Thứ Ba, 17 tháng 7, 2018

Social News 17/7

Binh Phuoc records nearly 1,000 malaria cases

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The southern province of Binh Phuoc has recorded 973 malaria cases in the first half of the year, up by 66 percent year-on-year, including one death, reported by the provincial Department of Health on July 16. 
The cases were mostly found in the districts of Phu Rieng, Hon Quan, Bu Dop, Loc Ninh, Bu Dang and Bu Gia Map, and Binh Long town. In particular, Bu Gia Map discovered 666 cases, accounting for 68.5 percent of the total, much higher than the 349 cases recorded in the same period last year. 
This spike in diagnosed cases has been attributed to the prolonged rainy season in the area, as well as a rise in infections for those over the age of 15.
The provincial health sector will work to prevent malaria, especially in ethnic minority areas and communities near forests, lakes, and rivers. 
It will also strengthen supervision over the discovery and treatment of malaria cases in district-level hospitals and commune-level medical stations. Public awareness of malaria prevention and control will also be raised, particularly of methods involving anti-mosquito sprays, hanging mosquito nets, long-sleeve clothing, and necessity of medical help once infected. 
Binh Dinh receives healthcare station built with US funding

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At the launching ceremony of Nhon Binh health care station (Photo: 

A ceremony was held in Quy Nhon city of the south central province of Binh Dinh on July 16 to hand over a healthcare station to the locality, a project funded by the US Pacific Command and the US Embassy in Vietnam.
The project to upgrade the Nhon Binh healthcare station has a total cost of more than 5.8 billion VND (249,400 USD). It is one of 31 facilities at commune level in Vietnam built with the financial assistance provided by the US, aiming to improve coastal localities’ capacity in responding to natural disasters.
Along with providing healthcare services, the station can serve as a shelter for local residents in Nhon Binh in case of storms and floods, which occur frequently in the locality.
Addressing the ceremony, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tuan Thanh thanked the US for helping to protect public health in disaster-hit areas.
He stressed the significance of emergency aid and evacuation in natural disasters, especially storms and floods amidst climate change.
Thanh also asked local officials to effectively use the facility to ensure safety and health for local people.
Phu Tho: About 3,340 people receive free heart health screenings

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Nearly 3,340 people received screening examinations for cardiovascular diseases during a humanitarian programme which took place in the northern province of Phu Tho on July 14-15.
The programme was jointly held by the Phu Tho General Hospital, the Hanoi Heart Hospital, and the Phu Tho branch of military telecom group Viettel. More than 100 medical personnel from the Phu Tho general hospital participated in the programme.
As a result of the screenings, 257 people were diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, 41 underwent surgery, while 36 others were hospitalised.
Doctor Ngo Huu Ha, Deputy Director of the Phu Tho General Hospital, said the free screenings for cardiovascular diseases helped people in remote and mountainous areas gain access to the sector’s leading experts and modern equipment. Local residents were provided with the necessary diagnoses for timely counselling and treatment, he added.
A cardiovascular health screening programme for children under 16 years old will be organised in the province during July 28-29.
World Health Organisation (WHO) chief representative in Vietnam Kidong Park said high blood pressure and diabetes, which can easily be diagnosed and treated at grassroots medical stations, are the most prevalent of cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases in Vietnam and across the world. 
Statistics in 2015 showed that in Vietnam alone, only 43.1% of high blood pressure patients were diagnosed, and only 13.6% treated at medical stations. 
Violations found at Nhon-Hanoi metro line

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The Government Inspectorate has announced violations found at the on-going Nhon-Hanoi Railway Project.
The irregular inspection was carried out under the request of Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and complaint by Luong Xuan Binh, deputy head of Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board.
The project is developed by Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board. French consultancy firm Systra was hired for USD10.6m. Three appendices later were signed and the total consulting rate increased to USD17.1m.
According to the inspectorate, there are many shortcomings from the beginning. The contract contains many ambiguous contents that can be interpreted differently by both parties. 
Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board doesn't have experienced and capable employees to review and approve the project. They have to constantly ask for opinions from other agencies and hire foreign consultants, which has delayed the project and caused costs to rise.
This was also the first time Systra works in Vietnam. They didn't understand many legal procedures and took a long time to reach agreement on many problems. Moreover, they also faced difficulties because of inconsistent requests from the management board.
The Government Inspectorate said that even though responsibilities lie with both parties, the Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board was most at blame.
Concerning the bidding package for unexploded ordnance and mine clearance by Lung Lo Construction Company, violations were also been found in the evaluation and payment processes. The monitoring work was lax and the reports were not up to quality standards. It also failed to comply with the approved plans.
Meanwhile, Luong Xuan Binh, deputy head of Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board, said he had been harassed by corrupt officials. However, the Government Inspectorate said they hadn't found concrete evidence to show that Binh and his family had been threatened.
The inspectorate suggested reviewing the responsibilities of all related parties over the inflated cost and delayed project. Individual responsibilities in the Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board must be clear. 
The Ministry of Defence should review individual responsibilities in member agencies over the bidding package for unexploded ordnance and mine clearance. The Ministry of Transport must also review their responsibility over the delayed project.
Nhon-Hanoi metro line is 12.5km long with 8.5km elevated sections and 4km underground sections. The cost of the project has increased from USD783m to USD1.17bn.
Two women killed as car crashes into cafe

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The scene of the accident

Two women were killed and many others were injured when a car hit a cafe in Dak Lak Province on Sunday evening.
The Traffic Police Department in Krong No District said on July 16 morning that the case was still under investigation. 
Initial reports show that at around 9 pm on July 15, the car was speeding from Cu Jut District to Dak Mam Town. It lost control while going down a slope and crashed into the parking lot of The One Cafe. 
Two women, born in 2000, were taking out their vehicles in the parking lot and killed on the spot. Four other people were injured and admitted to Krong No General Hospital, one of whom was in critical condition and had to be transferred to Dak Lak General Hospital.
Dozens of motorbikes and the car were damaged. The driver ran away after causing the accident. According to the witnesses, the driver was a local man.
Border residents join smuggling foreign currency and goods

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An officer at Móng Cai border gate Customs checks the entry/exit history of a local resident. — Photo

Customs officials at Móng Cái Border Gate in the northeastern province of Quảng Ninh have seen their efforts to fight to smugglers hamstrung by border residents engaging in the illegal trade.
Head of the province Customs Department Bùi Văn Khắng told Hải Quan (Customs) newspaper that smugglers disguised themselves as border residents to carry goods and money between Việt Nam and China.
Under current regulations, border residents, defined as Vietnamese citizens with permanent residence in border areas, are exempt from customs duties on goods valued below VNĐ2 million (US$89) per person per day, and on no more than four days a month.
Khắng said border residents were hired to collect and carry goods/money across the border to avoid taxes, which made it hard for customs officials to detect tax dodgers.
He said that about 5,000 people used Móng Cái Border gate daily while there were only four or five customs officers working there on each shift.
In the last six months, border officials there detected 26 smuggling cases with goods worth more than VNĐ 1.8 billion (US$78,000), with three cases ending with criminal charges.
“Most people involving in the smuggling cases are border residents or labourers who regularly cross the border,” Khắng said.
For example, on May 16, border gate customs found a Vietnamese woman hiding cash worth VNĐ 594 million ($25,700) on her body when entering Việt Nam from China’s Dongxing City, which borders Móng Cái City.
Early this month, two Chinese nationals wanted to exit Việt Nam via Móng Cái Bordergate but ignored the customs checkpoint. After being asked to halt, they attempted to flee but were caught. They were then found with the equivalent of VNĐ600 million in Chinese yuan on their bodies.
Under current regulations, goods traded and exchanged by border residents for direct consumption are not subject to medical quarantine, such as animals, plants and aquatic products, unless the relevant State body warns of an epidemic or contagious disease.
Therefore, goods consumed by border residents are not subject to inspection and control in terms of food quality and safety, except for emergencies requiring immediate quarantine.
Khắng asked for assistance from higher levels - the Việt Nam Customs- in collecting and processing information about imported goods to better control the quality of the imported goods and to curb smuggling. 
Veteran cải lương actor dies at 76

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Meritorious Artist Phương Quang and his partner, Meritorious Artist Thanh Vy, in the play Nàng Xê-Đa (Xê-Đa – The Pretty Woman), which helped them become famous cai luong stars. Photo from

Meritorious Artist Phương Quang, a star of cải lương (reformed opera), died Friday (July 13) in HCM City after five years of illness from degenerative brain disease. He was 76.
Tôn Quang Bảo, Quang’s eldest son, said his father pledged to donate his body for medical research to Phạm Ngọc Thạch Medical University after death.
Quang, whose real name is Tô Văn Quang, was born in Sông Bé Province (now Bình Dương Province).
As a child, he admired People’s Artist Út Trà Ôn and studied cải lương singing by listening to Ôn’s performances on local radio programmes.
When he was 18, he moved to Sài Gòn (now HCM City) to study music with composer and musician Văn Còn, who discovered his talent.
Quang later worked for Kim Thành and Kim Chưởng, who were famous cải lương troupes in the South at that time.
With a strong voice and appearance, he gained fame by playing heroic roles.
His favourite plays included Hai chiều ly biệt (Farewell Evening), Mặt trời đêm (Midnight Sun), Người nhạn trắng (White Bird Man), and Sương gió biệt vương cung (Waves at the Palace).
In 1966, he won best actor from Thanh Tâm Awards for his leading role in the play Tình Nào Cho Em (Love for You). Thanh Tâm was the most prestigious cải lương award at the time, given by Tiếng Dội (Echo) newspaper from 1958-1968.
Quang became a bright star in the 1970s. In 1983, he joined Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre, the leading troupe in the South, and played a leading role in Nàng Xê-Đa (Xê-Đa – The Pretty Woman).
The play was staged from 1983 to 1993 with 1,500 performances across the country. It was broadcast many times on television stations in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
He also performed in Tình yêu và lời đáp (Love and Response), winning the Golden Prize for best actor at the National Professional Theatre Festival in 1985.
The artist’s family held a commemoration ceremony at his house in District 7 on July 14 with veteran cải lương artists like People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết, Meritorious Artist Thanh Vy, and Lệ Thủy. 
Documentary about late Lao president sent to Vientiane

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A documentary film about the late Laos President Suphanouvong was transferred from the Việt Nam Cinema Association to a museum in Vientiane on Thursday. 

A documentary film about the late Laos President Suphanouvong was transferred from the Việt Nam Cinema Association to a museum in Vientiane on Thursday.
The film was delivered to the Kaysone Phomvihane museum on the occasion of the 109th birthday of the late President.
Entitled Suphanouvong President with Việt Nam, the film is a reflection of the life, career and notable architectural works of President Suphanouvong during his time in Việt Nam.
It highlights the relationship of the President with Việt Nam and his contributions to the two countries’ revolutions.
It also recreates the historic meeting between Suphanouvong and the late President Hồ Chí Minh in September, 1945 and his escape from Phonkheng prison in Vientiane in July, 1959.
The documentary was filmed in April, 2017 on the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Việt Nam – Laos diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Friendship Contract between the two countries.
During a meeting with representatives from the Việt Nam Cinema Association, Singthong Singhapanya, acting head of the Kaysone Phomvihane museum, expressed his appreciation for the transferal of the film.
“The film will contribute to the museum’s archives of the Việt Nam – Laos relationship and bear a significant meaning to Laos people, especially on the 109th birthday of President Suphanouvong,” he said.
The documentary will be transferred to Laos Television Station and broadcast on the late President’s birthday, he added. 
HCMC book street earns $877,000

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HCM City Book Street’s cultural activities attract millions of local and foreign visitors each year. 

The HCM City Book Street on Nguyễn Văn Bình Street in District 1 earned a turnover of VNĐ20 billion (US$877,000) in the first six months of this year, up 5 per cent annually, according to the HCM City Book Street Company.
Nearly 386,000 books on different topics were sold.   
“The street organised 11 book exhibitions and more than 100 cultural and book signing events, attracting dozens of leading domestic and foreign publishers, distributors and agencies,” said Quách Thu Nguyệt, deputy director of the Book Street Company. 
Book weeks and festivals on the street, including the book exhibition celebrating the 4th anniversary of Reunification Day (April 30), European Literature Week, and book event celebrating 20 Years of publishing Harry Potter, attracted more than 6,000 visitors per day and 10,000 per day during weekends and holidays.
“We are working with local authorities to make the street a cultural tourist destination,” said Nguyệt. 
The company has been working with cultural and arts associations as well as museums to launch cultural exchange programmes and exhibitions on the street.
The company has asked the city authority to maintain the long-term operation of two parking lots and build a new public toilet facility to serve the street’s visitors.
Last year, the street attracted 2.4 million visitors, earning a turnover of VNĐ50 billion ($2.2 million), according to the Việt Nam Publishers Association.
The book street, which opened in January 2016, features dozens of book stalls from more than 20 publishers.
The city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism plans to replicate the book street in the city’s Tân Phú and Thủ Đức districts, where the target audience will be students and young migrant labourers. 
All hands on board to boost sea tourism

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The HCM City Border Guard Command and the city Department of Tourism have signed an agreement to boost tourism through marine borders.

Leaders of HCM City’s Border Guard Command and the city Department of Tourism sign an agreement to boost tourism through sea routes. 
They will exchange documents and information on State management of tourism activities as well as passenger departures, arrivals and transit at ports.
In recent years the number of tourist arrivals in the city by sea has grown strongly, Col Tô Danh Út, commander of the Border Guard Command, said.
The co-operation is vital to fuel the development of river and sea tourism, he said.
Dozens of thousands of passengers and crew on hundreds of cruise ships and more than 10 military ships visit the city every year, according to Út.
The Border Guard Command is assigned to manage two sea routes, the Cần Giờ route and the HCM City seaport route, he added.
A total of 244,000 tourists visited the city last year by sea and the number continued to soar in the first half of this year, according to the department. 
Temple inaugurated in commemoration of Dong Loc volunteers

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A temple in the central province of Ha Tinh has been dedicated to ten female volunteers who died heroically at the famous Dong Loc T-junction during the war against the US. 
The temple is dedicated to ten young women who have come to symbolise the indomitable spirit of Vietnam’s volunteer force.
The temple was inaugurated on July 15 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dong Loc Victory.
It is part of the Dong Loc Memorial Complex and was completed following two years of construction.
The Dong Loc crossroads was a key point on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and a target of heavy US bombings during the 1964-1972 period, with an estimated 48,600 bombs of various types being dropped from March to October 1968.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ha Van Thach, a Ha Tinh official, emphasised that the Dong Loc Temple would be an address to educate later generations on the revolutionary traditions and patriotism.
On July 24, 1968, ten young female volunteers aged between 17 and 24 were killed while on duty at the junction.
The young women have become legends and their sacrifices have come to symbolise the indomitable spirit of Vietnam’s volunteer force during the American war.
Lam Dong announces plan to double size of Bao Loc city
The People’s Committee of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has made plans to more than double Bao Loc city’s territory so that it can become a primary driver of economic development in the region.

Bao Loc city’s size will be increased from its current 23,200ha to over 59,700ha under the local master plan to develop the city by 2040. After the expansion, the city’s territory will cover Bao Lam district’s five communes of Loc An, Loc Tan, Loc Thanh, Loc Nam, and Tan Lac.

The move helps to speed up the urbanisation rate and build the city into a second-tier urban area by 2020. Bao Loc aims to reach the standards for first-tier city by 2040 and become an attractive destination in the province.

The city’s population by 2030 is expected to reach 257,900 people, with the number rising to 320,000 by 2040.

Some 3,800ha of land will be zoned off to build urban areas by 2030, while 4,800ha set aside for urban development by 2040.

Bao Loc city, previously called B’Lao, is located 120km away from Da Lat city. From 1958, it was chosen as the administrative centre of Lam Dong province. However, after 1975, when Da Lat city became the provincial hub, Bao Loc returned to its previous name and became a town.

In 1994, Bao Loc district was separated into Bao Lam district and Bao Loc town. Bao Loc was then recognised as a third-tier urban area in 2009, and upgraded into city in 2010.

Bao Loc city is famous for its tea, coffee, sericulture, mining, and many tourist sites such as Damb’ri waterfalls, Nam Phuong lake, and Da Ban stream. Agricultural tourism has also been touted as a potential product in the province.
Unlicensed taxi operator fined after overcharging foreign visitors in Nha Trang
The operator of an unlicensed taxi in Nha Trang, a resort city in the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa, has been fined VND8.5 million (US$371) after overcharging a group of Korean visitors.
Nguyen Nhac Tan, chief inspector of the provincial Department of Transport, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on July 14 that the penalty had been imposed upon Dinh Thi Thanh Tuyen, the owner of car No. BKS 79A-15483.
Tuyen was charged for operating passenger transport services without a permit.
The driver of the cab was Nguyen Than, 38.
According to reports, Than was driving the vehicle, which was disguised as a cab of Emasco Nha Trang Taxi Line, on the night of July 9 when he picked up a group of three Korean tourists.
The passengers wanted to travel between the Havana Nha Trang Hotel on Tran Phu Street to Rosaka Nha Trang Hotel on Nguyen Thien Thuat, a journey that was about 1.4 kilometers.
Than charged his passengers VND200,000 (US$8.73), which included the fare and “surcharges.”
Such a journey would cost an average VND25,000 (US$1) to VND30,000 (US$1.31).
As the visitors refused to pay the exorbitant price, Thanh started threatening them.
Security guards of the hotel attempted to intervene and were also aggressively yelled at by the cabbie.
He eventually lowered the fare to VND100,000 (US$4.37) but maintained his intimidating tone.
The tourists had no choice but to pay.
The incident was reported to the Khanh Hoa transport department, which later identified the car as an unlicensed taxi.
Than also received a warning from the Khanh Hoa-Nha Trang Tourism Association for his inappropriate manners toward the foreign passengers.
Building smart cities – trend of Industry 4.0
Vietnam has made progress in applying applications of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) in various areas of life, including smart urban development.

According to Le Quoc Huu, Chief Architect of Smart City of mobile network operator Viettel, the Vietnamese Party and Government have given clear directions on using the advantages of Industry 4.0 and developing information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

Huu, who also joined a smart urban development project in Vietnam, said the Government has been stepping up the building of e-government recently.

Most public services are now online (88%), he said, adding that major ICT and telecom groups such as Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), Viettel, FPT and CMC Corporation have been setting up departments specialising in studying and developing technological applications and smart urban area solutions.

Vietnam has several advantages for the work, such as good telecommunication infrastructure and a high rate of internet users (54% of the country’s population).

In 2016, Vietnam ranked 79th among the 139 countries in networked readiness index (NRI) and stood third in terms of telecommunications affordability.

However, there are still difficulties in building smart urban areas, especially limited capital and lack of international standards, Huu said.

He referred to public-private partnerships as an effective way to mobilise social investment, particularly from enterprises, to build smart cities.

At the recent Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo 2018 in Hanoi, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam is ready to overcome any challenges ahead, moving forward to grasp opportunities presented by Industry 4.0.

He said Vietnam has been researching new global technologies – such as the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence – to improve its competitiveness and boost innovation.

To optimise opportunities and minimise negative impact of Industry 4.0, the Vietnamese Government is determined to build long-term plans and concrete policies.

The country also needs the support of development partners, businesses and international experts with the wave of scientific-technological breakthroughs as well as its increasing integration into the world, he added.

Themed “Vision and Development Strategy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the event was attended by Government officials and nearly 1,800 representatives from localities, domestic and foreign experts, businesses and embassies.
Saigon bus driver wins passengers’ hearts with small acts of kindness
If you have ever taken the No. 54 bus in Ho Chi Minh City, chances are you have been greeted by a warm, grey-haired driver who always finds ways to brighten up his passengers’ day through small acts of kindness at his own expense.
From keeping a box of free candies which he gives to little children to keep them happy and calm throughout the ride to preparing small changes for forgetful bus riders to borrow, Le Xuan Huy never ceases to surprise his passengers.
Huy is one of the drivers for Ho Chi Minh City’s No.54 bus route, which runs from the Cho Lon Bus Station in District 5 to the Mien Dong Bus Station in Binh Thanh District.
“Children have a thing for candies and they can get carsick very easily, so a piece of candy might help them feel better,” he said in response to surprised looks from passengers after offering a candy to a child sitting in his mother’s lap.
According to the bespectacled driver, he buys the candies with his own money because it makes him happy to bring happiness to others.
“Driving a bus can be stressful at times, so this is how I keep myself happy and stress-free,” he said.
Apart from candies, Huy also keeps a box full of small changes which he’s willing to lend to bus riders who forgets to bring their own money.
Among his surprise gifts are keychains that he tends to give to students because “they like to wear these on their backpacks”
“Whenever I see the keychain on someone’s backpack, I know they have been on my bus in the past,” he said joyfully.
Huy is also known for his rule of not leaving any passengers behind, as he always stops to wait for those trying to catch up with the bus even if it has been way past a stop.
At a time when buses in Vietnam are often complained for the unprofessional attitude of drivers and attendants, Huy’s acts of kindness have restored people’s confidence in the means of public transport.
“I don’t think the impression he has made on me will ever fade,” said My Duyen, a frequent bus rider.
K-pop academy brings Korean culture to Vietnamese kids

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A “K-pop Academy” program and a festival celebrating the culture of the Republic of Korea (RoK) have been held at the Korean Cultural Centre in Vietnam, offering informative and exciting activities for Vietnamese children during the summer and inspiring a love of Korean culture among many of the country’s youth.

Taking place for five weeks from June 11, the “K-pop Academy” program includes 7 K-pop singing and dancing classes taught by experienced Korean teachers.
The culture festival features activities providing experiences of Korean culture such as watching Korean cartoons, making handicraft products with hanji paper, writing calligraphy, reading comic strips, making kimbap, discovering Korean tourism with 3D glasses, playing folk games, and drawing a collective picture on the theme of “Vietnam-RoK”.

This is the third time such events have been held during the summer in Vietnam, attracting more than 100 trainees who are particularly interested in K-pop and Korean culture.
This year’s program was selected as a typical global cultural project of the RoK Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which was organized simultaneously at all Korean cultural centres around the world.

Park Hyejin, director of the Korean Cultural Centre in Vietnam, says she hopes the program will draw more Vietnamese teenagers who love Korean culture, particularly K-pop, and help to promote the cultural exchange between the two countries.
EVFTA to introduce new dispute resolution tribunal

Trade disputes between EU and Vietnamese enterprises will be handled by an intricate international resolution mechanism once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement takes effect, giving new hope to EU firms caught in legal limbo in Vietnam.

The European Commission and Vietnam’s Ministry of Trade and Industry have agreed on the final text for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), formally concluding the legal review of the document. They also concluded discussions on an investment protection agreement. It is expected that the EVFTA will be signed this September and take effect in early 2019.
Notably, the EVFTA sets up a permanent dispute resolution system, under which disputes about one of the investment protection provisions included in the FTA-such as protection against expropriation without compensation, non-discrimination or fair and equitable treatment-can be submitted to a standing international and fully independent investment tribunal system.
The system’s members will be appointed in advance by the EU and Vietnam, and will be subject to strict requirements of independence and integrity.
“Cases will be heard by divisions of the tribunal which will be composed of three members-one from the EU, one from Vietnam, and a presiding member from a third-party country,” said a recently released guide to the EVFTA. “Decisions of the tribunal can be appealed at a permanent appeal tribunal, which will ensure legal correctness and certainty in the interpretation of the agreement.”
“The usual grounds for non-enforceability of awards have been included in the grounds for appeal, meaning that a final award must be enforced and domestic courts cannot put into question the legal validity of the decisions. This represents an important advantage for European investors abroad,” the document went on to say.
According to a German firm producing paper and paper-based products in a northern province of Vietnam, its year-long dispute with four Vietnamese partners will likely be solved if this international dispute resolution mechanism takes effect under the EVFTA. “If the dispute is solved, we may invest more in our factory,” a firm representative told VIR. “We have invested only slightly more than US$3 million so far.”
The firm was established in April 2008 by Vietnamese businesspeople. During its operation, the firm imported machinery and equipment from a German company, which later became a stakeholder.
However, after the stake purchase agreement was signed and the new joint venture was established in 2010, the German company’s chairman, who is also the joint-venture company’s chairman and deputy general director, found out that his Vietnamese partners had made no stake contributions to the joint venture and filed no legal documents.
Under the Law on Enterprises, all stakeholders have to introduce all necessary documents on stake purchase within a period of 90 days after the enterprise is established. The firm later wanted to change its business registration certificate, but was refused because the Vietnamese stakeholders’ capital contribution failed to be specified, and therefore the names of the Vietnamese stakeholders cannot be removed from the certificate.
“We have brought the case to court, but to no avail. The issue remains unsolved, and we are not sure when it can be resolved,” the representative said. “We think the case may be solved by the international dispute resolution mechanism under the EVFTA.”
An expert from the EU Delegation to Vietnam told VIR that this special international dispute resolution mechanism “guarantees the respect of the substantive investment protection rules applicable to European and Vietnamese investors. The system strikes the right balance between protecting investors and safeguarding the right to regulate.”
According to European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, the EVFTA is “a great opportunity for European exporters” and “Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing countries in Southeast Asia, a market with significant potential for the EU’s agricultural, industrial, and services exports.”
The EVFTA will eliminate over 99% of tariffs between the partners. Vietnam will liberalise 65% of import duties on EU exports to the country at entry into force, with the remainder of duties being gradually eliminated over a 10-year period. The EU will liberalise tariffs over a seven-year period.
Vietnam has become the EU’s second-biggest trading partner in ASEAN, with the trade turnover of nearly US$55.9 billion last year.

Thứ Hai, 16 tháng 7, 2018

Government News 16/7

HCMC Party Committee office chief reprimanded
Thai Thi Bich Lien, head of the Office of the HCMC Party Committee, has been reprimanded for her involvement in a State-owned enterprise’s controversial sale of land to a private business.
At the 17th conference of the HCMC Party Committee on July 7, Lien was found to be accountable for a decision by Tan Thuan Investment and Construction Co Ltd, an enterprise under the HCMC Party Committee office, to transfer over 30 hectares of land in the Phuoc Kien Residential Complex in the outlying district of Nha Be to Quoc Cuong Gia Lai Company in June 2017.
In the transaction, the land price was as low as VND1.29 million (US$55.9) per square meter. Therefore, the total value of the deal was VND419 billion (US$19.2 million).
In December 2017, the Standing Board of the HCMC Party Committee asked the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment to assess the value of the area. According to the department, it should have cost around VND574 billion (US$24.9 million), meaning Tan Thuan could have caused a loss of VND155 billion (US$6.73 million).
The Standing Board that month requested the SOE to cancel the land sale contract.
On June 4, the HCMC Party Committee’s Inspection Board dismissed Tan Thuan’s general director Tran Cong Thien from all Party duties and proposed the Party Committee office remove Thien from the company’s board and his post of general director of the firm.
Inspectors of the HCMC Party Committee proposed the Standing Board order the Party Committee of the HCMC People’s Committee to instruct the city government to launch a comprehensive probe into Tan Thuan to determine whether Tran Cong Thien and other individuals have committed any irregularities.
Emerging security order in Indo-Pacific highlighted at workshop

Emerging security order in Indo-Pacific highlighted at workshop, Algerian newspaper highlights FM Abdelkader Messahel’s Vietnam visit
At the event

An international workshop on emerging security order in the Indo – Pacific: issues and challenges took place in New Delhi, India from July 14-15. 
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said the Indo-Pacific region is attracting attention in the context of rapid changes in regional and world situation and in power balance along with increasing grave challenges to peace, stability and development. 
He noted that the current situation in the East Sea is one of the threats to peace, stability and freedom of navigation, aviation and trade in this region.
The world is witnessing activities to reclaim and construct artificial islands in the East Sea and militarisation via the installment of equipment and weapons, which the Ambassador said is threatening not only the sovereignty of Southeast Asian nations but also the freedom of maritime, aviation and trade of countries outside the region.  
The diplomat emphasised the importance of the Indo-Pacific and the East Sea in particular to Vietnam, noting that the country holds sovereignty of not only the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos but also 3,000 other islands and islets. With a coastline of 3,260km stretching from the north to the south, Vietnam has more than 1 million of exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 
He said the East Sea is vital to the Vietnamese economy as it is the country’s main gateway to the world, adding that if the East Sea is occupied, not only Vietnam’s security will be threatened but its economy will also be seriously hurt. 
In addition, the Indo – Pacific is also of vital importance to Vietnam as most of its biggest strategic and economic partners are located in the region. 
The ambassador recalled President Tran Dai Quang’s speech to Indian statesmen, professors, researchers, scholars and students at Nehru Memorial Museum in India in March this year, in which the President called on countries to share a common vision about an open region based on international law and sharing common interest in maintaining peace, stability and inclusive prosperity, in which no country, no ethnic group and no population are left behind. 
All countries should strive to defend freedom and unobstructed traffic of maritime, aviation and trade routes so that the Indian Ocean – Pacific will not be divided into sub-regions that are manipulated by powerful countries, impeded by protectionism and divided by insular nationalism, he said. 
Ambassador Thanh also urged countries to establish effective mechanisms to maintain peace, stability and the rule of law, ensure common security, prevent conflicts and war, and effectively cope with traditional and non-traditional security challenges. 
He stressed that Vietnam’s viewpoint on the Indo-Asia-Pacific region has many similarities with Indian PM Narendra Modi’s vision about the Indo – Pacific as outlined in his keynote speech at the Shangri La Dialogue held in Singapore in June 1, stressing that both Vietnam and India want to engage in instead of confronting in the settlement of regional issues. 
Participants at the event shared the view that the Indian Ocean – Pacific is emerging as the most important region with its status as a geopolitical and geo-economical hub, a busy trade corridor of the most importance globally with nearly two-thirds of petrol and one third of global cargo going through it. 
However, the lack of cooperation rules and trust building measures, along with unsettled disputes and competition for scarce natural resources are seriously threatening regional peace and stability. 
The event at the Indian Council of Social Science Research was co-hosted by the Centre for Canadian, US & Latin American Studies under Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Kalinga Research Institute for Indo-Pacific Studies.
Algerian newspaper highlights FM Abdelkader Messahel’s Vietnam visit

Emerging security order in Indo-Pacific highlighted at workshop, Algerian newspaper highlights FM Abdelkader Messahel’s Vietnam visit 
Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel meets Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi 

The Vietnam visit by Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel from July 13-14 was given intensive coverage by Algeria’s daily Elmoudjahid. 
The newspaper reported on the meetings between the Minister and Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, during which both sides discussed measures to boost bilateral ties and other issues of shared concern. 
Messahel also conveyed a message from Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to President Tran Dai Quang, which emphasizes the long-standing friendship and solidarity shared by Vietnam and Algeria since the struggle for national independence. 
The Algerian FM reiterated Algeria’s commitment to lifting bilateral ties to match their political and historical relations and underscored the importance of further tapping potentials of the two nations, especially in tourism and energy, to bolster their sustainable and mutually-beneficial partnership. 
PM Phuc reaffirmed that Vietnam is ready to bolster all-around ties with Algeria for common benefits. 
The newspaper also reported that during their meeting, FM Messahel and Deputy PM Minh highlighted the need to make a quality leap in bilateral economic and trade ties, especially via developing joint activities and realising bilateral cooperation agreements. 
While discussing regional and global issues of shared concern, and issues regarding the fight against terrorism and organised crimes, they agreed to continue maintaining mutual consultation at global forums. 
The daily also quoted the Algerian FM as saying in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency reporter in Algiers that his visit aims to develop bilateral ties and strengthen the tradition of regular consultation between the two countries. 
The visit affords both sides a chance to review their bilateral relations, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investment, he said. 
Messahel described the visit as especially important to meeting the hope of both Presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Tran Dai Quang to lift bilateral ties to a greater height that matches the aspirations of the two peoples. 
According to the minister, while bilateral political ties are excellent, there is much to do with the economic cooperation, as two-way trade stood at just 360 million USD in 2017, mostly Vietnam’s exports to Algeria. Only one Vietnamese company - the oil and gas group PetroVietnam - is doing business in the African country. 
For this reason, he called for materialising commitments at the 11th meeting of the Vietnam – Algeria Inter-Governmental Meeting slated for November 2017, and creating more favourable conditions for enhanced ties, particularly in trade and investment.
Dominican Republic wants to boost ties with Vietnam

Emerging security order in Indo-Pacific highlighted at workshop, Algerian newspaper highlights FM Abdelkader Messahel’s Vietnam visit 
President of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez (left) receives Nguyen Duc Loi, CPV Central Committee member and General Director of Vietnam News Agency

Leaders of the Government, parliament and many political parties of the Dominican Republic have affirmed their wish to develop ties with Vietnam during their meetings with Nguyen Duc Loi, a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam  (CPV) Central Committee, who is leading a CPV delegation on an official visit to the country from July 11-14. 
President of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez, who is also general secretary of the Dominican Liberation Party (DLP) expressed his admiration of Vietnam’s economic achievement over the past years. He expressed the wish to increase the relations between the DLP, which is leading the ruling alliance in the Dominican Republic, and the CPV.
The Senate President also pledged to inform relevant ministries and agencies on the outcomes of his meeting with the Vietnamese delegation in order to seek specific steps to push the bilateral cooperation forward. 
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas confirmed the Dominican Republic’s plan to open an embassy in Hanoi to bolster bilateral ties across the fields.
General Secretary of the United Left Movement (MIU) and Minister for Regional Integration Policies Miguel Mejía , and  Senator Cristina Lizardo, a member of the PLD, said they are rejoiced at the new opportunities for development of both Vietnam and the Dominican Republic at a time when the Dominican Republic is looking to expanding relations with Asian countries, including Vietnam. They affirmed that  the MIU and PLD are willing to work as a bridge for bilateral cooperative projects. 
During the meetings, Nguyen Duc Loi, who is also Director General of the Vietnam News Agency, reiterated the policy of the CPV and the Vietnamese State to intensify international integration, increase the sharing of experience and information, and coordinate actions with all political parties worldwide for the goal of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress. 
He briefed the host country’s officials on the development guidelines and policies of the CPV and the State of Vietnam during the past time 
As part of the visit,, made at the invitation of the MIU, the CPV delegation attended a ceremony to honour President Ho Chi Minh at the  square and monument named after him in Santo Domingo, granted interviews to several TV channels and toured several administrative, economic, cultural and transport facilities.
HCMC government urged to closely scrutinize China-U.S. trade war
Vuong Duc Hoang Quan, a member of the HCMC People’s Council, has urged the HCMC government to closely scrutinize the trade war between the U.S. and China so as to have timely measures to cope with challenges and make the most of opportunities.
At the ongoing ninth meeting of the council, Quan urged local enterprises and competent agencies to promptly assess both the positive and negative effects of the trade war to make good use of opportunities and minimize the negative effects on domestic production and trade activities with the two largest economies of the world.
Quan noted that the city should look into the impacts of the trade war and prepare solutions to develop the city’s economy in the second half of the year and in the next two years, hinting at possible adjustments to the plan for the city’s socioeconomic development that was prepared for the Council’s session on July 6 when the trade war between China and the United States started.
He stressed that Vietnam in general and HCMC in particular would benefit from the trade war by partially filling the market vacuum in the U.S., adding that local exporters, especially those in the textile-garment and footwear sectors, would have more opportunities to ship their products stateside.
The United States is an attractive market for Vietnamese exports, including farm produce. The demand for agricultural products among U.S. consumers is likely to increase, and Vietnamese exporters should grab the opportunity.
The trade war, however, has also created numerous obstacles to exporting Vietnamese commodities to China. For example, a 30% increase in the export revenue from the Chinese market in the first half of the year is a positive result, but maintaining this trend is also a major challenge as the Chinese market may face a commodity glut due to the trade war.
Quan suggested the relevant agencies, especially taxation and market management agencies and the economic police force, look into the situation and work out effective solutions to respond to possible problems.
Experts, on the other hand, forecast the US-China trade war would bring more challenges than opportunities for Vietnam.
Due to the trade war, Chinese goods will most likely be channeled into other markets nearby, and Vietnam may suffer from such an influx. In addition, Chinese products subject to high import duties in the United States can be sent to Vietnam before being exported stateside.
Moreover, the trade war may pose a high risk for a currency war, affecting foreign exchange rates.
Waste treatment remains major concern
The HCMC government annually spends up to nearly VND4 trillion (US$173.6 million) collecting, transporting, classifying and treating garbage, and dredging wastewater drainage systems. However, local residents have voiced their complaints over the environmental pollution caused by garbage.
At the meeting of the HCMC People’s Council today, July 11, Nguyen Toan Thang, director of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the city daily discharges some 9,000 tons of garbage. Meanwhile, the city cannot completely collect waste thrown into the environment, thus obstructing sewers and causing odors.
Phan Thi Thang, director of the HCMC Department of Finance, asserted the city annually allocates some VND2.85 trillion for waste collection, classification and treatment, and VND1.13 trillion for wastewater drainage system maintenance and improvement.
Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the HCMC People’s Council, said the large investment in both waste treatment and wastewater drainage systems in the city is contributed by local people. However, the job in these two areas remains ineffective.
Nguyen Toan Thang proposed asking investors of waste treatment complexes to apply waste-to-energy technology instead of burying garbage to avoid worsening environmental pollution.
In the next five to ten years, HCMC will have 10 waste treatment plants which convert waste into electricity. The city government has called for investments in waste treatment projects using modern technologies.
According to a master plan for solid waste treatment in HCMC in the 2016-2020 period, the city will employ advanced technologies to recycle waste to produce compost and reduce the volume of buried garbage to 60% while the remaining 40% of garbage will be used to generate electricity.
Up to now, buried garbage accounts for up to three fourths of the total waste volume.