Big M&A deals in the property market in early 2017
The real estate market saw a boom in M&A deals in the second half of 2016 and the trend continues in the first months of 2017.
According to the HCMC Real Estate Association (HOREA), 1,200 real estate projects had been developed by the end of 2016 in the city, of which 500 projects had been stagnant.
As many products didn't sell, investors could not take back the investment capital. This forced them to sell projects to pay bank debts and stop losses.
Novaland, after buying the 30 hectare Nam Rach Chiec project from VinaCapital, has taken over another project – the 180 hectare Da Phuoc urban area from Daewon Group.
Hung Thinh Corp has wrapped up the procedures to take over two projects in Binh Tan projects with the transaction value of VND426.5 billion, namely An Lac Plaza and Western Plaza from Binh Chanh Construction JSC, now a subsidiary of Khang Dien Investment and House Development.
Both the projects have been ‘revived’ by Hung Thinh and given new names – Moonlight Park View and Moonlight Boulevard.
A Hung Thinh representative said the company is negotiating to buy more projects in HCMC and the information about the deals will be made public soon.
Nguyen Dinh Bao, deputy CEO of Khang Dien, said after obtaining controlling stakes in BCI, Khang Dien now has the large land fund of 500 hectares. However, Khang Dien is still looking to purchase new projects and willing to transfer existing projects if the deals can bring expected profits.
Most recently, An Gia Investment and the Japanese Creed Group have announced the completion of the deal on their takeover of seven blocks belonging La Casa complex on Hoang Quoc Viet street in HCMC. The seller is Van Phat Hung JSC.
The recipients declined to reveal the value of the deal. However, Van Phat Hung’s reports showed that in the first two months of 2017, the company signed a contract on deposit for the transfer of the land-use rights and a part of La Casa construction work, worth VND490 billion. Later, it transferred other blocks of La Casa, worth VND420 billion. The profit from the two transfer deals was VND325 billion.
Nguyen Ba Sang, president of An Gia Investment, said the company plans to buy five more projects in 2017.
Instead of seeking capital from banks, some Vietnamese real estate developers have decided to join forces with foreign investors to develop projects. This is because the developers too reliant on bank loans would not be at a disadvantage compared with the ones which can control their financial resources.
A source said that foreign investors expect a profit of 20 percent for every investment deal.
Thanh Lich, VNN
Thứ Năm, 30 tháng 3, 2017
Vietnamese economy sees slower Q1 growth
Viet Nam posted a year-on-year GDP growth of 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, slower than the previous two years at 5.48 and 6.12 per cent, respectively.
Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam (GSO), said at a press briefing yesterday that one of the main reasons for the contraction was the slow growth of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture.
He said this sector grew 2.03 per cent in the first quarter, higher than the same period in 2016, but still recording the second lowest growth rate since 2011.
The sector contributed just 0.24 per cent to national GDP growth, he added.
The agriculture sector was hit by repeated natural disasters like flooding in the central region, severe drought in the Central Highlands and saltwater intrusion in the south, Lam noted.
The slowdown could also be attributed to negative impacts of a global economy that was still recovering, with attendant uncertainties in financial flows, the rising US dollar, interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve (Fed), making global monetary policy more complex, he said.
At the same time, Viet Nam’s international economic integration was deepening with a series of free trade agreements (FTAs) coming into force and tariffs being abolished, Lam said.
Furthermore, the industry and construction sector grew by just 4.17 per cent, 2.99 percentage points lower than that in 2016, posting the lowest rate of growth in the past 11 years, which dragged down by a 10 per cent drop in the mining industry.
The service industry hit the highest growth rate of 6.52 per cent since 2012, with wholesale and retail sectors up 7.38 per cent; banking, finance and insurance up 7.76 per cent; and real estate services up 3.72 per cent.
Export turnover in the first quarter is estimated at US$43.7 billion, up 12.8 per cent, with significant increase seen in some key items like electronic products, including computers and components, up 42.3 per cent. Textiles and garment exports were up 10.2 per cent, and machinery, equipment and spare parts up 34.6 per cent.
Investment in social development reached VND297.8 trillion ($13 billion) in the first quarter, up 8.6 per cent year-on-year.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) grew 6.2 per cent to reach VND80.5 trillion ($3.53 billion).
Total retail sales and services saw a year-on-year increase of 9.18 per cent to some VND921.1 trillion, going down to 6.2 per cent when factoring price hikes. This was lower than the 7.5 per cent increase in the first quarter of 2016, which means aggregate demand and purchasing power of the economy was rising but at a slower rate than the first quarter of 2016, Lam said.
Viet Nam needed its GDP to expand by 7 per cent in the remaining months to meet the 6.7 per cent target for 2017 to be met, he added.
Lam saw more difficulties and challenges ahead, rather than favourable conditions, making the national growth target very difficult without a breakthrough development in the remaining quarters.
Therefore, the Government, sectors, authorities at all levels, the business community and society as a whole must be proactive and flexible in overcoming obstacles and realising the socio-economic development targets set by the National Assembly, he said.
The country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 4.96 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, with January CPI up 5.22 per cent, February CPI up 5.02 per cent and March CPI up 4.65 per cent.
March CPI rose 0.21 per cent against the previous month, 4.65 per cent year-on-year and 0.9 per cent over last December.
Vu Thi Thu Thuy, head of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department, said that to keep the CPI below 4 per cent, the Government should direct the ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade to closely monitor price and market movements, especially for essential goods like rice, gasoline, steel and fertilizer. It should also pay attention to the timing of price adjustments for some goods managed by the State, she added.
The prices of eight of the basket of 11 groups of goods and services used to calculate the CPI increased, with the highest rise recorded for pharmaceuticals and healthcare services at 7.51 per cent, followed by education, 0.75 per cent; housing and construction materials, 0.5 per cent; and transportation, 0.39 per cent.
The three groups that experienced a price decline were restaurants and food services (0.87 per cent), garments, hats and shoes (0.12 per cent) and beverages and tobacco (0.02 per cent).
Thuy said the March CPI tended to decrease every year as consumption falls following the Lunar New Year, but this year, it increased after the Government raised the prices of medical and educational services.
The prices of petrol and diesel oil fell on March 6 and March 21, making the former cheaper by VND790 per litre and the latter by VND480 per litre. Cooking gas (LPG) prices rose 1.48 per cent over the previous month.
In March, gold prices fluctuated at around VND3.6 million per tael while the VND/USD exchange rate was stable at around VND22,700 to VND22,800 per USD. (A tael of gold is 1.205 ounces)
Core inflation (excluding food and fresh foodstuff, energy and State-controlled commodities such as health and education services) in March climbed 1.6 per cent over the previous month.
The CPI is forecast to continue increasing in April with price hikes in food, beverages, garment and educational services, GSO officials said.
Thứ Tư, 29 tháng 3, 2017
Hanoi calls for investment in wastewater treatment projects
Hanoi is calling for investments into wastewater treatment projects from 2016 – 2020, in a bid to protect the environment for sustainable development.
These projects are in Thanh Thuy commune, Thanh Oai district; Van Canh commune in Hoai Duc district; Ha Dong district; and Son Tay town.
They will be included in the list of projects to be presented at the city’s investment promotion conference slated for June.
As the city’s key tasks in 2017 will include environmental protection, the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment will set up teams to coordinate with relevant agencies and localities in promptly dealing with arising problems in pollution control and environmental violations.
The agency will call for resources in addressing environmental issues at local industrial parks and zones, urban zones and trade villages, including building wastewater treatment stations in 50 seriously polluting trade villages, using the wastewater treatment Duong Lieu – Cau Nga model in Hoai Duc district.
It will accelerate the implementation of environmental projects, particularly the waste and wastewater treatment projects in Son Dong and Van Canh communes, Hoai Duc district; Thanh Thuy commune in Thanh Oai district; and a concentrated waste treatment in Dong Ke hamlet, Tran Phu commune, Chuong My district.
Hanoi has completed and put into operation a wastewater treatment plant in Duong Lieu commune, Hoai Duc district and a wastewater treatment plant in the West Lake, with a daily capacity of 20,000 cubic metres; and started construction of a wastewater treatment facility in Yen Xa, with a daily capacity of 270,000 cubic metres.
In the first quarter this year, the industrial solid garbage-burning station, with a daily capacity of 75 tonnes funded by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development (NEDO) organisation has recently been put into operation in Nam Son, raising the rate of hazardous industrial waste treatment to over 90 percent.
The Fukuoka – Japan waste filling project in Xuan Son waste treatment area in Son Tay town, with a daily capacity of 240 tonnes have treated over 300,000 tonnes of waste.
Social News In Brief 28/3
Oil spill response training held in Quang Ninh
Some 200 people from oil exploiting and transporting companies and organisations in the northern province of Quang Ninh were provided with necessary knowledge and skills to respond to oil spills during a training course held in the locality on March 28.
The course was jointly organised by the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam Maritime Construction Investment Consultancy Joint Stock Company.
Participants were equipped with measures to control oil spills, laws and regulations related to the issue as well as technical measures to clean up oil-contaminated areas and ways to manage environmental pollution after the oil spill.
They also practised collecting oil from the spill in conditions of strong flows and big waves.
There has been no serious oil spill case in Quang Ninh province since the beginning of 2017.
Enhancing skills to prevent and tackle oil spills is necessary for the province as it is a coastal locality with vibrant maritime activities.
Hanoi gets ready for 10th Ministers’ Conference
Plans for the 10th Ministers’ Conference are unfolding without any hitches and the event is set to get underway in the capital city of Hanoi this coming April, says the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA).
The 10th Cooperative Ministers Conference (April 18-21) is a joint initiative of the Government of Vietnam, the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) and the International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Asia Pacific (ICA-AP).
The VCA, the apex organization of the Vietnam cooperative movement promotes the development of cooperatives and the cooperative economy, supports policy formulation around the cooperative sector, and represents the rights of members in a range of sectors including agriculture, trade, industry, and construction among others.
In Vietnam, the first cooperative was set up in 1940s as the iconic President of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh- a believer in cooperative ideology felt it is the only business structure to help the farmers, handicraftsmen and labourers to developing economically.
The theme for the 10th Asia Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ conference is: ‘Vision Ahead of 2020-Stakeholders in realizing the sustainable development goals.’ The conference will aim to highlight the ways in which cooperatives are contributing in achieving the SDGS; explore ways to strengthen partnerships between Governments and Co-operative Stakeholders; and draw a road map to realize the potential of cooperative in sustainable development.
Death penalty upheld for drug ring members
The Hanoi People’s Court has upheld the death sentence given to the ringleader and eight other members of a drug ring at an appeal trial in the northern province of Bac Ninh from March 22-24.
The court also maintained the life imprisonment sentence on two others while handing down the capital punishment to one defendant instead of the original life imprisonment.
The Bac Ninh People’s Procuracy appealed against the life imprisonment for Luong Thi Thao as she had been proven to involve in the transaction of 1,526 heroin bricks.
Trang A Tang (alias Tang Keangnam) and his 11-member ring including Trang’s wife Giang Thi Sua, were convicted at a first-instance trial of the Bac Ninh People’s Court in late September 2016 for trafficking 1,791 heroin bricks and 553 drug pills.
According to the indictment, at about 1pm of July 26, 2013, police tried to stop two cars driven by Trang A Tang and Giang Thi Sua for check in Vo Cuong ward of Bac Ninh city, but they didn’t obey. Police chased and stopped the cars in Song Khe commune of Bac Giang city.
Up to 265 heroin bricks (weighing 91.76kg) and 553 methamphetamine pills (weighing 51.5 grams) were found in the cars.
Investigation results show that Trang A Tang masterminded the ring which trafficked drugs from Laos to Bac Giang province via Son La.
Tang bought drugs from some Mong ethnic people in Laos and Thailand and hid the narcotics at the house of his father, Trang A Chu. The drugs were then sold to Luong Thi Thao in Bac Giang and others, according to the indictment.
Former shareholder of Dai Tin bank faces criminal proceeding
The police department for combating corruption and economic crime started criminal proceeding against Hua Thi Phan, a former shareholder of the Dai Tin bank, now the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB), and searched her house and office on March 24.
Previously, at a trial for the losses of over 9 trillion VND (404 million USD) at the VCNB, the court decided to launch criminal proceeding against Phan for “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions”, and “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences”.
She later appealed against the ruling, but the court rejected the appeal.
Phan was accused of wrongdoings that resulted in a negative 2.8 trillion VND (112.89 million USD) in owner's equity and cumulative losses of over 6.6 trillion VND (290.4 million USD) at the Dai Tin bank before it was sold to VNCB ex-Chairman Pham Cong Danh.
The criminal proceeding against Phan is considered the second stage of the VNCB case.
Two other former managers of Dai Tin bank, former chairman Hoang Van Toan and former CEO Tran Son Nam, were also arrested in January in the VNCB’s second stage.
Int’l tours popular at tourism fair
Hundreds of discounted tours have been sold at the HCM City Tourism Fair, which wrapped up on Sunday, with bookings for international tours accounting for more than 70 per cent of sales, according to tour operators.
A representative from TransViet Travel said 80 per cent of customers booked international tours, with prices starting at VNĐ9 million (US$395), at the company’s booth on the first day of the four-day fair.
Tours to Japan and South Korea accounted for 50 per cent of bookings, followed by China, Taiwan and other destinations in Southeast Asia.
Around 800 visitors booked tours at Saigontourist on the first day of the event.
Domestic tours with discounts of up to 50 per cent were also fully booked on the first day.
Trần Thị Kim Huyền, 57, from Bình Tân District bought a three-day tour to Phú Quốc Island at Saigontourist for two people at a cost of VNĐ2.7 million (US$118), down from the normal price of VNĐ5.6 million (US$245).
“It’s a really good price,” she said.
Besides the Phú Quốc tour, she is also looking for deals to China.
“My husband and I haven’t yet travelled abroad so we want to buy an international tour at a reasonable price,” Huyền said.
Bến Thành Tourist sold more than 100 tours on the first day. Only 20-30 per cent of bookings were for domestic tours to Phú Quốc, Đà Nẵng and Hạ Long.
Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Mai, marketing and communications manager at Bến Thành Tourist, said the company offered discounts and promotions valued at VNĐ350 million (US$15,350) at the fair.
Tours to Japan for four to five days cost only VNĐ30 million (US$1,300), much lower than normal prices, Mai said.
Almost all international tours saw prices fall by 10-20 per cent compared to five years ago, she said.
Prices of international tours are considered "competitive" compared to domestic tours.
Most tour operators attributed the slump in sales of domestic tours to rising prices, particularly during public holidays.
The annual event held by the HCM City’s Department of Tourism attracted more than 70 tour operators, hotels, restaurants, airlines and provincial tourism agencies with 180 booths.
It aimed to create opportunities for local people to access promotion programmes in leisure travel as well as stimulate tourism demand.
Lê Thân, director of Tourism Promotion Centre in Bình Thuận Province, said that the fair is a great opportunity to introduce the province’s tourist destinations to travellers in HCM City.
Vietnam jails whistleblower linked to bribery case
A court in Vietnam's Central Highlands has sentenced a Vietnamese man to four and a half years in jail for “giving bribes” in a corruption case that he himself had exposed, local media reported.
Tran Minh Loi, 49, was found guilty along with five people for "giving bribes" to the police in Dak Nong Province in exchange for the release of several gamblers a year ago, Thanh Nien newspaper said.
The People's Court in Dak Nong opened the hearing on March 22 against Loi and another seven people, including a policeman in Dak Mil District and a bank executive.
Police in Dak Mil District arrested six people for gambling in January last year.
Lanh Thanh Binh, a Dak Mil police officer, suggested that the gamblers would be released if they agreed to give him and two other officers some money, Thanh Nien said.
One of the gamblers told his family about the solicitation and they told Loi, who is known by many in his province as an active whistleblower, using his Facebook page “Diet giac noi xam” (Destroying domestic invaders) to upload video clips as evidence of corruption by local officials and police.
Loi advised them to have a meeting with Binh. They secretly recorded and filmed the meeting, where the officer received VND60 million (US$2,640).
With the evidence, Loi filed complaints against three officers. Binh was arrested while the other two were suspended.
Several relatives of the gamblers were also arrested on charges of “giving bribes”.
The court gave Binh one-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for abuse of power.
At the trial, the judge panel did not believe Loi’s argument that his involvement was only to expose corruption. It said Loi had used the evidence to threaten Binh first, Vietnam News Agency reported.
In the same hearing, the court found Loi guilty for giving bribes to a bank executive in Dak Lak Province to get access to a soft loan in April 2014.
Before his arrest, Loi had collected evidence of corruption by provincial government officials and police.
Thanks to his work, dozens of police officers have been disciplined.
Vietnam attends international cultural week in Mexico
Vietnamese Ambassador to Mexico Le Linh Lan and ambassadors from Thailand, the Philippines and Thailand cut the ribbon to inaugurate a photo exhibition on ASEAN member states’ people and culture during the Naucalpan 2017 international cultural week, which was held in Mexico from March 24-26.
Vietnam’s space at the exhibition featuring the country’s stunning landscapes and the well-known traditional Ao Dai received great attention from international friends. Art performances and traditional cuisine of ASEAN countries also wowed the visitors.
In his opening remarks, director of the Naucalli cultural institute and park Juan Jose Vicencio Estrada highlighted that the event, annually held by the institute, aims to enhance understanding and tighten relations between Mexico and foreign nations.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador to Mexico Yusra Khan, who holds the rotary chair of the ASEAN committee in Mexico, spoke highly of the cultural week, saying that it offers opportunities to foster cultural exchange, popularise ASEAN states’ image as well as lift up the friendship and cooperation between the bloc and Mexico.
The Ambassador also laid stress on ASEAN’s significant role in the Southeast Asian region, given that the establishment of the bloc helps member states promote integration and collaboration to cope with challenges, especially non-traditional security issue.
Vietnamese pagodas in Thailand help connect two cultures
The presence of 21 Vietnamese pagodas in Thailand has demonstrated the two nations’ cultural interaction, thus helping promote the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
Most Venerable Thich Kinh Chieu, head monk at Pho Phuoc pagoda, who led a visiting delegation of 50 Annam Kiya Buddhists and overseas Vietnamese in Thailand, made the remark at a meeting with President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan in Hanoi on March 27.
The monk said the 21 Vietnamese pagodas were built in eight cities and provinces across Thailand, receiving due attention from Thai kings.
Apart from ritual and spiritual activities, the pagodas also open classes to teach Vietnamese for expatriates, he added.
Eight pagodas have been attached with the plates bearing Vietnamese names, which aims to introduce visitors the origin of the pagodas as well as the Vietnamese cultural vitality in Thailand, he noted.
The pagodas also help strengthen the solidarity of the Vietnamese community in Thailand, which now numbers 100,000, and educate young generations about the national unique culture, he said.
Nhan expressed his pleasure to receive the delegation and recognised the Buddhists’ significant contributions to developing the Vietnamese Buddhism over the past 200 years in Thailand.
The head monks at 21 Vietnamese pagodas in Thailand are the symbol of connection between the two countries, he said, hoping that all the pagodas will bear Vietnamese names.
The same day, the delegation visited the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and the Thai Embassy in Vietnam.
Lao army officers get doctorate degrees
Two officers from Laos’ Kaysone Phomvihane Defence Academy under the Laos People’s Army have received doctorate degrees under the training programme of the Vietnam Academy of Defence (VNAD).
The awardees were senior lieutenant-colonel Thomdam Sengsoulichanh and senior lieutenant-colonel Khamsone Keobuonpanh.
The March 27 ceremony saw the presence of VNAD Director Major General Tran Viet Khoa and Director of the Lao academy Colonel Keosouphan Inthavongsa.
Speaking at the event, Major General Nguyen Van Hanh, head of the VNAD’s Department of Training, hailed the efforts made by the two Lao officers in fulfilling the training course.
Over the past years, VNAD has helped train high-quality human resources for the Lao People’s Army in general and the Kaysone Phomvihane Defence Academy in particular.
Many graduates from VNAD are holding high-ranking positions in the Lao army while others are studying and teaching at the academy.
Vietnamese students show off talent in China
Twenty Vietnamese students in China participated in a beauty – talent contest held at the Beijing Language and Culture University in Beijing on March 23.
The contest, held by Vietnamese Students Association in China for the first time, was one of events celebrating the 67th anniversary of Vietnam – China diplomatic relations and responding to Vietnam Youth Month.
It aimed to honour appearance and intelligence beauty of Vietnamese students, thus promoting their images as dynamic, confident, talented and creative students, said Vietnamese ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi.
It served as a forum for students to meet with each other while strengthening solidarity among Vietnamese students in Beijing and boosting friendly relations between Vietnamese and international students.
Visitors to the event were impressed by contestants’ performances which featured their characteristics, talent and beauty.
They also enjoyed traditional performances by students from China and Southeast Asian countries.
VOV, Vietnam Airlines cooperate in news reporting
Leaders of the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) and Vietnam Airlines met in Hanoi on March 27 to outline cooperative contents between the two agencies in the time ahead.
During the meeting, both sides have committed to cooperating in news reporting and elevating the image of the two agencies in the eye of the public, local and foreign clients.
VOV President Nguyen The Ky said VOV has faced a number of challenges and fierce competition from other media outlets in securing its market share, noting that VOV has developed a long-term strategy to operate effectively and train a highly qualified staff.
Mr Ky said with advantages of different media forms such as radio and television broadcasting, and print and online newspapers, VOV wants to enhance long-term and comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam Airlines, especially in introducing the image of the national flag carrier to both local and foreign clients.
vov, vietnam airlines cooperate in news reporting hinh 1 Duong Chi Thanh, general director of Vietnam Airlines highlighted the initiative of VOV in promoting and strengthening bilateral cooperation to further promote its brand to the public in the most efficient manner.
Both sides have committed to working out specific cooperative contents in the time ahead with a focus on clients from inside the country and overseas.
Khanh Hoa develops rural areas
The south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa will mobilise over 3.1 trillion VND (136 million USD) for rural development.
The money will be mainly sourced from the State budget as part of a plan promulgated by the provincial People’s Committee to implement the national target programme on building new-style rural areas between 2017 and 2020.
The locality strives to have nearly 62 percent of communes meeting the programme’s criteria by 2020.
It aims to ensure the development harmony between rural and urban areas by developing new residential areas and upgrading the existing ones.
Local authorities prioritise investments in transport infrastructure, irrigation network, medical stations, and schools for 20 communes in the mountainous districts of Khanh Son and Khanh Vinh.
Such fundamental criteria as roads, electricity, and rural markets will receive attention as well.
The province will also focus on developing production and agricultural restructuring as well as shifting rural economic structure to improve local income.
At the end of 2016, Khanh Hoa has 26 out of the 94 communes recognised as new-style rural areas.
Vietnamese expats in Hungary pay tribute to fallen soldiers
A requiem for fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country’s sea and islands sovereignty was recently held in Budapest, Hungary.
At the ceremony, overseas Vietnamese (OVs) recalled the heroic sacrifices of the martyrs, including the 64 soldiers killed while protecting Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago on March 14, 1988.
Trinh Tuan Anh, representative of the organising board, said that the requiem is part of the activities to express gratitude and respect for the soldiers who lied down for the national sea and islands.
Communist youth union anniversary marked in Russia
Vietnamese youths in Russia celebrated the 86th founding anniversary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (March 26, 1931) at the Hanoi-Moscow Complex (Incentra), Moscow on March 26.
Speaking at the meeting, Le Anh Duy, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Delegation to the Russia Federation, gave a brief overview of the union’s activities in 2016, saying it successfully held the cultural exchange performances with the Leninist Komsomol and launched a donation campaign to aid flood-affected people in Vietnam.
Anh thanked the Vietnamese Embassy to Russia, the Overseas Party Committee and other Vietnamese associations in Russia for their support to the union last year and expressed his hope for more assistance in the future.
Pham Duc Vinh, Deputy Secretary of the Overseas Party Committee in Russia, reaffirmed that the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union is a helpful arm of the Communist Party of Vietnam. He lauded the accomplishment of the union in the past and urged the union’s members to continue learning to improve themselves.
Outstanding individuals and organisations who greatly contributed to the union’s operation were honoured during the event.
Renowned Vietnamese monk commemorated in Laos
Vietnamese people in Laos paid homage to Most Venerable Thich Trung Quan, one of the greatest overseas Vietnamese monks, at a ceremony at Bang Long Pagoda in Vientiane on March 26.
The memorial service at Bang Long Pagoda – the centre of Vietnamese Buddhism in Laos – was attended by Most Venerable Thich Thanh Dam and Thich Quang Tung from the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung, Lao monks, and Vietnamese expatriates.
Addressing the event, Most Venerable Thich Tho Lac, the fifth leader of Bang Long, said the pagoda was built in 1942 by Vietnamese people. Thich Trung Quang was the fourth leader of the pagoda and also the first person to disseminate the Mahayana Buddhism in Laos. He also had great influence on Vietnamese Buddhists in Europe.
Thich Trung Quan (real name Vu Thanh Quat) was born on June 9, 1918, in Nam Dinh province. From 1969 to 1978, he opened many training courses on Buddhism at Bang Long while building and being the spiritual leader of about 10 pagodas across Laos. The pagoda became a destination for a number of people during that time, thus becoming the centre of Vietnamese Buddhism in Laos
In mid-1978, Most Venerable Thich Trung Quan left for Europe to popularise the Mahayana Buddhism and establish Hoa Nghiem Pagoda in Paris, France. He also set up many other Buddhist temples in other European countries.
He also spent time on translating and writing books on Buddhism with more than 20 publications in total. He passed away on April 1, 2003.
Also at the ceremony, representatives of Bang Long Pagoda presented gifts to disadvantaged Vietnamese and Lao students who had good academic results in Laos.
Quang Binh promotes tourism in Hanoi
The central province of Quang Binh and the capital city of Hanoi co-organised a conference in Hanoi on March 25 to promote tourism connectivity.
The event shapes part of the programme “Quang Binh in the heart of Hanoi” held from March 25-27.
It created a good chance for Quang Binh to introduce its culture and strengths to draw more domestic and international visitors via Hanoi, Vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Tien Dung said.
The conference also enabled the two sides’ businesses to seek partners, he added, calling on businesses and investors, especially those from Hanoi and northern localities, to attract more visitors to Quang Binh.
New air routes between Dong Hoi and Cat Bi (Hai Phong), and Dong Hoi-Chiang Mai (Thailand) were introduced at the event.
A number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed at the conference, including a MoU on developing Quang Binh-Hanoi tourism cooperation for the 2017-2020 period, and another inked between Quang Binh and Hanoi tourism associations, and Quang Binh Tourism Information and Promotion Center and UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club.
Later on the day, a programme “Quang Binh in the heart of Ha Noi” was launched in Ly Thai To garden, re-enacting part of Quang Binh, especially its famous caves, right in Hanoi’s walking street.
Quang Binh boasts rich tourism resources in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and the world’s largest cave Son Doong.
The province also has the longest coastline in Vietnam with beautiful beaches and special seafood dishes, and it is chosen as one of the filming destinations of the movie “Kong: Skull Island” – which is expected to bring great benefits to the local tourism.
It is preserving valuable tangible and intangible cultural values such as “ca tru” (ceremonial singing), and “ho khoan” (a genre of Vietnamese folk music in Le Thuy district).
Workshop reviews integration of policies on poverty reduction
A workshop was held in the northern mountainous province of Son La on March 24 to review the integration of policies on poverty reduction from 2015 – 2016 and set plans for 2017 – 2020.
The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme and the Embassy of Ireland in Vietnam.
The workshop highlighted the suitability in integrating policies on poverty reduction in 2016-2020, saying the move helped harmonise mechanisms and synchronise the application process as well as make it easy for local officials, especially those at the grassroots level, to refer to and implement policies.
The integration of policies at the central level also helped reduce overlapping, wasterfulness and increase the effective use of stage budget at local levels.
However, participants pointed out shortcomings in integrating policies on poverty reduction.
At the event, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs and several localities called on the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs to discuss with the Committee when they develop policies related to disadvantaged areas.
Hoang Thi Ha from the Social Policy Bank said policies on credit should be integrated into policies on encouraging agricultural production, while Nguyen Thanh Thuy, Deputy Director of the Hoa Binh provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, suggested integrating with local related policies.
Participants agreed that policies on poverty reduction should be based on beneficiaries, localities, and benefited time to enhance access for the poor.
Reviewing and amending are needed to avoid overlapping among policies, thus bettering multi-dimentional access to social services.
Computing education programme to support the blind
The programme on computing education for people with vision impaired was launched at the talking book library for the blind at 18B Dinh Tien Hoang Street, HCM City, on March 25.
The programme was supported by Microsoft Vietnam and the talking book charity fund to teach the blind how to use computers and access the Internet, the huge source of information. It aims to help develop the capabilities of the blind and prepare them for computing career opportunities.
The project will be carried out for a year and each course will be run in three months with 15 students.
Its curriculum was designed by a group of people with vision impaired under consultation from Microsoft Vietnam staff while all ten lecturers are also the blind with university degrees.
Director of the talking book library Nguyen Huong Duong said the programme is expected to not only benefit the attending blind but also inspire the blind community to study information technology for social integration.
Microsoft Vietnam hopes that it will open up more opportunities for people with impaired vision and help them improve their life quality, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs Pham Khoa said, adding that if successful, the project will be scaled up across the country.
During the launching event, the Tan Nam Do Trading Co. Ltd donated 30 computers to the talking book library and Vietnam Foundation presented the library with 77 computers with no screen for the blind.
Quang Nam province launches key traffic projects
The central province officially launched the Giao Thuy Bridge--one of the key projects connecting mountainous areas with the provincial centre and Da Nang City - on the occasion of the province’s Liberation Day (March 24).
Dang Ba Du, head of the province’s investment projects management board, said the four-lane bridge, which began construction in 2015 with a total investment of 823 billion VND (36.4 million USD), will help link mountainous districts of Nong Son, Que Son, rural Duy Xuyen district in Quang Nam and Da Nang City.
The 1km long concrete bridge will help vehicles travel safely and move efficiently between two provincial roads – DT609 and DT610 – crossing over the Thu Bon River.
Du called it one of the most important projects boosting socio-economic development and eco-tourism in the poverty-stricken mountainous districts.
“The bridge provides a shortcut from Da Nang to Duy Xuyen district and mountainous areas in Quang Nam province. It also puts an end to the operation of dangerous ferry travel among communities during flood season,” Du said.
He said the bridge will links the UNESCO-recognised heritage My Son Sanctuary in Duy Xuyen district with ancient Hoi An city and destinations in Da Nang, Hue city and neighbouring provinces of Quang Binh and Quang Ngai provinces.
The province also launched yesterday the 10km rescue and ring road project from Duy Xuyen to Nong Son with total investment of 120 billion VND (5.3 million USD).
The key traffic projects aims to develop eco-tourism sites in Dai Binh and Hon Kem and Da Dung in Nong Son district.
Last year, the province commenced construction on two key projects – the Nam Hoi An Integrated Resort Project, invested by VinaCapital and Gold Yield Enterprises Corporations, and the expansion of the Truong Hai -Chu Lai Mechanical Automobile Industrial Zone, with initial capital of 535.3 million USD.
The province, home to world heritage sites – Hoi An, My Son sanctuary and Cham Island biosphere reserve, has attracted 110 tourism projects since 1997.
Democratic regulations in education system needs stricter supervision
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) to strengthen its supervision of the implementation of democratic regulations in the educational system.
At a conference in Hanoi on March 24, Deputy PM Dam said enforcing democratic regulations at schools and educational institutions plays a particularly important role in the comprehensive and fundamental reform of the educational sector.
The supervision needs to be specific, Dam said, adding that teachers have the right to evaluate the management in a democratic manner through secret ballot while students are allowed to evaluate their teachers’ competence at classes.
The Deputy PM also requested that State management agencies and educational leaders at all levels strengthen their role in implementing democratic regulations at schools.
MoET and the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs are urged to issue joint documents, requesting schools and educational institutions to report their regulations to relevant bodies. The regulations must be developed based on opinions of all teaching and managing staff at the school, approved by the School Board and made public.
Participants shared the view that it’s necessary to establish School Boards at educational institutions to effectively implement the democratic regulations.
However, only 16 out of 38 universities under the MoET have established their School Boards. The structure of those boards is not really appropriate, with the functions and tasks of the Board’s Chairman, the Dean and the Secretary of the school’s Party Committee overlapping.
According to the MoET, there are nearly 1.4 million teachers and educational managers, 22 million students and 44,968 educational institutions from pre-school to tertiary levels.
Better institutions needed to fight corruption in judiciary
Improving legal institutions on corruption prevention and control in judiciary activities to ensure business benefits in Vietnam was the focus of discussions at a workshop in Hanoi on March 24.
The workshop was co-organised by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Vo Van Dung, deputy head of the commission, said as the country is sparing no efforts to speed up international economic integration, create a healthy business environment and improve national competitiveness, preventing and fighting corruption and negative phenomena in judiciary activities of courts have become more important and is a key task in juridical reform.
Negative phenomena might pose obstacles, result in costs and deprive enterprises of business opportunities, Dung noted.
According to the official, civil, economic and labour disputes among enterprises and between enterprises and organisations and individuals, especially disputes with foreign entities, will increase amidst international economic integration, requiring effective anti-corruption measures in judiciary activities.
UNDP Vietnam Assistant Country Director Dennis Curry said transparency is an important and invariable factor in fighting corruption. He also pointed to the need to build a strong and clear legal framework, avoid legal loopholes and apply technology.
Nguyen Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the Governmental Inspectorate’s Legal Department, said one of the solutions to perfect legal institutions on anti-corruption is to complete a code of conducts for judges and staff in the court sector.
Vietnam, RoK share experience in national reform, development
National reform and sustainable development in East Asia was the main topic of a forum jointly held in Hanoi on March 24 by the Development Strategy Institute under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Forum Oh-rae of the Republic of Korea (RoK).
Addressing the event, MPI Deputy Minister Dang Huy Dong said that the forum opens up new prospects of cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK, while contributing to the enhancement of connection between their scholars, policymakers and businesspeople.
Recommendations given at the event will serve as references for the ministry in working out strategies, plans and planning schemes as well as policies for national development, he said.
Hahm Seung Heui, Chairman of Forum Oh-rae, said that the sharing of experience among countries will speed up the removal of obstacles hindering Vietnam’s bid to become a developed industrial country.
Vietnam and the RoK elevated their relations to the level of strategic partnership in 2009, he noted, adding that the RoK is currently the largest foreign investor in Vietnam with a total investment of 50 billion USD in 5,600 valid projects. In 2016 alone, RoK businesses invested over 5.5 billion USD in 828 projects.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is also the third largest recipient of investment from the RoK, just behind China and the US.
The RoK is currently the second largest provider of bilateral official assistance for Vietnam after Japan. In terms of trade, the RoK is Vietnam’s third biggest partner with two-way trade reaching 45.1 billion USD in 2016.
Regarding solutions for Vietnam to deal with low growth, Kim Byong Joon, head of the Oh-rae Institute for Policy Research, highlighted the importance of science-technology, development research capacity and improved productivity.
Meanwhile, Dr Nguyen Thi Tue Anh. Vice Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said that Vietnam is reforming its growth model to increase productivity and competitiveness.
She stressed that improving qualifications of the workforce is essential, which will also help narrow the gap of competitiveness among regional countries, attract technologies and fully tap opportunities from international economic integration.
Save the Children aids Tien Giang in response to disasters
Save the Children in Vietnam, a non-profit organisation, has funded a project on building capacity to cope with natural disasters and enhance access to clean water and hygiene in coastal areas in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.
The project is being implemented from March to December 2017 with total funding of 4.95 billion VND (some 220,000 USD) in the four coastal communes of Tan Thanh, Gia Thuan (Go Cong Dong district) Phu Dong and Phu Tan (Tan Phu Dong district). These communes have been facing difficulties caused by climate change and rising seawater.
The project is hoped to benefit more than 15,000 local residents. Composite rubbish bins will be installed in 60 disadvantaged households, while rainwater storage systems will be provided for 262 families and 60 others will receive plastic toilets.
Several activities will also be held, such as establishment of emergency rescue teams, drills on response to natural disasters and training courses on building safe toilets in flooded areas for locals.
Nguyen Thien Phap, Chief of Office of the provincial Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said the project is essential for residents living along the Go Cong coastal region. It will raise the climate change adaptation ability of poor and vulnerable people, as well as improve water supplies in the dry season.
Local administrations to play greater role in blindness prevention
Local administrations should play a greater role in the national strategy on blindness prevention, head of the national steering committee for blindness control and Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said at the committee’s debut meeting on March 24.
Deputy Minister Tien also said the chairpersons of People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities have the responsibility to allocate and ensure resources to carry out the strategy on blindness control.
Delivering a report on blindness prevention in 2016-2017, Director of the Central Eye Hospital Nguyen Xuan Hiep, who is a deputy head of the steering committee, said his hospital, in coordination with the Health Ministry, the World Health Organisation and domestic charity organisations, conducted 1,000 cataract surgeries free of charge for the poor in 11 provinces in 2016. The hospital also provided eye care training to 1,500 medical workers of communal and district clinics, and transferred eye surgical techniques to many provincial hospitals across the country.
This year, the Central Eye Hospital plans to transfer medical techniques to 23 medical establishments.
According to the doctor, Vietnam currently has around 2,000 eye doctors and about the same number of nurses specialising in ophthalmology. The number is too small compared to eye care and treatment needs, he said, noting that shortages of human resources and medical equipment are posing great challenges to the prevention and treatment of blindness in the country.
The national strategy on blindness control to 2020 with a vision to 2030 was approved on December 31, 2006.
The strategy sets the goal of improve access to services in preventing, early detecting, treating eye disorders, thus reducing the rate of blindness due to preventable diseases. The overall target is to reduce the rate of blindness to below 45 per 10,000 persons by 2020 while increasing the ratio of people receiving cataract surgery to more than 25 per 10,000 and the rate of diabetic patients receiving periodical eye care to more than 45 percent.
Project helps raise kids’ awareness of wildlife
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) has kicked off a project named “Green Childhood” for nearly 1,200 kindergarten kids in Nho Quan town, the northern province of Ninh Binh.
The goal of the project is to raise awareness of protecting the natural environment and wildlife in Vietnam among children.
The project is sponsored by the Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V., Germany, in collaboration with the Cuc Phuong National Park and the Nho Quan district’s Division of Training and Education.
Ho Thi Kim Lan, SVW Education Outreach Manager, said children today do not have many opportunities to contact with the wildlife and the “Green Childhood” project is created to solve the problem.
With the “Green Childhood,” children will have chances to take part in field trips to the Cuc Phuong National Park to study nature and wildlife animals as well as preservation activities at the Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre.
There will be a total of 49 trips, each for 25 children, with activities designed for kindergarten pupils.
Dinh Thi Nhien, teacher at the Cuc Phuong kindergarten, said such significant activities will increase kids’ love for animals and awareness of nature protection, thus helping them grow both physically and mentally with social skills via interaction with their peers.
She hopes the project will be expanded to children of other age groups in the district.
Earlier, the SVW organised a conference for 43 officials from the district’s Division of Education and Training, and teachers from 14 kindergartens in Nho Quan district to introduce the project, preservation activities, as well as the role of education in fighting wildlife trafficking.
The project will last until December 2017.
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) is a non-profit organisation established to save the future of wildlife in Vietnam. Its main activity is cooperating with the Cuc Phuong National Park to support the management and operation of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Programme (CPCP).
New project on HIV prevention among young drug users launched
A new project has recently been launched to control HIV infection among young drug users aged 16 to 24 in Vietnam by the Centre for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), according to the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office under the Ministry of Health.
The project, which will runs through 2019, was sponsored by Expertise France, a French agency for international technical expertise.
It will be implemented in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, Quang Ninh and Khanh Hoa and is expected to benefit about 8,000 young drug users.
The project is designed to help develop intervention strategies and enhance capacities of community-based groups in implementing intervention programmes, while improving effectiveness of communication channels.
Within the framework of the project, an initial survey was conducted in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City among 471 young drug users, said the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office.
The result showed drug users often came from economically disadvantaged families or had negative childhood experiences.
It also revealed that about 13.7 percent of youth injected drug, while 60 – 75 percent had experienced sexual intercourse, of which unsafe sex accounted for 50 percent.
Data problems hinder IT application in health insurance
Incomplete data is among the issues hindering the application of information technology in health insurance, according to a report by the Ministry of Health’s Health Insurance Department.
As part of a health insurance medical information system rolled out last June and described as the optimal solution to ensure transparency and prevent insurance fraud, the transmission of electronic data in health insurance management and payment is facing challenges due to continuous changes in local health service facilities, said the report.
These were changes to technical and medical equipment, medicine and other health related items.
Others issues, according to the report, relate to the difficulties in hiring IT service companies to help health insurance agencies follow the Government’s rules on using information systems in health insurance.
In particular, some documents issued by Vietnam Health Insurance are not synchronised with the Ministry of Health’s instructions on the hiring of IT companies to install medical infomation systems for health insurance management and payment
The problems were found mostly at health insurance authorities at grass-root levels where many staff lack qualifications to record data about patients’ tests and treatments and therefore information transmitted to social insurance agencies for payment is often not sufficiently clear, said the report.
A lack of both quantity and quality of IT facilities such as computers and network servers at local health insurance agencies is also hindering the application of IT in their management works.
A majority of hospitals and clinics have not installed information medical systems with a capacity to import the required data, which often includes many figures.
Moreover, most health care workers have not been trained in IT and find it hard to adapt to the medical information system.
Deputy Minister of Health Le Tuan, told the Vietnam Economic Times recently that although this year was promoted as the threshold year for implementing the National Assembly’s resolution on boosting the linkage of health care data between healthcare systems and health insurance and social insurance, the connection is still very limited due to problems in sending and receiving data.
According to another report delivered by Pham Luong Son, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Social Security at a conference held in January, 99.5 percent of medical facilities nationwide have been linked to the health insurance medical information assessment system since its launch, except for 65 commune-level health stations in remote areas without electricity access.
The health insurance medical information assessment system received some 68.9 million dossiers requesting insurance payments worth 35 trillion VND (1.55 billion USD) in the last six months of 2016, and another 3 million requesting insurance payments of 2 trillion VND (88.6 million USD) in the first month of 2017, the report said.
Doctors complete double-chamber pacemaker surgery
Thu Duc District Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City implanted a double-chamber pacemaker in the body of a 51-year-woman who had an abnormally slow heart rate on March 23.
The patient, from the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan, was brought to the hospital on March 21 with symptoms of dizziness and fatigue. The woman said she could not do any daily activity.
Results of a 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) showed that she had a slow heart rate of 40 beats per minute compared to the normal rate of 60 or more per minute. In this situation, cardiac arrest can sometimes occur within six seconds.
The doctor said that her slow heart rate was caused by a sinus node dysfunction.
After counselling from the doctor, the patient agreed to surgery which lasted 90 minutes. She is expected to be discharged within several days.
Compared to single-chamber pacemakers, the double-chamber pacemaker helps hearts beat more regularly. They are used in patients with an abnormally slow heart rate, according to the hospital’s doctor.
Dialysis treatment extends patients’ lives
More than 26,000 people receive regular dialysis treatment in the country, which helps prolong their life.
A 42-year-old patient in HCM City’s District 8 with end-stage kidney failure for three years has visited An Binh Hospital weekly for dialysis, which removes waste, salt and extra water from his blood to prevent them from building up in the body. Dialysis also helps control blood pressure.
Dr Vo Duc Chien, Director of Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in HCM City, said that effective dialysis helps prolong the life of patients with the condition.
The hospital has the only advanced dialysis machines in HCM City, which use high-flux membrane (with larger pore size) dialyzers which filter the blood of patients. These are considered by some doctors to be more effective than low-flux dialyzers.
Chien said that many patients at end-stage disease need a kidney transplant, but there are not enough donated kidneys. Those patients must receive dialysis treatment regularly.
Dr Pham Van Bui, Chairman of the Society of Dialysis Therapy of HCM City, said that chronic kidney failure in 2010 was the 18th cause of fatalities globally, compared to the 27th cause of deaths in 1990.
One out of 10 people suffer from the condition worldwide, Bui said, adding that the figure in Vietnam is higher. However, there is no official number of patients with the condition.
Chronic kidney failure cannot be cured, he said, adding that patients diagnosed at the end stage of kidney failure must have dialysis for the rest of their life.
“The leading criterion for dialysis is how to improve quality of living for patients and help them live for an additional 30 years. This can be done with patients who use dialysis in Japan,” Bui said.
He said that it was important for patients to have normal lives and take part in social activities.
To improve efficiency and reduce the death rate, health facilities in the country providing dialysis should use high-flux dialysis and replace low-flux dialysis treatments, he said.
Hirokazu Matsubara of the Japanese Society for Technology of Blood Purification said that patients in Japan lived longer if they used high-flux dialysis, sometimes up to 40 more years.
Matsubara said it was essential to use very pure water to prevent bacterial contamination during treatment.
Filtration membranes in dialysis machines should not be reused to treat another patient, a practice that sometimes occurs in Vietnam, reducing treatment effectiveness, he added.
Bui said that in Vietnam, kidney disease can develop in patients who are obese or diabetic.
A strategy for losing weight and preventing diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac disease helps reduce the risk for kidney conditions, he added.
“The most important thing is to provide guidance on nutrition for patients,” Bui said.
During dialysis, patients should take vitamins and eat nutritious diets with meals having enough protein, fat and other nutrients to avoid malnutrition and anaemia, he said.
Many patients often become malnourished because they do not obey doctors’ recommendations or do not receive information from doctors about nutritional supplementation, he added.
Illegal zipline makes authorities swing into action in Central Highlands
Authorities in Lam Dong Province are looking into reports of unauthorized tours to a zipline over the Golden Stream in Lac Duong District, an area that is not licensed for adventure tourism.
A group of around 10 tourists, including foreigners, was spotted with a tour guide on March 24 taking turns on the zipline, which is around 50 meters long.
The guides built the zipline themselves, according to the provincial tourism department.
“Only some of them had a chance to try the line before the guide realized they had been spotted,” said an unnamed inspector from the department.
Nguyen Thi Nguyen, the department’s director, confirmed that Lam Dong only allows adventure tourism at Datanla Falls in Da Lat and only licensed travel agencies are allowed to operate there.
Lam Dong is home to the popular resort town of Da Lat.
Last month, a Polish traveler and a Vietnamese tour guide died after falling from a rope as they were climbing down Hang Cop Falls in the province.
The Polish man bought his tour from Giac Mo Vang (Golden Dream) Limited Company, which does not have a license to organize adventure tours, according to local authorities.
In February last year, three British tourists, including two women, died after being swept down Datanla Falls in the Central Highlands province.
Last week, the UK issued a warning to its citizens about traveling to Vietnam, saying that while the country is a safe destination, adventure tourism risks should be taken seriously.
Two killed, 10 injured in head-on bus crash in Central Highlands
At least two people have been killed and 10 others wounded after two passenger buses collided head-on in Vietnam on the afternoon of March 26.
The accident occurred on the section of National Highway 20 in Di Linh District, Lam Dong Province, located in the Central Highlands, at around 2:30 pm.
One of the sleeper buses belonged to Thanh Buoi Bus Lines, which was traveling from Da Lat to Ho Chi Minh City while the other, from Futa Bus Lines, was running in the opposite direction.
Following the collision, the Thanh Buoi bus exited the roadway and slammed into a house, while only a few windows of the Futa coach were smashed.
As of 8:00 pm on the day of the accident, authorities revealed that two people had been killed, namely Dang Thi Hong Nhung, 29, and K’Juroe, 13.
Nhung, a passenger of the Thanh Buoi coach, was found dead after being stuck inside the vehicle for nearly three hours.
K’Juroe was a local boy who had been playing in front of his house before the bus crashed into the residence.
Ten other people were injured in the collision, two of whom remained at a local hospital.
Another two were transferred to Ho Chi Minh City while the six others have all been discharged.
Most of the victims were aboard the Thanh Buoi bus, according to initial reports.
The search and recovery mission had been complete by around 9:00 pm, with the provincial Department of Police continuing their investigation to determine the cause of the devastating crash.
Leaders of the Lam Dong People’s Committee also arrived at the hospital to support the victims.
Police intercept restaurant supply, rescue dozens of bamboo rats
Bamboo rat is a species of rodent that makes a popular delicacy in both Vietnam and China.
Police have seized dozens of bamboo rats of unknown origin from a Vietnamese man who was taking them on a motorbike to local restaurants, traffic police said.
Traffic police patrols on March 26 detected and stopped the man carrying two suspicious sacks on his motorbike on a national highway in the central province of Nghe An, some 300 km (190 miles) south of Hanoi.
They found 40 brown bamboo rats, with weights totaling 25kg (55 lbs), in the sacks. The rodents were inside small iron cages, with one still in a plastic tube-shape trap.
The motorbiker failed to present valid papers. He said he bought the rats from locals and was en route to sell them to restaurants to make a popular delicacy. The species are raised in captivity in several locations across Vietnam.
Having identified the bamboo rats as wildlife animals, the traffic police handed them over to the local forestry unit, which often releases them.
HCMC increases management on private pre-schools
Lately, Deputy Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem has sent a document to the Department of Education and Training and people’s committees in the districts asking to tighten measures to manage private day time nurseries.
The document was issued after the ill-treatment on kids in private daytime nursery in District Go Vap was detected. Local officials shut down the nursery soon.
In its document, local authorities are asked to pay unscheduled visits to private nurseries aiming to detect wrong deeds to kids.
People’s Committee also asked districts to publicize lists of private nurseries in the localities including registered and unregistered schools and schools were shut down.
Authorities must be determined to close unregistered nurseries.
Ho Chi Minh City has most private nurseries in the country. Within three recent years, 8 departments of Education and Training recruited more personnel for management of private schools. Private schools have mushroomed recent years.
Camera installed in National Highway 1A to monitor traffic violations
The Road and Railway Traffic Police Department (C67) under the Ministry of Public Security yesterday operated traffic surveillance camera systems in the National Highway 1A through the Southern Province of Dong Nai.
This is one of measures to raise people’s awareness of traffic regulation on driving in streets, helping deal with traffic violations in time to reduce accidents.
The system includes modern specific and automated cameras to verify the license – plate and to analyse lines installed in the National Highway. These cameras are connected to main machines and data storage in traffic police stations in province, districts and communes.
Through the system, traffic police officer will detect violations especially faults leading to accidents such as driving fast in the wrong lanes, wrong parking, contrary direction, and passing red light...The system is expected to support traffic police in probing cause of serious accidents.
According to Major General Nguyen Quoc Diep, deputy head of C67, the 102km complicated traffic National Highway through Dong Nai with nearly 5,000 cars and 120,000 motorbikes travelling a day is an accident prone zone; accordingly the new system is considered an effective measures to reduce accidents.
Next time, C67 and related agencies will install more monitoring systems in hot spots of accidents in the National Highway through Ho Chi Minh City, the central provinces of Phu Yen, Binh Thuan and the Mekong delta province of Tien Giang.
Hue to open six new local, int’l air routes
The People’s Committee of Thua Thien- Hue Province has launched a plan to open six local and international air routes in the 2017-2020 period.
As plan, the flights will connect Phu Bai International Airport in the province and the northern province of Quang Ninh, the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho, Thailand’s Chiang Mai, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
The province’s official delegation will make a travel demand survey in Chiang Mai, Singapore, Japan and South Korea in April.
The new service is expected to help promote tourism in Hue and the country to the world, meeting the growing travel and trade demand between the ancient capital of Hue and countries.
VN marks World Meteorological Day 2017
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment held a meeting to respond the 2017 World Meteorological Day in Hanoi on March 23.
The 2017 World Meteorological Organization (WMO)'s theme is “Understanding Clouds”, aiming to send a message about the importance of cloud in weather system, climate, weather forecast to serve socio- economic development and natural disaster prevention.
On the occasion, the WMO's organization board released its digitized International Cloud Atlas, the global reference for observing and identifying clouds.
This is the first time that the Atlas has e-version at http://wmocloudatlas.org/index.php/en/.
Its content includes detailed guidance about cloud classification via hundreds of images drawing kinds of clouds. Additionally, the Atlas also contains important information about other meteorological phenomenon such as rainbow, solar corona, snow and hail.
The World Meteorological Day is annually celebrated on March 23.
Exhibition gives Back Long Vi islanders insight into island sovereignty
Bach Long Vi islanders of Hai Phong city is currently offered a chance to gain a better understanding of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes through an exhibition that opened on March 24.
The displayed maps and documents are part of historical evidence and legal foundation testifying to Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.
They show that throughout history, states of Vietnam have explored, established, exercised and protected the national sovereignty over these two archipelagoes, along with many other islands and sea areas under its territory.
It is a continuous, long-lasting and peaceful process that has been recorded in a number of historical documents, including maps and documents published since the 16th century in Vietnam and other countries.
The exhibition features copies of documents written in Han (Chinese), Nom (Vietnam’s Chinese-like script), Vietnamese and French issued by Vietnam’s feudal dynasties and France’s administration in Indochina from the 17th to the early 20th century.
Copies of administrative documents issued by the Republic of Vietnam’s administration in the south from 1954 to 1975 and by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam since 1975, as well as publications by some western countries from the 18th to the 19 century, are also on display.
Others include photos of Vietnam’s exercise and protection of its sovereignty over the islands from 1930 to January 1974 when China illegally occupied Hoang Sa, 65 maps proving the two archipelagoes under Vietnam’s sovereignty issued since the 17th century, and studies and publications on the country’s Hoang Sa and Truong Sa conducted by Vietnamese and foreign scholars since 1975.
The event also showcases outstanding photos and documents on social, economic and cultural activities in Truong Sa island district, and stamps that feature Vietnam’s islands and seas.
The exhibition will last through March 28.-
Youth Union anniversary celebrated in Da Nang
The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) Central Committee held a meeting in Da Nang city on March 23 to mark the union’s 86th anniversary (1931-2017) and present the Ly Tu Trong awards to outstanding youth union members.
This year’s Ly Tu Trong awards were presented to 87 outstanding youth union members, who have made contributions to the development of the Union and youth campaigns. The winners, selected from 208 outstanding nominees nationwide, also achieved good academic results in research, studying and launching campaigns for young people.
Speaking at the event, Politburo member and Secretary of the Party Central Committee (PCC) Truong Thi Mai praised achievements made by the HCYU and Vietnamese youth over the past years.
Politburo member Mai, who is also Head of the PCC Commission for Mass Mobilisation, called on the youth union to continue reforming its operations, which should focus on encouraging the youth to study and follow President Ho Chi Minh’s moral example, providing the youth with career guidance, and promoting the vanguard and exemplary role of Vietnamese youngsters.
At the meeting, Le Quoc Phong, First Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, reviewed the glorious tradition of the HCYU during its 86-year history of establishment and development.
While congratulating winners of this year’s Ly Tu Trong Awards, he expressed his hope that the awards will motivate them to make more efforts, raise their responsibility to the community, the country and its people, as well as make further contributions to the country’s industrialisation, modernisation and international integration.
The same day, the delegates offered incense to President Ho Chi Minh at the Ho Chi Minh Museum and presented gifts to children at a support centre for Agent Orange victims in Da Nang.
Book on Vietnamese market launched in Czech Republic
A Czech-language book featuring Vietnam's market was launched at the Embassy of Vietnam in Prague, the Czech Republic, on March 23.
The release of the book is part of the Embassy’s diplomatic activities to serve the two countries’ economic cooperation.
The Vietnamese Embassy has planned to organise various activities to promote investment, trade and tourism in the year.
Addressing the ceremony, Truong Manh Son, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic stressed that the traditional cooperation of Vietnam and the Czech Republic is thriving, with many high-level visits that provided a driving force for economic, trade and investment links.
However, the bilateral economic and trade cooperation has yet to match the potential and wishes of each country.
As of mid-2016, 30 businesses of the Czech Republic have operated in Vietnam, with a total investment of 170 million USD. The European country ranked 40th out of 150 countries and territories that invested in Vietnam. Import-export turnover of the two countries reached roughly 1 billion USD.
Bilateral cooperation still faces difficulties, such as the absence of a Hanoi-Prague direct flight and complicated visa-granting procedures for Vietnamese businesses and tourists to the Czech Republic, Son said.
On the occasion, Ambassador Son and Trade Counsellor Tran Hiep Thuong also responded to questions of local reporters and businesses on investment policies of the Vietnamese Government.