Thứ Sáu, 29 tháng 4, 2016

Vietnam looks to boost business climate, competitiveness

Illustrative image. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi - The Government issued Resolution 19-2016/NQ-CP on measures to improve national business climate and competitiveness between now and 2017 with a vision to 2020 on April 28.

To help Vietnam achieve the average level of business climate criteria set for top-four ASEAN state members, the document stresses the need of overhauling trade regulations and state management over import-export products. This means the elimination of outdated regulations and simplification of administrative procedures.

The shake-up will lead to shortened duration for granting businesses permissions.

Accordingly, it will take up less than 77 days for the issuance of a building permission and relevant papers and under 14 days for the registration of property possession. Maximum times to handle contract conflicts will be halved the current 400 days, and duration to process bankrupt cases will be within 24 months instead of five years at present. Maximum customs duration will be 10 days for exports and 12 days for imports.

Taxation reform is also set to take place in terms of tax refund, inspection risk management and petition tackling.

Relevant ministries, ministry-level agencies, municipal-level people’s committees are tasked with designing action plans to realise the resolution prior to May 30.

The implementation of Resolution 19 is expected to pay the way for Vietnam to realise the average level of business environment and competitiveness criteria set for top-three ASEAN state members by 2020.- VNA
Dak Nong struggles to deal with increase in enrolment

An increase in the number of students in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong are posing challenges for the education sector as the demand for school facilities and teachers increases, said Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy director of the provincial Department of Education and Training.

Family planning, build temporary classrooms, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam 
An increase in the number of students in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông are posing challenges for the education sector as the demand for school facilities and teachers increases. -Photo
Even given the limited state budget, the province has managed to build more classrooms so that students would no longer have to take turns, studying in one of three shifts due to classroom shortages, Hoa was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying.
A number of districts are not able to pay their teachers, he said.
As the number of students increases every year, schools have had to hire more teachers while reimbursement takes a long time, Hoa explained.
Hoa attributed the growth of students to the growing number of migrants coming from northern provinces.
Most of them are ethnic minority people who lack awareness of family planning, he said.
By the end of first semester, the province has 156,165 students in the 2015-16 school-year, an increase of 50,000 compared with the same period last year.
Dak Glong and Tuy Duc districts have the highest growth rate of students, schools and teachers.
Phan Minh Tuan, deputy head of Dak Glong District’s education and training division, said the quantity of students have increased threefold since 2005, to 15,000 students.
The existing educational facilities in the district failed to meet the demand of the rapid expansion of students despite 27 more schools having been built, Tuan said, adding that it was in need of 23 teachers for primary schools and kindergartens.
A similar situation was also reported in Tuy Duc District.
Pham Quoc Trong, deputy head of the district’s Education and Training Division, said about 1,000 students joined the schools every year.
The division now owes over VND5.3 billion (US$237,700) in salaries for their staff, he said.
To have enough teachers, Hoa said, the provincial Department of Education and Training has proposed the local authorities to employ 241 teachers on the government pay roll and the department was waiting for approval.
It was necessary to mobilise funds from local residents to build temporary classrooms to ensure that every student has chance to go to school, he said.
In addition, individuals and organisations should be encouraged and helped to open private schools.
The provincial Department of Education and Training plans to reorganise the education system from now towards 2020 to meet the demands of the population, which will include practicing thrift so as to have more investment for developing the educational system.

Building trust: Developing the Vietnam financial sector

 Deposit insurance providing for safe checking and savings accounts at banks and other financial institutions promotes inclusion for all of Vietnam citizens, says leading finance and bank executive, Dr Nguyen Tri Hieu.
building trust: developing the vietnam financial sector hinh 0

Dr Hieu says it particularly helps those households who maintain small account balances, have little experience with formal financial institutions, as it greatly assists them plan for a more secure financial future.
Last year, he says, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) had to step in and takeover three weak banks that were about to go bankrupt.  Had the banks been allowed to fail, the small accountholders would have lost all of the moneys they had on deposit with the banks.
The SBV therefore protected theses households and as a result the banking system is now healthier and the nation’s citizens have a great deal more confidence in it than they otherwise might have.
However, Dr Hieu says Vietnam has too many banks, which creates an abnormally high risk that more banks will fail. It is therefore a necessity and in the best interest of the nation for the SBV to be given authority to step in, rectify the situation and reduce the number of banks.
The problem is further complicated by the fact that only a relatively small percentage of the citizens, estimated at 20-30%, actually utilize banks with the majority of the population still doing handling most of their daily transactions by cash.
Vietnam needs to follow the lead of nations like the US, says Dr Hieu. The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides deposit insurance to all accountholders up to US$100,000, with certain retirement accounts covered up to US$250,000.
As a result, US depositors have confidence in formal financial institutions and the banking system, and it plays an instrumental role in promoting financial inclusion for all and broadens access to the mainstream financial sector.
Japan is another prime example, highlighting the role of utilizing deposit insurance as an effective tool to ensure the health of the banking system, while protecting accountholders and extending financial inclusion to the entire population, says Mr Hieu.
Through public awareness initiatives, he says, deposit insurance systems can, without question, play a meaningful role to ensure that all citizens, particularly the poor and low-income depositors, are informed about safe methods of storing their money.
This in turn will contribute significantly to instilling of trust in the nation’s formal financial institutions.
Mr Hieu says the agency in Vietnam that actually insures accountholders is the Deposit Insurance of Vietnam (DIV) and it should be given more broad authority to regulate banks and weed out the weak, inefficient banks prone to go bankrupt and strictly coordinate their efforts with the SBV.
First, with respect to financial stability, the DIV and the SBV need to strike the right balance between controlling risks and encouraging innovation in the promotion of financial inclusion.
They need to take painstaking care to ensure that the institutional framework and regulatory oversight supporting the expansion of financial inclusion promotes and does not undermine financial stability, Mr Hieu says.
A deposit insurance system is most effective if a number of external elements or preconditions are in place, including a sound banking system with strong prudential regulation and supervision and a supportive legal framework.
Second, they should address the question as to whether membership in the deposit insurance system is compulsory or voluntary and available to specialized microfinance providers as well as mainstream banks and under what specific terms and conditions.
They will also need to assess the level and scope of coverage provided by the deposit insurance system, and whether very small deposits in the form of e-money and/or depositors with the smallest deposit denominations have adequate protections and under what conditions.
This involves some rather complex analysis to address emerging issues such as e-money and pooled trust accounts that support payment transfer services and the need for and applicability of deposit insurance protections.
Collectively the DIV and SBV should focus on the implications for deposit insurers of recent developments such as branchless banking, e-money, and mobile payments, to expand financial access among the poor.
These developments— are all very exciting from a financial inclusion perspective, but also raise a number of interesting questions and challenges for deposit insurers, says Mr Hieu.
In the final analysis they are critically important to undermining a solid foundation for the nation’s financial sector and building competitiveness in an increasingly integrated global economy.
Vietnam to join AICTA 2016

The Ministry of Information and Communications held a press conference  announcing the ASEAN Information and Communication Technology Awards 2016 (AICTA), a regional prestige award attracting the participation of organizations and businesses from 10 countries in ASEAN.

The event is aimed at seeking for and honoring IT products and measures with creativity, reality application and contributing to accelerating trade between the members of ASEAN.
The 2016 AICTA will be held under the framework of the ongoing 16th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (ASEAN TELMIN 2016) in November 2016 in Brunei.
The awards honor ICT products and solutions in six categories – the public sector, the private sector, corporate social responsibility, digital content, best start-up company, and R&D.
Viet Nam gained three gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal at the previous awards.
Da Nang seawater not contaminated, tourists can swim

The testing results of sea water samples in Da Nang shows that the water is normal for serving aquatic sports and entertainment activities, according to authorities of Da Nang.

 Da Nang seawater not contaminated, tourists can swim, travel news, Vietnam guide, Vietnam airlines, Vietnam tour, tour Vietnam, Hanoi, ho chi minh city, Saigon, travelling to Vietnam, Vietnam travelling, Vietnam travel, vn news
On the afternoon of April 28, the Da Nang City People's Committee held a meeting with the local Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism on the test results of sea water samples of Da Nang.
The meeting lasted almost three hours, but correspondents were not allowed to attend the meeting.
The meeting ended at 4 pm. However, Dang Viet Dung, Vice Chairman of Da Nang City People's Committee did not make any statement. Officials of the departments participating in the meeting also refused to answer any questions of the media.
The PR team of the Da Nang City People's Committee then released information about the meeting.
Specifically, Dang Quang Vinh, Director of the Environmental Protection Bureau said samples of sea water collected in the districts of Ngu Hanh Son, Son Tra, Thanh Khe, and Lien Chieu after some dead fish washed ashore of Da Nang coast.
"Test results show that indicators such as pH, DO (dissolved oxygen in the water), TSS (total suspended solids), NH4 + N (ammonium), Cr6 + (Chromium 6), Pb (Lead) Hg (mercury), are CN (cyanide) are within permitted limits, good for aquatic sports and entertainment activities," Vinh reported.
In addition, the testing results of water samples collected on April 27 and those collected on April 17 are similar.
A representative of the Da Nang Natural Resources and Environment also confirmed of no massive death of fish in the city.
"The Department of Natural Resources and Environment will continue to collect sea water samples for testing in the next 30 days. The testing results will be announced every two days on the website of the Department," the representative said.
On April 28 locals and tourists were swimming on the beaches of Da Nang as normal.
"I do not see dead fish on the beach, and no garbage, too. The water is very clear and clean. Many of my friends who are Da Nang residents still swim so I have no reason to worry," said Tran Minh from HCM City, who was swimming on the beach of My Khe.
However, at the seafood market of Hai Tho, traders could not sell fresh seafood. Fish trader said this situation has lasted for nearly a week.
Pha Le, VNN
Vietnam put high hopes on US cotton bonded warehouse

If the US sets up a cotton bonded warehouse in Vietnam, this would benefit the Vietnamese textile industry as it would help cut transport and protection costs. 

At the working session with the US Cotton Association, the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vinatas) asked the US cotton manufacturers to think about a plan to set up a cotton bonded warehouse in Vietnam.

US cotton has been favored by Vietnamese textile enterprises and used in a large scale.

Explaining the proposal, Truong Van Cam, deputy chair and secretary general of Vinatas, said the cotton price always fluctuates, while Vietnamese spinning enterprises have to import cotton from many different sources, including those that cannot provide high-quality products.

Therefore, if the US partners agree to set up a bonded warehouse in Vietnam, Vietnamese enterprises would take initiative in arranging materials for their production, while cotton prices would be stable, which helps textile manufacturers control production costs.
If the US sets up a cotton bonded warehouse in Vietnam, this would benefit the Vietnamese textile industry as it would help cut transport and protection costs.
Also according to Cam, Vietnamese enterprises prefer using US cotton not only because the cotton has high quality, but also because US is a member of TPP.

If Vietnam uses cotton from the US, it will be able to satisfy the requirements to enjoy preferential tariffs offered to TPP members.

The bonded warehouse is also believed to bring benefits to the US. If the US can ensure the stable supply of cotton, it will be able to sell more products to Vietnamese businesses thanks to the warehouse. In fact, not only cotton traders, but US cotton growers will also benefit.

Pham Xuan Hong, deputy chair of Vinatas, said US cotton products were more expensive than products from other sources, which was confirmed by the US manufacturers.

However, the products would have reasonable prices when they are sold to TPP member countries thanks to the preferential tariff.

Hong said a bonded warehouse in Vietnam would be highly significant, especially when Vietnam tries to escape reliance on Chinese imports.

Vietnamese enterprises have been importing materials for domestic textile and garment production from China because of geographical proximity and cheap prices.

Meanwhile, other TPP countries can only provide cotton in limited quantity.

According to Vu Duc Giang, chair of Vinatas, bonded warehouses would be built in two large areas in Vietnam, including one in the north, maybe at the Hai Phong Port or Hanoi, and the other at Cat Lai Port in HCMC or in Ba Ria- Vung Tau City.

Giang said if bonded warehouses were set up, the major problems of the Vietnamese textile & garment industry would be settled.
Dat Viet
Social News 29/4

Zika contained in HCMC and Khanh Hoa
According to the Ministry of Health, after the detection of two cases of the Zika virus on April 4 the health sectors in Ho Chi Minh City and south-central Khanh Hoa province have intensified monitoring, sampling, and testing, continued a campaign to eradicate mosquitoes and larvae, and raised awareness about disease prevention measures among local people.
In late March a 64-year-old woman in Nha Trang showed symptoms identical to those of the Zika virus, as did a 32-year-old woman from District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City. Both were taken to hospital for tests.
On April 22 the Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee and the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee issued Decisions announcing that the Zika virus outbreak has been contained, as no new cases have been found for the last 24 days.
The Ministry of Health has asked relevant authorities to monitor the situation and step up measures to eradicate mosquitoes and their larvae to prevent the virus from breaking out again.
J.P. Morgan tackling youth unemployment with local NGO
Global financial services firm J.P. Morgan and local vocational training charity REACH announced a renewed partnership on April 26 in Hanoi that will see 800 disadvantaged youth in Vietnam access free job-ready training.
The partnership aims to help curb Vietnam’s rising youth unemployment rate and is based on a successful pilot program run in 2015, which saw 760 disadvantaged Vietnamese youth trained and over 85 per cent placed in stable jobs.
The JP Morgan-REACH initiative was announced at the inauguration of REACH’s new training facility in Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem district, with those in attendance including Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Hugh Borrowman, and USAID Vietnam Mission Director Mr. Joakim Parker.
“JP Morgan has committed $1 billion over the next five years toward programs focused on expanding access to opportunities and advancing economic mobility around the world,” said JP Morgan’s Senior Financial Officer Ms. Do Thu Ngan. This partnership forms part of JP Morgan’s global Work Readiness initiative.
“We want to expand the opportunities available to Vietnam’s youth, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, by scaling effective work readiness programs, and REACH’s demand-led training model is definitely one of the most effective that we have seen,” Ms. Ngan added.
More than half of Vietnam’s unemployed are aged under 25 and this is because most graduates don’t have the skills employers really need, according to REACH Executive Director Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Tam.
“REACH works directly with business and industry groups to develop our training programs and this focus means that we have highly skilled and confident graduates that can gain meaningful employment,” she said.
REACH operates five training centers in Vietnam and has trained more than 12,500 students since it was established in 2004, with a focus on up-skilling young people from Vietnam’s most disadvantaged groups, including human trafficking and domestic violence victims, ethnic minorities, youth with disabilities and youth affected by HIV/AIDS.
The Vietnamese NGO provides job-ready training in industries where employers struggle to fill vacancies, such as IT, hospitality, tourism, retail, and beauty therapy.
Two more disciplined over Xin Chao café case
The government of Binh Chanh District in HCMC on April 26 set up a council to weigh disciplinary measures against two civil servants responsible for wrongful criminal proceedings against the owner of Xin Chao (hello) coffee shop.
They are Tran Thi Ngoc Van from the district’s health division and Tran Van Man, who is in charge of receiving and returning documents in the process of handling the case relating to Nguyen Van Tan, who owns the café.
Nguyen Van Hong, vice chairman of Binh Chanh District, told the Daily on April 26 that the council would meet sometime this week to discuss the final punitive measures against Van and Man.
The health division did not strictly follow the procedure of assessing Tan’s application for a food safety and hygiene certificate. The district government once admitted the wrongful handling of the application.
As reported earlier, the HCMC Police Department on Monday suspended Binh Chanh District’s police chief Nguyen Van Quy, who signed decisions filing criminal proceedings and investigation conclusions charging Tan with illegally conducting business. Another police officer of Binh Chanh was also suspended.
The HCMC People’s Procuracy have suspended two prosecutors at Binh Chanh’s prosecuting agency for their responsibility in the case, and one of them is now deputy head of the prosecuting agency in District 6.
Hail & thunderstorm hit Dalat city
A hail accompanied with thunderstorm yesterday occurred in Dalat city of Lam Dong province and blew up many house roofs and hectares of plants.
A resident living in Vo Truong Toan Street of Dalat city said that 4, 000 onion-growing square meters of his family was destroyed completely by the 20 minute hail, an estimate damage of over VND 40 million.
Moreover, strong wind blew up six house roofs on Hoang Hoa Tham Street of Dalat city.
At present, local authority reports damages after the hail and thunderstorm swept through Dalat city yesterday.
Vietnam Airlines offer cheap tickets on domestic routes
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has launched a promotional program on local routes from April 26-May 31.
Accordingly, passengers can book one-way tickets at the special prices of VND399,000 on routes, Hanoi-Chu Lai, Ho Chi Minh City-Pleiku/ Nha Trang, as well as flights on the route connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Da Lat at VND499,000.
The special price of VND599, 000 is applied to the routes connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Buon Me Thuot, flight between Hai Phong and Nha Trang at VND699, 000.
One-way tickets on routes, Hanoi-Buon Me Thuot/ Pleiku/ Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City –Thanh Hoa will cost VND799, 000.
The above prices exclude taxes and other additional fees.
Forum on Việt Nam’s lessons for Korean unification
A forum discussing Việt Nam’s experiences as preparation for unifying the Korean peninsula was held in Hà Nội yesterday.
The second Korea–Việt Nam Peace Forum, held by South Korea’s National Unification Advisory Council and the Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences, aimed to become a platform for further discussion and research on Việt Nam’s unification in terms of both economic and social development.
As Vietnamese and Koreans share the same history of having their countries divided, the successful unification of the Southeast Asian nation was an “historic model for efforts to reunify Vietnamese people and to carry out đổi mới policy”, said South Korean ambassador to Việt Nam Jeon Dae-ju.
After the First Indochina War, the Geneva Conference in 1954 took the 17th parallel as the border line between North and South Việt Nam, which was not removed until two decades later when the former won the war against the Americans in 1975 and unified the country.
The Korean peninsula, however, struggled to find a way towards unification for more than seven decades since it was divided into two separate countries of North Korea and South Korea after World War II in 1945.
Phu Yen, Tuyen Quang to get rice aid
The Prime Minister has entrusted the Ministry of Finance to supply more than 667 tonnes of rice from national reserves for Phu Yen and Tuyen Quang provinces to support their residents during the between-crop period.
Accordingly, the central province of Phu Yen will receive 228 tonnes while the northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang will get 439 tonnes.
The Prime Minister has also urged the People’s Committees of the two localities to promptly distribute the rice for those really in need.
Wakayama Prefecture wants to boost tourism cooperation with Vietnam
Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong has paid a four-day visit to Japan’s Wakayama prefecture at the invitation of Nikai Toshihiro, Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan Executive Council and the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians Union (JVFPU).
At an exchange meeting, Nikai Toshihiro told the prefecture officials about Vietnam’s glorious history and close-knit relationship between the two countries. He underscored that Japanese people admired and respected Vietnamese people.
Ambassador Cuong thanked the Japanese Government and people for their assistance over the past decades and highlighted JVFPU’s significant contribution to promoting Vietnam-Japan relationship.
At a working session on April 25, Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka recalled his visit to Vietnam last March which opened cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese localities in hi-tech agriculture and ocean tuna preservation. He said Wakayama wants to cooperate with Vietnam in tourism and academic training.
Ambassador Cuong appreciated Governor Nisaka’s initiatives and efforts to foster cooperation with Vietnamese localities and pledged to do his utmost to further strengthen bilateral ties.
During their stay in Wakayama, the Vietnamese Embassy delegation met business leaders and farmers and visited some famous historical relic and tourism sites in the prefecture.
Orientations to Vietnam’s public health care under review
A scientific seminar “Public health in Vietnam: current situation and future perspective” was held in Hanoi on April 25, attracting scientists and policymakers at home and abroad.
Addressing the event, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said suggestions at the event will be used as a reference for policymaking in public health issues, including non-communicable diseases, health of the elderly, population aging, emerging infectious diseases, health policies and insurance, and fairness in public healthcare.
The seminar featured seven thematic sessions on medical system management, alcohol abuse, the impact on health of smoking, hospital management, HIV/AIDS prevention – the roles of society, economy, medicine and global cooperation.
Foreign experts from the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, universities of the US and the Republic of Korea presented an overview of public healthcare in several Asian countries.
The event was co-hosted by the Hanoi School of Public Health and the Vietnam Public Health Association.
REDD+ technical support project gets approval
The Prime Minister has approved the second phase of a project to provide technical support for the initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
The project aims to lower greenhouse emissions through limiting forest degradation, enhancing sustainable forest management and protecting biodiversity. It is also expected to implement the national strategy on climate change as well as alleviate poverty.
It will enhance the technical ability of the REDD+ steering board and offices, relevant agencies and six north-central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue which are part of a greenhouse emission programme.
The four-component project will be carried out at a total cost of more than 5.7 million USD, 5 million USD of which comes from non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (PCPF), with the remainder from corresponding funds.
Vietnam has conducted numerous activities to tackle climate change, striving to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.
2 Chinese among 5 arrested for bride sale scheme
Police in Ho Chi Minh City on April 25 arrested five people, including two Chinese men who had come to find brides, on trafficking charges.
The Chinese, Jiang Xuhua, 41, and Wu Kuaifa, 31, had reportedly entered the country in March to look for wives with the help of three Vietnamese middlemen.
They had each paid the agents VND120 million after selecting their brides. The mediators reportedly pay a third of the money to the families of the brides, farmers in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
Five suspects arrested in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday for falsifying papers and trafficking women.
The five were caught red-handed while transacting the payment at a hotel in Binh Tan District, the police said, adding that the brokers had also forged identity papers for the brides to enter China.
One of the brokers, Nguyen Thi Hong Anh, 29 was herself a victim in 2012 after being sold to her Chinese husband by a woman called Nguyen Thi Banh, 61. Anh then became Banh’s accomplice, finding Chinese men looking for Vietnamese wives.
Investigations are continuing.
US helps Vietnam train field epidemiologists
A graduation ceremony for two classes of the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) has been held within the framework of the fourth annual National Field Epidemiology Training Program Scientific Conference in Danang.
FETP in Vietnam is a two-year program led by the Ministry of Health's General Department of Preventive Medicine aimed at building trained epidemiologists who can rapidly respond to epidemics and other public health events, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said in a press release.
The program, supported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network, and South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network.
There are currently 22 field epidemiologists who have completed the program since FETP was established in Vietnam in 2009.
FETP fellows have contributed to public health in Vietnam through their involvement in outbreak responses such as cholera, avian and pandemic influenza, and hand foot and mouth disease.
During the program, fellows conduct independent research studies which are then used to inform timely and effective disease outbreak responses.
Research topics include zoonotic diseases transmitted from animals to humans, food-borne diseases, vaccine preventable diseases and immunization, HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.
“FETP fellows are at the frontline of any strong public health system,” said Dr. Anthony Mounts, country director of the U.S. CDC in Vietnam.
“When an outbreak occurs, such as in the recent Zika virus cases in Vietnam, they are the ‘disease detectives’ that go into the field and investigate the outbreak.”
“Through the program, they receive hands-on training and mentoring in the use of scientific approaches to identify causes and trends of public health issues,” Dr. Mounts said.
An induction of the seventh class of FETP fellows and the launch of an alumni network to strengthen information sharing and training of FETP alumni also took place alongside the graduation ceremony.
Organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health's General Department of Preventive Medicine, the three-day scientific conference starting on April 22 gathered over 100 public health leaders in Vietnam, including international participants from the U.S. CDC, WHO, and FETP fellows from Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
It also showcased over 35 public health research projects from national, regional, and provincial public health institutes in Vietnam.
South Africa celebrates 22nd National Day
The Embassy of South Africa in Vietnam held a ceremony in Hanoi on April 25 to mark the country’s 22nd National Day (April 27).
The event drew representatives from ministries, sectors, embassies, international organisations and South African people in Vietnam.
Speaking at the event Kgomotso Ruth Magau, South African Ambassador to Vietnam, highlighted positive developments in the relationship between both countries, with cooperation in various fields including agriculture, national defence, trade and investment, education and science.
Assistant to the Foreign Minister Duong Chi Dung said the Government and the people of Vietnam attached significance to the “Partnership for cooperation and development” with South Africa.
South Africa has long been Vietnam’s biggest trade partner in Africa, with bilateral trade reaching 1.2 billion USD in 2015, or 23 percent of Vietnam’s total export value to the continent, Dung said.
He also expressed his belief that with efforts made by the two nations, Vietnam- South Africa cooperative ties will reap more rewards.
Third Vietnam University Games launched

 Zika contained in HCMC and Khanh Hoa, Two more disciplined over Xin Chao café case, Hail & thunderstorm hit Dalat city, Phu Yen, Tuyen Quang to get rice aid, Third Vietnam University Games launched

The third Vietnam University Games (VUG) featuring football and freestyle dance for students in Hanoi, Danang and HCMC was launched at Tan Binh Stadium in Tan Binh District, HCMC on Saturday.
Co-organized by the Vietnamese Student Development and Support Center under the Central Association of Vietnamese Students and HCMC-based Saigon Entertainment and Sports Promotion Co, VUG 2016 started in Hanoi on March 19 and lasts until May in the three major cities.
As one of the biggest sporting events for students nationwide, VUG is being attended by 700,000 students at 68 colleges and universities nationwide this year, up from 680,000 students at 62 institutions last year.
According to the organizers, VUG is presenting an opportunity to discover sport talent and promote contestants’ schools.
“Student competitors can exchange with one another and promote the images of their schools to others. What VUG brings to students is to hold fun activities and motivate students to introduce the values and images of their schools,” Pham Trung Thanh, deputy director of the Vietnamese Student Development and Support Center, told a news briefing on Saturday.
Colleges and universities nationwide have 2-2.3 million students a year, so 700,000 students who are competing in VUG 2016 are a huge number, he said.
Thanh said VUG organizers expect to bring the event to Can Tho City next year and expand it nationwide by 2023.
Given last year’s success, VUG 2016 is featuring sideline activities which are organized through “Campus Tour” and “University Visit” events at each participating university.
Those activities are being joined by celebrities, renowned players, coaches and experts to inspire students, creating a helpful playground for students, he said.
Le Thanh Thao, managing director of VUG 2016, said as the core value of VUG is the pride students take in their universities, the organizers will invite more participants such as post-graduates and parents in forthcoming events.
BOT company fined for closing toll station
The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has fined Việt Trì Bridge BOT JSC for illegally blocking vehicles from traveling on Hạc Trì Bridge in this northern province.
The company, last Friday, closed the toll station and directed vehicles to travel through Việt Trì Bridge, which cars and trucks had been blocked from traveling on by the MoT since April 11 because of its deteriorating condition.
A representative from the company said heavy rain that day had caused the electricity system at the station to short-circuit, leading the company to ban vehicles from passing the toll station.
The company’s action violated traffic regulations, affecting the Việt Trì Bridge, the safety of travellers and the secure passage of vehicles, according to the MoT.
Authorities asked the company to reopen the toll station and let traffic pass on Saturday.
Hạc Trì Bridge, which crosses the Lô River, has been in operation since December 2015, with an investment of VNĐ1.9 trillion (US$84.4 million) under the build-operate-transfer model.  
The company collects tolls, allowing it to recover its capital over 20 years and eight months.
The lowest fee is VNĐ35,000 ($1.5) per car with fewer than 12 seats. The highest fee is VNĐ180,000 ($8) per truck weighing more than 18 tonnes.
Filtration system eases water shortage in Ben Tre
The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union’s Central Committee presented a water filter system to Ba Tri district’s An Duc commune in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on April 24, amidst a regional water shortage caused by drought and saline intrusion.
The system is capable of turning 300 litres of salty water into drinkable fresh water per hour. It can serve the demand of 300 people on a daily basis.
The same day, residents began coming to the head office of the An Duc People’s Committee to collect clean water.
The committee will also guide local youth to participate in installing water pipes, digging wells, and transporting water to disadvantaged households, among other activities.
According to Tran Ngoc Tam, Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, saltwater has thus far covered the whole province, damaging production and leaving thousands of locals without clean water.
Six more filter systems will be granted to localities in other Mekong Delta provinces, such as Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Ca Mau.
Celebration to honour working class
Outstanding workers who have shown initiative and produced good products in a contest launched by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) will be honoured at a ceremony to celebrate the 130th anniversary of International Labour Day in Hanoi on May 1.
The information was announced by representatives from the VGCL at a press conference in Hanoi on April 25.
According to VGCL Vice President Nguyen Van Ngang, this will be one of the key activities held across the country to recognise the significant contributions of the working class to the nation’s development.
The events will also mark Workers’ Month 2016 with the motto “trade unions accompany businesses to take better care of employees”, Ngang added.
Other activities will include an art performance programme and a fair featuring food, specialties of many localities, and health care services.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will take part in exchanges with about 3,000 workers in Dong Nai and other southeastern provinces on April 30 to listen to their aspirations.
Travel companies get busy during long holiday
Travel companies are optimistic about business during the traditional long holiday at the end of April and early May as people tend to take tours at this time.
Vietravel, one of the big tour operators in Vietnam, said that it expects to serve 24,000 customers during the four-day holiday, a 20% increase against the same period last year.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy General Director of Hanoi Red Tours Joint Stock Company, said the company has introduced many package tours in advance and had strong bookings from customers.
The company said all package tours have been booked, especially those to Danang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc as well as to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. It expects to serve around 4,000 people this vacation.
Pham Bich Ngoc, Deputy Director of Vietrantour Travel Company, said the company has worked with foreign partners to cut the price of tours to England, Italy, the Maldives, Dubai-Abu Dhabi, and Taiwan by 5-18.5%.
Besides booking tours via travel companies, many customers in Hanoi design tours themselves to local destinations.
Because the weather is expected to get hot during the holiday, seaside cities like Danang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc, Sam Son and Ha Long continue being the favourite destinations.
Many new destinations like Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa and Ly Son Island are also good options for holiday-makers.
With those who want to enjoy the spectacular landscape, fresh air and crystal water, tours to the mountainous provinces of Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Ha Giang will definitely meet their taste.
On outbound tours, besides tours to Southeast Asian countries, well-off customers also take tours to Japan and the Republic of Korea, Dubai, Europe and the United States.
The Korean General Department of Tourism office in Vietnam is promoting Gyeongbuk province, the largest province in the RoK with beautiful landscapes, famous delicacies, rich culture and world cultural heritages to Vietnamese tourists.
Youths head to Truong Sa archipelago
More than 200 youngsters from across the nation are taking a journey to islands in Truong Sa (Spartly) archipelago and platform DK1– an important economics-science-service complex from April 25 to May 4.
The “Green Truong Sa” programme is jointly held by the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the High Command of the Vietnam People’s Navy with the aim of promoting patriotism among young people and their determination to safeguard the country’s sea and island sovereignty.
Participants will join activities to seek measures to treat waste by microbiological technology, increase the coverage of trees and develop the flora system on islands, build environmentally-friendly architectures, and develop water processing machines which use solar energy and could provide 1,200 liters of fresh water per day.
The event also encompasses a number of art and cultural activities such as photo, poem and song composing contests, along with talks and documentary film screenings to review the glorious history of the Vietnam People’s Navy.
The money and gifts presented by organisations, businesses and individuals to support officials, soldiers and people in Truong Sa island district are worth over 3.5 billion VND (157,500 USD).
Upgrades give modernity to Can Tho pediatrics hospital
The pediatrics hospital of Can Tho city has become the most modern of its kind in the Mekong Delta after its upgraded facilities were inaugurated on April 25.
The 500-bed hospital, located in Ninh Kieu district, was upgraded at a cost of 861 billion VND (38.7 million USD). It now covers nearly 14,000 sq.m. with a total floor area of about 44,000 sq.m.
The hospital, encompassing 20 clinical and paraclinical departments, will help improve check-up and treatment quality and ease the overloading at other pediatrics hospitals in big cities, Director of the municipal Department of Health Bui Thi Le Phi said.
In the past, it housed 350 patient beds and 16 departments and had to struggle to meet the examination and treatment demand in the Mekong Delta. The infirmary receives up to 60 percent of child patients in the region every year.
The Can Tho Hospital of Pediatrics, founded in 1979, is the only one specialising in treating children’s diseases in the Mekong Delta at present.
At the inauguration, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien asked the hospital to boost its staff’s capacity of handling surgeries, neurological disorders, inborn deformities, heart diseases and hereditary illnesses.
Canada – Vietnam Society launched
The Canada – Vietnam Society (CVS) was launched at a ceremony in the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
The event featured more than 100 overseas Vietnamese people and representatives from Vietnam’s diplomatic representative offices in Canada.
Addressing the ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada To Anh Dung said the CVS is expected to contribute to developing the friendship between the two nations.
Nguyen Dai Trang, one of the three founders of the association said the CVS aims to connect among overseas Vietnamese people in Canada and with Canadians, particularly in culture, education and trade.
Nguyen Thai Linh, a member of the Vietnamese Student Association in Canada expressed her hope that the CVS will help build a strong and united Vietnamese community in the country.
The 250,000 people strong overseas Vietnamese community contributes significantly to Canada. They also serve as the bridge connecting the two nations.
On the occasion, the Vietnamese Ambassador presented a bronze drum to the CVS management board.
VINASA urged to further develop IT
Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said information technology needed to further develop to help the country maintain a high growth rate in order to catch up with other developed countries in the region.
He made the remark while attending the fourth summit of the Việt Nam Software and IT Services Association yesterday in Hà Nội.
While praising the achievements and contributions made by the Việt Nam Software Association (VINASA) to the development of the IT industry, Đam also called on the association to continue its good work in providing consultancy to the Government.
He also asked VINASA to pay attention to start-up entrepreneurs and work closely with colleges and universities to address the problem of human resources shortages.
In the past five years, the country’s IT industry also suffered from the economic downturn, yet still managed to maintain its growth rate at 10-15 per cent each year. The revenue from the software sector increased from US$1 billion to $1.6 billion in 2015. The revenue of the IT industry in general increased from $2 billion to $3 billion in 2015.
Human resources within the industry has also grown steadily, reaching about 200,000 people at present.
Speaking at the summit, Chairman of VINASA Trương Gia Bình said that going forward, VINASA aims to become a pioneer in connecting industries and regions, and applying and developing technologies and start-ups. The association will try to support small- and medium-sized firms in their development, while big firms can become global ones, thus contributing to the country’s development, Bình said.