Social News 21/1
Vietnam Airlines offers cheap tickets for domestic routes
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines is offering special discounts on 19 domestic routes departing between January 19 and February 7.
Accordingly, customers will have a chance to buy tickets priced from 399,000 VND (17.3 USD) to 1,009,000 VND (47.8 USD).
Prices will not include tax, and additional fees, and tickets are attached with special conditions. Tickets are available at www.vietnamairlines.com, booking offices and sales agents nationwide.
Vietnam Airlines has also announced an additional 800 flights on 22 routes from January 26 to February 24 to meet the anticipated extra demand during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.
The airline conducted over 127,500 safe flights in 2015, representing a year-on-year increase of 3.5 percent.
It transported more than 17.4 million passengers during the year, earning 69.3 trillion VND (3.08 billion USD) in revenue, and 1.4 trillion VND (62.2 million USD) in pre-tax profit.-
Vietjet Air opens new flight routes
The low-cost carrier Vietjet Air has officially opened three new domestic routes, in order to meet travel demands during the Lunar New Year season.
Two routes connect Pleiku city in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai with Hai Phong city in the north and Vinh city in the central region and the third links Ho Chi Minh City in the south and Tuy Hoa city in the south central province of Phu Yen.
The Pleiku-Hai Phong flight route was put into service from January 15, with 4 flights a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flight duration is about one hour and 35 minutes.
The Pleiku-Vinh route was operated from January 16, with three flights a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - flight duration is an hour and 25 minutes.
The daily flight route between Ho Chi Minh City and Tuy Hoa was inaugurated on January 20, with flight duration of one hour.
Tickets are available on Vietjet Air’s ticketing offices nationwide and online.
Former US airbase in Nha Trang to be sold for US$540 million
Authorities in the central province of Khanh Hoa have announced plans to sell a former US airbase measuring more than 186 hectares in Nha Trang to investors for a shopping-services mixed development.
They said on January 18 it would be a build-transfer (BT) project, and the land has been evaluated at around VND12 trillion (US$540 million).
Potential investors have not been revealed but earlier reports said at least four companies had expressed interest.
Nha Trang has planned yet another commercial and tourism complex at its former airport. Photo credit: ZIng
Tran Hoa Nam, director of the Khanh Hoa Department of Investment and Planning, said around 10 hectares on the beachfront are slated for public facilities like a park, a museum, and an exhibition center.
The airport was used by the US during the Vietnam War before 1975 and served civil aviation until 2004 when flights moved to nearby Cam Ranh Airport.
It completely stopped functioning as an airport in late 2009 when the Air Force moved to Cam Ranh and Phan Thiet Airport in Binh Thuan Province to the south.
News website Zing quoted Nam as saying that VND5.5 trillion of the money raised would be handed over to the defense ministry for spending on Cam Ranh and Phan Thiet airports.
Vietnam's literacy rate reaches 97.3 percent
Literacy in Vietnam has reached 97.3 percent for those aged 15-50 under the Learning Society Programme, the Ministry of Education and Training said on January 13.
Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien said the programme has helped raising awareness about learning and its benefits.
The literacy rate among people age 15 to 35 was 98.5 percent, with 43.7 percent of labourers having basic knowledge about computers and foreign languages.
HCM City University Medical Centre carries out aortic surgery
Doctors at the Ho Chi Minh City University Medical Centre have successfully performed a TAVI (trans-catheter Aortic Valve Implementation) operation on two elderly patients.
TAVI is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.
The TAVI procedures were done on December 30, 2015 on an 81-year-old man from HCM City’s district 12 and a 78-year-old woman from Central Highlands Gia Lai province.
On December 28, the man was sent to the hospital’s emergency ward due to breathing difficulties. He was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis. He also had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
The woman patient had suffered from aortic valve stenosis for several years. She had not undergone standard valve replacement surgery due to poor health conditions.
The two patients are in stable condition.
In total, eight patients have undergone the TAVI procedures since the technique was applied in Vietnam three years ago.
Hanoi seals health cooperation with French center
The Health Department of Hanoi and the Ireard center of France signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on medical cooperation in Hanoi on January 19.
The MoU is expected to boost bilateral collaboration in transferring technology and training high-quality doctors and nurses at Hanoi hospitals.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said increasing technological transfer is significant to increasing the quality of healthcare services, due to the sector’s lack of human resources and the city’s big population.
Hanoi is forging cooperation with various foreign partners, including those from France, he said, adding that the capital hopes to receive more cooperation projects across all medical fields from the European country.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said the MoU will help increase the standards of local health workers and improve medical facilities. He hopes the French side will consider providing further technical support and training for officials from the Hanoi hi-tech endoscopy centre – which is due to open soon.
Vietnam promotes tourism in Norway
Vietnam’s stand left a good impression on visitors at the “Reiselivmessen Oslo 2016”, an annual international tourism expo that was held in Norway from January 15 – 17.
The Vietnamese stand featued illustrated books, fliers and local handicrafts. It drew visitors’ attention with a dance featuring conical hats performed by members of the Vietnamese Embassy and students in Norway.
Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai and embassy staff introduced their country’s tourist attractions at the fair, and Norwegian travel agencies also promoted their tours to Vietnam.
Many visitors said they had enjoyed visiting Vietnam and wished to return.
The Vietnamese Embassy, in collaboration with Vietnam Airlines and Saigon Tourist, also organised activities at the fair.
While the expo was taking place, articles about Vietnamese destinations were published in two Norwegian tourism magazines - Reise Lyst and Paradisreiser.
In recent years, Vietnam has emerged as a potential destination for Norwegian travellers.
Joint patrols conducted along Lao Cai – Yunnan border
Border guards of Vietnam’s Lao Cai province and border police of Honghe county in China’s Yunnan province have conducted joint patrols to ensure order and security in shared border areas on the threshold of the Lunar New Year festival.
The Lao Cai Border Guard High Command said on January 19 that six Vietnamese liaison officers were sent to the Chinese patrol force, while four Chinese liaison officers joined the Vietnamese force.
Fourteen teams with 160 officers and soldiers from the two sides patrolled 85km of land and river borderline. The patrolled area was from border marker No.87 to No.156 in Lao Cai city, and the districts of Bat Xat, Bao Thang and Muong Khuong.
The teams also handed out some 3,000 leaflets on border defence policies and related regulations so as to raise local residents’ awareness of border protection and smuggling prevention.
The Lao Cai High Command added that 200 officers and soldiers were also deployed at cross-border paths to prevent illegal entry and exit, smuggling and waterway vehicles’ illicit activities.
Lao Cai shares more than 200km of border with Yunnan with over 50km on land and the rest traversing rivers and streams.
Thanh Hoa fishermen presented with communication devices
As many as 38 ICOM radio devices have been offered to fishermen in Thanh Hoa under the programme “East Sea connectivity” at a ceremony held in the central province on January 19.
Initiated by the Vietnam Red Cross (VRC), the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Vietnam Television and the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) Radio, the programme calls for domestic and foreign aid to equip fishermen nationwide with communication devices.
Chairwoman of the provincial Red Cross Association Trinh Thi Tiep said Vietnam has about 130,000 fishing boats, but less than 10 percent of which have been equipped with communication devices.
She added that the activity is to support fishermen in keeping a close watch on the weather, enabling them to contact the mainland as needed during offshore fishing operations, thus ensuring their safety.
The charity programme calls on individuals and organisations to support fishermen, by sending a text message to switchboard 1400.
Under the programme, the VRC has brought 747 ICOM devices and allocated them to 24 coastal provinces and cities nationwide.
Dak Nong, Cambodia’s Mondulkiri Red Cross Societies share experience
The Red Cross Societies of the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong and the bordering Cambodian province of Mondulkiri shared their professional experience in the Vietnamese locality on January 19.
They exchanged effective ways of doing humanitarian activities and providing health care for ethnic groups living in border areas.
Over the past time, the Dak Nong Red Cross Society together with medical staff and humanitarian organisations have provided free medicines and health check-ups for thousands of poor locals living in the shared border.
They also presented gifts worth more than 850 million VND to more than 2,100 people in Mondulkiri.
In the foreseeable future, both sides will pool all possible resources to assist poor households in Mondulkiri as well as devise external relation activities and share experience in humanitarian activities.
On the occasion, Dak Nong authorities granted more than 200 million VND (9,000 USD) to Mondulkiri’s Red Cross Society to build two clean water facilities in Caoh Nheaek and Oureing districts.
8 million ethnics to benefit from improved land management project
About 8 million ethnic minority people in Vietnam will benefit from a project to promote their access to and management capacity of farmland and forest land, a representative of CARE International said on January 19.
At the project introduction workshop, CARE International’s Acting Country Director in Vietnam Biniam Haile said, with a financial support of over 700,000 USD his organisation will work with the organisation – Culture Identity and Resources Use Management (CIRUM) and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, to carry out the project in Lao Cai, Lang Son, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Kon Tum provinces from the beginning of 2016 through 2018.
About 8 million ethnic minority people will benefit from the project through the consultation and amendment of the Law on Forest Protection and Development and other policies, as well as the expansion of the project’s successful activities.
Ethnic minority communities have the highest poverty rate in Vietnam, and they mainly rely on natural resources, especially forest land, for their livelihoods.
Many studies have shown that one of the main reasons of ethnic minority groups’ poverty is the shortage of farmland. More than two-thirds of ethnic minority people have their livelihoods completely dependent on farmland and forest land, and they live under the poverty line, according to CARE International.
They also face an array of difficulties caused by population pressure, forest degradation, the shrinking of forest land area, and resources exhaustion. Such a fact is partly attributable to the inefficient governance of natural resources, particularly forests and forest land, and many local forest management methods - based on unproven customary law.
CIRUM Director Tran Thi Hoa said the project will provide ethnic minority women, who are in the most disadvantaged group, with financial aid to encourage them engage in the decision making process during land and forest, management and use. They will also have chances to participate in workshops, discussions and policy dialogues.
Hoa hoped the effective community-based forest management models of the project will be taken into consideration by policy makers during the revision of policies on land and forests.
Tet gifts, tickets presented to 1,600 female workers
The Vietnam Youth Federation (VYF) Central Committee said on January 19 that it will present Tet gifts and tickets to more than 1,600 disadvantaged and migrant female workers, helping them return home for the traditional Tet holiday (Lunar New Year).
As many as 450 tickets will be given to female labourers working at industrial parks and export processing zones in Hanoi, 360 tickets to those in Hung Yen, 405 tickets to workers in Ho Chi Minh City, and 405 others to women in Binh Duong province.
VYF chapters in localities will deliver gifts and tickets to the needy, and volunteers will be arranged at 11 pick-up locations to provide guidance for the workers.
According to the organising board, the move aims to reduce the economic burden on young employees, helping them reunite with their families during the upcoming Tet holiday.
It is a practical activity in response to the Winter Volunteer 2015 and Spring Volunteer 2016 programmes.
65 successful surrogate pregnancy cases reported
60 out of 100 applications for surrogate pregnancy has been approved by the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Of these, 46 cases carried out successfully. On the other hand, Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City has reported to succeed in conducting 19 out of 33 cases.
Deputy Health Minister Dr. Nguyen Viet Tien said that the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology has received 100 applications for surrogate pregnancy since Vietnamese government had approved surrogate pregnancy.
It is expected that these first children of the surrogate pregnancy cases will be born in around January, 2016.
The regulation allowing surrogacy in Vietnam is part of the revised Law on Marriage and Family that took effect on March 15 this year, enabling people to act or have others act as surrogate mothers for humanitarian purposes on a voluntary basis after satisfying certain requirements.
Under the new regulation, surrogacy is allowed when the woman who has found another woman to act as a surrogate mother has no uterus or deformed uterus that is unable to bear a fetus, or even her uterus cut off.
Three hospitals which the Ministry of Health allowed to carry out the surrogate pregnancy include the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hanoi, the Hue Central Hospital in the central city of Hue, and Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
Deputy Health Minister Tien also pointed out some arising problems after one year implementation of the the revised Law on Marriage and Family. For instance, some couples have a paralyzed kid because of maternity operation and wives can not give birth any more. These couples are not allowed for surrogate pregnancy.
20,000 blood units collected from blood donation festival
The blood donation festival named “Chu Nhat Do”( Red Sunday) yesterday took place at the same time in 8 cities and provinces across the country.
One of the venue for blood donating is Poly-Technique University in Hanoi with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and thousands of young students of universities and 800 police officers, well-known singers and beauties.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Phuc said that lives of many people, especially traffic accident victims always are threatened due to lack of blood; accordingly each person in good health condition should donate his/her blood to save others, adding that in 2015, over 1.1 million blood units was collected from voluntary blood donation across the country, satisfying 60 percent of the demand for treatment.
With increase in publicizing the humanitarian meaning of blood donation, more and more people agreed to give their blood voluntarily, it is one of good characteristic amongst Vietnamese people.
On the occasion, Mr. Phuc urged agencies and sectors to popularize the program amongst staffs and the public.
Tien Phong Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Le Xuan Son said that the newspaper has organized the Red Sunday festival since 2009. This year, the event is expected to collect 18,000-20,000 blood units for treating in Tet holidays ( Lunar New Year). Nguyen Anh Tri, Director of the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion said that his institute only has around 6,000 blood units which can meet the demand in one week or less.
In the central province of Thua Thien – Hue, more than 600 young communist union members partook in the festival.
World leading endoscopy experts transfer technique to Vietnamese surgeons
The world leading endoscopy experts yesterday attended a meeting in Saint Paul Hospital in Hanoi and carried out some operations to transfer advanced technique in endoscopy to their Vietnamese counterparts.
Attended the meeting were Deputy Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Deputy Party Secretary cum Hanoi People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung, leaders of the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health in Hanoi as well as many other surgeons and endoscopy experts such as Prof Dr Sarrot Christian (general director of Montsouris Hospital, Paris), Prof Dr. Delvaux Michel (Strasbourg's University Hospital) and Prof Dr. Bretagnol Frederic (Louis Mourier Hospital, Paris). Dr Joel Leroy, a world-class French endoscopy expert.
Prof. Joel Leroy said that Vietnamese surgeons’ passion for learning advanced technique impressed him adding that more Vietnamese people should enjoy the new advanced technique at suitable cost; they are not necessary to go abroad for treatment as present.
After the meeting, 4 leading experts have performed two operations in the hospital. They conducted surgeries on a 66 year old man who was diagnosed with colon cancer and a 69 year old woman who was diagnosed with rectum polyp. Both surgeries are successful.
Education authority in HCMC gives prize for book reading competition
The final round of the book reading competition named “Growth with book” for junior high school students organized by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training was very excited.
Representatives from Bureau of Education in 24 districts, school library keepers and more than 178 students who have sent their entries to the competition attended the competition to cheer for their 12 excellent students who sat for the final round.
The final round included two parts includibg narrating their creative products and experience with reading books.
Entries of final-round students included pictures, computer soft wares, stories , book reading diary, poems, short stories, films and dramas which the organizer can use in the future.
These pictures of 12 final-round students were colorful depicting library models which reflect their wish of ideal modern libraries.
The organizer decided to give the first prize to 9th grader Dang Nguyen Song Ngoc from Junior High School Nguyen Gia Thieu in Tan Binh District, with her creative soft ware “ Book Multiple -Choice” and 6th grader Nguyen Phuong Anh of Junior High School Nguyen Huu Tho in District 7 with her product of mind map to guide how to read a book.
Huynh Gia Khang from Junior High Schoo Chu Van An in District 11, Phan Hien Nhi of Junior High School Mua Xuan in Binh Thanh District; Le Huu Nam Anh of Junior High School Huynh Van Nghe in Go Vap District and Le Quynh Huong from Junior High School Dinh Thien Ly captured the second prize.
Do Thanh Vy from Junior High School Ngo Quyen in Tan Binh District; Ngo Ngoc Lan Anh of Junior High School Le Quy Don in District 3; Nguyen Dang Dinh from Junior High School Kien Thiet in District 3; Le Vu Ngan Truc from Junior High Scchool Tran Quang Khai in Tan Phu District, Tran Phan Bao Ngoc from Junior High School Nguyen Du in Go Vap District and Nguyen Thuc Anh of Junior High School Dinh Thien Ly grasped the third prize.
In addition, the organizer gave 12 encouragement prizes to students and Book and Study Equipment Company also presented 8 prizes to students who have made unique products.
Patients worry Tet holiday will see blood shortage
The country may face a severe blood shortage over the Tet ((Lunar New Year) holidays, according to Nguyen Anh Tri, director of the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT).
Last week, at the launch of the 8th "Red Sunday" – a blood drive running until January28, Tri said the NIHBT's blood bank had about 6,000 units of blood available to treat emergencies in northern hospitals over the holiday.
This news has worried patients with blood diseases who require regular blood transfusion.
Tri said that thalassemia patients needed two to four units of blood on average each day.
Other groups of patients requiring regular blood transfusion are those with blood cancer, hemophilia or myelodysplastic syndrome - a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.
The NIHBT received about 1,000 regular patients each day, Tri said.
Vice head of NIHBT's Thalassemia Centre, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, said the centre received about 1,700 regular patients, half of whom were under 15 years old.
Phung Thi Le from Vinh Phuc Province said that she had to take her 12-year-old son to Ha Noi for at least ten days a month for blood transfusion.
"If we miss his blood transfusion, he will get high temperature and start bleeding from the nose and mouth," she said.
In the run-up to Tet, instead of preparing for the biggest holiday of the year, her family was worried about his blood transfusions, she said.
"We hope the hospital had enough blood for patients during Tet," Le said.
"There was a shortage at the hospital last year," she said, adding that her son had to wait three days for a blood transfusion.
She said the sight of her son looking pale and faint was heartbreaking.
"In previous years, other families gather on New Year’s Eve, but my son and I were still on the coach to go home," she said, with tears in her eyes.
Luong Van Dung from Cao Bang Province said that his four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with thalassemia last May.
"We are used to taking overnight coach trips as my daughter needs blood transfusions twice a month at the Blood Transfusion Institute," he said.
They were more afraid of blood shortage than any problems like overcrowded coaches, traffic jams or much higher price of goods due to Tet, he said.
Thalassemia is a form of anaemia, a genetic blood disease a child can inherit if one or both parents carry the mutant gene; the risk is higher if both parents have it. The disease is not always symptomatic, but can be identified through testing.
It is caused by variant or missing genes that affect how the body makes haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In Viet Nam, more than 20,000 patients are diagnosed with thalassemia each year, and more than 5 million people in Viet Nam carry the genetic trait for thalassemia.
Programme seeks to improve land rights
Eight million ethnic minority people across the country are expected to benefit from a project that launched in Ha Noi yesterday to promote their land rights.
According to research reported at the ceremony, ethnic minority populations live in remote areas, face language barriers, have low access to education and depend primarily on forest and agricultural lands for their livelihoods. They are also living under the poverty line.
A shortage of land for farming and foresting was blamed for the situation, the participants said.
And the root of the problem is local authorities' poor management in allocating land for the ethnic minority people, they added.
Therefore, the three-year project, with financial support of about US$700,000 from the European Union, was established to protect and promote the ethnic minority people's rights in accessing forest and farming land.
The project will take effect in six provinces of Lao Cai, Lang Son, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Kon Tum, and will be implemented by Care International in Viet Nam and Culture Identity and Resources Use Management (CIRUM).
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Thomas Anthony Corrie, Deputy Head of Co-operation of the EU's delegation in Viet Nam, said the project would contribute to the restoration of the rights of ethnic minority people and the communal forest lands over which they traditionally had free access and control.
It would do so through a two-pronged approach of garnering support from policy makers for the reorganisation of ethnic minority rights in the forthcoming amendment of the Law on Forest Protection and Development, he said.
Vice Chairman of the Ethnic Council of the National Assembly Giang A Chu said he supported the project and hoped the EU would continue to implement intensive assessments of ethnic-minority policies of Viet Nam and contribute ideas to help the country perfect its regulations.
Ho Thi Kon, a Van Kieu ethnic minority woman living in the central Quang Binh Province's Truong Son Commune, said she hoped that her Van Kieu ethnic minority group and all ethnic minority groups would be able to allocate more land for farming. These measures would help ethnic minority people escape from poverty more quickly, she said.
Fire destroys two fishing boats
A fire broke out late Monday night, completely destroying two fishing boats in the central province of Quang Ngai.
"I was woken up by a burning smell and then I heard explosions. When I went out, I saw the fire, which was five to six metres high, from a fishing boat. It was spreading to the boats next to it," a local at Tinh Hoa berth where the fire occurred, said.
The residents had to cut the cables of the fishing boats around to prevent the fire from spreading.
Two fire engines were sent to the spot, but even after two hours firemen could not extinguish the blaze, because oil on the boat had spilled out.
As a result, the two fishing boats and all the tools used for fishing were completely destroyed.
The losses are estimated to be VND1.2 billion (US$53,000).
No casualties were reported.
The case is under investigation.
Two boats detained for illegal fuel trading
Two fishing boats were taken by the Vietnamese coast guard to Duyen Hai Port in the Mekong Delta Tra Vinh Province this morning after being caught illegally trading fuel yesterday.
The owner of a fishing boat, Nguyen Van Thom from the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, was caught in the act of selling diesel to a boat owned by Ngo Thanh Long from the southern Ben Tre Province.
According to initial investigation, Thom said he was transporting 68,000 litres of diesel of unclear origin, worth nearly VND700 million (US$31,100).
Ha Noi police seize 3,500 dubious cosmetic products
Ha Noi police and market watch forces yesterday discovered and seized 3,500 cosmetic products without clear origins at a warehouse in Hoang Mai District.
They include hair colour products, shampoos and collagen products for hair growth support.
Nguyen Hoai Anh, Deputy Head of Division 15 of the Ha Noi Market Watch Department, said the owner of the products, Nguyen Thanh Tung from northern Phu Tho Province, failed to present invoices indicating the products' origins at the time of examination.
The products' owner will initially face penalties for smuggling, Anh said.
The case is still under investigation.
Quang Ninh authorities seize food of unclear origin
The northern Quang Ninh Province's market management department and the public security ministry's environment police department yesterday seized a lorry for transporting a large quantity of food of unclear origin.
The goods, worth roughly VND43 million (US$1,920), contained mostly frozen food, such as 230kg of doves and 27 kg of ducks and 77kg of sâm cầm (Fulica atra).
The owner of the goods was Nguyễn Văn Hải, 38, a resident of Bắc Ninh Province's Tiên Du District.
Hai said he had bought the goods in Quảng Ninh Province's Ming Cái City and had transported it to Bắc Ninh Province for consumption.
He was fined VND25 million (US$1,117) for trading in unlicensed food. All the seized goods were later destroyed by the relevant authorities.
Three inspection stations shut down over inefficiency
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has decided to close down three inspection stations against smuggling and trade fraud in An Giang, Quang Tri and Tay Ninh provinces.
The three stations, established under a government's decision in 1998, are Tinh Bien Station in the southern An Giang Province, Tan Hop Station in the central Quang Tri Province and Moc Bai Station in the southern Tay Ninh Province.
PM Dung has asked the people's committees of the three provinces to implement procedures to close down the three stations as stipulated.
He also asked the local authorities to conduct measures to strictly control smuggling and trade fraud after the closing down of the three stations.
Earlier, in May 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, head of the National Steering Committee on combating smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeit goods, approved the proposal to close down the Moc Bai inspection station in Tay Ninh Province over its inefficient working.
The Moc Bai inspection station was established in the Moc Bai Economic Zone and was located about 5km from Cambodian border.
The three inspection stations were among nine stations across the country tasked with controlling and detecting smuggled goods and trade fraud. However, the three stations reportedly operated inefficiently.
Ministries plan surprise food safety checks during Tet
Relevant ministries will carry out surprise food safety and hygiene inspections during the upcoming
This was announced during an online meeting yesterday between ministries and localities on food safety during Tet.
Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Van Viet said most of the cases involving violations of food safety and hygiene regulations were found during surprise checks.
It was therefore necessary to increase surprise checks till the end of Tet, he said.
The inspections should focus on products that were in high demand and supply and on key areas such as large cities, wholesale markets and border gates, he said.
Inter-disciplinary inspectors from the ministries of agriculture and rural development, health and trade and industry have issued plans to ensure food safety during Tet.
They will strengthen inspections of food production and processing facilities, farms, poultry slaughterhouses and wholesale markets, besides supermarkets, street food vendors and food products in high demand during the Tet holiday such as fruits, meat products, confectionary and liquor.
However, Nguyen Thanh Phong, head of the health ministry's department of food safety, said ensuring food safety and hygiene was the responsibility of the whole community.
It was the responsibility of authorised agencies to ensure food safety, but the law on food safety said food producers and businesses would bear the final responsibility for their products, Phong said.
He said consumers too should raise their awareness about this issue and actively join the fight against non-certified food products.
The ministries have asked localities to strictly punish cases of food safety violations. The names of the products and establishments involved in the violations will be made public to the media to warn consumers.
Tay Ninh Police investigate sugar smuggling racket
The authorities in the southern Tay Ninh Province are investigating a case of smuggling of various types of sugar from Cambodia to Viet Nam.
The police searched a sugar factory and three other stores owned by Nguyen Ba Nhan, 39, a resident of Tay Ninh City in Tay Ninh Province, and found nearly 10,000 tonnes of sugar of unclear origin.
The authorities also seized more than 1,000 bags used to contain sugar that carried the name of a Cambodian brand.
During the investigation, the police discovered many documents that had information about Nhan's illegal import of sugar from Cambodia.
On the same day, the police searched four cafes and shops in the province and seized more than 3,000 tonnes of sugar and 40kg of coffee of unclear origin.
Nhan distributed all the above goods.
The case is under further investigation.
Experts warn coastal groundwater overused
Groundwater levels along thousands of kilometres of coast stretching from Hai Phong City to Ca Mau Province have dropped to alarming levels due to overexploitation for daily use by households.
The issue was flagged up by international environmental experts and officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment at a conference on coastal water resources management and groundwater management in Southeast Asia organised yesterday in Can Tho City.
Nguyen Chi Cong, deputy general director of the ministry's National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation, said most provinces and cities nationwide exploited groundwater for both household and business use.
But in the coastal provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the reliance on groundwater for daily use and drinking was total, he said.
The groundwater exploited daily in the country is five million cubic metres a day, he said, predicting the number to rise further to meet new demands thrown up by urbanisation and development.
Experts also blamed the lack of knowledge among the public about groundwater and climate change and sea level rise for the falling water tables, land subsidence, water pollution, and saltwater intrusion in coastal provinces.
A recent study done in HCM City and Hai Phong City and the provinces of Nam Dinh, Ca Mau, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, and others found water tables to be at record lows.
In Nam Dinh Province's Hai Hau District, it has fallen by 10 metres in just the past decade; in HCM City, it has fallen by 18 metres since 1995.
The quality too has deteriorated, with the water being polluted and saline in many places and failing to meet the standards required for drinking.
Nguyen Chi Nghia, also from the centre, said a sharp reduction in surface water due to overexploitation in the upstream of rivers had caused severe intrusion of saltwater.
The overexploitation of groundwater had caused land to subside in HCM City, Ca Mau Ptovince, and Can Tho City, he said, warning the challenge was immense since Viet Nam has 3,000km of coastline.
Adichat Surinkum of the Co-ordinating Committee for the Geoscience Programme in East and Southeast Asia, one of the conference organisers, said Viet Nam was among countries that rely mostly on groundwater and where exploitation was increasing.
The National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation, another of the organisers, has worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to do a survey to determine the permissible limit of groundwater exploitation in large cities and coastal areas.
The ministry has almost finalised the limits for most major cities, and the study results will act as the basis for water management and exploitation planning in future.
The conference was organised together with the German Federal Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources.
S.Korea publicizes names of 32 Vietnamese tourists over alleged overstay on Jeju Island
More than 30 Vietnamese tourists have ‘disappeared’ since their trip to the South Korean island of Jeju last week and are still at large, with their personal information made public by local authorities, the Vietnamese Embassy in the East Asian country said on Monday.
It was confirmed that 59 visitors from Vietnam had vanished before their six-day trip to the island was due to end on Sunday, according to an embassy representative. Earlier reports had said there were 56 visitors.
South Korean police have caught 27 of them, and deported all but one who is still being held in the East Asian country as he lost his passport, according to the Vietnamese embassy source.
The 32 visitors who remain missing might be hiding somewhere on the island, the embassy representative said.
According to information made public by South Korean authorities, the visitors include 25 men and seven women, aged from 19 to 52.
The 59 tourists who disappeared during their Jeju trip were taken to the island by four Vietnamese tour organizers, namely New World Tourism, Vietrantour, Hanoiredtours, and Hoang Viet Travel.
On Monday, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said it had requested the four travel firms to report on the disappearance of their customers.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, deputy general director of Hanoiredtours, reported to the VNAT later the same day that 39 out of the 40 tourists the company took to Jeju had returned to Vietnam.
The remaining one is being held to complete deportation procedures, he said.
Hoang Viet Travel said it had been notified by the South Korean side that ten of its customers who vanished mysteriously had been arrested by local authorities.
Vietrantour had three of its customers disappear and is still not in contact with them, according to the company's report.
The four tour organizers sent a total of 155 Vietnamese tourists to Jeju Island, where a South Korean travel firm was in charge of showing them around.
The Vietnamese companies do not know of the exact itinerary of their customers, or what the tourists really did on the island, they admitted.
These tour organizers may have their license to offer outbound tour packages revoked, according to the VNAT.
“The incident has left a negative impact on the image of Vietnamese people as well as the country’s tourism in the eyes of people around the world,” VNAT deputy head Ngo Hoai Chung said.
The tourism watchdog has also released a directive, requesting that local travel firms carefully check the identities of their customers before taking them on outbound packages.
The disappearance of the Vietnamese tourists from Jeju Island was first reported by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Friday.
These visitors, as well as those from other countries that are not linked to terrorism, are allowed to enter and stay on Jeju without a visa for up to 30 days for tourism purposes, according to a special act applicable to the island.
The local immigration office is therefore investigating whether they were trying to look for illegal employment in South Korea, according toYonhap.
In the wake of the incident, South Korean police have expressed suspicion that there is a ring illegally bringing Vietnamese into their country through Jeju Island.