of Transport should also inform local residents of the new transport service before its official opening.

Junior tennis tournament opens in Sóc Trăng

More than 300 players are participating in the National Junior Tennis Tournament, which is being held in the southern province of Sóc Trăng.

The athletes, aged 12 to 18, are from 21 teams nationwide, including the Military, Hà Nội, Bắc Giang, Sóc Trăng, Lạng Sơn, Bình Dương, Tây Ninh and Lào Cai teams. The athletes are competing in both the men’s and women’s singles and doubles category.

The event will give young players a chance to hone their skills and gain experience, as well as get selected for the national teams.

The event will last until July 3.

Thanh Hóa beat Đà Nẵng at V.League

LC Thanh Hóa defeated Đà Nẵng 3-2 in the 14th round of the national premiere league at Thanh Hóa Stadium on Saturday.

Thanh Hóa started attacking as soon as the referee blew his whistle. Lê Quốc Phương opened the score for Thanh Hóa in the 14th minute.

Fifteen minutes later, Đà Nẵng’s Phan Văn Long levelled the score at 1-1.

After the break, Thanh Hóa continued dominating the match, and their efforts were rewarded with Pape Omar Feye and Lê Văn Thắng scoring the goals in the 69th minute and 76th minute, respectively.

In the remaining time, Đà Nẵng who last won the league in 2012 and were the runners-up in 2013, tried their best to narrow the gap to 2-3 with a goal by Eydison Teofilo Soares.

With this victory, Thanh Hóa topped the ranking with 29 points and Đà Nẵng ranked eighth with 18 points.

“Thanh Hóa showed a different face in this match. We played actively and effectively, so we are worthy of the win. This was very valuable three points, as Đà Nẵng are a strong candidate for this year’s tournament,” said coach Ljupko Petrovic of Thanh Hóa.

Meanwhile, coach Lê Huỳnh Đức said he was sorry for his team’s loss.

“We exerted ourselves. We deserved to have one point. The host team played very well, especially on the attack line,” said Đức.

In the other match, Sông Lam Nghệ An (SLNA) drew 1-1 with Quảng Ninh Coal. Despite not beating their rival, coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng was satisfied with his players’ performance.

“After two months of training, we improved many things. We started well and played unitedly. Trần Phi Sơn played a key role for SLNA. We scored first but were levelled in the final minutes,” said Thắng.

Elsewhere, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai bested Becamex Bình Dương 2-1, Khánh Hòa lost to Quảng Nam 0-3, HCM City beat Long An 3-2, Sài Gòn crushed Cần Thơ 2-1, and Hà Nội won Hải Phòng 2-0.

HCM City and Long An Province to ensure safety of agricultural products

HCM City Food Safety Management Board and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Long An Province signed an agreement regarding the production, trade and consumption of agricultural products for the 2017-20 period.

Under the agreement, they will strictly control safety in the cultivation, breeding, fishing, production, processing and slaughter of agricultural products.

They will co-operate with each other to check and supervise areas of vegetable and fruit cultivation, animal breeding and fishing in Long An Province, which provides products for the city’s markets.

They also will co-ordinate with each other to find the origin of products which violate regulations on food safety and hygiene.

Through this co-operation, enterprises and co-operatives as well as producers in the province will have favourable conditions to access the city’s wholesale markets, stores and supermarkets.

The board and department’s staff will exchange experiences in management and market information to improve effectiveness in production and consumption.

Long An Province is the first province to sign an agreement with the HCM City Food Safety Management Board.

Young Vietnamese scientists present research in RoK conference

The fourth annual Conference of Vietnamese Young Scientists (ACVYS) took place in the Republic of Korea (RoK) on June 25, featuring nearly 100 reports and research presented by Vietnamese scholars and students living in the host country.

The event was held by the Vietnamese Students’ Association in Korea (VSAK) at Gachon University, Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province with about 300 Vietnamese and foreign academics and students from universities across the RoK in attendance.

Opening the conference, VSAK President Pham Hai Chien said, with the goals “connecting knowledge, igniting passion”, the ACVYS lets young scientists present their latest research and share their interests and experience in biotechnology, mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, information technology, telecommunications materials science and more.

Vietnamese Deputy Ambassador to RoK Tran Anh Vu noted that the 15,000 Vietnamese students and alumni in the RoK form the second largest foreign student society in the country.

He lauded the knowledge and skills they obtained in the RoK, contributing greatly to Vietnam’s economic development, adding the event marks the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-RoK diplomatic relations.

Highlights at this year’s conference were reports on the Industrial Revolution 4.0, Vietnamese-Korean automatic translator Utagger, energy transition and the East Sea issues.

Traffic accidents, deaths drop in six months

More than 9,500 traffic accidents occurred across the country in the first six months of this year, killing more than 4,100 people and injuring over 7,000 others, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

The figures represented a drop of 636 in the number of accidents, 229 in the number of dead, and 1,004 in the number of injured compared to the same period last year.

The deadliest accident occurred in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai at the beginning of May when a coach crashed into a lorry, killing 13 people and injuring dozens of others.

In June, more than 1,500 traffic accidents were recorded with over 600 dead and 1,300 injured.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia front chiefs meet outstanding students

The Presidents of the fronts of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam had an exchange with outstanding students from the three nations at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi on June 25.

Opening the event, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man stressed the necessity for the younger generation to keep the three countries’ traditional solidarity.

He urged the youth to spare no effort to foster their capacity and do together more for their homelands and the tri-lateral ties.

President of the Lao Front for National Construction Saysomphone Phomvihane asked the students, particularly Lao students in Vietnam, to support one another in learning.

He thanked Vietnamese teachers for their assistance towards Lao students in Vietnam.

On behalf of the participating students, La Thi Thu Hue, from the University of Languages and International Studies, showed her pride in the strong friendship shared among Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

She pledged to work with her Lao and Cambodian peers to contribute to the relations’ growth.

The exchange featured performances of signature music of the three nations.

Vietnam hosts UN staff officer training course

A training course on UN peacekeeping for staff officers funded by the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) opened at the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre in suburban Thach That district, Hanoi on June 21.

The three-week course drew the participation of 24 officers, including those from partner countries of GPOI – Cambodia, Indonesia and Mongolia.

They are working as managers and planners for the preparation and deployment of individuals and units to UN peacekeeping operations, and those who are planned to perform duty in UN peacekeeping missions.

In his opening speech, Lt. Gen. Pham Hong Huong, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, said the course aims to prepare forces for effectively joining UN peacekeeping activities, contributing to implementing Vietnam’s consistent external policy of peace, cooperation and development, multilateralisation and diversification of relations. Vietnam is a realiable friend and partner and a responsible member of the global community, he stressed.

The course is hoped to equip officers with professional knowledge, skills and experience, contributing to improving peacekeeping work for Vietnamese officers.

Cần Thơ court hears traffic inspectors’ bribery case

The People’s Court of southern Cần Thơ City on Thursday opened the second day of trial to hear the case of seven traffic inspectors accused of bribery.
The inspectors are Dương Minh Tâm, 37; Đoàn Vũ Duy, 39; Võ Hoàng Anh, 35; and Nguyễn Trần Lưu, 40; as well as Lý Hoàng Minh, 32; Hồ Công Thiện, 40 and Trần Lập Pháp, 31 tuổi.
Two other defendants -- Trần Tường An, 39, and Nguyễn Văn Cần, 30 -- are also accused of the same crime.
According to the indictment of the People’s Procuracy of Cần Thơ City, the accused were prosecuted and brought to trial on charges of bribery in connection with an amount of nearly VNĐ4 billion (US$177,700).
During 2013 to 2016, the seven accused colluded with Trần Tường An and Nguyễn Văn Cần to negotiate with some local transport enterprises and neighbour provinces in the Cửu Long Mekong Delta to impose fines for minor traffic violations only.
Transport enterprises and individuals were forced to pay cash or transfer at least VNĐ1 million to VNĐ28 million per month to the above mentioned defendants upon violation of traffic regulations.
In four years, the defendants received nearly VNĐ4 billion from several enterprises and individuals.
According to the indictment, five defendants -- Dương Minh Tâm, Đoàn Vũ Duy, Võ Hoàng Anh, Trần Tường An and Nguyễn Văn Cần -- were charged with "taking bribes" and will receive the highest sentence of life imprisonment or death penalty if found guilty.
On the first working day, the trial panel began a questioning session to clarify the offense of each defendant in the case. The trial is expected to be completed within three days and sentencing will take place on Friday.

Vietnam junior golf tournament tees off

The Vietnam Junior Open 2017 starts June 22 and runs through June 25 at the Bluffs Ho Tram Strip 18-hole championship golf course in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, reports the Tienphong Online Newspaper.

About 90 junior golfers comprised of 70 local players and 20 foreigners registered for the tournament, the biggest junior golfer challenge sponsored by the Vietnam Golf Association.

Yen Bai works to care for HIV/AIDS-affected children

The northern mountainous province of Yen Bai has carried out a lot of measures to protect and care for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

The province has more than 2,000 children affected by HIV/AIDS, of whom 70 are living with HIV and 460 at high risk of getting HIV.

To date, over 95 percent of these children have been provided with services in health, education, nutrition and entertainment, and social welfare policies, depending on their age and demand.

All local HIV/AIDS treatment clinics and staff were equipped with knowledge and skills on caring for children affected by this disease.

The provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs guided its sub-departments at the city, district and town levels to implement the Prime Minister’s decision on taking action for children affected by HIV/AIDS, and expand care services for the needy at high-risk communes.

The department has also coordinated with the HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre in stepping up communications to avoid discriminations against HIV/AIDS-affected children and in providing them with free check-ups, consultations and treatment.

The children have been provided with health insurance cards, while those at high risk of getting HIV have received early screening tests.

Since 2012, the Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and several non-governmental organisations have supported Yen Bai in implementing a project on connecting services for children affected by HIV/AIDS in several communes in the mountainous districts of Van Yen and Van Chan, benefiting hundreds of children.

As a mountainous province inhabited by many ethnic minority people with limited awareness, Yen Bai will continue stepping up measures to change locals’ awareness in order to make a breakthrough in the protection and care for HIV/AIDS-affected children.

It will also work to attract more financial assistance from central agencies and social organisations to do this work effectively.

Writing contest on Vietnam-Russia friendship launched

The Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association under the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations has launched a writing contest on Vietnam-Russia friendship on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution (November 7, 1917).

The contest aims to highlight the significance and historical role of Russia’s October Revolution to Vietnam’s revolution as well as deepen the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

All Vietnamese and Russian citizens can participate in the contest. Entries should be written in Vietnamese and Russian with no more than 2,000 words and can be attached with photos or audiovisual materials.

There will be one special prize worth 30 million VND (1,320 USD), three first prizes, five second prizes, 10 third prize, and 20 consolation prizes.

The entries should be submitted between June 19, 2017 and March 30, 2018. The prize announcement is slated for June 2018.

Second ISSF spotlights Industrial Revolution 4.0, smart city

The second International Student Science Forum (ISSF) took place in Ho Chi Minh City on June 22, focusing on the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and smart city development.

The three-day forum attracts the participation of 108 students from 10 countries.

They are set to present opinions on the role of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in global development and smart city models and solutions.

Smart city services and citizens’ roles are also part of the discussion.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Nguyen Duc Nghia, Vice President of the Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNUHCM), said the southern city is leading Vietnam in innovations for sustainable development and integration.

The forum helps Vietnamese students exchange views and learn from their international peers, he added.

On the sidelines of the forum, international students will visit the Ho Chi Minh City high-tech industrial park and take part in exchange activities with students from the VNUHCM.

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE