Social News 14/3
PM’s instruction averts Mekong Delta saline intrusion
High salinity level.
The Prime Minister on March 12 issued an instruction requesting imperative measures to cope with saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta.
As many as nine out of 13 cities and provinces accounting for nearly 40 percent of the Mekong Delta’s acreage have suffered from excessive salinity, which has damaged around 200,000ha of winter-spring rice and vegetable crops.
Up to 155,000 households lack fresh water.
Saltwater encroachment will continue, worsening in March and April and lasting until June.
In order to mitigate the adverse impacts of the disaster, the PM asked municipal and provincial authorities to install more water pipelines and offer fresh water to residents, ensuring sufficient water supplies to hospitals, medical stations and schools, and preventing the use of unhygienic water that potentially leads to epidemic outbreaks.
Irrigational works will be operated to control salinity levels, while more dams will be dredged to unlock fresh water flows.
The ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Finance; and Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs were required to list households that need rice and propose financial assistance for those affected to submit to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The ministries of Natural Resources and Environment and Agriculture and Rural Development were asked to keep close track of saltwater encroachment forecasts and offer guidance to farmers.
The Ministry of Health is responsible for promoting the use of clean water, and responding to any disease outbreaks that arise. The State bank must allow affected farmers more time to repay their debts.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment will adjust a master plan on socio-economic development for the Mekong Delta, and make sure State and local funds are sent for disaster recovery efforts.
Deputy PM greets Toyota executive vice president
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed the sound relations between Vietnam and Japan across fields of economy, culture and politics in recent years, during a reception for Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation Nobuyori Kodaira on March 12.
Japan is among Vietnam’s largest ODA sponsors and is a major investor and trade partner of the Southeast Asian country, Deputy Prime Minister Phuc said.
He asked Toyota to work with Vietnamese automobile manufacturers to increase the rate of locally-made spare parts, as well as create conditions for more Vietnamese enterprises to become component suppliers to Toyota Corporation in the future.
For his part, the Toyota Executive Vice President highlighted that the enterprise is carrying out sustainable development policies in Vietnam, while asking the Vietnamese Government to facilitate Japanese businesses landing investment in the country.-
Barge collides with bridge
A barge on Saturday morning crashed into the Cơn Đô Bridge in the central province of Hà Tĩnh, causing the structure to collapse and the barge to sink.
The Cơn Đô Bridge connected the Nam Hồng Ward with the Thuận Lộc Commune of Hồng Lĩnh District.
No one was injured.
The barge, which was transporting sand, was driven by Ngô Văn Hiệp, 41, of Hà Tĩnh.
Police are conducting further investigation.
Fire destroys S Korean store
A fire yesterday (March13) morning destroyed a 4,000sq.m store of the Dorco Living Vina Co Ltd in Đình Dù Commune, Văn Lâm District, in the northern province of Hưng Yên.
The fire was put out at 2pm. No casualties were reported, and losses are being estimated.
The South Korean-funded company was built in the Phố Nối A Industrial Zone on a total area of more than 10,000sq.m. It opened in June 2014 and produced knives and scissors for kitchens and offices.
Local residents said the fire started in a section of the store that sells razors for shaving. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Trần Công Quyền, director of the Fire Service Division of the Hưng Yên Police, said 11 fire engines responded to the incident.
Conference on Vietnam’s 12th Party Congress held in France
More than 150 delegates from major parties and socio-economic organisations from France and European countries attended an international conference on the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) held by Gabriel Peri Foundation in Paris on March 11.
In his opening remark, Director of the Foundation Michel Maso highlighted that French scholars have considerable faith about Vietnam thanks to its proactive strong economic growth, deep international integration and many positive factors after the 12th National Congress.
The conference is billed as a significant event to foster Vietnam-France relations while helping international scholars and friends further their understanding of the Southeast Asian country, he said.
Deputy Head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Pham Xuan Son, who led the Vietnamese delegation, hailed the Gabriel Peri Foundation’s initiative to organise such a conference.
He briefed participants about Vietnam’s contemporary history, political features, as well as guidelines and policies adopted at the 12th National Party Congress.
As many as 12 reports were delivered at the conference, including a review of the country’s strategies for its continued development, and achievements of the Doi Moi (reform) process over the past 30 years.
Participants raised complex regional and global issues, including the East Sea tension. They supported Vietnam in addressing the issue through peaceful means in line with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
They expressed their hope that Vietnam will overcome challenges to gain further achievements during its innovation and development process. They believed that the relationship between Vietnam and foreign partners, including France and the EU, will be consolidated.
During their stay in France, the Vietnamese delegation met with leaders of some parties in France, and officials from the French Senate and National Assembly, discussing measures to enhance relations between the two countries.
National flags presented to fishermen in Phu Quy island
As many as 300 national flags were presented to fishermen in Tam Thanh, Ngu Phung and Long Hai communes in Phu Quy island, the central province of Binh Thuan on March 12, aiming to encourage local people to protect national sovereignty.
Tran Hai Dang, a fisherman in Phu Quy island, said that the gifts are crucial to the fishermen as the flags give them strength to conduct offshore fishing and contributing to affirming the country’s ownership of its seas and islands.
Local fishermen continued their offshore fishing activities despite numerous challenges in the past year. The island is now home to 1,200 boats, which produced more than 25,000 tonnes of seafood in 2015.
In addition to high-capacity fishing boats, the island also paid attention to developing logistic vessels, which help reduce transport costs and increase seafood value.
On the same day, youth unions of Vinh Long and Binh Thuan provinces’ agencies also gave 30 gifts to disadvantaged families on the island.
Vietnam attends left-wing conference in Mexico
A delegation from the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), led by Deputy Head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Nguyen Tuan Phong, attended an annual international conference on "parties and a new society" in Mexico City from March 10 to 12.
The conference, organised by the Mexican Labour Party (PT), allows left-wingers to gather, discuss and enforce cooperation, Phong said in his speech.
He also gave details on the CPV’s 12th national congress, underscoring Vietnam’s commitment to progressing toward industrialisation and global integration.
The delegation introduced the Spanish version of a book on the 12th congress to participants. They also organised a photo exhibition about Vietnamese seas and islands where the conference took place.
More than 800 delegates, including 320 foreigners from 41 countries worldwide, attended the conference.
During their stay in Mexico, Vietnamese delegates met with PT National Coordinator Alberto Anaya Gutierrez, during which a cooperation pact between the two parties was signed.
Under the pact, the PT committed to helping the CPV expand ties with other parties and movements in Latin America while the CPV will work to connect the PT with political parties and movements in Asia. The PT will continue assisting Vietnam in the training of Spanish.
PT National Coordinator Alberto Anaya Gutierrez will pay a visit to Vietnam in this August.
Their working schedule included talks with a secretary on foreign affairs of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.
They also met with representatives from Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Ecuador.
Navy martyrs honoured
Đà Nẵng’s People’s Committee on Saturday presented an apartment to the family of naval martyr Vũ Phi Trừ, who died while protecting the Gạc Ma (Johnson), Colin and Len Đao reefs in Viêt Nam’s Trường Sa (Spratly) Archipelago on March 14, 1988.
Trừ, who was captain of naval ship HQ 604, was killed along with 63 naval soldiers while defending the waters surrounding the Trường Sa islands.
Nguyễn Thị Tần, widow of the martyr, and their son, Vũ Xuân Khoa, received a certificate of ownership for the apartment from the city.
Ceremony to mark Vietnam-Laos border marker project
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Lao counterpart Thongsing Thammavong will chair a ceremony on March 16 to mark the completion of a project on increasing and upgrading border markers along the two countries’ shared boundary.
The Foreign Ministry announced the plan on March 13.
Vietnam and Laos share a border of about 2,340 km that runs across 10 Vietnamese provinces: Dien Bien, Son La, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Kon Tum.
The line also passes by 10 Lao provinces: Phongsaly, Luang Prabang, Houaphan, Bolykhamsay, Khammoune, Savannakhet, Salavan, Xiengkhouang, Sepon and Attapeu.
First national press festival underway
More than 400 news agencies are taking part in the first national press festival, which opened in Hanoi on March 13.
They are showcasing 700 New Year’s special editions and nearly 100 radio and television programmes on the Party’s 12th congress and 30-year national reform process.
Documents and objects collected for the future national press museum are also on display.
The exhibited items are classified in two categories – “overview of Vietnamese press” and “specific subjects”.
The festival entails photo exhibitions and a range of workshops and seminars concerning the improvement of media clubs and the press’s contributions to Party construction.
The organising board will give awards to participating agencies based on their exhibition space, covers of New Year’s special editions, articles and TV/radio programmes.
According to Vo Van Thuong, Politburo member and head of the Party Central Committee’s Information and Education Commission, the event helps journalists from across the country meet up and exchange experience.
Vietnam’s Government and Party highly value the community for their work in journalism, he noted.
The journalists will also get on stage for musical performances during the festival. It runs through March 15 and is expected to become an annual event.
Youth “Saturday Volunteer” campaign to help residents
The Hanoi Communist Youth Union on March 12 opened a “Volunteer Saturday” campaign to help residents in resolving administrative procedures.
The campaign was held in response to the Month of Youth this March, and to welcome the 85th anniversary of the founding of the HCM Communist Youth Union on March 26.
From 7.30am on Saturday, a number of workers and youth volunteers were present at the Administration Management Division and the Immigration Management Division of the municipal police department to help residents in completing procedures for issuing and changing passports and civil identity cards.
About 400 residents were helped on that Saturday.
The campaign was also conducted in offices of the people’s committees of Dong Xuan ward in Hoan Kiem district, Kim Ma ward in Ba Dinh disitrct and the Hai Ba Trung District Tax Department. It is planned to help about 300 residents and enterprises in these areas.
The campaign is expected to be conducted in other communes and district people’s committees every Saturday.
Dang Thi Ninh, who lives in Dai Kim ward in Hoang Mai district, was happy to receive help from the youth volunteers in getting her passport. Ninh hoped that the campaign would be expanded widely in the city.
Senior Lieutenant Hoang Quang Trung, Deputy Secretary of the Immigration Management Division’s Youth Union, said that the campaign was meaningful as it showed dedicated and enthusiastic workers performing administrative procedure reform.
Dien Bien Phu Tourism seeks to boost economy
The signature spring festival of Dien Bien, or Hoa Ban Festival, began on March 14 night in Dien Bien city with hundreds of local performers and international visitors in attendance.
Named after the most beautiful flower in the region, hoa ban, or the orchid trees, the festival resembles the ethnic Thai groups in Dien Bien province, where the Thai makes up 38 percent, the Mong 30 percent and the Kinh, major Viet ethnic group, 20 percent of the population.
Thousands of local residents from 19 ethnic groups, and tourists from across the country, have come to the world-famous Dien Bien Phu valley to join in a grand celebration. Also, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has announced that Dien Bien Phu - Pa Khoang is to become the National Tourism Centre of the northwestern region.
Phuc said, “We call on all relevant authorities and government establishments, as well as the private sector, to join together in realizing the tourism capacity of the region. We need to reduce poverty and increase the people’s living standards.”
The master plan sets an ambitious target to receive 650,000 tourists, including 170,000 foreigners by the year 2020, creating 13,000 jobs. If this target is met by its deadline, the province will raise the target higher, seeking to receive 1,5 million tourists in 2030 and creating 30,000 new jobs.
Aimed at promoting tourism in Vietnam’s northwestern region, starting from Dien Bien city and reaching out through the international border checkpoint at Tay Trang to the northern Lao provinces, as well as northeastern region of Thailand, the master plan will create thousands of jobs in tourism and supporting services to raise the GDP per capita in Dien Bien province, currently one of the lowest in the country.
According to the province’s five-year economic development report released by the People’s Committee at the end of 2015, Dien Bien has lagged behind in reaching its economic targets. The Gross Regional Domestic Products (GRDP) in the five-year period grew only 9.12 percent annually, lowered than the projected target of 12 percent a year.
Additionally, all other development criteria, including the average growth in agro-forestry, fishery and industry, as well as growth in services, did not meet their targets. “GRDP per capita in 2015 was projected to reach over 1,012 USD, lower than half of the national GRDP of 2,245 USD,” said the report.
“This master plan shows a very positive development,” according to Tran Le, a biologist by training, who has been consulted on the development policies by the provincial authorities. “The victory at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 really changed our country’s status in the world political arena,” Le told Vietnam News. “But economically, Dien Bien lagged too far behind other parts of the country.
“Only fifty years later, a major road had been completed to travel straight to Muong Phang, where the brain and soul of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign were stationed and gave out decisive directions,” he said. “Now, 60 years later, I am glad to see new changes taking place in the past few years.”
The master plan connects history, such as Dien Bien Phu and the sites of the former battlefields with the present, including the picturesque Pa Khoang Reservoir for rest and recreation. Pa Khoang provides water for irrigation, especially to grow the famous Dien Bien rice in the Muong Thanh fields, and now also provides fishes and other aquatic products for local restaurants serving ethnic Thai food. Unique historical relics, a distinctive and colourful cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, healthy culinary practices and hot springs complexes in the area shall make Dien Bien-Pa Khoang one of the top tourist destinations in the country.
A new asphalt road, currently under construction, has been enlarged from Muong Phang in the forest to Pa Khoang in a beautiful forest setting, reducing travel times to less than a half an hour to reach the reservoir.
Suspension bridges connecting the islands in the reservoir area also provide impressive views to tourists and makes transport much easier.
The three-day Hoa Ban festival shall include a trade fair, an orchid show at the city’s square, and a parade with representatives from all districts singing distinctive ethnic songs and performing dances. A friendly mini football cup between provincial departments, traditional games played between some districts of Dien Bien and others in Laos and Thailand, a photo exhibition and a book show will also be held during the festival.
Organisers say funding comes from provincial budgets, with financial support from the private sector.
March 15 announced as consumer rights’ day
A ceremony announcing March 15 as Vietnamese Consumer Rights’ Day took place in Hanoi on March 12.
Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed the significance of the day, saying that ministries, departments and localities must consider the protection of consumer rights a responsibility of the entire society.
Speaking highly of the enforcement of laws and policies on consumer rights, he called for raising awareness about laws among market participants, especially individuals and entities dealing in goods while acquiring international experience to develop models that suit Vietnam.
On the occasion, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang announced the theme of a campaign for the day as “Consumer rights to safety”.
According to the Vietnam Competition Authority, 50 out of 63 cities and provinces have planned activities for the day.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi municipal People’s Committee, said the city has come up with plans for campaign, including hanging banners and holding seminars.
OVs in Cambodia offer incense to martyrs
Overseas Vietnamese in Cambodia offered incense to soldiers who dedicated their lives to the war against genocide, during a requiem in Battambang province on March 12.
Nguyen Huy Mao, Chairman of the Association of Vietnamese Cambodian People in Battambang, expressed his gratitude for heroes who laid down their lives to national independence and sea-island sovereignty, as well as Vietnamese voluntary soldiers who saved Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime.
Director of the provincial Department of Religious Rituals Sambath Muniroth took the occasion to urge Vietnamese nationals and Cambodians to stay united and build a happy and prosperous life together.
Before the closing ceremony, representatives of the association presented gifts to OVs living in need in Cambodia.
Over 100 OVs and Cambodians in Battambang and adjacent localities attended the event.
Management tightened for art performances, entertainment shows
The Government has issued a decree on adjustments and supplements to Decree 79/2012/ND-CP dated October 5, 2012 instructing tightened management for art performances, fashion shows, beauty contests and recording business.
Accordingly, organisations and individuals holding art performances, fashion shows or beauty pageants must not disseminate personal images and acts which go against moral standards on the internet.
Art performers, models and beauty contestants are responsible for maintaining moral standard and keeping their image and title in accordance with Vietnam’s traditional culture and the law.
On the other hand, individuals and organisations circulating and trading audio and video recordings of art performances can only make copies of recordings which have their content approved as regulated.
The Decree also supplements other regulations and guidelines on entities allowed to hold beauty and model contests, as well as authority and procedures for issuing licences to perform in and to hold art performances and fashion shows.
Dong Thap hosts regional Francophone Festival
The Mekong Delta region’s 19th Francophone Festival was held in Cao Lanh, Dong Thap Province on March 12-13, providing a chance for students to take part in francophone activities and promoting the French language in the region.
The event was held as part of activities to celebrate 46th International Francophonie Day (March 20).
The two-day event featured a wide range of activities such as a seminar on Francophone co-operation and the role of the French language, an exhibition on the Francophone community and a cooking contest themed 'Francophone Colours'.
According to Chairman of the Dong Thap provincial People's Committee, the festival provided a good chance for French-speaking people to enhance mutual understanding and unity.
Organising the Francophone Festival is a way for people to tighten their solidarity and friendship as well as jointly build a more diversified world, he added.
National Week on Labour Safety and Fire and Explosion Prevention launched
The 2016 National Week on Labour Safety and Fire and Explosion Prevention was launched in Thua Thien Hue province on March 13, calling on businesses and labourers to actively implement their rights and responsibilities under the Labour Safety Law.
More than 1,000 officials and employees from relevant departments, agencies and businesses participated in the launch.
The annual event launched by the government aims to raise awareness of both employers and employees on preventing labour accidents, fires, and explosions, as well as improving working conditions and promoting specific safety measures for each job.
According to the Week’s Steering Committee, there were 47 labour accidents killing four people and 32 fires causing damages of more than VND32.8 billion in Thua Thien Hue province in 2015.
The main causes of occupational accidents were mostly employers without developed safety working methods and processes for their employees; or workers’ violation of workplace safety. In addition, inspection and handling of violations is still limited, with lack of co-ordination among related authorities in carrying out investigation and handling of serious occupational accidents.
The Steering Committee for the National Week asked agencies, departments, businesses and craft villages to further strengthen communication campaigns to provide training and raise public awareness of the importance of the work, while effectively implementing activities under the National Week to protect the lives and health of workers, reduce labour accidents and keep occupational diseases to a minimum.
At the ceremony, representatives from the business community committed to strengthen communication work on labour safety and fire and explosion prevention while gradually improving the culture of labour safety among workers and officials.
Da Nang to upgrade roads for APEC 2017
The Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee has approved a project costing VND240 billion ($10.76 million) to upgrade streets in preparation for the holding of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in the city in 2017.
Two main routes will be upgraded, with the first being along Ngo Quyen - Ngu Hanh Son - Le Van Hien, Nguyen Van Linh - Vo Van Kiet, Cach Mang Thang 8 - 2 thang 9 - Bach Dang, Tran Phu - 3 thang 2, Duy Tan - Nguyen Van Thoai, Tien Son - Ho Xuan Huong, Tran Hung Dao, Nguyen Tat Thanh, Ton Duc Thang - Nguyen Luong Bang, and Nguyen Tri Phuong - Nguyen Huu Tho.
The second route includes Le Duan, Nguyen Chi Thanh, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dong Da, Trieu Nu Vuong, Nguyen Du, Ham Nghi - Le Dinh Ly, Ngo Gia Tu, Hai Phong, and Nguyen Cong Tru.
Trees and flowers will be planted along the streets, pavements will tiled, and there will be more stone benches.
329 students capture prizes of Maths Competition 2016
The Department of Education and Training in Hanoi and Maths Association yesterday gave prizes to 329 students who bagged the 13th Hanoi Open Maths Competition 2016 (HOMC 2016) at Chu Van An Senior High School.
The competition organizers gave 36 first prized, 104 second prizes and 189 third prizes to winning students.
Taking place in two days March 12 and 13, HOMC 2016 attracted nearly 1,000 students from gifted senior and junior high schools in 47 cities and provinces across the city. The competition was held in Hanoi, the highlands province of Dak Lak and the Mekong delta province of Dong Thap.
706 students from 23 northern provinces sat for the competition in Chu V an An Senior High School, including 305 senior high school students and 401 junior high school students.
Since 2004, annual HOMC has been held to attract students across the country. Questions and answers are written in English. The competition aims to help students improve learning their English in Maths in gifted schools.
Implementation of 2016 minimum salary under review
The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has asked cities and provinces to evaluate the implementation of the minimum salary this year.
Local authorities must inspect the salary adjustment at enterprises to collect data and identify the positives and negatives of the increase.
If any further adjustment is recommended, MoLISA, the Departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in cities and provinces, local labor unions, and local chambers of commerce and industry will work with each other to resolve problems with management boards at industrial zones, manufacturing areas, and vocational associations.
To evaluate the current minimum salary and social insurance, MoLISA has held many meetings with parent corporations and domestic and foreign enterprises in textiles and electronic assembly areas in Thai Nguyen, Ninh Binh, and Hung Yen provinces.
Information from the meetings are additional data for further dialogue on minimum salaries for the third quarter of 2016 and for 2017. MoLISA will represent the State, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) will represent employees, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) will represent employers in further discussions.
VCCI is preparing to conduct a survey in April on the minimum salary to prepare for dialogue on the minimum salary in 2017. The VGCL has already requested local labor unions to report on the minimum salary.
The National Salary Council also expects to conduct a minimum salary survey by the end of March or in the beginning of April to obtain information for potential adjustments to the minimum salary in 2017. The survey will assess the minimum living standards of workers and the impact of salary policies.
Eight driving instructors complete Toyota’s certified course
Toyota Motors Vietnam and the Department of Traffic Police under the Ministry of Public Security on March 11 gave the certificate of safe driving to eight core driving instructors from Toyota Motors Vietnam and the department.
“This is a practical and meaningful programme that not only contributes to improving traffic safety but also enhance the good relationship between Vietnam and Japan that the two governments have been building for the last 40 years,” said D
Thanh said in order to decrease traffic accidents, the Ministry of Public Security wanted to expand this model to train all police officers that are directly involved in keeping traffic safety as well as other related police forces and then to the whole country.
The Toyota Safety Driving Programme is the first of its kind in Vietnam, aiming to build a team of safety driving instructors for Vietnam traffic police.
The programme, which lasted from August 2014 to October 2015, involved eight driving instructors of the Department of Traffic Police and Toyota Motors Vietnam (TMV), with instructions from Toyota Motors Corp (TMC)’s safety driving expert Toshio Kanno, who has had 33 years of experience in safety driving training and has trained 60,000 students.
“I hope that safety driving is going to spread to the whole community. I hope that the eight core instructors, when they’re carrying out the programme, are going to contribute their opinions to make the programme better and more suitable for traffic in Vietnam,” said Nobuyori Kodaira, executive vice president of TMC.
TMV has contributed to increasing traffic safety in Vietnam with many programmes including one for primary school students since 2005 and driving training for traffic police.
In cooperation with the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), on February 28 TMV launched the “Toyota joins hands for Vietnam Traffic Safety” programme which aims to promote traffic safety education and raise awareness on traffic safety regulations and enhance the capacity of the government agencies in charge of traffic safety management.
Chinese man arrested in Vietnam for role in human trafficking ring
Vietnamese police on March 11 handed over a Chinese suspect to Chinese police for his involvement in a human trafficking ring that sent 32 Vietnamese women across the border illegally, news website Zing.vn reported.
Cheng Bao He fled to Vietnam last July. He was arrested by Vietnamese police in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang on March 4.
Cheng and his accomplices reportedly lured 32 Vietnamese women to illegally enter China’s Shandong Province in the last two years, according to the source.
Chinese police said the gang forged documents to help the women get visas.
The police issued a wanted warrant against Cheng last July.
Vietnam’s Mekong Delta acts on salinity crisis
Authorities and citizens of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have been applying all possible measures and mobilizing available resources to minimize the damage caused by salinity.
In Nga Nam Commune, Soc Trang Province, authorities have requested residents to measure around the clock the salt content in fresh water in order to issue prompt warnings and alternatives, said Le Hoang Khuong, a local official.
Whenever salt content reaches two percent, all water supplies will cease pouring into the fields to prevent the crops from being affected by salinity, Khuong added.
The People’s Committee in Soc Trang has also purchased modern devices to measure the salinity level in major rivers, while advising local farmers to narrow their crop area in order to reduce potential damage, according to Nguyen Van The, secretary of the provincial Party Committee.
Thanks to these actions, only 12,800 hectares of paddy field in the locality has been damaged, which is not insurmountable, The said.
Similar measures have also been carried out in Bac Lieu Province, according to Huynh Cong Quan, vice chairman of the People's Committee of Gia Rai Town.
Local authorities have installed 12 water pumps working relentlessly to provide consistent water supplies for rice fields in the province, resulting in 6,500 hectares of paddy field being unharmed by rising salinity, Quan continued.
In Hau Giang Province, several artificial wells, which can provide 2,000 cubic meters of water per day, are being constructed in areas of high salinity damage risk, said Duong Van Tho, general director of the Hau Giang Water Supply and Sewerage – Projects Urban JSC.
A project to build another eight wells with a capacity of 10,000 cubic meters a day, requiring capital investment of over VND12 billion (US$538,080), has also been submitted to the local People’s Committee, Tho added.
Authorities in Kien Giang Province have funded 96 temporary dams to deter the intrusion of salt water, according to Nguyen Van Tam, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
A proposal has also been submitted to the Vietnamese government to allocate VND102 billion ($4.57 million) to the dredging of all canals in the province, Tam said.
Meanwhile, in An Giang Province, authorities and citizens have actively coped with salinity and drought since late 2015, with 616 projects active, including dredging local canals and renovating dams, the sewer system, and reservoirs, Lu Cam Khuong, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated.
“We have constructed 26 anti-salt dams and invested in building a water supply station to provide fresh water for two salinity-hit districts, namely Tri Ton and Thoai Son,” Khuong said.
As the projects are considered urgent, local authorities have requested VND487 billion ($21.83 million) worth of financial support from the central government, Khuong added.
Cinnamon growing helps reduce poverty in Yen Bai province
The lives of the Dao in Van Yen district, Yen Bai province, have improved significantly thanks to cinnamon growing. Many local households have escaped poverty.
Ban Thi Thu’s family found it hard to make ends meet 10 years ago. Everything has changed for the better since they shifted from growing rice to growing cinnamon.
Their first cinnamon harvest was in 2008. In 2015 alone they earned US$40,000, which enabled them to build a house and buy a car.
Thu said, “Cinnamon growing has earned us enough money to build a house and pay for our children’s tuitions. I think Dao people should grow cinnamon to become better off.”
The cinnamon market was steady last year giving people in Vien Son commune stable incomes of US$10,000-50,000.
Ban Huu An noted, “We had a joyful Tet thanks to the steady price of cinnamon. We don’t forget our traditions and often include them in ceremonies and festivals as a way to preserve our Dao culture.”
Spring is when Dao people begin to grow cinnamon. They hold meetings to discuss growing and tending techniques and find the best ways to make the most of cinnamon trees.
Ban Phuc Hin, Chairman of the Vien Son communal People’s Committee, emphasized, “We have persuaded locals not to spray pesticides and insecticides on cinnamon trees, which diminishes the quality of their products and harms the environment.”
Yen Bai province now has 30,000 hectares under cinnamon cultivation. Van Yen district alone has 23,000 hectares.
In 2015 the district sold 7,000 tons of cinnamon bark, more than 55,000 tons of cinnamon leaves, and thousands of cubic meters of wood, earning approximately US$20 million.
Ha Duc Anh, Vice-chairman of the Van Yen district People’s Committee, said, “We’ll continue to improve the management of cinnamon growing areas and product quality from selecting cinnamon varieties and tending to harvesting and processing. We’ll try to find buyers for local products.”
Panasonic lanterns give Vietnam’s poor children access to solar power
Thanks to a Panasonic-backed campaign, poor children and their families living without access to the national power grid in the mountainous northern Vietnamese province of Yen Bai finally have the opportunity to use solar electricity.
On March 10, the Japanese electronics giant, partnering with relief and development organization World Vision, donated 702 solar lanterns to the province’s authorities, which will be distributed across the provinces Van Chan, Tram Tau, Yen Binh, and Luc Yen districts.
All four of these districts are within World Vision’s project area and the donation is the second of its kind to be made in Vietnam since Panasonic brought its “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project” to the country last year.
World Vision said the lanterns are to be used at nutrition clubs, reading clubs, village-based kindergartens, primary schools, health stations, and village meeting halls in which the organization supports community development activities.
As a partner of the “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project,” World Vision helped distribute 630 lanterns to poor districts in Dien Bien, another mountainous northern province, during its first round of donations in Vietnam in March 2015. So far, more than 9,500 people have benefited from the support.
“With the lanterns, poor locals without electricity can be more participative in community development activities,” said Khong Huong Lan, World Vision’s external affairs and advocacy director in Vietnam.
In Dien Bien, people use the solar lantern for evening community meetings where they learn and share knowledge and information regarding child nutrition and livelihood development, according to the World Vision executive.
“The sufficient light has also prevented children from being short-sighted when they read books at libraries or studying in classrooms that lack natural light,” she said.
“We are confident that the lanterns will contribute to improving the quality of life for children and their communities in World Vision’s working areas.”
The solar lantern has three brightness levels and is able to run in six hours with the highest level, 15 hours with the medium and 90 hours with the lowest. It also can charge a mobile phone with 5V and 500mA output in one hour.
The lanterns only weight 0.4kg and are easy to carry. They can be charged in as fast as six hours under direct sunlight via the attached easy-to-clean glass-covered 3.5W solar panel.
The "100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project" was launched as part of Panasonic's corporate citizenship activities to utilize its technology and products to resolve various social challenges faced in emerging and developing countries that have poor electrical power conditions.
The goal is to donate 100,000 solar lanterns to NPOs/ NGOs, humanitarian organizations and international organizations by the year 2018, Panasonic's 100th anniversary, according to the project’s website.
The project was initiated in 2012 and by the end of March, 2015 Panasonic had donated 40,000 solar lanterns across areas in nine countries.
Hollywood stars to shoot at Ha Long Bay
The cast and crew of Hollywood movie Kong: Skull Island will come to Tuan Chau Island in the northern province of Quang Ninh on March 16, to start filming at Ha Long Bay on the largest motion picture ever to be filmed in the country
Filming by about 220 film crew members including nearly 20 actors is underway and will last at Ha Long Bay until March 18.
Five Vietnamese footballers sentenced for match fixing
Five Vietnamese footballers who played for a local club in the country's scandal-hit V League were on March 11 handed prison terms of up to six years for match fixing, a judge said.
The players, from Dong Nai Club in the country's south, were arrested in 2014 following accusations they had manipulated the results of a V League match, judge Le Hong Cuong told AFP after the trial.
The team's captain, Pham Huu Phat, was sentenced to six years in jail, while four other players were given suspended sentences ranging from 24 to 30 months after the one-day trial in Dong Nai province, Cuong said.
The players were involved in fixing a match against northern Quang Ninh province's football team, in which Dong Nai lost 3-5, despite being by far the stronger team and in a safe position at the top of the league.
A police investigation found the five players had received VND400 million (US$18,500) from local gamblers in return for their team losing by at least two goals.
Four local gamblers involved in the case were also sentenced -- one of them to three years in prison, and the three others getting two year suspended sentences, the judge said.
The five players were also found guilty of fixing a match against northern Thanh Hoa province's team in the same season, which Dong Nai also lost 0-3, netting the players thousands of dollars, the judge said.