Thứ Sáu, 15 tháng 1, 2016

Social News 15/1

Thousands of 'banh chung' to be made for poor people

Around 500 people will join hands to make 'banh chung' (square glutinous rice cakes) for the poor to welcome Tet (Lunar New Year) on January 30-31 at the Vietnamese Ethnic Groups Culture-Tourism Village in Son Tay district, Hanoi.
The participants include Buddhists from Phap Van and Khai Nguyen pagodas in Hoang Mai and Son Tay districts, respectively, as well as young people from Son Tay town and surrounding communes (including Co Dong, Yen Binh and Yen Bai).
Artisans from Uoc Le trade village in Tan Uoc commune, Hanoi will guide the participants on the ways to make banh chung.
Around 1,200 cakes are expected to be made during the event. They will be presented to wounded and sick soldiers, orphans and children who are living in remote areas and difficult circumstances in Son La, Ha Giang and Cao Bang provinces as well as victims of Agent Orange/dioxin.
Notably, people from Muong and Thai ethnic minority groups will make numerous kinds of their traditional cakes, introducing their Tet customs.
In addition, a ceremony to erect cay neu (a tall bamboo tree used to ward off evil spirits during Tet) will be reproduced during the programme to show respect to gods and pray for a peaceful and happy new year.
The event is a good opportunity for all generations of Vietnamese people to express their close unity, contributing to strengthening the great national unity bloc.
The programme also aims to promote the unique cultural identities of Vietnamese people during the Tet festival to both domestic and foreign visitors, contributing to the preservation and promotion of the country’s traditional values.
20,000 workers receive free bus ticket to return homeland forTet
20,000 poor workers in Ho Chi Minh City’s industrial parks and export processing zones were provided with free travel home as the Lunar Year of the Goat comes near-end.
This resulted from the program “Affection tickets” aims to ease the workers’ difficulties.
283 enterprises supported with 4,388 tickets through districts' labor unions in industrial parks and export processing zones, said the organizers. In addition, labor unions will also give gifts worth VND12.5 billion (US$557,500) to over 40,000 workers.
Enterprises across the country are going to give bonus to laborers on occasion of Tet holidays (Lunar New Year). The highest bonus in the country for Tet is VND5 million (US$223) and the lowest Tet bonus rate this year is VND3.5 million (US$156).
Specially, Duy Tan Plastic Company in HCMC’s Binh Tan District and United Package Company in Hoc Mon District plan to give highest Tet bonus of VND320 million (US$ 14,272) and VND160 million (US$ 7,136). New comers will also be given VND500,000.
Currently, 3,519 enterprises have adjusted the basic salary as per the regulation. However, some of them failed to pay workers’ salary, social and unemployment insurance. Company unions will liaise to take care workers who will stay in the city to welcome the lunar new year including launching fairs and a competition of wrapping square glutinous rice cake (filled with green bean paste and fat pork) and cylindrical glutinous rice cake (filled with green bean paste and fat pork).
Hung Yen hospital treats 34 for food poisoning
Pho Noi General Hospital in the northern province of Hung Yen this morning treated at least 34 workers for food poisoning, the hospital said.
The workers were employed by the Viet Nam Corona Shinei Ltd Co in Thang Long Industrial Zone 2.
The hospital's representative said it had received 44 patients last night, 34 of whom were hospitalised after eating dinner at their company's canteen.
Workers complained of headaches, stomach ache and vomiting after eating a meal of roast squid, crab soup and noodles.
After the initial examination, doctors confirmed the workers were suffering from food poisoning.
All the workers were discharged from the hospital at 9am today after responding well to the treatment, doctors said.
The provincial Food Safety and Hygiene Department is working with the concerned units to acquire food samples for testing to uncover the cause of the incident.
Woman punished in scheme to smuggle 7 Vietnamese into UK
A woman was handed a 30-month suspended sentence at a Hanoi court on January 12 for trying to smuggle seven Vietnamese to the UK with other people's passports.
Nguyen Kim Xuan, 42, was accused of organizing illegal migration activities.
The indictment said Xuan met a group of British citizens in Ha Long in early 2011 and the latters asked her to find Vietnamese people to send to the UK. They promised to pay her US$2,500 for each person. It is not clear why they needed Vietnamese people.
In July that year, she and a Vietnamese man named Tuan brought seven Vietnamese to Thailand and Malaysia, where the British accomplices gave them British passports.
Then the seven people returned Vietnam to fly to the UK.
They were arrested at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City where customs officers found they were traveling with other people’s passports.
Xuan turned herself in last August while Tuan is still at large.
Ha Noi authorities seize expired food
The Ha Noi Market Watch yesterday seized more than 2,300 packages of imported cookies that were past their sell-by date.
All products were being stored at Phuong Hien Trading Service Import-Export Co. Ltd in Ha Noi's Minh Khai Street.
According to a representative of the company, the firm had planned to destroy the said products.
However, the goods were being kept with other imported cookies and candies, which were not past their sell-by dates and could be consumed.
The inspectors are completing procedures to impose fines on the company.
Crane topples, injures one person at construction site
A worker was seriously injured after a crane toppled at a construction site in Ha Noi this morning, Tuoi Tre (Youth) online newspaper reported.
The accident reportedly occurred at about 11am at the site of an under-construction police office in Hoan Kiem District's Hang Bong Ward.
An eyewitness working in the building opposite said many people flocked to the site to find out what happened after hearing a big noise and seeing a worker crushed under a crane.
The worker was rescued from the rubble and taken to emergency immediately.
Talking to the newspaper, an official from the district's police station said the crane was operating when it suddenly toppled. Only one worker was injured. Currently the work at the construction site has been suspended.
The investor of the project is Ha Noi Police and Bao Minh Trade Joint Stock Company is responsible for its construction, the newspaper reported.
Man arrested for trading in fake seasoning products
Ha Noi Police yesterday arrested a man in Thanh Oai District for allegedly manufacturing and trading in fake seasoning products using labels of well-known trademarks such as Ajino-moto and Miwon.
Pham Van Lap, 49, was pulled over for a check while transporting 205 packages of monosodium glutamate (MSG) as Ajino-moto and Miwon on a motorcycle in Cao Duong Commune.
Representative of the two trademarks confirmed to the police that the goods were counterfeit.
The police had conducted a raid on Lap's house in Phuong Trung Commune and found hundreds of packages of fake seasoning. About 500 kilogrammes of seasoning without clear origins, 4,000 packages with labels of well-known trademarks, and hundreds of empty bottles of Chinsu fish sauce, were seized.
After a brief interrogation, Lap confessed that he had purchased the seasoning without clear origins from China, packed it and sold it to local shops.
The case is being further investigated.
Prizes awarded for contest on Vietnam’s history and culture
An awards ceremony for a contest on Vietnam’s history and culture was held in Hanoi on January 13.
The contest aiming to promote national pride and patriotism attracted approximately 320,000 contestants from 2,600 schools nationwide.
Le Quoc Phong, Secretary of the Vietnam Youth Union and President of the Vietnam Students’ Association, said, “Contestants are very creative. We hope that the contest has helped students be more aware of the important role of history.”
There was one first prize, one second prize, and one third prize.
Ha Giang conducts tests on Gam River samples
The People's Committee of northern Ha Giang Province has directed authorised agencies to quickly finish tests on water samples from the Gam River.
Following the testing, officials will inform local residents about possible contamination of the river following an industrial accident.
In the short term, area residents have been told to not use the river water for drinking, bathing, cooking or production, and they have been urged to move their fish farms to other locations.
Ha Viet Hung, chief secretariat of the committee, said the move came after an area of the river flowing through the province was affected by one hundred cubic metres of wastewater, containing lead and zinc from a factory in Cao Bang Province, which entered the river when a reservoir overflowed on January 5.
The incident has affected those living in many households along the river. Also, hundreds of tonnes of farmed fish were reported to have died due to the flow of chemicals.
More mountainous region residents to receive electricity
The Northern Power Corporation under the Electricity of Viet Nam has launched a project to provide national grid for households without electricity in northern mountainous Son La province.
The project has a total investment of nearly VND70 billion (US$3.18 million), of which VND67 billion is from the corporation, and the remaining has been funded by the provincial People's Committee for site clearance.
The project launched in Thuan Chau district's Chieng Bom commune yesterday included the construction of electric lines of 35kV and 0.4kV and six transformer stations.
Nearly 3,000 households of four communes in three districts of Mai Son, Song Ma, and Thuan Chau, will benefit from the grid.
Chairman of People's Committee of Chieng Bom, Ha Van Dung said the project will help residents here to develop their economy as well as improve educational levels.
Some 232,200 households out of over 267,700 in the province have been using electricity.
It is expected that 8,300 more rural households will have access to electricity this year.
Metropole Hanoi to open Tet market
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi will open a traditional Vietnamese market in anticipation of the Tet lunar new year holiday.
The three-day “Cho Que” (country market in Vietnamese) anchors a multi-faceted approach to the annual holiday, which also includes presentation of lucky red envelopes to guests on the first day of the new year, a dragon dance, and a Vietnamese banquet par excellence at the hotel’s Spices Garden.
“While so much of Vietnam shuts down during Tet, we’re really going to open things up,” said Mr. Franck Lafrourcade, the hotel’s General Manager. “From the market to the red envelopes and the food, we aim to provide the most authentic Tet experience possible.”
The market will be open to the public from January 29 to 31 and entry is free.
At Cho Que vendors will set up shop along the walkway bordering one side of the hotel’s inner sanctum. Dressed in traditional garb they will sell food, handicrafts, and colorful “do” paper paintings from Dong Ho village.
Vietnamese artists will paint visitors’ portraits. Soup vendors will dole out bowls full of “pho” and “bun cha” to celebrants. And a traditional dragon dance will bring luck to all in attendance.
On January 29 contestants will compete to make the best “banh chung” (traditional rice cake) and on Saturday the best “banh cuon” (rice noodle rolls) and best “nom” (salad), while on January 31 there is a contest for the best child’s drawing on a traditional conical hat. Winners will receive vouchers for various dining experiences at the hotel.
Meanwhile, boughs of flowering, pink beach blossoms and potted shrubs of kumquats laden with orange fruit will grace the hotel lobby, heralding the holiday as decidedly as Christmas trees in the West. Moreover, handicrafts and art from the highlands town of Sapa will be on display throughout the holiday.
HCM City targets 6% growth in agro-forestry, fisheries
HCM City will strive to maintain 6 per cent growth in agro-forestry and fisheries outputs this year, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It also targets increasing average agricultural revenue per hectare from VND375 million (US$16,700) last year to VND420 million this year.
Speaking at a review meeting held yesterday, the department's deputy director, Huynh Thi Kim Cuc, said despite many difficulties agro-forestry and fisheries production grew by 6 per cent last year, or 2.3 times the national rate.
Crop production grew by 4.4 per cent, animal husbandry by 4.9 per cent, agricultural services by 11.8 per cent, forestry by 4.6 per cent, and fisheries by 8.6 per cent, she said.
This was the result of following an urban agricultural model, which meant reducing low-yield rice growing areas and increasing the area under high-value ornamental trees and safe vegetables as well as dairy farming, she said.
The area under vegetables last year increased by 2.7 per cent to 14,500ha, and output was 366,704 tonnes.
The city had around 2,250ha under flowering plants and ornamental trees last year, up 5.6 per cent, she said.
The city had a total of 160,000 cows, a year-on-year increase of 25.7 per cent, including 103,000 dairy cows that produced 275,000 tonnes of fresh milk, accounting for 42.6 per cent of the country's output.
The number of pigs and seafood output went up by 30 per cent and 6.3 per cent, she said.
City companies exported 262 tonnes of corn and vegetable seeds to several countries, including the US, Japan, and Israel, besides large quantities of fruits and vegetables, flowers, ornamental trees and fishes, and crocodiles, she said.
But the agricultural sector also faces difficulties like high risk of natural disasters, diseases and demand volatility, she said.
Besides, small scale of production and failure to use advanced technologies precluded sustainable development, she said.
To achieve this year's targets, she said the city would continue to move towards urban agriculture, especially in increasing use of high-tech methods, including bio-technology, to provide safe and high-quality products.
It would strive to develop linkages between production and consumption to ensure steady demand, she said.
Le Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the city People's Committee, called on the agricultural sector to focus on certain products in which the city has advantages and improving rural infrastructure.
Raising awareness among farmers about the application of good agricultural practices is imperative, he added.
Le Dinh Duc, deputy chairman of the rural Cu Chi District's People's Committee, said the city should improve its forecast of agricultural supply and demand to avoid price volatility.
Taxi fares down in HCMC
Major taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City have announced plans to lower their fares after the city threatened to fine any transport company deliberately ignoring recent falls in gasoline prices.
The two largest companies - Mai Linh and Vinasun - have cut their fares by VND300 and VND500, respectively, per kilometer, to between VND10,000 and 17,000. Happy Taxi has cut its fares by VND500 per kilometer.
According to city authorities, eight companies are scheduled to cut their fares this week, though perhaps by less than these other companies. Uber has also said that it will cut its fares shortly to stay competitive.
Gasoline prices in Vietnam were cut by around 12 per cent last year, including five consecutive cuts since mid-October. Prices have also been cut once this year. But transport prices have remained unchanged since October, so authorities directed taxi companies to cut their fares.
MoT re-examines dismantling of Duc Bridge
The Ministry of Transport has sent an inspection team to re-examine and monitor the dismantling process of Duc Bridge in southern Long An Province.
Dang Trung Thanh, deputy head of the ministry's Department of Traffic Works and Construction Management, has said that the move is aimed at avoiding any more unexpected accidents that could occur during the dismantling work.
Earlier, a worker fell into the river and died while doing his job. On January 10, a crane weighing about 30 tonnes suddenly fell into the river. Luckily, no one was injured.
Thanh has asked the Tan An City's People's Committee to closely monitor the dismantling of the bridge. All the steps to tear down the bridge must be approved by authorised agencies. The city must prepare for measures to assure the safety of waterway and road transport and not impact the locals.
Duc Bridge, which was built during the French colonial period, is one of the ancient construction works in Tan An City with a length of more than 90 metres.
The city's People's Committee has approved the plan of building a new bridge as the current one was seriously downgraded. The investment capital for the new one is more than VND45 billion (US$2.02 million). It is 90 metres long and 10 metres wide with the same design as the current one.
The construction work is scheduled to be completed in 2017.
Officials propose measures to curtail sale of fake gas
About 30 per cent of gas used in homes is fake, said Tran Minh Loan, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Gas Association.
Loan spoke at a conference held on Tuesday by Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper. Fake gas distributors were difficult to be distinguished from legitimate companies, because they still used employee uniforms and promoted their product well.
Nguyen Bao Trung, deputy chairman of the gas association branch in the south, said the illicit gas trade created losses for customers and the companies that used legitimate gas. Gas was relatively uncontrolled whilst gas supply sources were not managed well, making it easy for traders to cut corners.
Phan Anh Thang, deputy head of the Market Watch No 4A under the HCM City Market Watch, said that companies filled tanks with fake gas in other provinces and then brought them to HCM City to sell.
Despite fines currently in place, many organisations and individuals have continued to violate the law. Deputy Chairman Tran Minh Loan said the fines weren't high enough to deter the violators. He suggested changing the law to make punishments stricter.
Gas companies needed to manage their distribution systems properly in order to prevent dealers from mixing fake gas in with real gas, Loan said.
Deputy Chairman Nguyen Bao Trung said the Vietnam Gas Association had proposed a decree that would step up regulations for gas canning companies. For instance, the companies must have contracts with or work under management of gas companies.
Lawyer Phan Thi Viet Thu, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City's Customer Rights Protection Association, said it was difficult to guarantee customers' rights if they bought fake gas and it caused an accident. Customers needed to study companies carefully before choosing who to buy from, and ask for instructions on use. The gas stores would then need to take responsibility and compensate the customers in the event of an accident, she said.
Thousands of hectares of rice face saline intrusion
Water shortages are affecting more than 57,000ha of rice farmland in the Mekong delta province of Kien Giang, with entire crops at risk of being wiped out completely due to the prolonged drought.
Thousands of ha have been destroyed and nearly 15 thousand ha are facing saline intrusion, according to Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.
According to cultivation plans, four districts of U Minh Thuong region including An Bien, An Minh, U Minh Thuong and Vinh Thuan will sow 63,000ha of rice, but local farmers have planted about 57,000ha due to the drought.
An Minh district is the most affected area with more than 14,000ha. Nearly 3,000 out of 9,000ha of rice in An Bien district were damaged completely with the remainder also in danger.
Saline intrusion has also damaged more than 2,800ha of rice in Vinh Thuan district.
The department reported that the area affected by drought and salinity in the U Minh Thuong region is increasing every week.
According to agricultural experts, more and more rice would be affected by saline water in Kien Giang province due to the impacts of El Nino.
Meanwhile, coastal sewer systems have not been completed as planned due to a shortage of capital.
Farmers in the coastal communes of An Minh district said they had to stop growing rice and plant grasses which can tolerate salt water in order to improve the soil for the next crop.
Ngo Van Hy, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development department of An Bien district, said that lower rainfall than average and prolonged drought have seriously affected the rice fields.
The damaged area will increase if there is no rain soon, he said.
Reports from the provincial agricultural department showed more than 30,000ha of summer-autumn and autumn-winter crops in 2015 were damaged. The agricultural sector has asked province authorities to support farmers with nearly 45 billion VND (2 million USD) to repair the damage.
Tran Quang Cui, deputy director of the provincial agricultural department, said the province needs to change production areas and should move to aquaculture or grow other plants instead of rice.
Hanoi: New rural area programme yields good results
The programme on building “new-style rural areas” in Hanoi has brought in good results, adding 172 out of 386 communes, or 44.56 percent, to the list by the end of 2015.
The figure has surpassed the target set by the city’s 15th Party Congress.
The city has made marked progress in agricultural production restructuring, as it has worked hard to switch to better crops and develop large-scale farms of rice, vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants that produce high-quality and safe products.
The local authority plans to accelerate its communication campaigns to raise awareness of the programme among locals this year, while the project “Don dien doi thua”, which welcomes the exchanging of small farming plots for a better reallocation of agricultural lands, will continue to be facilitated in an attempt to reduce fragmentation of landholdings.
The national target programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, aiming to modernise rural areas.
The criteria cover the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacities, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.
The country aims to have 50 percent of all communes nationwide meeting all the requirements by the end of 2020.
HCM City: Extra transport services to ease pressure during Tet
Ho Chi Minh City will add 120 bus trips, which offer 30 seats or more, to alleviate overload at intercity bus stations in preparation for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
All subsidized buses will end services at 12 am, except for bus route No.1, No.20, No.90 and No.96 which will operate until 17 pm, on February 7 or the last day of the old year in lunar calendar. On February 8, the first day of the Lunar New Year, buses will run from 8 am to 17 pm.
Mien Tay Bus Station is offering pick-up service at a desired location for group booking of 29 or more people on a same route.
The Saigon Railway Company will also add two more trains for service from January 25-28 to meet travel demand of the high season, when all people rush to return to their home village to usher in the New Year with their families.
Meanwhile, Tan Son Nhat International Airport plans to serve up to 689 flights per day during Tet, up 10 percent from the same period last year.
The airport has been speeding up the expansion of its international terminal that allows it to welcome 13 million passengers per year, 3 million higher than the current capacity while three more aprons will also be set up for domestic flights.
WB helps enhance living condition in Mekong Delta
Nearly 50,000 residents in the Mekong Delta region are enjoying a more convenient life thanks to the World Bank (WB)-funded project on upgrading the regional’s urban areas, according to the project’s mid-term report.
Under the project, which was launched in 2012, nearly 70,000 metres of roads in the cities of Can Tho, My Tho, Cao Lanh, Ca Mau, Tra Vinh and Rach Gia have been upgraded.
Over 15,600 households in the targeted localities have been connected to the water supply system and equipped with relevant devices. 15 schools and communal houses have been upgraded and built.
The households’ living conditions have also been improved through the installation of public lighting systems and upgrade of the sewage systems.
Hoang Thi Hoa from the World Bank, who is in charge of the project, said the project aims to eradicate poverty in urban areas and contribute to improving the living conditions of low-income urban residents.
The project, with a total investment of 399 million USD, of which 293 million USD comes from the World Bank’s official development assistance, is expected to be completed by 2017.
It is part of a national urban upgrading programme approved by the Prime Minister with the aim of upgrading 100 urban areas nationwide between 2009 and 2020.
Since 2007, about 2.2 million people in Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho city in the south, Hai Phong city and Nam Dinh province in the north, have benefited from the programme.
Tet gifts for national revolutionary contributors
President Truong Tan Sang has signed a decision presenting gifts to people who made significant contributions to the national revolutionary cause, on the occasion of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet).
The beneficiaries, including Vietnamese heroic mothers, war invalids, and fallen soldiers’ family members, as well as those exposed to toxic chemicals during war, will receive gift packages, each worth between 200,000 VND (9 USD) and 400,000 VND (18 USD).
Organisations and businesses across the country are also making donations to bring a warm holiday to those in disadvantaged conditions.
The Syngenta Vietnam Company and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the northern province of Ha Giang, handed over houses to poor ethnic minority people in Lung Cu commune, Dong Van district, on January 11-12.
On January 12, the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies granted 250 Tet gifts to needy households and social welfare beneficiaries in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien .
The Red Cross Society of the central province of Thanh Hoa has raised nearly 19 billion VND (855,000 USD) from businesses, organisations, and individuals to present about 50,000 gift packages to underprivileged locals.
Meanwhile, the southernmost province of Ca Mau spent over 34 billion VND (1.53 million USD) presenting gifts to social welfare beneficiaries and people living under or near the poverty line.
A programme will be held at the Culture Tourism Village of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups on January 30-31 to wrap 1,200 Chung cake (Vietnamese square glutinous rice cake) to present to wounded soldiers, orphans, and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims in Son La, Ha Giang, and Cao Bang provinces.
Vietnam succeeds in building new-style areas: conference
The National Target Programme on New Rural Development (NTP-NRD) in Vietnam from 2011-2015 recorded stellar achievements, reported a conference to review the UN Joint Project to support the programme (UNJP/VIE/051/UNJ) in the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh on January 12.
As many as 1,526 communes and 15 districts nationwide completed all 19 criteria designed for being recognised as new-style rural areas. Average per capita income in rural areas increased 1.9 times compared to 2010 and the rate of communes completing the set criteria is on the rise.
Experts from the UN’s organisations, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Steering Committee for UNJP/VIE/051/UNJ said the UN project remarkably contributed to these successes.
The project has provided support in different fields such as aquaculture, breeding, post-harvest, cultivation, forestation, and irrigation, while assisting design and policy recommendations for mobilising resources for the new-style rural area building campaign.
It also contributed to amending the national criteria on building new-style rural areas and supported Vietnamese localities to enhance their capacity in the work.
During the conference, participants also gave recommendations on key activities of the project in 2016.
Accordingly, the project should priotitise study activities and policy proposals related to the allocation of mobilised resources, in order to effectively implement the NTP-NRD.
Workshops, conferences and forums will be arranged to boost commercial links among farmers and suppliers and distributors, thus creating a value chain for safe and high-quality farm produces.
The project is suggested to support the implementation of a number of models in localities which highlight agriculture restructuring as part of the new-style rural area construction.
UNJP/VIE/051/UNJ is a technical support project, joined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) – the coordinator of the project, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
The agencies are joining their efforts and expertise to support the Vietnamese Government to implement NTP-NRD, towards improving incomes, livelihoods and living standards of rural people.
The project consists of three main components, namely raising knowledge of producers and rural residents, capacity building to develop policies, strategies and public investment, and, coordination, monitoring and evaluation within the implementation of the NTP-NRD.
Nat’l action programme aims to boost green production, consumption
The Prime Minister has approved a national action programme on sustainable production and consumption until 2020 with a vision to 2030.
The programme aims to gradually shift towards sustainable production and consumption through promoting the more effective use of green and renewable resources and energy, limiting the discharge of waste and encouraging waste recycle.
From 2016-2020, the main objective of the programme is to raise the application of green technology among enterprises that have high energy needs and emissions.
Other targets include making 50 percent of industrial producers apply green and energy-saving production measures, and cutting the use of eco-unfriendly packaging in super markets, trade centres and open markets by between 50-65 percent.
Research will be conducted and standards will be developed to promote and recognise green distribution networks and supply chains.
Sustainable connections will also be developed among material suppliers, producers, distributors and consumers.
Communications and training will be enhanced to raise awareness of sustainable production and consumption and a legal framework will be put in place for all stakeholders to develop green practices for an environmentally-friendly society.
VTV Cab launches culture channel
VTV Cab, a member of the national television broadcaster VTV on January 13 officially launched its “VTVCab4- Culture” channel.
The new channel will screen programmes on culture, traditional arts, the beauty of Vietnam’s country and people, aiming at promoting and preserving the national cultural identity.
The programmes will explore culture through various angles and subjects including beauty, cultural views, history and cuisine.
Programmes will be broadcast from 6am to midnight on VTVCab4. The first programme premiered on January 1, 2016.
Thousands of communes recognised as new rural areas
More than 1,500 out of 9,043 communes and 15 out of 545 districts nationwide were recognised as new rural areas in 2015.
This was announced at a conference held in the northern province of Hoa Binh yesterday to review the United Nations Joint Programme to support new rural development (UNJP/VIE/051).
The representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Viet Nam and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said despite difficulties, Viet Nam's National Target Programme on New Rural Development (NTP-NRD) in the period 2011-15 was successful.
The average income per capita in rural areas had reached VND24.4 million (nearly US$1,100) per year, increasing 1.9 times compared with 2010, and the number of communes meeting the criteria for a new-style rural area was on the rise, according to the report released at the conference.
The NTP-NRD, approved in June 2010, listed 19 basic criteria, including infrastructure, education, healthcare and culture, as well as environment and employment, for recognition as a new-style rural area.
The UNJP/VIE/051 has contributed to supporting Viet Nam's NTP-NRD in terms of technology and scientific research in six different fields: aquaculture, breeding, post-harvest activity, farming, forestry and irrigation.
Besides this, the programme also helps Viet Nam design policy recommendations for mobilising resources for the new rural development campaign and enhances the Vietnamese people's capacity for performing the work.
The participants of the conference also offered suggestions for key activities that could be conducted as part of the project in 2016.
Accordingly, the project will prioritise studying and proposing policies on allocating and controlling the State's resources.
Workshops, conferences and forums will be arranged to boost commercial links amongst farmers, suppliers and distributors.
The UNJP/VIE/051 is a technical support project that enjoys the participation of five UN organisations, including the FAO; the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation; the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture; the International Organisation for Migration; and the United Nations Volunteers.
The project aims to support Viet Nam in increasing the people's income, improving the standard of living in rural areas and improving the environment.
Agricultural Minister urges authorities of bird flu hit provinces to curb disease outbreaks
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat urged authorities in bird flu-hit provinces to take steps to curb the disease.
Bird flu outbreaks were detected in the central province of Quang Ngai and the highland province of Kon Tum, said the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday.
In Quang Ngai Province, the center of Animal Health in Son Tinh District confirmed that a flock of poultry in a farm in Tra Binh village was positive with bird flu virus A/H5N6. in Kon Tum Province, local animal health agency reported 824 water fowls of a farm in Dak Kan Commune in Ngoc Hoi District were infected with the disease and 600 of them died later. Test result showed that they are positive with the virus.
Accordingly, Mr. Phat ordered local authorities to check animal breeding and provide breeding animals, animal feed for breeders to encourage them to continue raising animal to prevent price soar. Local authorities must also implement ways to handle the disease spreading.

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