Thứ Tư, 31 tháng 12, 2014

Vietnam’s most serious civil aviation incidents in 2014

In this file photo, passengers get aboard a Vietnam Airlines plane at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Tuoi Tre
Two near-collisions, a hijacking scare caused by a pilot pressing the wrong button, and loss of contact with air traffic control are among the most prominent incidents Vietnam’s civil aviation sector experienced in 2014.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the sector suffered 311 incidents in total last year, 129 cases more than in 2013, due to a variety of reasons.

Tuoi Tre News presents a flashback of six such occurrences.

Contact with air traffic control lost

On May 14, Vietnam Airlines flight VN1601 left Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City for Buon Ma Thuot in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

When preparing to land at Buon Ma Thuot Airport, the crew contacted the local air control station to ask for weather information, but there was no response.

The plane, therefore, had to circle above the airport while waiting for contact to resume. Ten minutes later, the pilot was able to contact the station and safely land.

A similar incident happened to a Jetstar Pacific plane when it was about to land at Vinh Airport in the central province of Nghe An on July 23.

While the plane decreased altitude for landing, the crew contacted air traffic control repeatedly on the emergency frequency but there was no answer.

The crew therefore had to climb while waiting to land. Contact was then resumed and the plane landed safely.

In both cases the air traffic control staff had made a mistake and lost contact.

Planes are seen standing on the tarmac at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Plane brings passengers to wrong destination

Instead of carrying about 200 passengers from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, a VietJet Air plane flew them to Cam Ranh in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, upsetting the passengers of Flight VJ 8575 on June 19.  

Cam Ranh and Da Lat are about 97km as the crow flies.

The flight crew, the flight attendant group, the coordinator of VietJet Air and the section in charge of flight procedures at Noi Bai had failed to comply with the proper flight operation process.

This was the first time that such an incident had occurred in the history of the Vietnamese aviation sector.

For the incident, the Czech captain and Vietnamese crewmembers of the flight were suspended from duty, according to the CAAV.

Passengers are shown getting aboard a VietJet Air aircraft in this file photo. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Two near-collisions

Incorrect flight instructions were behind a serious incident that took place at Da Nang International Airport in central Vietnam on the afternoon of June 27.  

That day an intern air traffic controller named Truong Nguyen Quynh Anh instructed a Jetstar Pacific Airlines plane to take off from a runway on which a Vietnam Airlines airplane coming in from Ho Chi Minh City was still sitting.

The pilot of the Vietnam Airlines plane concurrently informed the air traffic control station that his plane was still on the runway.

Anh then canceled the take-off order for the Jetstar Pacific Airlines airplane four seconds later when the two aircraft were about 350 meters apart.

For her mistake, the intern would not be granted an air control license for at least one year, the CAAV said.

Meanwhile, Truong Nho Quang, the chief air traffic controller, who let an intern supervise the runway, had his aviation license and certificate revoked, according to the aviation authority.

A similar case happened on October 29 when two Vietnamese aircraft, an Airbus A321 of Vietnam Airlines and a Mi 172/423 helicopter, narrowly avoided colliding with each other over Tan Son Nhat International Airport on October 29.

At 11:41 am that day, when the Airbus was at an elevation of 1,000 feet (304.8 meters), the pilot detected a Mi 172/423 helicopter flying horizontally at the same height. A collision did not take place.

According to the CAAV, the military air traffic controller had not complied with flight safety procedures and failed to coordinate with the civil traffic air controller at the airport when directing the helicopter’s flight path.

A Vietnam Airlines plane about to take off is seen in this file photo. Photo: Tuoi Tre

UPS failure causes airport blackout

The unprecedented power outage that hit Vietnam’s largest airport – Tan Son Nhat – on November 20 took place because the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems that power the Ho Chi Minh City Area Control Center (ACC) went offline.

The power cut lasted for over an hour, from 11:05 am to 12:19 pm, and disabled the radar system that controls air traffic at the airport.

The incident affected 92 flights, of which 54 were within the city’s Flight Information Region (FIR), when it began, according to the CAAV.

Some of these flights landed at a nearby airport, while others had to continue circling while waiting to land. Meanwhile, a number of flights scheduled to take off during the outage had to be delayed.

Four officials and a staffer considered responsible for the incident were suspended then.

Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam chief Lai Xuan Thanh (C) is pictured at a media meeting in Hanoi on November 21, 2014. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Pilot presses wrong button, prompting hijacking scare

Anti-terrorism measures were deployed at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on the evening of December 16 after a pilot mistakenly pressed the hijacking code button when asking for permission to make an urgent landing due to a pressure incident on his flight.

After detecting that the pressure inside the plane had suddenly dropped, Czech captain Pechanec Marek of Flight VN1266, which was flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh Airport in the central province of Nghe An, decided to make an urgent landing at Noi Bai.

But instead of pressing the button for the emergency code (7700), he mistakenly pressed the button for the hijacking code (7500).

As a result, units at the airport deployed measures to cope with a situation in which a plane had been hijacked by terrorists.

The plane landed safely at the airport at 7:15 pm the same day amid the deployment of the airport’s security forces and facilities.

The CAAV launched an investigation into the case, and on December 27, Lai Xuan Thanh, the aviation authority’s head, confirmed to the media that the Czech captain had made the mistake.

It has yet to take any action against the captain as the aviation authority has not reached a conclusion on the incident, Thanh said.

Passengers on Flight VN1266 are shown wearing oxygen masks when their plane flew to a lower altitude following a sudden drop in cabin pressure on December 16, 2014. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Engine failure disrupts flights in Melbourne

Flights were disrupted for about 40 minutes at Melbourne Airport in Australia on May 6 after an engine failure hit a Vietnam Airlines plane on the runway.

At 10:50 am that day, when flight VN780 was preparing to depart the airport for Ho Chi Minh City, the crew found that the temperature of engine No. 2 was higher than the acceptable level.

The pilot immediately suspended the flight and the aircraft was towed back from the runway to its parking area for inspection.

All 180 passengers and the 13 crewmembers on board remained safe throughout the incident. Flights at the airport resumed at 11:30 am.

Cruise operators try to fight possible closure of Vietnam wharf

Restaurant boats on the Saigon River. Photo credit: TBKTSG

Cruise operators in Bach Dang Wharf in Ho Chi Minh City have launched a frantic appeal to keep their doors open in 2015 following an abrupt announcement of its closure.
On December 24, the city’s transport department met with several cruise operators to inform that they will close the waterfront in the city downtown to tourism in the new year, news website Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon (Saigon Times) reported.
An official from the department claimed that the closure was meant to make way for improvements.
After that, the city will decide whether to let the tourism boats return or not, the official said.
An Son Lam, director of Indochina Junk Company, told the news site that the announcement caught the businesses off guard.
“We are really shocked and confused. We don’t know where to put our boats now or how we are going to fulfill the contracts we've already signed with our customers,” said Lam, who owns three restaurant boats and seven pleasure cruise ships docked in the wharf on the Saigon River.
Lam said the news came during an informal meeting and hadn't been laid out in an official statement.
He said the city should have give them more time to adjust their business plans and find a new place to operate.
Lam said his company would lose around VND100 million (US$4,680) for every day that they are prevented from operating.
Around 40 boats currently operate along the wharf, which sees thousands of tourists a day.
Many boat owners have already signed contracts with the city for the coming year.
Lam and four other companies operating in the wharf (My Canh, 168, Song Xanh and Vina Express) have signed a petition with the HCMC People’s Committee, the municipal administration, seeking permission to continue operating.
They warned that the sudden closure would force them into bankruptcy and leave hundreds of their workers out of a job.
As of press time, the city hall has not made any further announcement.
Thanh Nien News
Art & Entertainment News 1/1

VN receives UNESCO certificate for Vi Dam folk singing

The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism in cooperation of the Nghe An Province People’s Committee will organize a ceremony to receive the UNESCO certificate recognizing Vi-Giam folk singing as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the province’s Ho Chi Minh Square on January 31, 2015.
Nghe Tinh’s Vi-Giam folk singing was officially recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity at the 9th session of its Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Paris on November 27.
Deputy Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Nong Quoc Thanh said Vi-Giam folk singing has history of hundred years in Nghe Tinh Province. It is passed down through generations, reflecting the work and cultural lives of people in the provinces. It appears also popularly in mothers’ lullabies.
Vietnam Culture Year in Czech Republic announced
Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Truong Manh Son on December 30 announced the logo for the Vietnam Cultural Year in the Czech Republic 2015 and activities to mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties to journalists and socialists in Prague.
As scheduled, the opening week will attract the participation of Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and artists from the Vietnam Temporary Arts Theatre. The closing week will be organised in Prague and other cities in the presence of Vietnamese State leaders.
A wide range of cultural activities will be held in this occasion, including exhibitions on Vietnam’s land and people and a seminar on tourism cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Son revealed that the embassy will submit a proposal to relevant agencies in Vietnam asking them to present certificates of merit to Vietnamese organisations and individuals in the Czech Republic for their contributions to the Vietnam Culture Year and strengthening cooperation and friendship between the two countries in recent years.
Nguyen Anh 9 live show celebrates golden wedding
Toi dua em ve is a special music show designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his marriage life with two nights of performance on January 10-11, 2015 in Hanoi, Thanh Nien reports.
The great love for his wife is a major source of inspiration for him to write many popular love songs such as Ai dua em ve, Buon oi chao mi, Khong and Co don.
In this event, audiences will meet the couple, learn about the anecdotes of romance between the musician and other famous singers, and witness the gold wedding celebration on stage.
Many of his immortal songs will be performed by young vocalists including Minh Chuyen, Hoai Nam and Le Tam. Especially, audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy unpublished songs about the woman of his life.
Top 100 hundred-year-old architectural works released
The Vietnam Records Organisation (Vietkings) has announced the top 100 well-known hundred-year-old architectural works in Vietnam.
The list aims to popularise the works’ beauty to both domestic and foreign tourists, thus providing them with a more thorough view of the country’s cultural and historical values and encouraging them to join conservation efforts.
Among them are a number of pagodas and temples which have belief and religious significance and are related to renowned Vietnameselegends, including Mot Cot (One-pillar) pagoda in Hanoi, Thien Mu in central Thua-Thien Hue province and Giac Lam in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hanoi Opera House and the municipal Theatre and Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City are also included.
Vietkings had conducted a tour of the country to look for the worthy works.
Vietnam Folklore Arts Association confers Folklore Artist on artisans
Nine artisans received the Folklore Artist title from the Vietnam Folklore Arts Association at the presentation in Hanoi on December 27.
The title marks outstanding contribution of artisans in preserving, teaching and promoting the values of folklore in various fields, including hat Dum (Dum singing), hat Then (Then singing),  dan Tinh (Tinh lute, one of Vietnam ethnic minorities' traditional musical instruments); traditional
ritual praying for harvest and national peace; manufacturing traditional musical instruments;  the ancient language of Thai ethnic minority and folk music singing; sewing and embroidery; casting agricultural tools and bronze drums.
More than 400 artisans nationwide have been conferred with the title "Folklore Artist".
Vietnam Folklore Arts Association awarded members’ folklore works in 2014. The A prize went to teacher Vo Truong Ky from Long An Province for his research on the don ca tai tu Nam Bo (Southern amateur folk music).
Two books recounting history of Vietnam’s military introduced
Two books, entitled ‘Lich Su Quan Su Viet Nam’ (History of Vietnam’s Military) and ‘Lich Su Tu Tuong Quan Su Viet Nam’ (History of Vietnam Military Ideologies), were made public on December 30 in Hanoi.
The former, ‘History of Vietnam’s Military’, has 14 volumes while the later includes five volumes.
True to their titles, the two books review the history of Vietnam’s military as well as the history of Vietnamese military thought from the early establishment of the country to national defence and construction.
The works give readers a comprehensive and indepth look into the country’s military activities. Events highlighted are presented with a full background, account and resulting lessons learned.
The two books were published thanks to joint contributions of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Communication and Education, the Vietnam Institute of Military History under the Ministry of Defence, and the National Political Publishing House – Truth.
The books are valuable and trustworthy reference documents on the national history of revolutionary struggle under the clear-sighted leadership of the Vietnamese Communist Party as well as the Vietnamese people’s strength, from wartime to national construction and development.
The publications also contribute to educating Party members, officers and people from all walks of life, particularly younger generations, on the revolutionary tradition of the military.
Vietnam wins gold at Taiwan youth invention exhibition
Vietnam has bagged one gold and two silver medals at the 2014 International Youth Invention Exhibition held in Taiwan (China) from December 19-21.
According to information released by the National University of Vietnam, two out of three of Vietnam’s inventions also received special awards by the Korea University Invention Association and the Malaysian Invention & Design Society.
The exhibition attracted inventions by more than 1,000 students from 26 countries and territories throughout the world, with members of the jury from the World Invention Intellectual Property Associations (WIIPA).
Inventions to be awarded medals must be innovative, practical, commercially viable and environmentally friendly.
The event was jointly organised by the WIIPA, Kaohsiung authorities, the Taiwan Invention Products Promotion Association and invention associations from a number of countries.
This is the third time the International Youth Invention Exhibition has been held in Taiwan.
Government News 1/1

Cooperation with ASEAN reviewed
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting on December 30 to review the country's cooperation with ASEAN in 2014 and set out its tasks for 2015.
In 2014, Viet Nam participated proactively in all activities of ASEAN, said the ministry, which works as the National Coordinating Agency for ASEAN Cooperation.
The bloc continued efforts in realizing the roadmap of building an ASEAN Community by 2015 and achieved important results; enhanced internal solidarity and consensus; boosted relations with dialogue partners and promoted its key role in regional forums; and promoted its central role in the forming regional structure, particularly coping with arising challenges in the region.
To prepare for the next ten years, ASEAN launched the construction of the ASEAN Community’s post 2015 Vision to seek ways and measures to boost the bloc’s connectivity, improve its adaptability, role and position to face complicated and unpredictable developments of the regional and international situation.
Viet Nam contributed to ASEAN cooperation and promoting solidarity, consensus and the central role of the bloc in addressing major challenges in the region, especially in the East Sea.
The meeting highlighted the importance of 2015 to bring the bloc to a new phase in establishing the community and building its post 2015 vision when regional and international situation is posing challenges for the bloc’s solidarity, consensus and central role in the region.
In 2015, Viet Nam will focus on fostering the establishment of the ASEAN Community,participate in mapping out the post 2015 Vision of the ASEAN Community and Master Plans to implement the Vision. Viet Nam will continue to promote solidarity, consensus and the central role of ASEAN in maintaining peace, stability, security and cooperation in the region.
The country will also make contributions to boosting the bloc’s external relations, continuing fulfilling the country’s coordinating role in the ASEAN-EU dialogue relationship and preparing for its coordinating role in the ASEAN-India dialogue relationship.
In addition, coordination among relevant agencies of Viet Nam will be enhanced to get ready for the community’s establishment and development.
PM Dung checks premier transportation projects in Hanoi
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on December 31 visited work sites of Nhat Tan bridge, Nhat Tan-Noi Bai International Airport route, Noi Bai International Airport’s T2 Terminal and check planning and construction along the route.
PM Dung stressed the importance of the country’s largest and most modern projects, which have been implemented in accordance with the Party’s direction on breakthroughs in building socio-economic infrastructure.
He praised efforts of the Ministry of Transportation (MOT), Hanoi and relevant agencies in completing the projects on schedule with required quality to be ready to put into operation.
The Government leader asked the MOT to fulfill audit and financial procedures after the projects are completed, continue completing sub-projects to ensure the projects’ effectiveness and hand over Nhat Tan bridge and the Nhat Tan-Noi Bai route to Hanoi as planned.
He required the ministry and the capital to prepare human resources to operate the facilities effectively, particularly the T2 terminal, which will make impression on visitors when entering the country.
The aviation development not only brings profits to the sector, but also boosts other fields, particularly tourism and services, thus further attention should be paid to ensuring aviation security and safety to promote the aviation development, PM Dung said.
On behalf of Hanoi authority and people, Secretary of the Hanoi municipal Party Committee Pham Quang Nghi expressed his gratitude to the Party and State to the capital and promised to operate the handed over facilities effectively.
Nhat Tan bridge, Nhat Tan-Noi Bai route and the T2 Terminal are key national projects funded by the Japanese Government’s official development assistance and the Vietnamese Government’s counterpart capital. They have been completed on schedule and ready for the launching on January 4, 2015.
The facilities are significant to improving the capital’s transportation and contributing to socio-economic development of Hanoi, surrounding regions and the country.
Nhat Tan bridge is one of three bridges with the largest number of suspension spans in the world, built by Japan’s advanced technologies and symbolised the Vietnam-Japan friendship.
The Nhat Tan-Noi Bai International Airport route is designed in a modern style with detailed plans.
The T2 Terminal, when put into operation, will be the country’s most modern terminal on a 139,300 square metres with four floors. The terminal can serve approximately 10 million passengers per year, easing the overloads at T1 Terminal and ensuring transportation at the present and in the future.
Press urged to bring Party and State documents to public
Politburo member Le Hong Anh has urged press agencies to focus on bringing Party and State documents to the public while reflecting their opinions on Party draft documents in preparation for the upcoming 12th National Party Congress.
Politburo member Anh, who is also permanent member of the Party Central Committee (PCC) Secretariat, stated the requirement at a national press conference held in Hanoi on December 31 to review its operation in 2014 and set orientations for 2015.
While speaking highly of significant contributions of the press over the past years, he stressed that the press should encourage emulation movements and resolutely fight against false information and allegations by hostile forces to sabotage our Party and State.
Press agencies are requested to be a consultant to the Party and State to complete regulations in this field, particularly those relating to management of websites, internet services and means of mass media, and contribute ideas to the revision of the Press Law.
It is also important to increase training for officers, editors and reporters to raise their political virtue, professional qualification and morality, he added.
Touching upon the task of speeding up external information, he said that press agencies should actively and closely co-ordinate with Party committees and embassies to advertise the culture, land and people of Vietnam to international friends while promptly providing Vietnamese communities with updates on their motherland’s situation.
He asked the press to beef up reporting news on the country’s sea and islands, land border demarcation and marker planting, and increasing awareness of people in border provinces in order to build a friendly and peaceful borderline with neighbouring countries.
The conference, held jointly by the PCC Commission for Communication and Education (CCE), the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), and the Vietnam Journalists’ Association (VJA), were also attended by Politburo member and CCE Head Dinh The Huynh; PCC member and MIC Minister Nguyen Bac Son; and PCC member and VJA Chairman Thuan Huu.
According to a report read by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan, most of press agencies have fulfilled their role as the voices of Party organisations, State agencies, social and political organisations, and an open forum for the public.
The press has provided people with quick, full and comprehensive information on domestic and international news.
Many outstanding faces in the national construction and development have been discovered and honoured while many corruption and wastefulness cases have been disclosed thanks to efforts made by press agencies.
The press has also been active and positive in reaffirming the national sovereignty over its sea and islands.
Judicial Reform Steering Committee convenes 17th meeting
The Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform (CSCJR) held its 17th meeting in Hanoi on December 31 to collect opinions for a draft report reviewing the implementing of judicial reform in 2014 and discussing key tasks in judicial reform work in 2015.
The draft report showed the serious, democratic and responsible implementation at all levels, improvements in the awareness and actions of most Party members, people from all walks of life in boosting judicial reforms.
The judicial reform strategy has been put forth actively by Party organisations from the grassroots to central levels. The awareness of officials, Party members and people of the position and role of judicial offices, rights and activities has been increased significantly.
At the meeting, CSCJR members also discussed key tasks in judicial reform work in 2015, including completing projects, amending and supplementing a number of laws or penal code and civil code.
Speaking at the meeting, President Sang praised deployment results in implementing Conclusion No. 92 by the Government Party Committee (GPC), saying that the GPC in a short period of time has conducted a large amount of work on various aspects of judicial reforms, particularly institutionalisation, law construction, and the approval of a large number of projects related to judicial reforms.
The Party committees under the GPC has continually enhanced and improved the quality and effectiveness of criminal prevention, law enforcement and propagation and training of judicial officers, as well as further strengthening of international co-operation in the fields.
Deputy PM urges measures to reduce land-related complaints
Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) to work out effective measures to reduce the number of complaints related to land.
The Deputy PM made the request at a meeting on December 31 reviewing the performance of MONRE in 2014.
Hai said he evaluated highly the efforts by MONRE in the past to in strengthen State management of natural resources and environment, notably the formulation and promulgation of documents guiding the implementation of the 2013 Land Law.
He also praised MONRE for its effort to tackle the unplanned exploitation of natural minerals.
The Deputy PM said MONRE and local authorities should find more appropriate and effective solutions to addressing land seizure, site clearance, compensation and resettlement in order to minimise land disputes.
Hai also called for the ministry to develop projects and programmes to mitigate the impact of climate change in the Mekong River Delta.
Leaders send greetings to Cuba on National Day
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Truong Tan Sang, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung sent greetings to Raul Castro Ruz, first Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers on the 56th anniversary of Cuba’s National Day (January 1).
On the occasion, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung also sent a message of good wishes to his Cuban counterpart Esteban Lazo.
A congratulatory message was cabled to Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla by his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.
Vietnam and Cuba established diplomatic ties on December 2, 1960.
NA Chairman extols close ties with Denmark
National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung hailed the ties of the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Denmark at a December 30 reception for Danish Ambassador John Nielsen in Hanoi.
“Vietnamese people always bear in mind and are grateful to Denmark for its valuable support in recent years. Denmark’s huge and continuous ODA for Vietnam has been used effectively, greatly contributing to the country’s socio- economic development, improving the quality of labour and promoting regional and international integration.” Hung told his guest.
Regarding parliamentary cooperation, the top legislator expressed his delight at the bourgeoning ties between the two nations as well as closer cooperation in sharing legislative and executive experience.
Hung spoke glowingly of Ambassador John Nielsen’s contributions to fostering the friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries over the past years.
The Dannish diplomat said he is impressed by Vietnam’s tremendous economic development in recent times, notably drastic changes in the Vietnamese legislature and investment policy through revised laws.
John Nielsen said his nation would continue to provide ODA for Vietnam and assist the Southeast Asian nation in climate change adaptation, culture and education.
Congratulations on 50th anniversary of Palestinian Revolution
State President Truong Tan Sang on December 31 extended his congratulations to Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation, on the 50th anniversary of the Palestinian Revolution (January 1).-
Social News 1/1

Saigon Railway to add trains for New Year holiday
The Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company is scheduling additional trains to meet the increased travel demands for the four-day New Year holiday from January 1-4, 2015.
Accordingly, the Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company will add more trains to the SN4 Sai Gon–Nha Trang and SQN4 Sai Gon–Quy Nhon on December 31, 2014; SPT4 Sai Gon–Phan Thiet on January 1,2 and 4; SN5 Nha Trang–Sai Gon, and SQN3 Quy Nhon–Sai Gon on January 3, 2015; SPT3 Phan Thiet–Sai Gon on January 1,3 and 4, 2015; SN3 Nha Trang–Sai Gon on January 3 and 4, 2015.
The trains along the Saigon-Hanoi route will also have additional carriages.
In additional to additional trains, the Vietnam Railways (VR) and the Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company will offer a 10% discount on rail fares between midnight on January 1, 2015 to 12.59pm on February 1, 2015.
Foreign students enjoy New Year gathering in Hanoi
The Vietnam National University- Hanoi (VNU) held a pre-New Year get-together for its international students in Hanoi, on December 30, an event that it organised annually for years.
As many as 800 students from different parts of the world are studying at the VNU, according to Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Kim Son, VNU Vice President.
They have helped building bridges between their nations and Vietnam, Son said and sent his New Year greetings towards them.
He hoped that the students keep doing their best while studying in Vietnam and will multiply what they had learnt when returning home.
Enticing music and dancing performances characterising various cultures fostered mutual understanding and solidarity among fellow students at the event.
VNU is one of the two national universities in Vietnam.
Cuba’s National Day marked in HCM City
A ceremony was held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 30 to mark the 56th anniversary of Cuba ’s National Day (Jan. 1, 1959-2015).
Addressing the event, President of the Vietnam–Cuba Friendship Association (VCFA)’s HCM City chapter Hoang Thi Khanh congratulated the Cuban people on their recent achievements, especially the normalisation of relations with the US after 53 years.
Vietnam is willing to cooperate with and support Cuba in areas of its potential, she said, adding that Ho Chi Minh City together with the entire nation has been doing its utmost to foster the time-honoured Vietnam-Cuba relationship.
Recalling the fine relationship between Vietnam and Cuba since they set up diplomatic ties in 1960, Cuban Consul General to HCM City Bernabe Garcia Valido affirmed that the two peoples will work together to further develop the friendship, fraternity and comprehensive cooperation in the future.
The event was co-hosted by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Associations and the VCFA HCM City.
Police arrest drug trafficker near Chinese border
Cao Bang provincial police have arrested a Chinese national for illegally transporting four kilograms of methamphetamine across the Chinese border in the north of Vietnam.
The young man, 23, from Guangxi, China was caught red handed on December 29 in Ha Lang district transporting the drugs from China into Vietnam.
The Cao Bang Province’s Border Guard Command is continuing to investigate the case.
Microsoft Office contest kicks off
Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship (MOSWC), the world's largest such contest, has been launched at Ho Chi Minh's Social Sciences and Human Studies University.
In the first round, local authorities and educational institutions will identify the top contestants to send to the national knock-out round.
In this round, participants will take the MOS exam – a test of skills in using Microsoft Office software, with the 15 best performers in each category securing a berth in the national finals.
The top three scorers in the finals will be selected as Vietnam's MOS ambassadors and represent the country in the world finals in the US next August.
The event is jointly organised by the Ministry of Education and Training, IIG Viet Nam, military telecom company Viettel, and Tuoi Tre (the Youth) newspaper.
Hospitals provide free checkups, treatment
Ha Noi's health sector will carry out a campaign providing free medical checkups and treatment until the end of February.
The campaign, which marks the 60th Vietnamese Doctors' Day (February 27), includes surgeries for elderly patients with cataracts and children with cleft palates and heart disease.
On the first day of the campaign, Duc Giang General Hospital gave free checkups, treatment and medicine to 300 people in Me Linh District. A similar humanitarian campaign co-organised by the Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) and the Ministry of Health, which aims to benefit more than one million poor people each year, has been underway since November.
Private sector tapped for canal work
The Ministry of Transport has approved a plan to solicit investment from the private sector for developing infrastructure for inland waterways.
In 2015 – 20, the ministry hopes to mobilise VND12.7 trillion (US$595 million) from non-state players for 45 projects that require nearly VND15.8 trillion ($741 million).
In 2015 the Ministry seeks investment in two pilot BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) projects to upgrade inland waterways. These are the second phase of the Cho Gao Canal upgrade at a cost of VND1.4 trillion and work to upgrade the waterway section from the Binh Loi Railway Bridge to Ben Suc Bridge on the Sai Gon River.
To enable investors to make returns, the ministry will allow them to collect fees or sell items like sand and pebble collected from dredging canals and rivers.
The Government has pledged all support to ensure all their investments financially effective.
Food safety inspections increased ahead of Tet
The ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development and Industry and Trade will increase joint food safety inspections as Tet approaches, focusing on big cities and border provinces like Lang Son, Quang Ninh and Lao Cai, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said on Sunday.
"The number of food samples examined will be increased by 10 per cent compared to last year," Tien said while speaking to the audience on the weekly VTV programme "People ask, Ministers answer".
Manufacturers found violating food safety regulations will face fines up to VND200 million (US$9,600) or revocation of their circulation permits. Their names will also be publicised by the Ministry of Health.
The ministry submitted a plan to the Government this year that would establish food safety inspection teams at sub-district levels, including wards and communes.
"The Ministry believes that those measures will be effective in improving the food safety situation," Tien said.
Regarding the amended Law of Health Insurance, which will go into effect on January 1, the Minister said the new regulation of compulsory insurance was a "big political effort" towards the future target of universal health insurance coverage.
The new law also provides support for poor residents and ethnic minority groups in disadvantaged areas, as they will have all their medical fees covered by health insurance rather than only 95 per cent.
Meanwhile, near-poor households will have to pay only 5 per cent of the total fee, a fourfold decrease from the current law.
"Another important work of the Ministry was to improve the quality of medical services as well as the overloading problem at hospitals," Tien said.
The average waiting time for examinations at hospitals has decreased by 50 minutes while 150 medical officers were fined for bad behaviour after a national hotline was established this year.
Association actively supports Vietnamese in Cambodia
The General Association of Vietnamese Cambodian People held a meeting to review its performance in 2014 and map out orientations for next year in Phnom Penh on December 29.
The association proposed Cambodian authorities continue to take care of and give assistance to the Vietnamese Cambodians, especially in terms of legal status and material facilities, said Chairman Chau Van Chi, who was elected as a member of the 13th tenure of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Executive Board.
It received support from authorities of southern cities and provinces of Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Thap and An Giang in building schools, granting scholarships, and opening vocational training courses for Vietnamese expatriates.
The association was also active in cultural and educational work, illustrated by supporting natural disaster victims, providing free health check-ups and medicine, and presenting gifts to underprivileged Vietnamese and Cambodian people.
In 2015, the association will continue to develop its apparatus by establishing new executive boards at grassroots levels, increasing its membership, and guiding the Vietnamese expatriates to register for the foreigner’s legal status implemented by the Cambodian Ministry of Internal Affairs in July 2014.
It will also expand operation in the Cambodian provinces of Preah Vihear, Oddar Mean Chey, Kep, Pailin, and Tbong Kmmum.
Coast Guard seizes smuggled cigarettes
The Viet Nam Coast Guard seized 1,300 smuggled cigarette packs from a motorboat coming from Cambodia in Kien Giang province's Ha Tien town on Saturday.
The coast guard unit seized the goods when the smugglers jumped into the water after a one-hour chase.
A coast guard officer said that smuggling was increasing at the border in Kien Giang Province as the year-end neared, with many smugglers transferring products into small packages at different times throughout the day to avoid law enforcement units.
The coast guard unit handed over the case to local authorities for further investigation. Better quality, prices to turn local products into consumers’ first choice
Domestic businesses need to focus on applying cutting-edge technologies to improve their product quality and cut down prices so that made-in-Vietnam products can truly become the first choice of Vietnamese consumers.
So said participants at a workshop held by the Vietnam Private Business Association (VPBA) in Hanoi on December 27.
Duong Duy Hung, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT)’s Domestic Market Department, pointed out to numerous weaknesses of domestic production such as the monotony of product design and diversity, uncompetitive prices, businesses’ neglect of goods promotion and consumer services, the lax connection between manufacturers and sellers, and the slack market watch.
Raising competitiveness must be conducted regularly, continuously and on the long-term base, said VPBA Vice Chairman Ngo Van Diem, adding that Vietnam needs to improve its national competitiveness, build an appropriate development plan, and create a fair competition environment and a favourable business climate.
He suggested the country help enterprises increase their competitiveness while companies also need to partner with one another, abolish the mindset of hunting for short-term profits, and invest more in personnel training.
According to a recent survey on outcomes of the five-year implementation of the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise the use of Vietnamese goods”, 92 percent of questioned consumers were interested in the drive, 57 percent of them recognised the campaign’s communication efforts, and 63 percent prioritised using domestic products. This survey was carried out by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Communication and Education.
The amount of textile and garment materials imported from China dropped dramatically to 37 percent, compared to 75-80 percent in the previous years, said a report compiled by the MOIT and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in September.
There is also an increasing trend, especially in cities, that local consumers buy domestically made apparel although smuggled products are dwarfing local ones.
While some foreign brands are dominating the market of formula milk, most of other products such as yogurt and condensed and fresh milk on sale are made by Vietnamese companies like Vinamilk and TH True Milk, the report shows.-
Front launches tasks on new-style rural building for 2015
Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Truong Thi Ngoc Anh presided a meeting in Hanoi on December 29 to launch the front’s tasks on new style rural building for 2015.
In 2015, the committee continues its collaboration with the National Steering Committee for New Rural Development in disseminate the Party and Government’s policies on the new style rural building programme while mobilising sources among the people to implement the programme.
Over the past year, the front at all levels made every effort to carry out the national target programme on new style rural development in localities nationwide.
It worked closely with local authorities and relevant agencies to implement criteria on new style rural building along with the “All people unite to build a cultural life in residential areas” drive.
The front encouraged people to provide mutual support in building a better life and fulfill the programme’s goals in terms of housing and income.
Vietnam targets multi-dimensional poverty approach
Vietnam should apply a multi-dimensional poverty (MDP) approach to avoid missing out any targeted beneficiaries, according to Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam.
At a Hanoi seminar announcing the results of MDP approach research in Vietnam on December 29, Dam said that the current income-based poverty reduction policy reveals many shortcomings as incomes are much lower than minimum living standards.
Therefore, the goal now is to fix the current policy’s shortcomings to gradually ensure people’s right to basic social services in the coming time, he said, affirming that the MDP approach will be the best choice.
Participants agreed that the application of MDP measures in Vietnam should be in line with the country’s socio-economic situation.
This new approach needs to achieve three objectives, including measuring poverty dimensions, controlling poverty and identifying policy beneficiaries, they said.
The MDP framework was originally developed by the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
With the UN support, Vietnam is among the 32 countries in the world to pioneer the research and application of multi-dimensional poverty measures.
Youth federation to launch “I love my homeland” movement
The Vietnam Youth Federation (VYF) will launch a movement dubbed “I love my homeland” with a view of encouraging youngsters to act practically for national development, said VYF President Nguyen Dac Vinh.
The movement will be observed from 2014 to 2019 as the first and only one of its kind, said Vinh, who is also first Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union Central Committee, at events held on the sidelines of the VYF’s seventh National Congress in Hanoi on December 28.
It looks to rally youngsters to following an honest, responsible, and energetic lifestyle and to standing ready for the homeland if necessary.
According to historian Duong Trung Quoc, patriotism is a core value of development and should be handed down between generations.
Participants focused on how to boost the youths’ vanguard role in the country’s international integration.
They pointed to the need for youngsters to sharpen their foreign language, IT skills and enrich their knowledge of culture, national history and international exchange in the integration process.
Local youth unions nationwide shared their experience and new solutions to fostering solidarity with Vietnamese youngsters living abroad and mobilising international resources for the growth of the youth.
Discussions sought support for youngsters who want to develop entrepreneurial career.
Over the past 20 years, the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs’ Association members have created jobs for 2.5 million labourers and provided a great deal of financial assistance to social activities annually.
The same day, a televised music and art performance was organised, featuring the youth’s determination to protect the nation’s sacred sea and island sovereignty and make the country prosper.
Preparations for Mekong Delta event discussed
A conference was held in Can Tho City on December 27 to prepare for the Mekong Delta Green Tourism Week which will be co-hosted by the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region in coordination with Can Tho authorities from April 26- May 2, 2015.
In his speech, the Deputy Head of the Steering Committee said the event is to be held in place of the annual Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum, featuring a broad array of conferences and seminars on promoting the region’s tourism potential, calling for investment in green tourism, and seeking solutions to increase regional cooperation in this area.
The Mekong Delta, comprising Can Tho city and 12 provinces with a population of 18 million, boasts huge potential for tourism development.
The region welcomed nearly 11 million visitors, including more than 800,000 foreigners for the first five months of this year, up 8.9% compared to last year's same period, reports the Mekong Delta Tourism Association.
France-Vietnam Friendship Year under review
The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the Vietnam–France Friendship and Cooperation Association co-hosted a meeting in Hanoi on December 27 to review the friendship years between the two nations.
Nguyen Huy Quang, Chairman of the association, and French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier highlighted the France year in Vietnam in 2013 and the Vietnam year in France in 2014 as major contributions to enhancing the friendship and cooperation between the two peoples.
As many as 270 events transpiring during the year, notably in the areas of education and culture have captured the public attention and deepening mutual understanding.
On the occasion, the association launched a special edition on Vietnam’s agriculture in Vietnamese and French featuring articles by Vietnamese and French authors on bilateral relations, agriculture, farming and rural development.
Youth union elevates nation’s image in int’l arena
The seventh youth union congress – an important political event of Vietnamese youth – officially opened in Hanoi on December 27, marking new steps of development of the Vietnam Youth Union and youth movements.
At the congress, students and young people shared their viewpoints on key issues related to career orientation, employment and lifestyles for youth. They expressed confidence the event would elect young talents to the Vietnam Youth Union Central Committee to elevate Vietnamese youth’s status in the international arena.
There was unanimity among the delegates that in the context of international integration, the VYU, as the biggest youth organization in Vietnam, should become the vanguard for young people.They also expressed their hopes that the event would become a political forum for young people nationwide and put forth practical proposals to raise young people’s awareness about lifestyles in the integration period.
In addition, they underscored the importance of renovating educational activities and vocational training at schools, adding that youth union organizations should serve as a bridge helping young people get access to labour market
In the next term, the VYU’s future tasks should focus on career orientation and employment programs for young people.
Young representatives also expressed optimism that the VYU will become a place where they can share their aspirations, ambitions and difficulties and receive enthusiastic support to cope with challenges in life.
OVs in UK review year of success
2014 marked a successful year for Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in the UK, said President of the Overseas Vietnamese Association in the UK Luong Son Thanh on December 28 at an association meeting in London.
Over the past few years, UK austerity measures have negatively impacted the lives of OVs due to a cutback in the number of grants and other local government support.
Fortunately Vietnam Airlines along with numerous other businesses in the UK stepped in to support OVs, he noted.
Earlier, the association’s first mid-autumn festival for Vietnamese children has helped them learn more about Vietnamese culture.
Thanh expressed hope that the association would build a Vietnam culture centre in London in the near future.
Friendship table-tennis tournament connects OVs in Europe
A friendly table tennis tournament held in Berlin on Saturday attracted more than 72 overseas Vietnamese players at all ages from Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland and representatives from the Vietnamese embassies in Germany and Poland.
The friendship table-tennis tournament 2014 was co-organised by the Berlin Table Tennis Club, the Vietnamese embassy and the Association of Vietnamese in Berlin -Brandenburg (Germany) to enhance solidarity among Vietnamese expatriates in Europe.
Addressing the opening ceremony, President of the Berlin Table Tennis Club Nguyen Huu Tho believed that the event will help connect overseas Vietnamese (OV) in Germany and the rest of Europe and contribute to developing OVs’ sports movement in Europe.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese ambassador to Germany Nguyen Thi Hoang Anh highlighted the initiative to organize the tournament and hoped that similar events will be held across Europe to strengthen solidarity and friendship among Vietnamese communities in the EU.
After six rounds, table tennis player Ngo Tuong from Berlin won the highest scores while Ly Hien Long from Frankfurt am Main clinched the second prize. The third, fourth and consolation prizes belonged to players from Germany.
In the team category, the first prize went to the one from Poland. The awards ceremony was held on the same day.
Workers return from Saudi Arabia
Seven of 20 workers stuck for months in Saudi Arabia returned home on December 28, according to the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
They were among 38 workers sent to the country as part of a poverty reduction programme.
The workers, mostly from northern Bac Kan province, posted a video online to ask for help as they did not possess work permits and thus could not obtain exit visas.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Saudi Arabia is currently completing the necessary procedures to bring the rest of the workers back to Vietnam.
Vietnam helps Laos develop traffic system
A road in the Lao province of Houaphanh will be built with the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV)’s loan in a bid to promote trade activities and socio-economic development in the locality.
A contract to this effect was signed in Vientiane on December 27, with Lao Minister of Public Works and Transport Bounchanh Sinthavong and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho in attendance.
The road will stretch as far as 67km from Houaphanh’s Xam Tay district to Tha Lau in the border area between Vietnam and Laos.
Once completed, the road will connect Houaphanh as well as northern provinces of Laos with Vietnam’s road system, facilitating travel and trade activities of the two countries’ businesses and people.
On the occasion, BIDV announced to consider funding for the implementation of a road from the Lao districts of Xam Tay to Thong Thu. The 30km road has an investment of 26.84 million USD.-
NGOs offer 300mln USD-plus aid to Vietnam in 2014
The number of foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in Vietnam is on the rise with an aid value of over 300 million USD this year, reported the Committee on NGOs during a conference in Hanoi on December 30.
During 2014, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) welcomed 1,860 guests from 760 NGO delegations coming to launch development projects.
A series of conferences and workshops were held to appeal for aid in and outside the country as well as connect sponsors and NGOs with Vietnamese partners.
The committee released a code of administrative procedures in five languages in support of NGOs while enhancing personnel training at both central and local levels.
Besides NGOs, it also raised funding in embassies, United Nations bodies, development cooperation agencies and business community.
VUFO Vice President and General Secretary Don Tuan Phong, who is also deputy head of the committee, said NGOs are shifting their development assistance to the fields of environment, climate change, capability building and policy lobby.
Next year, the committee will further provide NGOs with administrative, technical and legal assistance while enhancing ties with development partners and promoting personnel training in ministries, agencies and localities.
Concluding the event, Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the committee Ho Xuan Son urged involved agencies to work harder to make NGOs a channel that supports Vietnam in every domain, especially those related to the national development.
Microsoft Office contest kicks off
Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship (MOSWC), the world's largest such contest, has been launched at Ho Chi Minh's Social Sciences and Human Studies University.
In the first round, local authorities and educational institutions will identify the top contestants to send to the national knock-out round.
In this round, participants will take the MOS exam – a test of skills in using Microsoft Office software, with the 15 best performers in each category securing a berth in the national finals.
The top three scorers in the finals will be selected as Vietnam's MOS ambassadors and represent the country in the world finals in the US next August.
The event is jointly organised by the Ministry of Education and Training, IIG Viet Nam, military telecom company Viettel, and Tuoi Tre (the Youth) newspaper.
Quang Ninh province starts work on PPP office building
The northern province of Quang Ninh kicked off the construction of the second State office building under the form of public-private partnership (PPP) model on December 28.
The project worth nearly 500 billion VND (23.7 million USD) is being built on an area of 1,140 square metres, including 23 storeys and two basements.
Once completed in the next two years, the project will ensure office space for 16 provincial departments and sectors.
Local authorities are focusing on infrastructure building projects under the PPP model.
Southern province shares emulation experience with Laos
Vice Chairman of the southern province of Ba Ria–Vung Tau Le Thanh Dung had a working session with deputy head of the emulation and rewards board of the Lao Department of Internal Affairs Ye Lo Chiava in Ba Ria city on December 28.
Dung spoke in length the province’s socio-economic situation over the past few years and introduced the organisational system, functions, and activities of the local board of emulation and rewards.
He also shared experience in building and expanding effective models in the field.
The Lao guest said the visit was to study the provincial experience in promoting the emulation and rewards campaigns in both quantity and quality.
HCM City facilitates the blinds to access IT
Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Information and Communication and the Blind Association held on December 29 an award ceremony for winners of the first informatics contest for the blinds.
The event drew contestants from 15 blind associations across the city, performing their tests through special software which is designed for sight-impaired people.
Addressing at the event, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Blind Association Nguyen Dinh Kien said the competition aims to encourage the blinds to have access to and apply information technology into their study and work, thus helping them integrate into the community and improving their working capacity.
Ho Chi Minh City Blind Association now has 1,381 members living in 24 districts.-
HCM City to step up fight against crimes
Ho Chi Minh City police is cracking down on crimes as the Lunar New Year approaches, according to the chief of the municipal police’s Staff Office Nguyen Si Quang.
At a press conference on December 29 to review the combat of crime in the city in 2014 and plans for the next period, the officer said the crackdown will focus on criminal organisations, burglars and robbers, smugglers, traders of banned goods such as drug and firecracker.
A host of measures to ensure public order and traffic safety will be deployed, he added.
Reports reveal that the municipal police brought to light as many as 4,248 criminal cases in 2014, destroying 879 criminal gangs and arresting about 2,142 criminals.
Restructuring on right track, securities commission says
The State Securities Commission (SSC) said the restructuring of securities companies is keeping in the right direction, taking in cautious steps with respect for market rules.
The move reduced the rate of loss-suffering companies from 60 percent to 20 percent with loss slashed remarkably from 4,200 billion VND to 200 billion VND.
Meanwhile, the profitability rate increased 1.5 times and the average index of the financial safety expanded by 15 percent, the SSC said.
As of the end of the third quarter, 43 fund management companies were in operation, of which 23 companies ran profitably with a joint sum of 132 billion VND while 20 others suffered a combined loss of 64 billion VND.
The companies took responsibility for a total asset of 109 trillion VND.
According to the commission, the open-end funds, which replaced the closed-end funds, are operating in a more flexible and transparent manner with mechanisms to better protect investors.
As of December, 2014, the market saw the presence of 25 mutual funds with two of them being Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF), 15 open-end funds and eight member funds. Their total mobilisation value is over 7 trillion VND.
The SSC said that it has to date issued all mechanisms and policies related to the organisation and operation of securities businesses in line with international practices, especially using BASEL II financial safety criteria, CAMEL early warning criteria and international-standard risk management system.
In 2015, the SSC said it would work with other relevant agencies to develop standard accountancy criteria applied to organisations which trade securities, and an accountancy system used by securities companies.
The SSC will also amend circular 210 on organising the operation of securities companies and take measures to keep the securities market operating stably, safely, and effectively.