Thứ Tư, ngày 28 tháng 9 năm 2016

Expert proposes imposing gradual ban on cars to curb congestion in Vietnamese cities

Heavy congestion is seen on Tran Quoc Hoan Street in Ho Chi Minh City at rush hour. Tuoi Tre

As the ongoing debate on a possible motorbike ban in Vietnamese cities picks up momentum, a traffic expert has weighed in with his assertion that cars are contributing more to the problem than motorbikes.
On Monday last week, Hanoi’s Department of Transport unveiled itsplan to restrict non-resident motorbikes from entering the capital by 2025, sparking a debate on whether or not banning motorbikes would ease Vietnamese cities’ chronic traffic congestion.
One of the first to offer their views on the issue was Luong Hoai Nam, economic expert and former CEO at Vietnam-based low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific, who vocally supported the ban in an interview withTuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper published last Thursday.
According to traffic expert Lam Thieu Quan, two-thirds of the road surface in major cities where traffic congestion is widespread are occupied by cars, while motorbikes only take up a third.
Therefore, Quan said, a ban on private motorbikes would not necessarily ease congestion, while it would likely pose a challenge for a large population of low-income families who are using bikes in their daily commute.
The expert asserted that buses in Vietnam are being “surrounded” by not only motorbikes but also cars, the number of which has seen a rapid growth rate in recent years.
He suggested a gradual ban on private cars, beginning with restrictions at rush hour while opening up priority lanes for buses on city roads.
Buses in Vietnam are not officially categorized as prioritized vehicles, and therefore are often blamed for their chronic unpunctuality in the rush hour.
According to Quan, punctual buses would convince commuters to give up their private motorbikes, making it easier to impose restrictions and bans on the vehicles.
The restriction on cars should also be coupled with financial measures such as charging cars entering the city center during high-traffic hours, and the collected money should be reinvested in developing public transport instead of being remitted to the government budget, the expert suggested.
He also pointed out the obsolescence of Ho Chi Minh City’s public transport planning until 2025, which was drafted in 2009 using outdated data but was only submitted for feedback to the municipal Fatherland Front a few months ago.
Truong Son Cemetery - the resting place of 10,000 martyrs

Truong Son Martyrs’ Cemetery in the central province of Quang Tri is where thousands of martyrs are resting in peace. 
Truong Son Martyrs’ Cemetery is located at Ben Tat Hill in Vinh Truong commune, Gio Linh district of Quang Tri province. This is a major work to show the gratitude and honor of the Vietnamese state, army, and people to those who died in the name of national liberation and reunification.
The cemetery was designed to accommodate 33,000 graves of soldiers; 13,000 remains have been found
The grave area of heroic martyrs and unspecified martyrs is on the left to the memorial area at the center of the hill at 32 meters height from the gate.
According to Major-general Luong Sy Nhung, former commander of the Truong Son multi-battalion, the forerunner of the 559 Army Corps, after the Paris Peace Agreement was signed in January 1973, the Corps, led by Lieutenant - General Dong Sy Nguyen, built a graveyard and carried out the search and gathering of the remains of the martyrs who had laid down their lives along the Truong Son Mountain Range. 
The construction was begun in October 1975 and completed one and a half years later. The cemetery was initially designed to accommodate 33,000 graves of soldiers who died during the resistance war against the US. Since the programming, the cemetery was divided into different zones by provinces. On the left are the graves of heroic martyrs and unspecified martyrs while the graves of soldiers from central provinces like Quang Tri and Quang Binh are laid out on the right. The cemetery is well located in geographical and geomantic terms. It looks like a flying eagle. There is a big lake in front of the cemetery. According to statistics, more than 33,000 personnel of the Truong Son armed forces sacrificed their lives in battle there, and nearly 13,000 remains have been found. The remainder are still missing or lost to bombs, mines, or torrential rains, said General Nhung.
Truong Son Martyrs’ cemetery is home to more than 10,000 martyrs, boys and girls in their 20s. They laid down their lives over 6,000 days to construct and maintain the Truong Son Trail. Covering an area of 140,000 square meters, the graves are divided into 10 major zones in which the memorial area is situated at the center of the hill at 32 meters height from the gate.
Six embossings are engraved on monoliths featuring typical images of the arms that made up the Truong Son armed forces who were famous for the motto "Build roads to advance, fight the enemy to travel."
The memorial monument is tiled with white stones, behind which a big Bodhi tree casts a shadow all year round. Paved walkways in the cemetery are made with bricks or cement and interspersed with flower-beds. Each of the provinces or cities cemeteries has a memorial with subtle architectural imagery representing the region. 
The Truong Son martyrs’ cemetery is a symbol of the Vietnamese nation’s will to fight for independence and peace and a place for the relatives, the Party, state, people, and international friends to visit and pay tribute to the martyrs in honor of the tradition: remembering the source of the water we drink.
Some photos of the cemetery: 


Photo: Kienthuc
Compiled by Pha Le, VNN
Social News 28/9

Tilting house to be demolished
Local authorities and a house owner are joining hands to pull down a tilting house in the capital’s Đống Đa District.
The four-storey house, located at No 117 in Ô Chợ Dừa Ward’s Quan Thổ 1 Alley, has been uninhabited for years due to its dangerous tilt.
After receiving Đống Đa’s District’s reports about the case last month, Nguyễn Thế Hùng, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Hà Nội City,  ordered a demolition plan for the house and an evacuation plan for residents of the adjacent houses.
The owner, Phạm Đỗ Thanh Thùy, bought the house in 2002 and moved her family in. Some 10 years later, the house started developing cracks and began to tilt. Thùy’s family moved out and sent letters to the authorities asking for an inspection.
The condition of the house was brought to authorities’ attention after the house at No. 43 Cửa Bắc Street collapsed at the beginning of last month, killing two people and injuring three.
“For now, I have signed a contract with a demolishing company and they have proposed a solution to the concerned authorities,” the owner told news website Cafef last week.
‘They will start demolishing the house right after I complete all the necessary procedures,” she said.
Thùy said she was pleased with the authorities’ response and serious attitude in handling the issue.
Illegal building’s floor awaits demolition
The demolition of the illegally built 19th floor of the building at No 8B on Lê Trực Street in Ba Đình District is expected to be completed next month.
This was announced by Đỗ Viết Bình, chairman of Ba Đình District’s People’s Committee, to an inspection team of the Prime Minister’s office yesterday.
The 69m building, of which 53m are above ground, has raised public concerns not only because of its excessive height, but also because of the slow demolition process which started three months ago.
At the end of June, the People’s Committee of Điện Biên Ward, Ba Đình District, ended a contract with the Hải Anh Phát demolition company because it failed to meet deadlines.
The Phương Bắc demolition company took over the project at the beginning of July. However, one and a-half months later, the company had only demolished some 30 per cent of the illegally built floor because it was using simple concrete drill machines instead of advanced ones.
“The first phase – to remove the illegally built floor – will be completed in October. However, we need to work more with different sectors and the city’s authorities to develop proper plans for the second phase,” he said.
He also said the project was delayed partly because the authority wanted to ensure the safety of workers, residents and the environment and preserve the building’s structure for future use.
According to another representative from the People’s Committee of Điện Biên Ward, the Phương Bắc demolition company has installed a tower crane to remove construction materials from the 19th floor, reducing noise and dust during the demolition process.   
The city’s construction department had sent officials to examine the crane in order to issue a license that would allow it to start working today.
A representative from the Phương Bắc company said the 19th floor would be demolished before October 30. 
Central city launches design contest on tunnel and bridge


The central city of Đà Nẵng has launched a contest to design a bridge and tunnel through the Hàn River.
Director of the city’s transport department, Lê Văn Trung, who is head of the contest’s organising committee, said 13 designs from 11 architecture firms including two from Japan and one from Spain, proposed their initial designs in a meeting with city officials on Sunday.
Trung said the city plans to hold a public vote to pick the best design to be constructed.
He said the contest winner will walk away with a cash-prize of VNĐ100 million (US$4,400), while the runner-up will get VNĐ70 million ($3,100), and third place wins VNĐ50 million ($2,200).
Trung said the tunnel is needed due to the increasing traffic in the city.
The partnership between the Vietnamese Bridge Design company and Japanese Oriental Consultants Global company also proposed a six-lane tunnel through the Hàn River  
Last year, the city planned to build a tunnel, the first traffic route under the Hản River, with investment of VNĐ3.3 trillion (US$157 million).
City authorities said the tunnel would help ease traffic congestion at junctions in Sơn Trà and Hải Châu districts.
Currently, the city has six major bridges including Thuận Phước, the Hàn Swing Bridge, Rồng (Dragon), Trần Thị Lý, Tuyên Sơn and Nguyễn Tri Phương, and the 1960s-built Nguyễn Văn Trỗi Bridge.
In 2013, the city’s Rồng (Dragon) Bridge claimed the American Council of Engineering Companies’ Diamond Award in the category for structural systems.
Earlier this year, the city also launched a contest to plan and design the Hàn River banks, aiming to create beautiful scenery for locals and tourists. 
Symbolic lighthouse to go up in HCM City Book Street
The city authorities have allowed the Hoa Binh Corp. and First News to establish a “lighthouse” on Nguyen Van Binh street in District 1 to symbolise Vietnam’s sovereignty over its seas and islands. 
The structure, whose construction began lastweek, is 7.4 metres high and made from a mixture of white glass fibre, black sand and sand from Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands. 
The symbolic lighthouse is designed with subterraneous fibers that sparkle in the shape of the maps of the two archipelagos and seven doves representing Vietnamese aspirations for peace.
The top of the structure has a revolving light at night like a real lighthouse. 
The construction is expected take 30 days.
Thanh Hoa needs proper development measures
The central province of Thanh Hoa needs proper socio-economic development policies and measures in the light of international integration, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a working session with local authorities in Hanoi on September 26. 
The PM recognised the local achievements in building effective socio-economic management models and developing rural areas, saying the province has favourable natural conditions, infrastructure and abundant labour resources. 
However, development gaps still exist with small economic scale, he said, noting that the low rate of businesses has discouraged the occupational generation and budget collection. Furthermore, environmental pollution has affected the development of agriculture and tourism, he added. 
He asked the locality to focus on developing high-quality human resources and realising Resolution adopted at the 12th National Party Congress along with the National Assembly and Government’s Resolutions on measures to develop socio-economic affairs. 
Thanh Hoa needs to seek appropriate and effective economic models to improve investment and labour productivity as well as protect the environment, improve administrative procedures, and better serve businesses and people, he said. 
He told the province to make the best use of its advantage as a “miniature” of Vietnam as well as drastically carry out the Government’s Resolutions to boost business production and facilitate operations of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 
The PM also directed Thanh Hoa to pay more attention to agricultural restructuring in line with new-style rural building to develop a multifunctional agriculture. 
He reminded the province to prioritise development of its western part – where the living conditions of local are difficult, while tightening management of public investment. 
The province is also expected to improve urban development planning, ensure social welfare and reduce the proportion of poor households under the country’s average level, while concentrating to corruption prevention and protection of marine environment. 
The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanded by 8.06 percent in the first nine months of 2016. The per capita GRDP is expected to stand at 1,648 USD at the year’s end. 
The province collected over 8.48 trillion VND (381.6 million USD) to the State budget in the period. It also allowed businesses to invest in 158 projects with a total registered capital of over 18.36 trillion VND (826.2 million USD) in January – September, 2.5 times against the same period last year. 
The local economic growth is estimated to reach 9.07 percent at the end of 2016, surpassing the set target of 9 percent.
Fishery catching reaches 2.3 million tonnes in nine months
Fishery catching in the first nine months of this year was more than 2.3 million tonnes, up 2.7 percent over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Thanks to favourable weather at sea during the period, especially in southern central and Mekong Delta regions, seafood catching reached nearly 2.2 million tonnes, a rise of 2.8 percent compared to the same time last year.
Reports from localities showed that tuna outputs of three southern central provinces of Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen in January-September period were nearly 7.3 million tonnes, drop 0.03 percent year on year.
Meanwhile, aquatic farming output in September was 319,000 tonnes, a rise of 7.4 percent over the same period last year, raising total figure in nine months to 2.6 million tonnes, an increase of 1.8 percent year on year.
So far this year, the low demand of export markets has posed difficulties to seafood shipment. At the same time, the price of tra fish as material also dropped, causing difficulties for farmers.
Total tra fish raising area in the first nine months of 2016 in the Mekong Delta was 5,146 hectares, a decline of 2.3 percent year on year. But the production still rose 2.5 percent to reach nearly 861,000 tonnes as some localities enjoyed bumper crops.
In Dong Thap, the tra fish output was nearly 286,000 tonnes, up 6.8 percent while that of Can Tho was over 118,000 tonnes, a rise of 27.2 percent.
As of September 20, black prawn raising area across the country was estimated at 582,700 hectares, an increase of 0.6 percent over the same time last year, with an output of 174,400 tonnes, a fall of 2.5 percent.
Fuyo scholarships awarded to 80 outstanding students
Fuyo scholarships, each worth 300 USD, were awarded to 80 university students across Vietnam who made outstanding performance in the 2015-2016 school year at a ceremony in Hanoi on September 26.
The annual scholarship is a joint effort by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Education and Training and Japan’s Fuyo Group to encourage Vietnamese students to study and do scientific research at universities, thus contributing to the country’s human resources development.
Since it was set up in 1997, the Fuyo scholarship fund has granted scholarships to 1,342 students from universities nationwide with a total amount of 260,000 USD.
Bilateral relations between Vietnam and Japan have prospered over the past years. The Japanese Government has actively supported Vietnam in developing education through a number of projects.
Exhibition on Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos opens in Vientiane
A photo exhibition featuring the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos during the 1961-1975 period, a symbol of Vietnam-Laos special solidarity, was opened in Vientiane, Laos on September 26, marking the 55 th anniversary of the Tay Truong Son (West Truong Son) road (1961-2016). 
Chairwoman of the Vietnam National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, who is paying an official visit to Laos , and Vice President of Laos Phankham Viphavan attended the event which was also participated by senior officials and war veterans of Vietnam and Laos . 
The 10-day event aims to highlight the priceless supports and contributions given by the Party, army and people of Laos to the successful national liberation and reunification carried out by Vietnam , as well as to the construction and preservation of the Tay Truong Son road which served that period, in particular. 
It helps educate Vietnamese and Lao officials, soldiers and people on the combat alliance in the past as well as the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries. 
Nearly 100 pictures taken by war reporters illuminate a glorious period in history of the people and armies of Vietnam and Laos when they fought together in the war against the US under the leadership of the Labour Party of Vietnam, now the Communist Party of Vietnam, and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. 
A map of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was drawn up based on the historical documentaries as well as memories of Truong Son soldiers, is also displayed for the first time. 
Speaking at the event, Lao Minister of Defence Chansamone Chanylath stressed that many Vietnamese and Lao soldiers and people sacrificed their lives on the road for their countries’ independence and freedom. 
He expressed his hope that the exhibition will contribute to fostering the friendship and special solidarity between the two countries. 
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Ambassador to Lao Nguyen Manh Hung said that the Ho Chi Minh-Tay Truong Son Road constitutes a shining symbol of Laos ’s sacrifice and wholehearted support, and an everlasting monument of the special solidarity of the two nations. 
In May 1959, the Vietnam People’s Army formed Mission 559 and tasked it to build the Ho Chi Minh Trail as a supply route for southern battlefields to aim for ultimate national independence and reunification. 
Due to off-road terrains, the road was constructed entirely by hands and rudimentary equipment. 
In late 1960, at the permission of the Lao side, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was expanded beyond the Vietnam-Laos border to the west of Truong Son Range , which lies on the Lao territory. 
From 1961 to 1975, with an iron will and strong determination, the armies and people of Vietnam and Laos together built thousands of kilometers of roads to connect the north of Vietnam, the central and northern regions of Laos, the Zone 5 and southeastern region of Vietnam, and northeastern Cambodia . 
Vietnam and Laos also aligned closely to ensure the operation of the strategic road that played a decision role in the victory against the US and significantly contributed to the 1975 victory of Vietnam and Laos . 
After the event, all the photos will be presented to the Lao Military History Museum in Vientiane for exhibition.
Ha Giang to build Mong ethnic culture and tourism village
The People’s Committee of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang has approved the “Culture-Tourism Village of the Mong Ethnic Group” project in Pa Vi Ha hamlet, Pa Vi commune, Meo Vac district in an effort to preserve and promote the traditional cultural values of the ethnic group and attract more tourists. 
Covering a 4.6ha area at the foot of Ma Pi Leng Pass on a highway connecting Dong Van and Meo Vac districts, the village will be operated under a community-based tourism service cooperative model with the engagement of 30 local households. 
It will be built in the shape of three peach blossoms, each is made up of 10 clay houses in the Mong ethnic group’s style. 
The project has received warm response from local authorities and residents. Artisan Ly Mi Na, 63, said he is happy when the Mong people have such a village and even happier if he can live and engage in tourism services there. 
He expressed his hope that the village, once operational, will promote the cultural features of the Mong ethnic people and create a venue for them to perform traditional songs and dances, and play folk games.
Locals will have a chance to develop traditional crafts such as weaving, thus improving their living conditions, he added. 
According to Ma Quoc Truong, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Meo Vac district, Pha Vi Ha hamlet is the most suitable location for the village as all of its residents are Mong ethnic minorities.
The village not only serves tourists but also helps Mong people themselves to understand more about their culture, he said. 
Meo Vac district strives to finish three to five houses in the village by the end of this year, and 25-27 houses and supporting facilities by 2017.
The village is expected to be open in the first quarter of 2018 as a highlight of Meo Vac’s tourism, attracting about 1,500 domestic and foreign tourists every year.
German television features Vietnam and its people
A team from the German television ARD has been working on a programme to discover Vietnam and its people. 
Philipp Abresch, head of the ARD Office Southeast Asia in Singapore and a member of the team, said this is the second time the team has produced a programme on Vietnam. The team travelled throughout Vietnam to record the beautiful landscapes and cultural traditions of the country, especially of ethnic minority groups. 
Besides Hanoi, Ha Long and Hoi An, the German producers came to the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang to capture landscapes and locals’ farming methods in Hoang Su Phi.
All the team members were impressed at colourful terraced fields as well as the warm welcome of local ethnic people in traditional costumes, he said.
The 45-minute programme is scheduled to air in 2017.
Lào Cai police nab heroin smuggler
Police in the northern border province of Lào Cai’s Văn Bàn District arrested a drug smuggler and seized nearly 3kg of heroin yesterday.
The suspect, Phạm Sơn Hải, 48, from Lào Cai’s Phố Lu Township, was caught carrying 10 nylon-wrapped packs of heroin – some 300g each – at toll station IC16 on the Nội Bài-Lào Cai Expressway.
The police also seized VNĐ21 million (US$940), a Toyota Hilux car and three mobile phones.
The investigation at the suspect’s house in Lào Cai’s Khánh Yên Township also led to the seizure of another VNĐ143 million ($6,400), two electronic scales and equipment used in drug use.
The case is being investigated further.
Man sentenced to death for murder
The Hà Nội People’s Court today sentenced a 28-year-old man to death for murder and robbing homes.
Lê Ôn Tùng, who lives in Hòa Lâm Commune, Ứng Hòa District, on August 17 last year robbed people in Hòa Chanh Village.
He first entered Lê Thị Nham’s house but was unable to steal anything.
He then discovered that the door of Nham’s neighbour Tạ Văn Cát’s house was open.
He entered Cát’s house, Cát, however, saw him and Tùng ended up strangling the 91-year-old to death. He then put a face-cloth on Cát’s mouth and tied his hands with a soft water pipe.
Tùng searched Cát’s house and took VNĐ20 million (US$880) and 26 tenths of a tael of gold. One tenth of a tael of gold cost some VNĐ3.6 million ($160). He then ran away to HCM City.
Tùng used the money for personal purposes. He eventually gave himself up to the police on December 29 last year once he realised the police had discovered his wrongdoing. 
VN to focus on youth’s sexual reproductive health
Investing in the education and health, including sexual and reproductive health, of young people is of utmost importance to Việt Nam’s productivity and development in the future, Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, secretary of the HCM Communist Youth Union Central Committee, has said.
Speaking at a workshop on the implementation of “Youth led initiatives on promoting access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for Vietnamese youth and adolescents” held this morning, Tuấn said the youth played a significant role in the country’s growth and they represented an increasingly large proportion of the labour force.
“However, young people still lacked vital knowledge and life-skills on safe sex and consensual relationships, facing considerable barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services,” Tuấn said.
Sexual education for young people remained limited, particularly for ethnic minorities, migrants or those living in rural areas, he said.
Young people were, therefore, at risk of early and unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, Tuấn said.
Six youth-led initiatives were implemented in one year in Hà Nội, central Quảng Bình Province, central Đà Nẵng City and northern Hải Dương City.
The beneficiaries are high school students, female workers aged18-30, disabled youth and deaf people.
The total funds for the six initiatives are VNĐ314.9 million (US$14,100).
Ritsu Nacken, UNFPA deputy representative in Việt Nam, said, “The participation of young people in designing and analysing the policies that affect them is one way to ensure that the policies and services respond to their actual needs.”
Evidence showed that working in partnership with young people was an essential component of any successful youth programme, she said.
The workshop in Hà Nội was organised by the HCM Youth Union via the Central Centre for Youth and Adolescent with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Six youth-led initiatives were selected from a competition launched in May 2015 calling for the development of innovative and practical initiatives promoting access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for Vietnamese youth.
Over 40 guests down with food poisoning after wedding
Over 40 guests have been struck with suspected food poisoning after attending a wedding reception at Đại Thắng Commune in northern Nam Định Province’s Vụ Bản District yesterday.
The guests complained of stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and high fever.
The province’s Health Department has asked local hospitals to conduct treatment for all victims and told health officials to take food samples for testing.
After receiving initial examination at the local hospital, 15 guests were sent to Nam Định Province’s General Hospital for further treatment.
Phan Đình Phổ, head of the hospital’s Infectious Diseases Faculty, confirmed that 15 guests were hospitalised after attending the wedding, with some serious cases, including a pregnant woman.
All the patients are in stable condition after receiving intensive treatment, he said.
Hundreds of people were reported to have attended the wedding reception.
The incident is being investigated. 
Contest to make public facilities accessible to disabled people
The Disability Research and Capacity Development Centre in HCM City last Saturday launched a contest for students to design and upgrade public facilities to make them more usable for people with disabilities.
The three-month Breaking Down Barriers contest is open to all students of architecture, interior design, planning, industrial arts and construction in the city.
Contestants have to choose one public work for research, analyse its shortcomings in terms of access to disabled people and suggest solutions.
Phạm Nhật Bổn, a senior interior design student at the HCM City University of Architecture, said the contest sounded interesting and would help him and other students in these streams apply what they had learnt in designing works for people with disabilities.
The contest is organised by the centre and the university’s interior design faculty .
Đồng Tháp to restore its forests
The Đồng Tháp Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is afforesting 155ha under a province plan to grow forests through 2020.
It is also planting another three million trees around the province.
Most of the trees being planted are local or Australian cajuput.
Hồ Anh Dũng, deputy director of the department, said the two species are suitable for growing in low-lying, flood-prone areas and alum affected soil.
Every year during the flood season, cajuput trees live in inundated areas for three to five months, he said.
Đồng Tháp is one of the most flooded provinces in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta when the Mekong River and its tributaries rise between August and November.
In the past cajuput trees were planted on flat lands which caused them to grow slowly – taking 10-12 years for harvest -- and yield less timber.
But now they are grown on ridges, which helps rid the soil of alum, increases yield and reduces harvest period to six to nine years.
Đồng Tháp is buying cajuput seedlings from Long An and Đồng Nai provinces since its own output is not enough.
This year cajuput farmers in Đồng Tháp have made big profits since tree prices have increased.
In July traders bought four-five-year-old cajuput trees in Đồng Tháp’s Tháp Mười District at VNĐ100-110 million (US$4,500 – 5,000) per hectare, giving farmers profits of VNĐ70 -80 million.
The province has more than 5,600ha of forests, including more than 2,580ha of special use forests, 1,000ha of protective forests and 1,980ha of commercial forests, according to the People’s Committee. 
Smart toilets challenge users in Nha Trang
Many people have been complaining about the inconvenience of smart public toilets in the southern central coastal city of Nha Trang. 
Although those smart public toilets were built several years ago to serve the large number of visitors to the popular beaches here, many of them have been rarely used as they appear too intimidating.
According to local people and visitors, the problem is that these automatic toilets ask for coins while coins are no longer in circulation.
"We are told to exchange coins at tourist offices or parking staff at Thuan Viet Coffee to use the toilets," said a tourist, Nguyen Van Linh. "It’s very inconvenient."
Pham Huy Thang, a local man, said that besides the coin problems, they are also made difficult with the long instructions and regulations some of which were hard to follow.
"People are not allowed to use the toilets for more than 6 minutes," Thang cited one of the instructions. "If you’re sick maybe this isn’t possible."
Nha Trang built the first two free toilets on Nha Trang Beach last year. It is hoped that more toilets of this kind will be built.
HCMC patient to propose breakthrough mechanism: City Party Chief
Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee must focus on drastic implementation of its regulations and action programs of resolutions of the Central Party Committee, the National Assembly and the Government; and be patient to propose breakthrough mechanisms for the city to develop quickly and sustainably according to the Resolution 16 of the Politburo. 
HCMC Party Chief Dinh La Thang (L) talks to delegates at the 7th session of the 10th HCMC Party Committee on September 25 (Photo: SGGP)
That was stated yesterday by secretary of the city Party Committee Dinh La Thang while concluding the two-day 7th session of the 10th committee on September 24 and 25.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong has many times affirmed that Vietnam has enough resolutions and mechanisms but their implementation has not been good and effective, according to Mr. Thang.
Hence, HCMC must take the lead in practicing and specifying the 12th Party Congress’ resolution and the city’s 10th Party resolution, he said.
If the city really makes efforts and there is a mechanism for it to mobilize human, material and financial resources especially those from citizens, it will be able to successfully carry out its targets including seven breakthrough programs, Mr. Thang said.
If mechanisms are outplaned and well implemented, they will contribute in promoting democracy in party activities, uphold party disciplines and rules, ensure the principle of democratic centralism and increase the responsibility of individuals especially leaders, he stressed.
They will also improve the quality and effectiveness of party leadership; promote the role, activeness and creativeness of organizations in the political system; intensify collective strength and the party’s solidarity and unity and renew party leadership method to the operation of the political system, he believed.
He proposed every member of the city Party Committee especially key leaders of agencies on their working positions and responsibilities to be exemplary and serious to implement the above requirements. 
After two working days, the conference passed statements and seven draft action programs to implement the resolution of the 10th Party Committee.
Mr. Thang required agencies and districts to focus on administrative reform and intensify IT application towards e-government implementation in the city.
They should concentrate on mobilizing social resources to carry out projects under the seven breakthrough programs and give priority to key projects on technical and traffic infrastructure for the connectivity of the southern key economic zone.
The conference discussed and agreed with working regulations of the city’s Party Committee’s executive and standing boards and the inspection committee of 10th party tenure.
These are very important documents specifying functions and missions of the party committee and the standing board according to the 12th party regulation to continue reforming the party’s leadership method and administrative reform.
During the first nine months this year, the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of HCMC increased 7.6 percent. It is expected to reach 8 percent this year meantime the country has been striving to reach the Gross Domestic Product growth of 6.3-6.5 percent.
The city’s budget revenue hit VND220 trillion (US$9.87 billion) accounting for 73.5 percent of plan. The number of newly established businesses neared 26,000 with the total registered capital of VND212.1 trillion ($9.51 billion).
The number of new businesses was reported to total 73,400 in Vietnam during the nine months, which HCMC accounted for one third. This shows the city’s great efforts and creates a basis to believe that the target of over 500,000 enterprises by 2020 to be is feasible.
Mercedes hands over V 220 d to Imperial Vung Tau Hotel
Mercedes-Benz Vietnam (MBV) and its authorized dealer Haxaco have handed over two V 220 d’s to the 5-star Imperial Vung Tau Hotel - a familiar travel destination of domestic and international visitors.
With the combination of the seven-seat roomy interior and the comfort of sedan, the V-Class is a good choice for many luxury hotels and resorts across the country.
“The V-Class is an ideal solution to our VIP chauffeur service as it has Mercedes-Benz brand name as well as offers a seven-seat setup that brings sufficient space to family, group of colleagues and lots of luggage,” said Thomas Meyer, service director of Imperial Group.
The V 220 d is also an economical choice for business purpose. The 2.1 liter diesel engine helps the V 220 d reach the average fuel consumption of just 5.7 liters/100 km and therefore, the V220 d can travel a distance of 1,200 km with a single fill-up.
The car has become one of the most favorite luxury multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) thanks to its versatile compartment.
Its two individual seats of the second row are able to turn by 180 degrees for easier communication with other companions. The automatic powered tailgate with separate opening rear window can save a lot of time for owners in loading and unloading luggage. 
Rooted the core value of Mercedes-Benz, the V 220 d is equipped with up to 10 airbags including two front airbags, two front side-bags and six window-bags. The V 220 d should be the best choice on windy coast journey in Vung Tau as Crosswind Assist function will keep the vehicle strong and balanced against gusting cross-winds.
Choi Duk Jun, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam Passenger Cars, shared: “Besides our core sedan models such as the E-Class or the S-Class, we expect that this premium MPV V-Class will be warmly welcomed by top hotels and resorts.”
“Three-pointed star” brand is now the leading partner of more than 80% of 5-star hotels and resorts around the country.
Imperial Hotel Vung Tau is the 84th 5-star partner of MBV in Vietnam.
Located at Bai Sau – one of the beautiful beaches, the hotel adorns its classical Victoria architecture style with the patterns inspired from Renaissance and interiors collected from around the world. In the peak season, 350 luxury rooms of Imperial Vung Tau Hotel will be the ideal destination for families, groups of friends or corporates.
VND8.5 billion in Lawrence S. Ting scholarships awarded to students
Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund and Phu My Hung Corporation jointly donated nearly VND8.5 billion in scholarships to students nationwide at a ceremony in HCMC last Saturday.
The two benefactors presented 389 scholarships worth VND3.4 billion to college and university students with outstanding academic records in the country and more VND5.06 billion in scholarships to foundations, charities and study encouragement associations in the country’s 63 cities and provinces. 
So far, Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund has donated over 82,000 scholarships worth VND87.1  billion. Together with the scholarships, the fund has carried out another program to award IT devices for schools in Vietnam since July 2006 with a total value of VND137.6 billion.
The fund has also carried out practical activities for the healthcare sector with VND35.9 billion donated to buy healthcare equipment and drugs, and build clinics. After 11 years of operation, Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund has spent over VND243 billion on its education and healthcare programs in Vietnam.
Hospital overload still persists in HCMC
Many public hospitals in HCMC are grappling with overload as many of their inpatients share beds and even lie on the floor though hospital leaders have pledged to quickly solve the problem.
At Children’s Hospital No.1, its respiratory department has only 100 beds but the number of patients climbed up to over 464 on some days in early August, forcing four to six children to share a bed.
Children’s Hospital No.1 is one of the hospitals which promised in March last year that it would not allow more than two patients to use one bed within 24-48 hours. The hospital has partnered with district-level hospitals in Binh Tan and Tan Phu and send doctors there to take care of patients in an effort to deal with overload but things have remained unchanged.
Oncology Hospital is in the same boat. The hospital has only 600 beds but the number of its inpatients is usually three or four times higher than capacity, said director Le Hoang Minh.
The hospital has launched satellite hospitals in districts 2 and Binh Thanh, trained staff and transferred technologies to satellite hospitals, including those in Can Tho City, Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces. However, overload has remained as severe as ever and the overload rate increases by 7-10% a year, Minh said.
As a second traumatology and orthopaedics hospital has not been in place as planned, the current Traumatology and Orthopaedics Hospital has to send its doctors to district-level hospitals as a temporary measure.
The measure has brought positive results but the problem is that district-level hospitals lack operating rooms.
Doctors in HCMC said shortages of experienced doctors and modern equipment have kept many patients from district-level and provincial hospitals. This is why overload persists at hospitals in HCMC.
Vietnam-China relationship makes big strides: workshop
Delegates at a workshop in Hanoi on September 26 emphasised the need for Vietnam and China to enhance their cooperation in all aspects, and join hands in removing difficulties for the sake of the two countries’ people.
The workshop was jointly held by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and the National Institute of Chinese Studies (VNISC) to review the Vietnam-China relations after 25 years of normalisation and seek ways to step up the bilateral ties.
Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Thuan, VASS President, said since the two countries normalised their relations in 1991, their affiliation in politics, economics and culture has made big strides.
Assoc. Pr. Nguyen Huy Quy from the VNISC said in the field of politics and diplomacy, Vietnam and China have upgraded their “abnormal relations” during the 1975-1990 period to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership based on the principle of the “16-word” motto (friendly neighbourliness, comprehensive cooperation, long-lasting stability and looking forward to the future) and the “four-good” spirit (good neighbours, good friends, good comrades and good partners).
However, the present relationship has yet to fully follow the motto and spirit, he said, calling on the two countries’ leaders, researchers and diplomats to seek ways to develop the relations in a healthy and stable manner.
China is Vietnam’s largest partner in trade, investment and tourism. Vietnam has set forth various policies, guidelines and solutions to boost friendship, solidarity and cooperation with the neighbouring country.
A Vietnam-China business forum was held in Hanoi the same day.
MoH preparing law to tackle alcohol harm
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is finalising a draft law on alcohol harm prevention and plans to submit it to the National Assembly for consideration in May 2018. 
The draft law will feature policies based on studies on alcohol consumption in Việt Nam, Nguyễn Huy Quang, Director of the MoH’s Legal Affairs Department, said at a workshop organised by the ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Hà Nội yesterday. 
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said Việt Nam ranked second in Southeast Asia, 10th in Asia and 29th in the world in alcohol consumption. 
More than 77 per cent of adult males and 11 per cent of women said they had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days. Nearly half of men had engaged in binge drinking.
Meanwhile, the older people were, the more alcohol they consumed, according to Trần Quốc Bảo – an official from the Department of Preventive Medicine. 
About 45 per cent of surveyed people said they drove a vehicle within two hours of drinking. A national survey on Việt Nam’s male adolescents also showed that 20.8 per cent of respondents drove after drinking and sustained injuries that led to a leave of at least one week from school or work. 
Bảo said alcohol directly resulted in at least 30 diseases and is the indirect cause of 200 other diseases. It is also one of the top 10 causes of deaths in Việt Nam, according to the WHO. 
Deputy Minister Long said many new regulations being considered have already been enforced in other countries and proved effective, such as a ban on alcohol sales after 10pm or for underage youth, and a ban on alcohol advertising in public places. 
If such regulations were not enforced, alcohol consumption in Việt Nam would grow at an even faster pace, he stressed.
HCM City spends over $944mn on flood, sewage management
Ho Chi Minh City is set to begin implementing two projects worth over VND21 trillion (US$944.7 million) for flood control and sewage management in the near future.
The projects for tidal flood control, with investment being nearly VND10 trillion (US$449.8 million), and a drainage system, costing over VND11.1 trillion (US$500 million), are intended to improve the environment and boost tourism as well as economic growth in the southern hub upon completion.
According to the Investment Management Authority for the Ho Chi Minh City Environmental Sanitation Project, a new pipeline system is scheduled to be built in October.
A sewage pipe, 3.2 meters in diameter and eight kilometers in length, will connect the southern section of the Saigon River with the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Wastewater Treatment Plant in District 2.
Vuong Hai Long, director of the management authority, stated that the new drainage system will carry sewage released from households along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal section in District 5 and from residential areas in District 2 to the factory, instead of pumping it into the Saigon River.
The treatment plant will be constructed in Thanh My Loi Ward on an estimated area of 38.4 hectares, with a capacity of 480,000 cubic meters per day, which is the highest nationwide, Long said.
After its completion in 2020, wastewater will be purified before being released into the city’s rivers.
The project received a total capital of US$524 million, of which US$450 million was provided by the World Bank while the rest came from the state coffers, the director added.
A similar plan has already been executed, with VND8.6 trillion (US$386.9 million) in investment capital.
The two projects are expected to improve the local environment and the livelihoods of over two million residents in District 1, District 2, District 3, District 10, Phu Nhuan District, Tan Binh District, Binh Thanh District, and Go Vap District.    
Construction of many components of the tidal flood control project has been initiated, intended to eliminate inundation in 19 out of 24 districts in the city.
Dams will be built along a 7.8 kilometer section of the Saigon River bank and more conduits will be constructed to better regulate floodwater.
Two pumping stations, whose capacities are 12 and 24 cubic meters per second, are also set to be constructed in areas vulnerable to rising tide.
According to Nguyen Tan Tien, director of Trung Nam Corporation, developer of the project, recent downpours and high tide have posed challenges to the city’s drainage system and seriously impacted local residents.
“This flood control project will deal with inundation caused by rising tide,” Tien asserted.
The scheme, upon completion, will prevent flooding within an area of 570 square kilometers, home to 6.5 million citizens, said an official of the municipal People’s Committee.
It will also help boost the city’s economy and competitiveness and thus attract more investment from domestic and foreign businesses, the official continued.