Social News 30/3
Vietnam to join nuclear security summit
Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh will attend the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit from March 31 to April 1, 2016 in Washington D.C., the U.S.
The Nuclear Security Summit 2016 will continue to provide a forum for leaders to engage with each other and reinforce their commitment at the highest level to securing nuclear materials.
The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington D.C. in 2010, and was followed by additional Summits in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014. These Summits have achieved tangible improvements in the security of nuclear materials and stronger international institutions that support nuclear security.
Kiln explosion in Taiwanese enterprise killed two local workers
On March 29, a kiln explosion occurred inside Taiwanese ceramic tile producer’s Shijar Vietnam Joint Stock Company in the southern province of Binh Duong, making two Vietnamese workers die immediately, according to newswire Vnexpress.
The two victims are Vy Van Nguyet, 27 years old and Dang Thanh Thai, 22 years olds.
According to witnesses, at 7.00 a.m, they found the unusually high temperature inside the kiln. They went to notice for a manager while Nguyet and Thai were using a five-metre iron stick to check the burning coal. The kiln exploded and the two victims were thrown dozens of metres away by the blast.
Besides, numerous short iron sticks were thrown hundreds of metres away and pierced the roofs of neighbouring residents.
The authorities are investigating the reason of the explosion.
Vietjet Air to support passengers affected by Ghenh Bridge collapse
Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air has announced that passengers departing or arriving in Ho Chi Minh City from April 15 to June 30, during the repair of the Ghenh Bridge, can receive VND100,000-150,000 discounts for one-way tickets.
Accordingly, VND100,000 discounts will be applied for flights shorter than one hour and a half while VND150,000 will be subtracted from tickets for flights longer than one hour and a half.
From April 10, passengers can bring their train tickets or contact train ticket outlets, which will be announced at www.vietjetair.com, to buy air tickets in the carrier’s support programme.
Vietjet Air also officially denied the information that they would charge passengers the same price as train tickets.
The Ghenh Bridge crossing the Dong Nai River in the southern province of Dong Nai, collapsed on March 20 after a barge crashed into one of its pillars. As the bridge is on the North-South railway route, railway services have been stopped and trains on the route now have to stop at Bien Hoa Station.
VFF delegation visits Cambodian provinces
Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Le Ba Trinh led a delegation to visit some northwestern provinces in Cambodia on March 24 and 25.
At a working session with President of the Vietnamese-Cambodian People’s Association in Siem Reap, Hoang Xuan Khoa, the VFF official said the Vietnamese Party, Government and people always take care of their expatriates.
The VFF pledged to launch more campaigns to help poor Vietnamese-Cambodian families in their host society, he said, calling on the association to promote solidarity among overseas Vietnamese and support their integration into the community.
The Vietnamese delegation also visited a centre in Chong Kneas fishing village, which teaches Vietnamese to around 300 Vietnamese-Cambodian children.
The VFF officials presented 314 gift packages worth 500,000 VND (22.5 USD) each for children at the centre.
They sent 12 million VND (540 USD) as a personal gift from President of the VFF Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan to six volunteer teachers at the centre.
The VFF delegation also visited the Vietnamese Consulate General in the northwestern province of Battambang . Consul General Nguyen Son Thuy said he hopes the VFF will give more support to underprivileged Vietnamese-Cambodian people in the Cambodian locality.
Construction planned for three airports in north-west region
The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has intended to build three airports- Na San, Lai Chau and Lao Cai in the north-west region next year at a total cost of VND9,813 billion.
Under the CAAV plan, once Na San Airport in Son La province completed in 2019, it is expected to serve roughly 0.9 million passengers annually by 2020.
Construction of Lai Chau Airport is expected to be finalized in 2022 to cater around 40,000 passengers per year.
Capital resources for building Son La and Lai Chau airports come from the State budget and CAAV.
The remaining airport to be built in the form of Built-Operation-Transfer (BOT) is scheduled for completion in 2019 to welcome approximately 560,000 passengers per annum.
Urbanites hunting for homegrown produce amidst worsening food safety in Vietnam
Families in Vietnam’s major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are turning to clean food tended by their relatives in rural provinces.
The move comes after recent news exposing the alarming use of banned chemicals in the food industry.
Phuong, a resident in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, said all ingredients used for cooking in her family are transported directly from their hometown in Quang Ngai, a province in central Vietnam.
Her husband Tuyen said his family has been worried by ongoing news about chemical-fed cattle and chemical-sprayed greens sold in the market, so they have switched entirely to self-sourcing their daily food.
Every month, Tuyen would buy in bulk around 20kg of meat, 20kg of fish, and 100kg of rice from Quang Ngai, and get them boxed and transported to their home for use for a whole month.
The husband said he would buy seafood right from the fishing boats as soon as they come ashore, while the meat is taken from his brother’s slaughterhouse.
“We only resort to buying vegetables from the supermarket because they can’t be transported over such a long distance without getting damaged,” Tuyen added.
His family is not an exceptional case, as more and more Saigonese are finding ways to have clean food.
P.V.K., a resident in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, said he goes to the Eastern Coach Station every month to receive packages of goods sent by his relatives and keep them in the fridge to feed his family.
Some well-off families in Hanoi even take it a step further, buying goods from the mountainous areas, which cost a lot more than the market price, for their daily consumption.
When there is a food shortage, they even travel hundreds of kilometers to buy clean food directly from local farms.
Though it was already late at night, Tran Thuy Van, who lives in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi, still traveled with his mother for 10km to buy ‘hometown’ farm produce from a friend’s shop.
Van said her family spends around VND1.5 million (US$67) per month on vegetables alone.
“When I was pregnant with our second child, I got food poisoning after eating stir-fried bean sprouts. From that day on, I have never touched vegetables bought from the market again,” Van explained.
Le Thai Anh, who was shopping at a clean produce store in the capital city, said, “I don’t trust supermarkets as much as shops owned by someone I know. When I shop here, it’s not just about buying clean food but it’s also about showing my kids what it is. My family loves these products.”
Dinh Hien, a reputable shop owner who sells clean food in Hanoi, said initially she only provided food for her relatives and acquaintances, but the business thrived a year later.
Hien’s shop now opens 12 hours a day and still struggles to satisfy the growing demand.
Thanh Tung, a resident in Cau Giay District in the capital city, said some of his colleagues had begun creating Facebook groups to exchange and share homegrown goods with each other.
Eating clean food has become a habit in many families, making them reluctant to go back to the market, Tung said.
Nordic countries –Vietnam’s water-related cooperation a success
Northern European countries’ ministers have said they consider their nations’ water-related collaboration with Vietnam a success and an example of development cooperation.
They made the remark at a recent high-ranking seminar on Nordic leadership in water management in Helsinki. The function was part of Finland’s presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2016.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Finland Bui Van Khoa was invited to a discussion of the seminar as Vietnam has a long-standing partnership in water treatment with the regional nations.
He delivered a preliminary report about the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation) in Vietnam, including challenges arising amid climate change and water supply difficulties in cities.
Vietnam wants to expand direct partnerships between the two sides, he said, suggesting the Nordic nations increase the provision of preferential credits for the two sides’ projects in water supply and drainage and environmental sanitation.
The diplomat also asked for continued technology transfer and experience sharing in treating water in line with international standards, and building and managing smart water supply and drainage networks.
At the discussion, the Nordic ministers spoke highly of the Vietnamese Government’s efforts in realising the Sustainable Development Goal 6, and affirmed further cooperation and assistance to Vietnam.
A ministerial level delegation from Sweden will come to the Southeast Asian country later this year to talk about building smart cities, they added.
Court Academy establishment announced
A ceremony announcing the establishment of the Court Academy was held in Hanoi on March 28, as part of efforts to carry out the Poliburo’s resolution on judicial reform strategy.
President Truong Tan Sang, who was also head of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, said the event is of significance to the country’s judicial reform cause.
The academy must train judges and other court officers in professional skills and moral virtues, including responsibility for building and safeguarding the nation, and protecting legitimate rights and interests of organisations and citizens, he said, adding that it must strive to develop into a prestigious tertiary and post-tertiary training establishment in the country and the region.
He suggested appointing experienced members from the Council of Judges of the Supreme People’s Court and capable judges as lecturers.
In addition to scientific research, the academy was asked to strengthen relationships with courts and judicial training establishments regionally and globally, thereby learning from their experience in training and the settlement of international judicial disputes – particularly those regarding sovereignty, international trade and intellectual property.
On the occasion, a judge entrance exam, the first of its kind held in line with the 2014 Law on the Organisation of People’s Courts, opened.
Chief Justice of the Vietnam Supreme People’s Court Truong Hoa Binh and Prosecutor General of the Vietnam Supreme People’s Procuracy Nguyen Hoa Binh were also present at the event.
Cao Dai religion marks 90th founding anniversary
The 90th founding anniversary of the religion of Cao Dai was observed with a ceremony in Chau Thanh district in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on March 28.
The celebration was held at Chau Minh Holy See by Cao Dai churches and organisations.
Tran Tan Hung, Vice Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, asked Cao Dai churches and organisations to strengthen solidarity and mutual support. They need to instruct followers to abide by the Cao Dai Charter and their religious practice programmes, and encourage participation in social activities.
He also expressed his hope that Cao Dai churches and organisations will contribute to the nation’s development and protection.
Cao Dai was founded at Go Ken Pagoda in the southern province of Tay Ninh in 1926 and has become one of the major religions in Vietnam. There are 10,000 Cao Dai dignitaries, along with about 2.5 million followers in Vietnam and 30,000 living overseas. The religion has 1,300 places of worship in 37 provinces and cities nationwide.
During the resistance wars against France and the US, more than 4,000 Cao Dai followers served as soldiers and laid down their lives. Another 10,000 were injured.
Deputy PM greets Cambodian industry minister
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam suggested the industry ministries of Vietnam and Cambodia boost links to support both countries’ businesses in the industry and investment fields.
During his reception for Cambodian Minister of Industry and Handicrafts Cham Prasidh in Hanoi on March 28, the Deputy PM said the two sides should enhance cooperation in goods production and supply for not only their markets but also to third markets.
Vietnamese firms have so far poured money into 182 projects in industry, investment and trade in Cambodia. Vietnam is Cambodia’s third largest trade partner, with average growth of 18.5 percent fir 2010-2015.
Informing the host of his talks with representatives from Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, Minister Cham Prasidh stated that the two ministries are focusing on measures to assist the two countries’ businesses.
Cambodia wants to learn from Vietnam’s experience in managing small and medium-sized enterprises exporting goods, particularly garment shipment, he said.
He underlined the need to boost the exchange of all-level delegations between the two countries, and enhance economic connection in fields, thus strengthening the bilateral relationship.
Measures to boost industrial production
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh raised a number of measures to boost industrial production at a meeting in Hanoi on March 28.
He urged businesses to create national brand products that are highly competitive in global value chains, especially as Vietnam integrates into the world economy.
Relevant ministries and businesses should increase coordination to boost competitiveness, reform technology and accelerate the restructuring process, he said, adding preferential policies are needed to draw foreign investment, improve domestic production and boost exports in 2016.
The official suggested that State-run companies and economic groups continue working towards the promulgation of an action plan for the restructuring of the industry and trade sector to serve industrialisation, modernisation and sustainable development in 2020 with a vision toward 2030.
He urged Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to devise a more flexible plan to provide sufficient power for production in the upcoming dry season.
The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) must build solutions to deal with falling oil prices in 2016 and the following years, he added.
According to the ministry’s Department of Planning, the industrial production index in the first quarter of this year climbed by 6.3 percent year-on-year, lower than the previous last year (9.1 percent). This is due to the reduced crude oil output and slow growth in electronics, computers and optical products.
Furthermore, electricity use for industry and construction is lower than last year, posing difficulties for industrial production, said Vu Ba Phu, head of the department.
Noting some positive signs in industrial production, he said global oil prices are forecast to fall, which is expected to create an opportunity for businesses to restructure, reduce production costs and improve product quality.
Falling prices in logistics and transport services are also favourable factors in business operation, he added.
He advised businesses to prepare human and financial resources, invest in equipment and technology, and develop support industries to reinforce their foothold in traditional export markets and expand to others.
Hoi An festival spotlights Asian silk industry
A festival featuring silk from Vietnam and other Asian nations kicked off in Hoi An city in the central province of Quang Nam on March 28.
As part of the activities to mark the 41st founding anniversary of the city and attract more holiday-makers to the locality, the event drew a crowd of well-known Vietnamese silk villages and producers, and some from India, Thailand, Japan, China, Laos and Myanmar.
Apart from displaying silk, the festival also includes a performance of traditional silk weaving methods, a silk fashion show and a workshop discussing ways to increase the daily use of silk.
Vice Chairman of the Hoi An municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Son highlighted the significance of the festival, saying that it contributes to preserving and developing the traditional industry and culture.
It is also helping promote tourism development in Hoi An and boost links among Vietnamese traditional trade villages and foreign counterparts.
Hanoi needs more BTS sharing
Telecom companies should further jointly develop and share the use of the completed telecommunications infrastructure such as base transceiver stations (BTS) in Hanoi area.
Nguyen Xuan Quang, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Information and Communications, said that currently the sharing of BTS remains low, accounting for just 19 percent. Therefore, Hanoi should look for solutions to overcome this existing problem.
Quang made the comment during a recent meeting to review the Law on Telecommunications and Law on Radio Frequencies.
He said that the city still faces barriers in encouraging telecom firms to share their network infrastructure. Although the city’s Department of Information and Communications has held numerous conferences to help telecom companies reach agreement on common use of network infrastructure, a consensus has yet to be reached.
Quang attributed the negligible sharing of network infrastructure to the lack of sufficient and strict regulations that could compel them to do so.
In addition, there is no requirement for a common urban infrastructure network in the city’s development. Some were using optical fibre transmission lines, while others were still using copper cables.
To encourage telecom firms to share the network infrastructure, the city administration needs to change the policy on the schedule to retrieve capital investment. It could be extended to between 30 years and 50 years, instead of the current 10 years to 15 years.
This move will help minimise the cost of hiring infrastructure and thus create favourable conditions for telecom businesses to join in.
Some industry insiders also proposed that the Ministry of Information and Communications needs to work with the Ministry of Construction to soon issue a joint circular that will specifically stipulate the issuance of construction certificates to telecom network projects.
On the other hand, the ministry also needs to study and add more standards on the construction of telecom equipment to be in sync with reality.
Quang said that his department will continue to assist the city administration in offering incentives for telecom businesses to invest and build a telecom infrastructure network.
In 2014, the city was home to more than 5,700 BTS of all telecoms providers.
Railway network in HCM City to be elevated
The railway network in Ho Chi Minh City will be soon elevated, the municipal Department of Transport said amid public debate on the relocation of the city’s major train station following a bridge collapse.
As all trains traveling between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been halted due to the collapse of the Ghenh railway bridge in neighboring Dong Nai Province, many members of the public agreed on a relocation of the Saigon Railway Station as a solution.
Citizens also believed that relocating all railway operations out of the southern city could alleviate traffic jams on several of its streets.
Nguyen Van Tam, deputy director of the Department of Transport, shared a similar point of view that many level crossings in the city, combined with an increasing number of vehicles, have exacerbated congestion.
However, the plan for transportation development in Ho Chi Minh City until 2020, which was approved by the prime minister on March 8, 2013, clearly stated that the railway hub would remain in its current location, according to Tam.
The plan also includes the elevation of all train tracks in the city, avoiding interference with 14 streets and thus minimizing congestion at several traffic hotspots, the official continued.
In response to the option of moving the train station to Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai, or to the outlying district of Binh Chanh in Ho Chi Minh City, Tam cited a research finding saying that most passengers traveling to the southern hub choose to get off at Saigon Railway Station.
Maintaining the station’s current location will be more convenient for travelers, he said.
In addition, the elevated railway network is expected to be connected with other bus, taxi, and metro routes to provide quick and flexible transportation for travelers from other localities as well as city dwellers, the official elaborated.
Regarding the delayed execution of the project, Tam said that the Ministry of Transport has been urged to prioritize investing in the plan.
As authorities have not established a viable financial scheme for the railway elevation, the actual implementation has been delayed.
Tam believed that with the attention of the city’s leaders and people as well as the determination of the Ministry of Transport, all train tracks in Ho Chi Minh City would soon be raised above street level.
After the Ghenh Bridge collapsed due to collision with a barge in Dong Nai on March 20, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper conducted a survey on the optimal solution to the pause in railway operations brought about by the incident.
Since the collapse, trains have been unable to cross the Dong Nai River, forcing all passengers to continue their journey by bus.
A total of 9,272 readers participated in the survey, which ran until March 24, and 54.3% of those surveyed agreed that Saigon Railway Station should be moved to Bien Hoa City, which is on the other side of the river.
Plan to turn Saigon backpacker streets into pedestrian zone
Travel agencies, shops and restaurants are throwing their support behind a plan to turn the famous backpackers' area in downtown Ho Chi Minh City into a pedestrian-only precinct in the evening.
District 1 officials have met with some of these businesses to discuss the plan, which was penciled in several years ago but has never been finalized since.
Le Tan Dat, chairman of Pham Ngu Lao Ward, said the plan is to turn De Tham, Bui Vien and Do Quang Dau, the main streets of the area, into walking streets. Bui Vien, lined with eateries, pubs and shops, will be the first pedestrian street in the initial one-year phase.
Under the plan, vehicles will be banned from entering the streets from 7 p.m. until midnight.
Nguyen Duc Minh Tri, director of South Asia Travel, the plan is quite feasible.
Once the area is pedestrian-only, it will be an ideal place for tourists, he said.
“What concerns me the most is security and how to protect tourists,” he said.
He said authorities should also pay attention to zoning, food safety and price stability.
Trinh Nguyen Hung Dung, director of TNK Travel, said the local government should call for private investment in the project, and send travel companies and service providers to some countries in Southeast Asia to learn from their tourist streets.
Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, deputy chairman of District 1 People’s Committee, said District 1 and the Department of Tourism will meet again this week to discuss the plan in details.
The backpackers' area attracts thousands of foreigners each day with its relatively exciting nightlife. Most of shops in the area open around the clock.
Six imported food types exempt from inspections
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has released a list of food exempted from safety inspections when imported.
The six types on the list are food carried by visitors for private consumption, food in diplomatic bags or consular bags, temporary imports for re-export, food stored at bonded warehouses, food as samples or for research, and food to be displayed at exhibitions.
For all other types a certificate of food safety is still required.
The list came at the request of Vietnam Customs, which said it was having difficulties inspecting food imported as gifts.
Food safety inspections are still without a complete legal framework.
Inspection agencies also do not have staff overseeing express delivery services in some locations, so recipients are often required to take their package to another office to have it cleared.
Hotels to discount by 60 percent for tourists in Southern Folk Cake Festival
The fifth Southern Folk Cake Festival is scheduled to take place at Ninh Kieu district, Can Tho city on April 15- 19, said deputy director of Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Minh Son.
In order to attract the huge number of tourists, the organizational board encouraged restaurants, hotels, tourist sites to discount services. Until now, 12 hotels with 815 rooms have registered for room discount of 20- 60 percent. Besides, 21 free rooms will be offered to guest delegations.
The Can Tho city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism also asked officials and staff in restaurants, hotels and tourist sites to pay good attitudes and ensure food safety for tourists.
The fifth Southern Folk Cake Festival will showcase 150 booths, including 80 booths from artisans and traders, 50 booths displaying the regional specialties and 20 international booths for advertising kinds of folk cake making by rice, glutinous rice, rice flour and vegetables to domestic and international travelers.
Vietnam Airlines named among Top 10 National Air Transport
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines was selected among the Top 10 National Air Transport at the HCM City Tourism Day 2016 which ended at the September 23rd Park on March 27.
The carrier was also listed as one of the top 10 tourism websites in the country.
The prizes decided by public vote aims to honor prestigious travel brands that have outstanding contribution in the city’s tourism industry.
Customers had a chance to enjoy a discount of 50-75 percent by using 150 promo codes for 900 airfares on local and international routes that were offered for by Vietnam Airlines at the Tourism Day.
In addition, the budget carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines has cooperated with Vietnam Airlines to launch 200 tickets at VND 0 on domestic routes
Vietnam Airlines has been selected one of the Top 10 Most Improved Airlines by the UK-based airline review organization Skytrax. Winning airlines were selected in a survey from September, 2014 to May, 2015 with the participation of 18.89 million passengers around the world.
Vietnam Airlines has also ranked the 55th position in the list of the world’s 100 best airlines for 2015.
Local and international awards recognize efforts of the carrier during the past years, said Vietnam Airlines’ representative.
American veterans visit Vietnam
Secretary-General of the Vietnam-USA Society (VUS) Bui Van Nghi has met with a delegation of American veterans and their relatives who are in Vietnam.
Speaking at the meeting in Hanoi on March 28, Nghi briefed the guests on the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the Vietnam-USA Society as well as their roles in enhancing the relations between the two countries’ people.
The VUFO will work with American veterans to strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples and continue efforts in healing the wounds of the war, he said.
He added Vietnam welcomes veterans and their relatives, including their children and grandchildren, to learn about the country and people, thus contributing to developing friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
On behalf of the US delegation, Paul Reed said that the visit aims to learn firsthand about Vietnam and its relations with the US as well as the aftermaths of the war in Vietnam.
During their stay in Vietnam from March 25-April 6, the American veterans plan to meet with Vietnamese veterans and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims and return wartime items to Vietnamese agencies.
Adaptation to saltwater intrusion critical to Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta needs to adjust to saltwater intrusion in the long term, as the ongoing drought and salt water encroachment are challenging response efforts, experts said.
Suggesting adaptation measures, Associate Professor Vo Quang Minh from Can Tho University’s College of Environment and Natural Resources said in areas prone to saltwater intrusion, Mekong Delta authorities need to tighten control over water use and design plans for climate change-adjusted farmland use until 2020, 2030 and 2050.
Local climate change scenarios should be aligned with possible changes in soil conditions and economic situation as well as economic policies to serve as a foundation for overall planning, including adaptation to saltwater intrusion, he noted.
He also recommended building synchronous systems of culverts, dams and embankments and dredging irrigation canals. It is also necessary to change the crop schedule and structure in accordance with specific areas, while updating farmers on new cultivation techniques.
Another effective solution for the Mekong Delta is storing water in the flood season for use in the dry season, said Associate Professor Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Mekong Delta Research Institute for Climate Change.
Ponds and canals dug for flood water storage will help mitigate flood impacts in the rainy season, and that water will, in turn, help reduce saltwater intrusion in the dry season, he added.
Meanwhile, how to use fresh water efficiently is another problem, Tuan said, elaborating that saving one cubic metre of water is easier than seeking an equivalent amount of water in the Delta amid the severe drought and saline encroachment.
He urged residents to employ technical solutions for water efficiency, such as avoiding farming water-intensive crops and livestock, irrigating at appropriate points of time and using waste water, and applying efficient irrigation measures.
The Mekong Delta has nearly 4 million hectares of farmland, accounting for almost 30 percent of Vietnam’s total farmland area, with over 50 percent under rice.
Drought and salinisation have seriously affected 11 out of the 13 Mekong Delta provinces, with nearly 160,000 hectares of the winter-spring rice crop damaged.
Regional connectivity decisive to climate change response
The Mekong Delta should promptly increase connectivity among its localities to create policies and mechanisms in order to ensure national food security, said Tran Huu Hiep, head of the Southwestern Steering Committee’s Economic Division.
Hiep made the recommendations in the context that the Mekong Delta - the country’s rice bowl, is grappling with severe drought and salinisation as impacts of the El Nino, thus affecting regional economic development and daily lives of local people.
According to the official, the Mekong Delta is one of the world’s three deltas hardest hit by climate change, rising sea level.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment forecast said about 40 percent of the region will be submerged if the sea level rises by 1m by 2100 without effective countermeasures.
To cope with the problem, regional provinces have set forth both short and long-terms measures which focus on adjusting cultivation schedule and transforming the structure of plants and livestock.
However, the localities are incapable of seeking the market for their products and linking irrigation facilities and transport infrastructure in the region.
Therefore, Hiep said, the immediate task is to ensure locals stay away from diseases and keep a close watch on developments of drought and saltwater intrusion,
In the long run, he suggested reviewing plans for production, irrigation and water supply drawn up by the provinces to ensure regional connectivity in these areas, and further in the struggle against climate change.
The official stressed that increased regional connectivity is a decisive factor to strengthen the resistance and adaptation to climate change which is forecast to be more frequent and severe in the time ahead.
VEC cracks down on overloaded vehicles
The Việt Nam Expressway Service Joint Stock Company (VEC) refused to provide services to about 2,800 overloaded vehicles, mostly trucks, in the first quarter this year, a VEC report said.
The refusal came after these vehicles were confirmed to be overloaded with goods or passengers before they entered the routes under the VEC management, the report said on Tuesday.
The routes on which the VEC discovered a large number of overloaded vehicles include the highways of Nội Bài-Lào Cai and Cầu Giẽ-Ninh Bình in the North and the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây Highway in the South.
On Nội Bài-Lào Cai Highway, for example, the VEC used high-tech equipment at a weighing station to inspect nearly 245,000 vehicles, of which 2,630 were found to be overloaded.
The report said the company discovered many vehicles were overloaded by 61 to 122 per cent of their capacity.
The movement of all these vehicles on highways was immediately suspended.
On the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây Highway, VEC officials at the toll stations of Long Phước, km11+150 and Dầu Giây, km52+300, discovered about 135 vehicles to be overloaded by 93 to 149 per cent of their capacity.
The overloaded vehicles, mostly trucks, which are being blamed for damaging roads and threatening the safety of others on the roads, have been a headache for road management authorities for many years.
As authorities tightened their controls over overloaded trucks last year, the number of road accidents decreased.
The Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam (DRVN) said the number of overloaded trucks decreased by 91.5 per cent in 2015 as compared to 2014.
The traffic police dealt with more than 4,400 cases of vehicles violating the loading laws last year, collecting VNĐ390 billion (about US$17.4 million) for the Việt Nam state treasury.
The authority expected that control over truck loads would create a more competitive environment in the transportation sector and curb the frequency of transport firms paying bribes to the police to allow their overloaded trucks to travel on the roads.
Road transport currently meets 94 to 95 per cent of the nation’s total transportation demands.