Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 11, 2015

Social News 12/11

Vietnam among top 8 best Christmas trips for solo travellers
Vietnam has been named top 8 best Christmas trips for solo travellers by the UK's prestigious magazine Wanderlust.
Accordingly, with just only GBP595 (around US$902.75) for 15-day trip, visitors will have chance to cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay, snorkel off picture-perfect beaches, and immerse themselves in the history and culture of Hoi An with a bunch of other adventurous travellers. 
In addition, foreign visitors can float on the Mekong Delta on a private boat, then dock at a water-side village to meet a local family, feast on home-cooked Vietnamese food, bed down in their home, and ready to continue their adventure in Ho Chi Minh City the following day,Wanderlust suggested.
Rounding on the list of top 8 are Mexico, China, South America, Myanmar, Morocco, Cuba, and East Africa.
Large scale fields account for 4 percent rice farming area
Large scale paddy fields have been developed slowly in Vietnam accounting for only 4 percent of total rice farming area, according to reports at a meeting hosted in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday by Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Planning and Investment, and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance.
Only 11 percent rice area is under large scale in Vietnam’s largest rice growing area--the Mekong Delta.
Some mountainous provinces such as Cao Bang and Bac Kan have yet to implement any project to develop this model or make any move to start it.
Both businesses and farmers have said it is very difficult to access loans to develop large scale paddy fields.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said that production connectivity in chains and cooperative economy were trend to improve competitiveness for international integration.
However, 33 provinces have not implemented large scale fields while 23 provinces have yet to do planning on it because local authorities have lacked fund, relevant agencies have not carried out drastic measures, farmers associations have operated ineffectively.
Cooperatives and cooperative groups have failed to well organize production, manage farm produce’s quality with advanced production process, and assist farmers to harvest and preserve their products.
Small and scattered rice farming areas and weak infrastructures have raised difficulties for businesses to mechanize production and build material zones.
Vietnam, Egypt cooperate in scientific research and training
A delegation from the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (NPA) led by director Ta Ngoc Tan paid a working visit to Egypt from November 8-10, hoping to study scientific research methods and State personnel training. 
During a working session on November 10, Tan and Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Yasser Morad spoke about their countries’ socio-economic situations, aiming to create a closer friendship, intensified experience-sharing, and strengthened collaboration in trade and economics. 
The Vietnamese official highlighted Vietnam’s goals in its relations with other nations and territories, saying that Egypt holds an important position in Africa and the Middle East. 
While meeting with First Assistant Education Minister Hossam El-Malehy, Tan asked for Egypt to provide postgraduate scholarships. 
The host suggested the NPA and Egyptian research institutes foster cooperation in administrative reform, public administration, and scientific research and training – including political science. 
Currently, the two countries have yet to sign any agreements on education and training. However, Egypt will consider increasing scholarships for Vietnamese students and postgraduates, he added. 
On November 8, the NPA delegation visited Cairo University, one of the biggest and oldest universities in the region. Tan and President Gaber Gad Nassar agreed on basic principles on the establishment of bilateral cooperation in scientific research and training.
Flooding forces HCMC to spend huge on digging buried canal
Sixteen years ago, Ho Chi Minh City spent nearly VND1 trillion (US$44.64 million) on filling up a 600 meter stretch of Hang Bang Canal in District 6 and installing box sewers to deal with pollution. Now, the city has to pay triple to dig the stretch to ease flooding due to high tides and heavy rains. 
Both ends of the buried stretch have been narrowed to only 2-3 meters where receive wastewater from nearby residential areas.
According to the HCMC Urban Traffic Works Investment Management Board, the drainage improvement project in the lower reaches of Hang Bang Canal, part of the second phase of the water environment clean up project, is to build parks along both sides of the canal.
The project aims to improve drainage and water containing ability for the entire 1,400 meters canal from Lo Gom Canal in District 6 to Van Tuong Canal in District 5.
Hang Bang Canal comprises fourth sections with the first 220 meter stretching from from Lo Gom Canal to Binh Tien Street, the second 675 meters from Binh Tien Street to Mai Xuan Thuong Street, the third 765 meters from Mai Xuan Thuong to Van Tuong Canal and the fourth 155 meter section from Pham Van Khoe Street to Vo Van Kiet Boulevard.
The first out of three phases of the project has started in the first and fourth sections and is expected to complete by October next year.
The second and third phases will continue dredging other sections and building embankments starting 2017 to 2020.
Site clearance and compensation is estimated to cost VND2.5 trillion (US$111.6 million) excluding construction expenses.
Mr. Pham Sanh, lecturer from the HCMC Transport University, said that formerly authorized agencies simply thought that filling up the canal and installing box sewers would help reduce pollution. Moreover, that way would take less time and money on site clearance.
At that time, they did not think about of current flooding. At present, a slew of new culvert routes have been built and most run into Hang Bang Canal but it can not drain water out.
Therefore, digging the 600 meter stretch is compulsory to improve drainage, environment and urban landscape along the canal, he added.
Professor Le Huy Ba, former head of the Institute for Science, Technology and Environment Management under the HCMC University of Industry, said that after Hang Bang, local authorities should clear and dig others canals that have been buried or encroached. They must prevent other canals from being filled up.
HCMC has 3,020 canals along 5,000 kilometers. Hundreds of them have been filled up or installed with box sewers to reduce pollution and make room for housing projects in Districts 2, 7, 8, 9, Binh Thanh, Binh Tan, Thu Duc, Hoc Mon and Binh Chanh.
Canadian food introduced at month-long festival in HCM City
A variety of Canadian food products, notably pork and beef products from Alberta province, are being introduced to the public at the 2015 Canadian Food Festival, which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on November 11.
The annual month-long event is held by the Canadian Embassy in Vietnam aiming to introduce the North American country’s famous specialties as well as its leading food products to Vietnamese consumers.
The festival features active participation from a number of Vietnamese and Canadian organisations and enterprises, including the Canada Fisheries Association, the Canada Pork and the Canada Beef International Institute.
At the festival, visitors will have a chance to enjoy a number of specialties from Canada such as beef, pork, lobster, oysters, cod, salmon, mussels, beer and maple syrup, with the dishes to be prepared by talented Canadian chef, Nathan Fong and the head chef of Le Meridien Saigon Hotel, Frederic Meyanrd.
Addressing the event, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam David Devine noted that there are an increasing number of Vietnamese consumers choosing Canadian products, which is reflected through the remarkable growth in trade exchange between the two countries’ food sectors. At present, Canada’s agro-fisheries exports account for 57% of the country’s total export revenues to Vietnam, Devine added.
The Canadian ambassador pledged to stand by Canadian suppliers and Vietnamese importers to bring the best and safest Canadian products to Vietnamese consumers, particularly as the Trans-Pacific Partnership will help the two countries take better advantage of the new opportunities brought about by trade liberalization.
Trade relations between Vietnam and Canada have been growing in a positive and rapid manner. Two-way trade reached CA$4.4 billion from September 2014 to August 2015, making Vietnam Canada’s largest ASEAN trade partner. 
Hanoi ranks third in administrative reform index
The Hanoi municipal Department of Home Affairs announced on November 10 that Hanoi’s administrative reform index in 2014 came third out of 63 provinces and cities throughout the country, two grades higher than that of 2013.
The capital was one of three localities with an index higher than 90% thanks to drastic measures implemented to improve the business and investment climate, strengthen competitiveness and ensure social welfare.
Notably, since September Hanoi has implemented linked administrative procedures of birth declaration, residential registration and medical insurance issuance for children under the age of six. Instead of procedures in three agencies with three separate applications, people can now complete those procedures at one office with only one form.
The city’s Department of Public Security has also accepted applications for standard passports from homes and hospitals for policy beneficiaries since October 28.
Meanwhile, the Department of Planning and Investment has officially shortened duration for registration of new businesses from five to three working days since January, six months sooner than the regulations in the 2014 Law on Enterprises allowed, which became effective on July 1.
According to Vice Director of the Department of Home Affairs Ngo Anh Tuan, Hanoi is directing departments, agencies, districts and towns to enhance one stop shop mechanisms, build standard processes of administrative procedures and improve reception work. 
Tuan added that the city will issue a new decision on one stop shop mechanisms and review invalid and unsuitable legal documents to remove, replace, amend, supplement or issue new documents in order to ensure legality and consistency. 
Photo contest launched to honour Vietnam’s roads and bridges
A photo contest on the ‘Beauty of Vietnam’s routes and bridges’ was launched in Hanoi on November 10, aiming to promote understanding of aesthetic and environmental factors, as well as the historic and cultural values of roads and bridges across the nation.
The event is co-organised by Vietnam Natural and Traditional Beauty Review, Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists, National Traffic Safety Committee, and Directorate for Roads of Vietnam.
Editor-in-chief of the Vietnam Natural and Traditional Beauty Review and deputy head of the organising board Luong Xuan Duc, said that the event aims to search for beautiful works on roads and bridges in the country, and to acknowledge the fundamental changes in traffic system development with national socio-economic progress, contributing to building patriotism through the beautiful stretches of roads and bridges.
The event is also part of activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Transport sector (August 28, 1945-2015).
Entries for the contest should feature routes and bridges with surrounding landscapes, as well as the daily life and culture around them, without prejudice to the customs, traditions, and cultural identities of local communities or infringing upon the interests of individuals, organisations or the nation.
Both Vietnamese citizens and foreigners may submit multiple images including a single image or sets of photos (from 5-12 photos per set). Each entry must have a minimum resolution of 300dpi and a minimum size of 3Mb, along with one participation form and complete information describing the content of the photo.
Entries should be sent to the Vietnam Natural and Traditional Beauty Review (phone: 04.6254.2845, email:, No. 19A Ngoc Ha street, Hanoi’s Ba Dinh district prior to February 29, 2016.
There will be two first prizes worth VND12 million each, two second prizes worth VND8 million each, two third prizes worth VND6 million each and ten consolation prizes awarded.
Outstanding works will be collected for the ‘Beautiful roads and bridges of Vietnam’ column of the Vietnam Natural and Traditional Beauty Review, as well as for photo books, calendars, and mobile exhibitions across the country.
An awards ceremony is scheduled for March 20, 2016 in Hanoi.
Big C joins educational institutions in vocational training
The Big C supermarket chain has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with leading institutes of management like RMIT and the Asian Institute of Technology in Vietnam (AIT-VN) to hold retail management courses for young entrepreneurs in the city.
These free professional training courses are designed for entrepreneurs and youth who are interested in retail business and who plan to work for Big C in the future.
Under the agreement, Big C will organize a two-year professional training program with two separate courses -- “Future senior directors” and “Future directors”. Students can choose to study at RMIT where they will be trained to become senior managers and will have the opportunity to hold senior positions at Big C or opt for a general course on business management at AIT-VN.
In addition to studying management, participants will stand a chance of putting theory into practice as they will be instructed by veteran directors of Big C and work as interns at the retail firm.
Like full-time employees, students will get monthly allowances for internship, lunch, transport cost, accommodation for candidates from out-of-town areas, health insurance and other benefits.
The training program will kick off at the beginning of November with 36 candidates shortlisted from more than 2,000 applicants through the preliminary round, written tests and interviews.
After completing the year-long course, trainees will be granted certificates of professional training by Big C and relevant units. Especially, depending on the course that students attend, they will be recruited by Big C to the potition of director or supervisor afterwards.
This is the fourth consecutive year Big C has conducted such a training program to develop high-quality human resources for the retail sector.
“Future senior directors” course is for candidates with three to five years of experience in management. The curriculum comprises lessons on retail management provided by Big C and leadership competence taught by RMIT in English. The training program will last 12 months, from October 2015 to September 2016. Taking the course, students will study theory and practice alternatively and be in charge of a management position at a certain supermarket or division.
“Future directors” course is for young people.  The curriculum consists of lessons in retail management conducted by Big C and general business administration instructed by the Asian Institute of Technology in Vietnam (AIT-VN). The course will last 10 months (from October 2015 to July 2016) under the form which is similar to “Future senior directors” course.
Panels seek to examine Truong Son biodiversity
Participants discussed opportunities and challenges in applying standard methods for the examination of fauna biodiversity in the central Truong Son region during a workshop in central Thua Thien – Hue province on November 10-11.
The function forms part of the carbon reserve and forest biodiversity conservation project (Carbi) funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) in Vietnam between 2011 and 2016.
It reviewed the preservation efforts in the central Truong Son region – which boasts rich biological diversity and supplies important ecological services for locals and economic sectors.
The region comprises seven cities and provinces, namely Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Nam , Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Binh Dinh, and Da Nang.
The outcomes of the Carbi project would help experts expand law enforcement and examination on the regional biodiversity and map out a national programme in the field.
They also significantly contribute to the prevention of deforestation and forest degradation in the border areas of southern Laos and central Vietnam , particularly the Bach Ma National Park and Sao La Nature Reserve in Thua Thien – Hue and Sao La Nature Reserve in Quang Nam province.
Additionally, the Germany-funded project covers the protection of wildlife species of globally biological value and at risk of extinction, including Sao La (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) – one of the world’s rarest mammals found only in the Truong Son Range of Vietnam and Laos.
It also creates connectivity between Vietnamese and Lao nature reserves and biological corridors in the central Truong Son region. Under the project, the two countries’ governments have closely worked together to intensify protection of conservation areas.
The Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thua Thien – Hue, Dinh Khac Dinh, said the significant outcome of the project was to discover Sao La and Mang (a species of muntjac deer) in the region and then set up a forest protection team and Sao La Nature Reserve in the province to mitigate the threats to rare animals.
Based on the initial success of the project, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research has continued to study the biodiversity and habitat of wildlife animals and their interaction with human beings for building a scientific basis for new measures to protect wild animals.
HCM City waste treatment effort lauded
Allen Warren, Vice Mayor of Sacramento in the US’s California, spoke of Vietnam Waste Solutions Inc. (VWS)’s waste treatment technology while visiting the Da Phuoc Solid Waste Treatment Complex in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Chanh district on November 10.
Leaders of the VWS told the guest the scale and operation of waste treatment plants in the complex.
Warren said the US-funded VWS is now operated by overseas Vietnamese businesses. Currently, the number of Vietnamese students pursuing their education in Sacramento is very high, and they are interested in the investment environment in their homeland, he noted.
He added that this is his second visit to Vietnam, and he will do his utmost to promote cooperation between the two countries.
He expressed his belief that the collaborative ties between Vietnam and the US – and particularly between HCM City and Sacramento – will thrive.
The VWS is a licensed Vietnamese Corporation that is fully owned by the California Waste Solutions, Inc. (CWS), a California-based corporation. It specialises in providing waste management services to Vietnam.
The founder of VWS is David Duong, a Vietnamese-American citizen. He is also Chairman and CEO of California Waste Solutions, Inc. (CWS). 
Long Thanh International Airport project urged to speed up
The Prime Minister has put forward some solutions to accelerating the progress of the Long Thanh International Airport project. 
The PM has allowed the People’s Committee of the southern province of Dong Nai, where the airport is located, to develop and implement a resettlement project in tandem with a feasibility study on the airport conducted by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV). 
Dong Nai is responsible for selecting a contractor to carry out the project according to law and works with the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) for budget allocations. 
The MoT will instruct the ACV to soon make a feasibility study on phase I of the Long Thanh International Airport project as instructed by the PM in document No 1509/TTg-KTN dated August 26, 2015 and is responsible for supervising relevant agencies to ensure quality and effectiveness of the project. 
Long Thanh International Airport will be built in Long Thanh district, Dong Nai province as a 4F-category airport under the criteria of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). 
The construction will be divided into three phases with phase I set for the airport to accommodate 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargoes. 
Upon the completion, the airport will capable of handling 100 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of cargoes.
Government provides seeds for 11 disaster-hit localities
The Prime Minister has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to allocate over 2,000 tons of various seeds from the national reserve to 11 disaster-hit provinces.
Accordingly, the ministry will distribute about 1,900 tons of rice seed, 148.6 tons of maize seed, and over 52 tons of vegetable seed.
Beneficiaries are Ha Nam, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, Ninh Binh, Bac Giang, Phu Tho and Quang Ninh in the north, and the four central provinces of Quang Tri, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.
Cultivation and production in the 11 provinces were heavily affected by drought, storm and prolonged rains from July 25 to August 5.-
Hanoi works towards green city
Authorities have been exerting more efforts and implementing various solutions, especially in energy efficiency, to turn the capital city of Hanoi into a greener city. 
Hanoi has been implementing a program on using energy-efficiency products from 2011-2015, helping cut 10 percent of energy usage in establishments that used a huge amount of energy. 
The program has had 258 solutions to energy conservation, 102 of which have been applied to buildings, saving 3,767 tons of oil equivalent (TOE) or equal to 75.69 billion VND (3,360 USD). 
The city also required buildings to meet the Vietnam Building Criteria on constructions using energy effectively and efficiently. 
Managerial models have been built for some buildings that used a lot of energy such as HITC, Sheraton Hotel, Ocean Park, Agribank, Big C Thang Long and Savico Megamall. 
The city has also implemented measures to save energy in transportation by building belt roads and increasing the capability of mass transportation. 
Enterprises have been encouraged to use new technologies and use renewable energy.
According to Dr. Dao Hong Thai, an expert on the environment, Hanoi needs to develop a contingent of energy managerial human resources in establishments that consume a vast amount of energy in order to improve the energy efficiency. 
Constructions must meet criteria on energy efficiency and transport infrastructure and public services in urban areas need to be planned properly to take full advantage of surroundings such as sun, wind directions, or greenery, among solutions, said Thai.-
Urban Development Project focuses on vulnerable children
World Vision International (WVI) and authorities of central Da Nang city’s Son Tra district signed an agreement on the Son Tra Urban Area Development Programme (UADP) on November 10 and launched the project’s Phase One the same day. 
The project will focus on improving the life quality and social welfare of children in families and community, especially poor and extremely disadvantaged children, through enhancing care and education for children under five, equipping teenagers with knowledge and life skills. 
The project also includes a programme on mitigating disaster risks and improving capabilities of adapting to climate change for local residents and children in difficult areas such as Tho Quang, Man Thai and Phuoc My wards. 
About 25,500 out of more than 67,000 people benefited from the project are children. 
The project will be implemented in three phases: the first phase from October 2015 to September 2018 with a budget of 763,489 USD. 
The second one will begin from October, 2018 to September 2023 and the last one will be from October 2023 to September 2027. The budget for the two later phases will depend on the result of the first one. 
Son Tra is one of seven districts in Da Nang city with 37,000 households and 153,000 people, 35,000 of who are children under 18, or 22.49 percent. 
According to a survey in 2015, around 2,500 children under 16 in the district have disadvantaged background, including 200 orphans and nearly 300 with disabilities.
PM approves additional funding for survey on ethnic minorities
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has agreed to give an additional 99.8 billion VND (4.4 million USD) from the national budget for a survey to collect information on socio-economic situations of 53 ethnic minority groups in 2015.
Of the figure, 95.2 billion VND (4.2 million USD) will go to the Ministry of Investment and Planning (MPI) and the remaining is for the Government Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs.
The investigation, the first of its kind, aims to compile statistics on population, incomes, housing and other socio-economic indicators of ethnic minority groups to serve the compilation of the national statistical system and the statistical system on ethnic affairs in order to design socio-economic development policies for ethnic-inhabited areas. 
The results of the survey will also serve as a foundation to form a data system on ethnic minorities in Vietnam.
Ethnic minority region targeted by the survey is defined as an area where the number of ethnic minorities accounts for at least 30 percent of the local population.
The investigation scope includes 51 centrally-run cities and provinces.
US foundation offers aid in addressing UXO impacts
A memorandum of understanding on cooperation in solving wartime landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) impacts was signed between the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) and the US’s Golden West Humanitarian Foundation on November 9. 
Under the document, Golden West will assist VNMAC to increase the UXO clearance staff’s professional capacity while sharing information about UXO disposal techniques. 
It will also design, produce and transfer professional equipment to the Vietnamese side, the Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) daily reported.
The newspaper quoted Golden West CEO Allan Vosburgh said at the signing ceremony in Hanoi that his organisation will continue programmes and projects to support VNMAC in training personnel and equipping professional facilities. It will also help Vietnam’s navy promote underwater UXO clearance capacity. 
According to a preliminary survey in 2002, nearly 9,300 communes with 6.6 million hectares of land across Vietnam were contaminated with UXOs, accounting for 21.12 percent of the country’s land area; the central region is the most contaminated. 
UXOs claimed 42,135 lives and injured 62,163 others from 1975 to 2000. The State has spent tens of millions of USD every year on UXO disposal and providing vocational training to and resettling UXO victims.
Phu Tho prepares for 2016 Hung Kings Temple Festival
The death anniversary of the Hung Kings and the 2016 Hung Kings Temple Festival will take place from April 12-16 with a string of new activities, said the organising board.
There will be a number of exhibitions displaying photos, paintings, documents and objects that feature Hung King worshipping rituals, Xoan singing, which is now in the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent protection, as well as land and people of Phu Tho.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Ha Ke San who is also head of the festival’s organising board, said activities will be held at the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site, Viet Tri city, communes around the Hung Kings Temple and areas around relics dedicated to worshipping Hung Kings and famous generals under the dynasty across the province.
The event will see the participation of the northern province of Vinh Phuc, the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai and the southern provinces of Binh Phuoc and Ca Mau.
Vietnamese legend has it that Lac Long Quan, son of Kinh Duong Vuong, married Au Co, daughter of King De Lai. Au Co gave birth to a sack containing 100 eggs from which 100 children were born. The couple then decided to separate in order to populate the land and propagate the race, so half the children followed their mother to the highlands and the remaining went with their father to the sea.
The first child went with mother Au Co to Phong Chau, now Phu Tho province. He then became King Hung and founded the first nation in the history of Vietnam, called Van Lang.
Ruling the country over 18 generations, the Hung Kings taught the people how to grow wet rice. They chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to rice and sun deities to pray for lush crops.
To honour the great contributions of the Hung Kings, a complex of temples dedicated to them was built on Nghia Linh Mountain, and the tenth day of the third lunar month serves as the national commemorative anniversary.
The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings are closely related to the ancestral worshipping traditions of most Vietnamese families, which form an important part of their spiritual lives. It was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.
Second Vietnamese restaurant inaugurated in Panama
Pho (noodle soup), fried noodle, spring rolls, fried rice with beef, seafood and other traditional Vietnamese dishes are on the menu of freshly inaugurated “Sabor Viet” restaurant- the second Vietnamese bistro in Panama.
Situated in Obarrio ward, Panama city, where hotels, offices and high-end apartments are located, the 400 sq.m restaurant brings Vietnamese food closer to international friends.
Vietnamese dishes have been favoured in Panama since the country’s culinary newspaper Dixi Easts published reviews and pictures praising them only a week after the opening of the first Vietnamese restaurant. 
“For those who have gone to the US and have eaten in Vietnamese restaurants, they will feel a very small difference in taste and some different spices when eating in Vietnamese restaurants in Panama. It is because Vietnamese restaurants in the US are often cooked in the southern style but Vietnamese restaurants in Panama are cooked in the northern style. However, all dishes are delicious, gentle and fresh,” writes the newspaper.
Local diners also said that Vietnamese food has less fat and gluten than Chinese dishes.
Ha Giang promotes buckwheat flower fest in Hanoi
The buckwheat flower festival, a main tourism attraction of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, is being introduced to local and international tourists via a photo exhibition that opened in Hanoi on November 9. 
Besides spectacular images of fields of the small pinkish white flowers, photos of the landscape, daily life and local agricultural production will provide visitors an insight into the border land. 
Many local specialties such as honey or mushroom are also on display through November 20. 
The buckwheat flower festival will be taking place from the first time at Dong Van district’s old quarter and three districts – Quan Ba, Yen Minh and Meo Vac from November 12-15. 
The buckwheat (Fagopyrum Esculentum) plant grows in clusters of small pinkish white flowers and produces triangular shaped edible seeds. 
The ethnic H’Mong cultivate two crops of buckwheat every year. The flowers are sensitive to sunlight, changing their colour from white in the early morning to pink in the afternoon. 
Buckwheat in full bloom is a spectacular sight, drawing flocks of tourists to Ha Giang.
US, Vietnam step up cooperation on MIA issue
Deputy Minister of Public Security Senior Lieutenant General To Lam and Director of the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Major General Michael Linnington have consented to bolster cooperation in searching for servicemen missing in action.
At their meeting in Hanoi on November 9, they said the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security and US agencies have been successful in locating and repatriating the remains of American servicemen. 
Linnington said he appreciates the humanitarian policies and goodwill of the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security and wants to enhance cooperation on this issue.
Hanoi, Wellington expand cooperation
A Hanoi high-ranking delegation led by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, Nguyen The Thao has paid a four-day visit to Wellington, New Zealand.
During his stay in New Zealand on November 8-11, Thao discussed with Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown measures to boost bilateral cooperation in different fields.
Mrs Brown said the Hanoi delegation’s visit will open new cooperation opportunities and lay a firm foundation for close friendly relations between the two cities.
Thao in turn stated that Hanoi always attaches much importance to strengthening multifaceted cooperation relations with Wellington.
On the occasion, the two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on fostering friendly and cooperative ties, especially in economics, education, climate change response and cultural exchange.
Accordingly, the two cities will co-organise a number of activities in the coming time, such as information and cultural exchange, sharing of experience and skills to cope with climate change and training of Hanoi officials in the English language.
The two cities’ leaders agreed to propose the two governments opening a direct flight between Hanoi and Wellington in the near future.
At a meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives, David Carter on November 10, Thao briefed him on Hanoi’s socio-economic situation and development orientations as well as its stand on expanding friendship and cooperative ties with capitals and cities in the world.
Hanoi gives priority to enhancing cooperation with New Zealand in education, economics, urban planning, culture and tourism and encourages New Zealand businesses to invest in the city’s information and communications technology (ICT), renewable energy, waste treatment and environment protection.
Mr. Carter applauded the signing of a MoU between the two cities and pledged to support and spur the sound relations between the two countries with priority given to education, training, trade and investment.
Vietnam hopes to attract more Chinese tourists
Vietnam has launched its biggest ever promotional campaign in China, its largest visitor market, in an attempt to reverse a downward trend in the tourism industry.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) last month started a series of events that gathered many travel agencies across China.
Nguyen Van Tuan, director of VNAT, told Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online that the promotion campaign is the biggest ever organized in China.
“And we’re seeing a new wave of tourists coming to Vietnam.”
He said a lot of Chinese tourists will be visiting Ho Chi Minh City and popular beach towns Danang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. 
Nha Trang in central Vietnam will continue to be a top destination for Chinese travelers, Tuan said.
There are ten flights connecting Nha Trang with Chinese cities every days and more services will be launched, he said.
Last year, more than 1.9 million Chinese tourists made up for a quarter of Vietnam’s total foreign arrivals.
But the figure in the first ten months this year fell around 15%. 
Local tourism authorities blamed it on tensions between the two countries, which peaked with China putting an oil rig in Vietnamese waters in May 2014 and triggering opposition across the country.
Tuan said the market has not fullly recovered yet, but it will next year.
The important thing is many Chinese will come by air or on cruise trips with deeper pockets, rather than simply crossing the border on budget trips, Tuan said.
Students compete in English contest
The final round of Echoes 2015, an English-speaking contest hosted by Hanoi University's English Club, will run November 12.
The public finale includes a talent show, a role-play challenge and a debate. The six contestants are top students from Viet Duc High School, High School for Gifted Students – Hanoi University of Science, Nguyen Hue High School, Foreign Trade University and Hanoi University.
The talent show asks competitors to demonstrate English skills through singing, poetry, storytelling and various public speaking.
Competitors will then continue on to the role playing portion where they will be asked to answer questions as if they were popular English-speaking figures.
The event starts at 8pm in the meeting hall of Hanoi University. Further registration information can be found here or by contacting Ms Ha Anh (0983 641 994).
Michael Brynntrup to visit HCM City
Ho Chi Minh City is the next destination of German filmmaker and video artist Michael Brynntrup. The information was revealed by the Saigon International Film School (SIFS).
Accordingly, an experimental film screening of Michael Brynntrup is scheduled to take place in the SIFS on November 14, which is a part of his film tour in Asia from October 15 to November 24.
Michael Brynntrup is a German experimental filmmaker living in Berlin. Besides experimental films and video installations, his better-known works also include electrography, digital art and internet art projects.
Brynntrup often performs the leading role in his movies. He is able to integrate a personal diaristic strategy using humour and pathos to subvert, to create films which are both intimate and visually stunning.
Vietnamese surgeons succeed in operation on kid with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome
The Children Hospital No.1 in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday said that surgeons have successfully performed an operation on 7-year-old girl with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome and venous abnormalities which involve the pelvic or abdominal organs resulting in bleeding from the rectum, vagina or urinary bladder. 
Dr. Dao Trung Hieu, deputy head of the hospital said that the hospital admitted 7 year old girl Nguyen Thao Vy in HCMC’s Go Vap District. She was hospitalized when she feels difficult to urinate and urinate with blood.
Doctors diagnosed that she suffered Klippel – Trenaunay syndrome with venous abnormalities causing bleeding from urinary bladder.
Worse, through scan, doctors detected that her urinary bladder has many clotted blood and venous abnormalities in edge of urinary bladder and pelvis. 
Moreover, when seeing scan of her legs, doctors concluded that she has mixed venous abnormalities and lymph occupies all her legs; for the future, lymph will invade pelvis and edge of urinary bladder. 
Surgeons decided to examine her bladder with Cystoscopy which is a procedure to see the inside of the bladder and urethra using a telescope to verify and to stop bleeding temporarily.
After 12 days under doctors’ observation, the girl undertook a surgery to remove a part of bottom of the bladder which has venous abnormalities. 
She is now recovering and medical tests show that her heartbeat and urine are normal.
Thousands in Quang Ngai face high risk of landslide
Thousands of households in mountainous or riverside areas of the central Quang Ngai Province are potentially in the path of landslides, which become a high risk during the flood season.
Huynh Thuong, vice chairman of the province's mountainous Ba To District People's Committee, said 37 landslide-prone areas had been identified in the district.
Local residents were asked to prepare for evacuation during the rainy seasons, he said.
Thuong said local residents are still reeling from the abnormally heavy rain that caused off-season floods in late March. The rain also caused a landslide of about 60,000 cubic metres of soil and stones, forcing thousands of residents to remain isolated for days.
In Tan Tra District, another mountainous district in the province, local authorities identified 15 landslide-prone areas, affecting 135 households.
Phan Van Hien, vice head of the district's Flood and Storm Prevention and Control Team, said landslides and rockslides threaten all communes during the rainy season because of strong water flow from nearby springs.
Duong Van To, director of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the landslide also threatens riverside areas because local rivers are usually short, narrow and sloping.
Strong water flow coupled with flash floods make the landslide more serious.
There are about 130 landslide-prone areas along 160km of local rivers in the districts of Tra Bong, Tra Khuc, Song Ve and Tra Cau.
To said before the rainy season, the department and relevant agencies examined and reinforced embankments along rivers.
For years, the province planned to build resettlement areas for residents who live in landslide-prone areas, To said. However, many residents refused to move and build new houses because of moderate support from the State.
Inspection stations to curb illegal transportation of coal
The northern Quang Ninh Province has set up two inspection stations to curb illegal transportation of coal in the province.
The first station is located on Highway 18A in Ha Long City's Dai Yen Ward and the second is located on Highway 10 in Uong Bi City's Phuong Nam Ward.
These are two arterial routes through which people transport coal from Ha Long City and Hoanh Bo District to neighbouring localities such as Hai Phong and Hai Duong provinces.
The inspection stations will control, detect and strictly deal with illegal transportation of coal.
The forces stationed at the inspection stations are the police, military and traffic inspectors.
The stations' staff will work round the clock on all days. The police of the two cities will co-ordinate with the two stations, if needed.
Since the end of October, the exploitation and illegal transportation of coal in the province has shown an increase because of the dry season. 
42 more car parks for Thua Thien Hue
The central coastal province of Thua Thien Hue will build and upgrade 15 bus stations and 42 car parks within the next five years to meet with the increasing demand.
The plan was approved by the provincial People's Committee in order to cope with alarming shortage of car parks which caused congestion and affected the aesthetics of the province.
The transportation development plan for the period 2015 to 2020, with a vision for 2030, said that the provincial transportation network would serve as a consistent system, connecting provincial and regional economic zones and also ensuring circulation within the region and for the country's transport system.
Initially, the province will invest in the bus station system on the edge of the city centre comprising the South bus station and North bus station. Besides, the locality is also renovating, upgrading and expanding the Dong Ba bus station, rebuilding the tourist bus station Nguyen Hoang to serve the needs of enterprises and travellers.
In addition, new bus stations will be constructed in Chan May-Lang Co area and each district centre will have its own. The province also has to locate rest areas on the highway for long distance vehicles, in accordance with the provincial development planning.
Every year, three million to 3.2 million tourists come to Thua Thien Hue, which translates into that many passengers per year. However, the local transport infrastructure here was built a long time ago with narrow roads, short streets which resulted in frequent traffic jams. Especially in recent years, the number of private cars have grown rapidly, causing mayhem on the streets of the province. 
Dong Nai penalises clinics for violating regulations
The southern Dong Nai Province has fined 110 private clinics and pharmaceutical companies more than VND1.5 billion (US$67,000) for violating regulations this year, the Vienam News Agency reported yesterday.
The provincial health department investigated nearly 230 private health clinics and pharmaceutical companies, among which 110 were found to have violated medical regulations.
The licences of nine private clinics were suspended, while nine others were forced to shut down because of the serious violations they committed even after the department had warned them several times.
Most of the concerned clinics were operating without licences, employing doctors who did not have professional qualifications, and were arbitrarily asking patients to undergo pre-clinical tests to increase treatment costs.
Director of Dong Nai's Health Department Huynh Minh Hoan said Dong Nai currently has 3,000 private health clinics.
The provincial health sector will intensify the investigation of these clinics to promptly deal with violations, strictly punish them and also shut down unlicenced clinics and those that repeatedly infringe medical and treatment regulations.
In another case, the Quoc Anh Company in the southern Tay Ninh Province was fined VND720.5 million ($32,100) yesterday for excavating sand in an improper manner.
Chau Thanh District's People's Committee and local residents said the Quoc Anh Company had been incompetently mining construction material such as rocks and sand in Binh Long Hamlet in Thanh Dien Commune.
As reported, the company had been mining beyond the permitted depth at wrong locations, causing landslides and pollution in the residential areas.
In June, local authorities carried out checks at the company's mining areas and found that in one of its mining beds, the firm had dug to a depth of nearly 7,300m, exceeding the permitted depth by 1,300m. They had also exceeded the amount of minerals permitted to be exploited by 21 per cent.
In addition, the Quoc Anh Company had exceeded the total area it had been permitted to use for mining by more than 460sq.m. 
Thanh Hoa launches preservation plan for UNESCO-recognized relic site
The Citadel of Ho Dynasty in the central Thanh Hoa Province will be preserved better following a master plan unveiled by the provincial People's Committee on Monday.
The master plan aims to preserve and embellish the citadel, which has been recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site, and build special tourism facilities based on the area.
Specifically, the master plan will involve survey and assessment of the situation of the site; study of archeological documents and the management work of tourism activities; and defining the space for preservation and development of the surrounding areas.
Spread over 5,000ha, the site has the last vestiges of the Citadel of Ho Dynasty and surrounding areas in Vinh Loc District.
Under the plan, the site will be divided into the vertical axis connecting the Citadel of Ho Dynasty and Nam Giao praying platform, and the horizontal axis connecting the Ma River and the square zone.
The province will also focus on developing tourism, particularly tours for visitors to cultural and historical sites and experiences in cultural activities and folk games.
The provincial People's Committee, relevant agencies and investors will design several programmes to promote the Citadel of Ho Dynasty to domestic and foreign tourists.
Located 50km from Thanh Hoa City, the citadel is a unique architectural complex built in 1397 by Ho Quy Ly, the founder and the first king of the Ho Dynasty in Viet Nam.
The citadel was Viet Nam's capital under the Ho Dynasty (1398-1407). It measures 870m by 883m, and is the only citadel in the country that is built entirely of stone. It has remained nearly intact throughout the nation's often turbulent history.
It was recognised as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO on June 27, 2011. According to experts, the structure represents an outstanding example of a new style of construction for a Southeast Asian imperial city.
However, a recent report revealed that local authorities and the site managers are facing several difficulties in the preservation process.
The plan is expected to help in better preservation and management of the citadel and in upholding its cultural and historical value as committed to the UNESCO.
The plan, approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in August, will be implemented during the 2015-2030 period.
Funding for the project will be mobilised from the State budget, provincial budget and other sources.
Gia Lai suffers from waste pollution
Residents in An Khe Town's Thanh An Commune in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai said they were affected by the stench and waste water from a Gia Lai Livestock Joint Stock Company cow farm.
Nguyen Huu Quang, who lives in Thanh An Commune's Village 3, said the waste water discharged from the farm had flowed into canals and to the Ba River.
The situation worsened when it rained as waste water from the farm spread to rice cultivation areas and fish ponds.
Due to water contamination, all the fish in his 3-ha pond died. His family also lost about 40 per cent of their rice yield, he said.
Nguyen Duy Hung, vice chairman of Thanh An Commune's People Committee, said the Gia Lai Livestock JSC cow farm was granted licence by the provincial authorities and began construction last year. The farm has an area of 70ha and is raising 7,500 beef cows. 
Since the farm went into operation in March, many problems had arisen especially environmental pollution, affecting the lives of local residents, he said.
"Many families living next to the cow farm had to hang mosquito nets while eating due to the appearance of more and more flies," Hung told the Voice of Viet Nam (VOV).
Local authorities and residents have repeatedly complained to relevant agencies, however, the situation has not yet improved.
Thousands of households in An Khe Town who live along the Ba River have also felt the impact of waste pollution.
Residents in the town, who use water from An Khe Water Supplying company, said the water had an unpleasant smell for months.
Do Tuan Diep, head of management board of An Khe Water Supplying Company said they discovered that the water taken from Ba River was seriously polluted since the beginning of October.
Thousands of cubic metres of water were pumped from the River into water storage and treated before supplying households and offices in the township.
Recognising that the water might pose health risks, the management board proposed that agencies temporarily stop the water supply. However, their proposal had not yet been realised as it would affect the daily lives of 2,300 households who rely on that source of water.
Dang Thi Yen, head of An Khe Town's Natural Resources and Environment Department, said upon receiving complaints from local residents, the department had worked with relevant agencies to conduct a fact-finding visit to the farm.
Apart from the cow farm in An Khe Town polluting the environment, the company's other farms in Gia Lai province had problems as well.
Le Dinh Vu, Director of Gia Lai Livestock JSC admitted that a number of the company's cattle farms were polluting and damaging the crops and fish ponds of local people.
He said, as a result of heavy rain, too much water flows into the waste water treatment tanks causing overflow, with waste water spilling into gardens in Mang Yang district.
The company had co-operated with local authorities to resolve the pollution as well as offer adequate compensation for farmers, he said.
Regarding the farm in An Khe town, Vu said, the company had not developed a waste disposal system, adding that it was waiting for the approval of a report on environmental impact assessment before adopting measures to reduce pollution. 

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