Thứ Sáu, 30 tháng 9, 2016

Improving management capacity for World Heritage Sites in Vietnam

Nhan Dan recently published a Vietnamese-language story calling for an immediate end to the organisation of parties in the caverns at Ha Long Bay, which revealed typical shortcomings in the management of World Heritage Sites in Vietnam.
But we must look no further than some limitations of the current management model to uncover the main cause of such confusion.
Lack of sustainable strategies

improving management capacity for world heritage sites in vietnam hinh 0 

Each locality in Vietnam that has a World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO also devotes special resources to the development of tourism and a unique “brand” of culture. However, the management of Vietnam’s eight World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites have yielded varied results.
Regarding numbers of visitors to the sites, the most recent statistics show that only four out of eight heritage sites exceeded one million tourist visits in 2015. 
These were the Trang An Complex in Ninh Binh Province (five million tourist visits), Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province (2.5 million), the Hue Royal Heritage Complex in Thua Thien–Hue Province (2 million) and the ancient town of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province (1.1 million). 
The other four heritage sites received a much more modest number of visitors. 
These were Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park in the central province of Quang Binh (740,000), the My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam Province (282,000), the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi (120,000) and the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty in Thanh Hoa Province (over 80,000).
It can be seen from the varied numbers of tourist visits that some heritage sites have not fully realised their potential and their value has not been sufficiently promoted to tourists. 
For example, a survey by French experts determined that the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi, with an area of 18.3 hectares and a rich millenarian culture, could welcome 2.4 million tourist visits a year—fifteen times more than the present number—and the figure of 80,000 visitors to the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty seems inconsistent with the unique value of the huge stone complex.
From another perspective, the varied numbers of tourists also reveal differences in the characteristics of each heritage site. 
For example, Ha Long Bay, the Trang An Complex and the Hue Royal Heritage Complex seem to be more popular to tourists because of their architecture and landscapes, while the styling of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty and the My Son Sanctuary as “ruins” can be seen as a disadvantage that need to be overcome.
These differences, which have been analysed at a number of conferences, will underlie investment strategies aimed at attracting tourists to each locale.
For the Thang Long Imperial Citadel and the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, a variety of ideas have been mulled, including the organisation of activities to support tourism, the connection of heritage sites with other local sites and even the architectural renovation of the sites (such as a plan to reconstruct Kinh Thien Palace at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel). 
Meanwhile, at the other heritage sites, plans to manage visitors should also be set out. From the perspective of tourism, many locales with world heritage sites take the number of visiting tourists as the most important measure of success. 
But, according to Prof. Luong Hong Quang from the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, there is a serious lack of necessary surveys and scientific research on the effects of tourism on the sites and appropriate measures to preserve the status quo.
In fact, even though they have welcomed large numbers of visitors, questions have been raised about the appropriateness of the methods many heritage sites are employing to attract tourists. 
The recent organisation of a dinner service in caverns at Ha Long Bay has been met with harsh reactions from some experts, because such activities can cause damage to the environmental or geological structure of the rock there. 
Similarly, in 2014, a plan to build a cable car leading into Son Doong Cave in Phong Nha–Ke Bang also sparked fierce debate.
Prof. Pham Trung Luong, former Deputy Director of the Institute of Tourism Research and Development, said that in many countries, when so many tourists flock to a heritage site that it may cause damage to the site or its environment, management will consider different approaches to resolving the problem, such as increasing the fare so as to deter visits by those least inclined to respect the site or developing more tourism sites in the surrounding area to ease the pressure from large numbers of tourists.
Overlapping management
It should also be mentioned that world heritage sites in Vietnam are being managed with different models. 
Specifically, four heritage sites, viz. the Hue Royal Heritage Complex, the Trang An Complex, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park, are currently run by management units under the provincial People’s Committees. 
Three heritage sites are managed at the local level, viz. the My Son Sanctuary (Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province), the ancient town of Hoi An (the Hoi An City People’s Committee, Quang Nam Province) and Ha Long Bay (the Ha Long City People’s Committee, Quang Ninh Province). 
Meanwhile, the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty is a special case managed by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Thanh Hoa Province.
Although they function on different levels, all of these management models share a common point: overlapping duties and a lack of strict delimitation of the functions of local agencies. 
And, in some cases, this collaborative relationship is even contradictory and inconsistent.
UNESCO’s recommendations for Ha Long Bay are one typical example. Since 2009, this heritage site has continually been listed in recommendations on incomplete management and conservation, especially considering urban expansion and coal mining that have caused environmental issues. 
However, the solutions to these problems may involve issues of urban planning and coal mining (the chief industry in the locale).
At workshops, the neccesity of establishing a flexible, scientific and effective management model has been mentioned as a first step towards the rational exploitation of world heritage sites in Vietnam. 
Accordingly, this model itself needs a strong-enough legal framework to give real power to the management board, while at the same time having the flexibility to be applicable to a variety of different situations, depending on the conditions of each heritage site.
Some international experts have suggested the establishment of a World Heritage Committee in Vietnam, a model popular in many countries around the world. 
This committee is an interministerial body with the participation of central and local State bodies, such as the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; the Ministry of Education and Training; the Ministry of Home Affairs; the Ministry of Justice; and the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is also drafting a decree on the management of world heritage sites in Vietnam to submit to the Prime Minister for consideration and approval. 
This legal document is expected to yield practical results in preserving and promoting the value of world heritage sites in Vietnam. 
However, even members of the drafting board are not so optimistic about the actual impact of this legal document due to problems in the management activities at world heritage sites, especially the conflict between the interests of development and the task of conservation. 
Some cultural experts recommend that locales with world heritage sites give top priority to the preservation of the sites and the exploitation of their potential and value. 
This means that, to some extent, the issues of industrial development, urban transportation and urban expansion should be given secondary priority.
Nhan Dan
Foreign investment in textile & garment sector falls

Unlike two years ago, when Vietnam witnessed a wave of foreign direct investment (FDI) in textile & garment projects, the capital flow into the sector has slowed down.

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A series of huge projects with investment capital of billions of dollars were registered in 2014 and 2015. Experts described the investors as ‘early birds waiting to catch worms’ who believed that if they arrived in Vietnam soon, they would be able to take full advantage of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) agreement, of which Vietnam is a member.

However, there has been no more information about the investment in the field so far this year.

Nguyen Hong Giang, deputy chair of the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association (Vcosa), attributes this to the news about the presidential election in the US.

Some experts said they anticipate roadblocks to TPP as both the US presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party and Donald Trump of the Republican Party, oppose the agreement.

Giang commented that foreign investors were not makng decisions at this moment.

According to Giang, foreign investment into the textile & garment sector can be divided into three groups.

The first comprises large enterprises, mostly Chinese or enterprises operating in China. They came to Vietnam in recent years in anticipation of the big benefits to be brought by TPP.
Vietnam exported $18.7 billion worth of textile & garment products in the first eight months of the year.
The second comprises enterprises which also have large operation scale, but don’t have much experience in making outward investment or are still cautious investing in another country.

The enterprises would make investment right now if they see favorable conditions. However, with the news about TPP, they are keeping a ‘wait and see’ attitude and would make investment if Chinese enterprises succeed in Vietnam.

The third group comprises smaller enterprises, which would come after the second group.

Pham Xuan Hong, chair of the HCMC Association of HCMC Knitting, Embroidery and Textile, also commented that there has been not much information about FDI in the textile & garment sector this year.

He predicted that the investment projects’ implementation may be delayed as investors are awaiting information about the election in the US.

However, Giang affirmed that the Vietnamese investment environment is still very attractive to foreign investors.

Besides TPP, Vietnam also has free trade agreements (FTAs) signed with other partners, such as Japan, South Korea and the Europe. The production cost in Vietnam is also competitive compared with other countries.

Vietnam exported $18.7 billion worth of textile & garment products in the first eight months of the year.
Mai Chi, VNN
Over 19,000 Vietnamese jobs lost to Formosa mass fish deaths

A fisherman collects her fishing net in the north-central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh. Tuoi Tre

Over 19,000 Vietnamese have lost their jobs as a result of the environmental disaster caused by the Vietnamese steel business of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group earlier this year.
The General Statistics Office of Vietnam reported the number of citizens affected by the mass fish deaths along the central coastline during a press conference on the country’s socio-economic status on Thursday.
According to the report, over 22,700 households had their lives and production impacted by the incident and its aftermath.
More than 24,400 local laborers, mainly working in aquaculture, salt production, and hospitality, lost the stability of their previous livelihood.
About 19,000 others became unemployed while 5,000 others were forced to find a new profession in order to earn a living.
The number of migrant workers stemming from the affected provinces was recorded at 17, 353, the General Statistics Office concluded.
A large number of dead fish washed ashore in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue in early April.
In late June, examinations of the company’s wastewater by local and international scientists concluded that  Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group was responsible  for the situation.
The Taiwanese company publicly apologized to the Vietnamese government and people for severely polluting the environment and pledged a total compensation of VND11.5 trillion, or US$500 million.  
By September, competent authorities announced that the ocean along the central coastline was safe for swimming and aquaculture activities while seafood was still not entirely safe to eat.
PM allocates mass fish death compensation

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has allocated compensation levels for the four central provinces hit by the recent mass fish deaths caused by pollution from the Formosa Ha Tinh plant.
 According to the PM's decision, seven groups in the affected provinces of Quang Binh, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue will receive compensation. The occupations include seafood catching, aquaculture, salt production, coastal seafood business activities; fishing logistics services, coastal trade and tourism services and seafood wholesalers.
Under the PM's allocation, the highest compensation is some VND220 million for a fishing boat 

Owners of non-motorised fishing boats will be given VND5.83 million (USD276) compensation per month for the time they had to halt the fishing activities. Meanwhile, the compensation level is VND10.67 million per month for owners of fishing boats of below 20 HP; VND15.2 million for fishing boats of between 20 HP and 50 HP.
Owners of fishing boats of over 800 HP will receive the highest compensation of VND37.48 million per month.
Workers will receive from VND3.69 million to VND8.79 million per month, depending on different kinds of fishing.
Each salt farmer will receive VND2.91 million per month.
The people's committees of the four central provinces will make a list of local affected groups and send it to the Ministry of Finance.
The maximum compensation time is six months, dated from April this year. So, the highest compensation is some VND220 million for a fishing boat and roughly VND50 million for a labourer on the boats.
Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. Ltd. paid compensation of USD500 million for the mass fish deaths in the central region of Vietnam.
 By Phuong Thao, 

Japan’s industrial machine factory inaugurated in Ha Nam

The Japanese-funded Meitoku Engineering Viet Nam Co., Ltd., on Septerber 28 inaugurated its industrial machinery manufacturing and assembly factory, located at the Dong Van II Industrial Zone in the northern province of Ha Nam.
General Director Tokunaga Mikie of Meitoku Engineering said this is the first overseas factory of Meitoku Engineering, pledging using advanced technologies to produce quality products and protect the environment, thus contributing to the development of Ha Nam province and Viet Nam in general.
Ha Nam Province's Party Committee Secretary Nguyen Dinh Khang stated the importance of the factory in creating more jobs and improving locals’ living conditions, he said, affirming that Ha Nam will continue creating the best posdible conditions for Japanese enterprises and others investing in the province. 
Mr. Khang also suggested Meitoku Engineering Viet Nam strictly maintain investment commitments in compliance with Viet Nam’s policies and laws, in addition to effectively implementing internal rules during its operation and caring for local workers.
The plant, covering an area of 19,100 sq.m, has a total investment of US$5 million.

Vietnam is Australia’s fastest growing ASEAN trade partner

Vietnam is Australia’s fastest growing ASEAN trading partner as a result of trade deals like ASEAN Australia New Zealand FTA and proposed ones like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership, HSBC has said in a recent report.
Vietnam is Australia’s second smallest trading partner among the six ASEAN countries studied in the ASEAN Connected report, with bilateral trade standing at just over AUD10 billion (US$770 million) in 2015.
The other five countries are Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand.
vietnam is australia’s fastest growing asean trade partner hinh 0

This is around a third of Australia’s trade with Singapore and half of the trade with Thailand and Malaysia.
But the relationship is rapidly growing, increasing by 12% last year.
Australian companies can benefit from Vietnam market access provided by AANZFTA, an agreement especially useful in Vietnam’s case considering Australia lacks a bilateral FTA with the country.
Vietnam is party to both the TPP and RCEP negotiations, and, as a developing country in need of numerous reforms, stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of further economic liberalisation through these initiatives. The AEC is likely to have a similar reform-boosting effect.
According to the report, Vietnam’s rapid economic growth is creating a big opportunity for Australian education services, particularly in the tertiary and professional areas.
Australia is already the leading study destination for Vietnamese students, almost 30,000 of whom were enrolled in Australian institutions last year.
This makes Vietnam the third largest source of overseas students for Australia after China and India. The education opportunity in Vietnam is large, growing, and multi-faceted. Australia is in a strong position to capitalise on this, considering its well-known education strengths and expertise.
According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, education is currently  Australia’s  largest  export  to  Vietnam  and a  key component  of  the  bilateral relationship.
The report, covering 83 mid-market Australian enterprises, finds that business success relies on an appropriate risk appetite, on-the-ground engagement and an ability to adapt to different business cultures.
“ASEAN is forecast to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050, so it is crucial for Australia to reinforce its competitive position in the region,” HSBC Australia CEO Tony Cripps said.
“New trade agreements and initiatives such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative provide a strong platform for more Australian companies to tap into ASEAN’s predicted growth.”
Export Council of Australia CEO Lisa McAuley said, “It is crucial for Australia’s future prosperity that we find ways to reinforce our competitive position in ASEAN, as the region becomes more interconnected and attracts more and more of the world’s best and brightest.”
Winfield Wong, head of wholesale banking, HSBC Vietnam, said, “There is positivity towards the AEC because it will allow local markets access to broader goods and services.
“You would also expect more investment, especially from developed countries like the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“We have seen more upscale production starting to move to Vietnam. Some of the internationally well-known electronics firms are not just looking at manufacturing and chip plants, but also R&D centres, which are being set up this year.
Giant rice exporter incurs huge loss

The Southern Food Corporation, also known as Vinafood 2, one of two of Vietnam's largest rice exporters, has reported an accumulative loss of VND1 trillion ($45 million). 
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Vinafood 2’s latest report showed that the corporation has had difficulties since 2012. It made a pretax profit of VND167 billion in 2012, but then took a loss of VND268 billion in 2013 and VND900 billion in 2014.

Explaining the bad business performance, Vinafood 2 blamed the stiff competition in the world market. In the high-end market segment, Vietnam has to compete with Thailand, which has lowered selling prices in an effort to clear its stocks.

Meanwhile, in the low-cost market segment, the plentiful supply from India makes it difficult for Vietnam to export products.

When asked about the huge loss of VND900 billion in 2014, Vinafood 2 said when it won the bid of providing 600,000 tons of rice to the Philippines, the domestic rice price unexpectedly increased. As a result, Vinafood 2 had to collect rice at high prices to fulfill the contract and incurred a loss of VND213 billion.

In fact, 74 member companies of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) were assigned to implement the contract. However, as the domestic price surged, they all gave up. 
Despite the loss of VND1 trillion, the salaries paid to Vinafood 2’s managers are still high. It paid VND30 million to managers in 2015 and plans to pay VND45 million in 2016.
Only Vinafood 2, as the major business, had to fulfill the contract.

In 2015, Vinafood 2 admitted the bad business performance in 2014. However, with drastic measures taken, Vinafood 2 began making profit. In 2015, it reportedly made a pretax profit of VND155 billion.

Thanks to the profit, the accumulative loss of the rice exporter fell to VND948 billion by the end of 2015.

Also according to Vinafood 2, the total accounts receivable by the end of 2015 had reached VND2.337 trillion, including VND653 billion worth of irrecoverable debt. The figure represented a VND50 billion decrease compared with 2014.

The giant has asked the state to allow it to apply a special policy to deal with irrecoverable debt and unused assets waiting for liquidation.

Prior to that, in March 2016, the enterprise proposed to the Prime Minister to exclude it from subjects for supervision to help it access bank loans more easily.

In late 2015, the government inspectors found wrongdoings at VInafood 2. The holding company was discovered violating the laws in lending and acting as a guarantee for loans worth VND1.7 trillion.

As a result, it has to pay debts for some of its subsidiaries, totalling VND258 billion.

Despite the loss of VND1 trillion, the salaries paid to Vinafood 2’s managers are still high. It paid VND30 million to managers in 2015 and plans to pay VND45 million in 2016.

Gov't to audit value assessment of Vinafood 2
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked the State Inspectorate to audit the result of the corporate value assessment of Viet Nam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) and resolve its financial issues.
The deputy prime minister instructed the inspectorate to complete the audit before December 1, 2016.
Earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc its equitisation plan for Vinafood 2. Under the plan, the corporation will sell part of the State-owned capital in the corporation and issue more shares to raise its charter capital.
The corporation estimated its charter capital at VND5 trillion (US$224.2 million), equal to 500 million shares at VND10,000 per share. It will issue an additional 16.5 million shares to raise its charter capital.
Under the plan, the Government will retain 65 per cent of its stake, equivalent to VND3.25 trillion, after equitisation. The corporation plans to sell 25 per cent stake to strategic investors and 8.95 per cent through auction to domestic and foreign investors. The remaining stake will be sold to its employees.
Vinafood 2 earned VND22.75 trillion in revenue in 2015, a decline of VND3.55 trillion compared with 2014. The corporation last year incurred a loss of some VND9 billion, bringing total cumulative losses to VND1.06 trillion in the last three years.
The corporation was established under the Prime Minister's decision in 2010. It is one of the country's largest businesses in rice exports. However, its business results have shown continuous losses in recent years.
The corporation has proposed that relevant sectors implement special policies to resolve debts, which it failed to collect from its partners, and unnecessary assets in accordance with current regulations that are applicable on a certain businesses that conduct equitisation.
In March 2016, the corporation also asked the Prime Minister to remove it from the list of businesses under special supervision to create conditions for it to maintain credit relations with banks. - VNS

US$1 = VND22,300
Luong Bang, VNN

Thứ Năm, 29 tháng 9, 2016

Gov’t to stop acting as guarantor for state-owned enterprise loans

In an effort to ensure public debt security, the Prime Minister has decided that from 2017, the government will temporarily stop acting as a guarantor for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that borrow money.

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The Prime Minister will consider granting a government guarantee to SOEs in specific cases if necessary.

The instruction has caused concern among state-owned economic groups and general corporations as their projects in power, aviation and transport infrastructure may be interrupted because of difficulties in loan access.

A report of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) shows that by December 31, 2015, the total capital the government committed had reached $26 billion. This included $21.8 billion worth of loans from foreign sources, which accounted for 84 percent of total guaranteed loans.

By the end of 2015, the total real capital which the government had granted a guarantee for had reached $21 billion. This included the debt guaranteed to restructure SBIC, initially named Vinashin, the nation’s largest shipbuilder. The figure accounted for 17.6 percent of total public debt and 11.1 percent of GDP.
In an effort to ensure public debt security, the Prime Minister has decided that from 2017, the government will temporarily stop acting as a guarantor for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that borrow money.
Also according to MOF, in 2015, the guarantee was mostly granted to large-scale projects, such as Vietnam Airlines’ fleet expansion program, electricity generation plant development and the Ho Chi Minh Road project.

Cement manufacturing is the sector where many projects are meeting difficulties and need debt restructuring. These include Song Thao Cement Plant (developed by Song Thao Cement JSC), Thai Nguyen (Vinaincon) and Ha Long (Song Da Corporation).

A high-ranking official of the MOF’s Debt Management & External Finance Department said the government acted as a guarantee for SOEs’ loans in the past in order to help enterprises more easily access loans in their early development stages. However, as enterprises have ‘grown up’, they need to manage themselves to accumulate money for investment.

Nguyen Van Bien, deputy general director of the Vietnam Coal and Minerals Industry (Vinacomin), said on Tuoi Tre that enterprises ‘will meet big difficulties’ if the government stops granting a guarantee for loans.

“The power projects that Vinacomin is implementing need huge investment capital. We still hope the government would agree on granting guarantee for the project,” Bien said.

In general, according to Bien, the projects of this kind need government guarantee to receive loans. If the government does not act a guarantee, enterprises will have to borrow money at high interest rates, which will require higher investment rates.

Dinh Quang Tri, deputy general director of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), said EVN has asked foreign commercial banks not to require the government’s guarantee. Domestic banks have not required this for the last two years.
Kim Chi, VNN
Social News 29/9

UNFPA helps Vietnamese localities fight domestic violence


The number of domestic violence cases reported in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre dropped from 642 in 2012 to 187 in 2015, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The decrease was partially thanks to the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through “the pilot model of a minimum intervention package on domestic violence” implemented in the locality from 2012 through 2016, heard a workshop in Ben Tre on September 27.

During the period, the UNFPA sponsored domestic violence projects in 12 communes in the province, helping raise public awareness of gender equality.

However, the department said, domestic violence still remains a problem in the province, with the victims mainly women aged from 16-59, children and the elderly.

Most participants at the workshop emphasised the need to handle domestic violence with reconciliation measures.

Many suggested communication campaigns should target men to root out domestic violence.

Ben Tre is one of two localities nationwide, together with the northern province of Hai Duong, piloting the UN model.

The intervention package include prevention, a referral system, and safety and protection.

Based on lessons learned from the pilot in these two provinces, the minimum intervention package will be adjusted in response to local contexts.

National statistics show that 58 percent of married women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, while 87 percent did not seek any assistance from authorities.

Human trafficking ring busted in northern border province

Border guards in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang arrested three men suspected of running a human trafficking ring.

According to Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Chau, head of the drug fighting division of the provincial border guard command, those arrested are Luu Di Te, from Dong Van district, Vang Mi Pha and Thao Mi Sinh, both from Bac Me district.

All three men confessed to using social networks to meet two ethnic minority women and sell them in China for 14,000 yuan (2,099 USD) per person.

One of the victims managed to escape and return to Vietnam and reported the case to relevant agencies.

Ha Giang province’s border guard command has been working closely with the province’s police and Chinese officials to rescue the remaining victims.

Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Chau said this year alone, the province’s border guard command had arrested 13 suspected of human trafficking and rescued 11 women and three children.

Vietnam, Japan share experience in sustainable development

A workshop on sustainable social development in Vietnam and Japan’s experience was held in Hanoi on September 28.

President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) Nguyen Quang Thuan highlighted sustainable development as a fundamental target in Vietnam’s process to switch growth model and ensure social equality and environmental protection.

The country has gained certain achievements in the field, but many challenges still lie ahead, he said, pointing to such global common issues as scarce raw materials and exhausting natural resources, the gap between rich and poor that results in social instability, global warming, desertification, and threats to biodiversity.

Therefore, harmonising economic growth and social equality and environmental protection has become urgent for the world, he said.

He noted that Japan successfully implemented its economic development policies after the Second World War (1939-1945) and reaped remarkable outcomes in striving for social equality and addressing environmental pollution and natural disasters. Therefore, Japan’s experience will be valuable for Vietnam.

Vice President of the VASS Dang Nguyen Anh said the growth model in Vietnam is focusing on investment in material and economic growth at the cost of social, cultural and environmental development, which could bring high growth in a short term, but will cause unbalanced development in the long run.

A sustainable growth model pays attention to balanced investment in economic development, human resource, education, health care, regeneration of natural resources and clean energy, he said.

Participants proposed various measures to promote sustainable development such as improving the social welfare system and building policy for the green economy.

Folk music festival kicks off in Kien Giang

A folk music festival featuring artists from across the country opened at Rach Gia city, Kien Giang province on September 27.

The festival brought together more than 1,000 artists, actors and musicians from 40 amateur artistic groups from 39 provinces and cities across the country.

The event, part of the National Tourism Year 2016 – Phu Quoc – Mekong Delta, aims to build culture and promote national artistic forms.

To Duy Chiem, director of Kien Giang province’s Culture Centre, said the festival is a good chance for people in Kien Giang to learn about national musical instruments and enjoy traditional music of each region.

The event will conclude on September 30.

Thai Film Festival 2016 in HCM City

A Thai film festival will be held on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Thailand diplomatic relations, from September 30 to October 2 in CGV Vivo City, HCM City.

The event aims to deepen links between Thai and Vietnamese people.

The films have various themes, including romance and horror, such as Look Thung Singature (Melody of the Heart), Love H20 (Love Expert) and Ladda Land (The Mysterious Village).

Thai actors and directors will attend the opening ceremony of the festival on September 30.

Tây Ninh court tries multi-level marketing fraud case

The Tây Ninh People’s Court yesterday began hearing the case against Lâm Văn Liêu and Huỳnh Thị Rảnh for defrauding several people through multi-level marketing and by appropriating properties online.
Investigation revealed that Liêu, 54, from Trà Vong Commune, Tân Biên District, enticed more than 500 people to deposit a total of VNĐ6.6 billion (US$293,300) into his account to buy tourism packages from the Southeast Asia Diamond Holiday Co Ltd for travel to other countries.
Rảnh, 58, from Ward 4, Tây Ninh City, also convinced more than 600 people to deposit a total of more than VNĐ10 billion ($444,400) into her account to purchase the same product.
On the first day of the trial, the jury questioned more than half of the victims.
Due to the large number of victims -- more than 1,000 people -- the trial, which began yesterday, will continue till this Saturday.

Child protection campaign launched

Việt Nam has targeted 90 per cent of children with special circumstances being integrated into the community and having access to development opportunities by 2020.

The target also aims reducing the percentage of child abuse.

Nguyễn Thị Nga, deputy director of the Department of Child Protection and Care under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, revealed this at a press conference held by the Ministry of Information and Communications this morning.

The child protection programme also includes plans to monitor all children with special circumstances and to assist those at high risk of being abused.

Việt Nam has more than 26 million children. Of these, over 1.5 million are children with special circumstances and over 2 million are at risk of falling into special circumstances.

Reducing the percentage of children in special circumstance to 5.5 per cent and providing support to 86 per cent of those with special circumstance were two of the targets set for this year, she said.

Other targets involve producing 104 television programmes for children and social security.

To realise the goals, Nga said provinces and cities have added child protection targets into their development plans and education campaigns have been implemented to raise awareness of local authorities and people of the importance of protecting children.

Việt Nam has about 31 social protection centres including seven for children, 158 consultation offices at district level, 1,539 consultations at public places and 2,765 child protection consultation stations at schools.

More than 3.3 million students borrow loan

Till the end of last month, more than 3.3 million poor students nationwide had borrowed loan with preferential interest from the Social Policy Bank for schooling, according to the bank’s statistics.
The loan programme was implemented under then Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng’s Decision 157, issued in 2007.
Total borrowing under the loan programme was more than VNĐ56 trillion (US$2.5 billion).
The loan amount varied in different years. In 2008, each student could borrow VNĐ8 million ($350) for the year. At present, each student can borrow VNĐ11 million ($480) per year.
The interest rate was also adjusted from 0.65 per cent per month to 0.55 per cent per month to meet students’ real demands in accordance with the present socio-economic conditions.
The success of the programme was due to the agreement and encouragement from local authorities and poor families, the Social Policy Bank said.
While implementing the programme, the bank closely co-ordinated with local authorities and associations.
Further, the bank called for different sources to supplement the loan fund to meet students’ demands and provide guidance so that students used the loan capital properly.

Asian Beach Games launches photo contest

An International Photo Contest themed ‘Shining Sea, Bright Future’ has been launched by the 5th Asian Beach Games in Đà Nẵng City for domestic and foreign photographers.

The competition was organised in tandem with the Việt Nam Association of Photographic Artists.

The contest is open to photographers capturing the beauty of sports competitions during the ongoing Games.

Photos taken during from September 24th through October 15th are eligible for the competition. Each candidate may submit up to 10 black-and-white or colour photos. The contest jury will select the best photos between October 16-30. Groups of up to three photographers are also eligible to apply.

The winner will win a cash-prize of VNĐ15 million (US$666). Two runners-up will each win VNĐ10 million ($444). Three third prizewinners will each win VNĐ7 million ($311), while 10 consolation prizes totaling VNĐ30 million ($1,300) will also be awarded.

The best photos will be displayed at a future exhibition in Đà Nẵng, Hà Nội or HCM City.

The Asian Beach Games are the biggest beach sporting games in Asia. In the past, the games have drawn the participation of over 7,000 athletes, coaches, officials and referees from 42 countries and territories competing in 14 sports for 172 medal sets.

The Asian Beach Games opened on September 24th and will close on October 10th.

Mass fish death in Thanh Hóa does not relate to diseases

Tests on water and dead fish have showed that mass fish deaths in the northern province of Thanh Hóa were not related to diseases, said an official.

Lê Văn Sơn, deputy head of Thanh Hóa Province’s Veterinary Bureau, said tests performed by the National Centre for Veterinary Diagnostics indicated ammonia levels and chemical oxygen demand (COD) in water.

Water samples from the coast of Tĩnh Hải, where there was a lot of fish dead, had COD up to five times higher than allowed level while water samples at Nghi Sơn island commune had COD four times than the accepted level and ammonia between 11 and 33 times the allowed level.

Samples of wild fish and fish in floating cages in the two areas were negative for the virus that causes nerve necrosis in sea fish.

Earlier, local authorities blamed the blooming of algae for mass fish deaths.

In early September, locals found about 300kg of dead fish washed ashore near Nghi Sơn Oil Refinery and Petrochemical complex and coastal area near Bắc Yến Hamlet of Hải Yến Commune in Tĩnh Gia District.

Nearly 50 tonnes of fish bred in cages on Nghi Sơn island commune of the same district also died.

An investigation by local authorities showed that seawater samples near the complex and around floating cages of Nghi Sơn Commune were a reddish brown colour. Tests revealed a type of alga named Hairoi-Creratium furca had bloomed.

The provincial People’s Committee proposed Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc order the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development send scientists to investigate and to instruct the locality to deal on incident.

Vietnamese fishermen descend on court to sue Taiwanese fish killer

Hundreds of fishermen traveled by bus to Ha Tinh to demand the Taiwanese firm to cough up for the damage it has caused.

Hundreds of people from the central province of Nghe An journeyed 200km by bus to neighboring Ha Tinh on September 26 to lodge lawsuits against the steel plant responsible for the mass fish deaths that hit a 200km stretch of the central coast in April, a local leader has said.

Vietnam's government has officially named Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, the Vietnam unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, as the culprit for the incident in Ha Tinh that resulted in one of the biggest environmental disasters in the country's history.

Formosa has already paid US$500 million in compensation, the Vietnamese government reported last month, but public outcry continues to rage in the streets and on social media.

Hundreds of people traveled to the provincial court in Ha Tinh to file lawsuits against the Taiwanese company, a local leader of Ha Tinh's Ky Anh District told VnExpress Tuesday. Ky Anh People’s Court also confirmed that it has received over 500 files, with the majority demanding Formosa to pay damages.

It will take time for all the files to be processed, and each case will be trialed separately if the court rules so, said a lawyer.

The toxic pollution caused by Formosa has hit at least 200,000 people where it hurts the most: their pockets, the government said in a report to the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, in July.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that local authorities will receive compensation by early October to allocate to those affected by the disaster.

Expert proposes imposing gradual ban on cars to curb congestion in Vietnamese cities

As the ongoing debate on a possible motorbike ban in Vietnamese cities picks up momentum, a traffic expert has weighed in with his assertion that cars are contributing more to the problem than motorbikes.

On September 26 last week, Hanoi’s Department of Transport unveiled its plan to restrict non-resident motorbikes from entering the capital by 2025, sparking a debate on whether or not banning motorbikes would ease Vietnamese cities’ chronic traffic congestion.

One of the first to offer their views on the issue was Luong Hoai Nam, economic expert and former CEO at Vietnam-based low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific, who vocally supported the ban in an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper published last Thursday.

According to traffic expert Lam Thieu Quan, two-thirds of the road surface in major cities where traffic congestion is widespread are occupied by cars, while motorbikes only take up a third.

Therefore, Quan said, a ban on private motorbikes would not necessarily ease congestion, while it would likely pose a challenge for a large population of low-income families who are using bikes in their daily commute.

The expert asserted that buses in Vietnam are being “surrounded” by not only motorbikes but also cars, the number of which has seen a rapid growth rate in recent years.

He suggested a gradual ban on private cars, beginning with restrictions at rush hour while opening up priority lanes for buses on city roads.

Buses in Vietnam are not officially categorized as prioritized vehicles, and therefore are often blamed for their chronic unpunctuality in the rush hour.

According to Quan, punctual buses would convince commuters to give up their private motorbikes, making it easier to impose restrictions and bans on the vehicles.

The restriction on cars should also be coupled with financial measures such as charging cars entering the city center during high-traffic hours, and the collected money should be reinvested in developing public transport instead of being remitted to the government budget, the expert suggested.

He also pointed out the obsolescence of Ho Chi Minh City’s public transport planning until 2025, which was drafted in 2009 using outdated data but was only submitted for feedback to the municipal Fatherland Front a few months ago.

HCM City storm sees fallen tree hit cars

Heavy rain in Ho Chi Minh City on September 27 brought down an electric line and trees that fell onto traffic, hitting several cars.
The incident occurred at 6pm on Le Lai Street where heavy rain combined with strong wind uprooted a tree near 23rd September Park. On its fall, the tree pulled down a small electric pylon and crashed onto four cars.
All cars were severely damaged.
Thai Van Trung, owner of one of the cars said, "I was in the car when it was raining. Suddenly I heard a loud noise and when I looked out, a small electric pylon was crushing my windshield. I got out quickly to avoid being electrocuted."
After receiving the news, local police arrived at the scene to help deal with the traffic.
Also on the same day, two trees on Ba Hat Street fell and crushed a motorbike. Two other 30-metre tall trees in Ward 14 were uprooted, damaging a lamp post, a parking lot fence and a house roof.
The rain also flooded the routes to Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Outgoing Japanese Ambassador bids farewell to State President

President Tran Dai Quang received outgoing JapaneseAmbassador to Viet Nam Hiroshi Fukada on September 27 in Ha Noi.

President Quang congratulated Ambassador Hiroshi Fukada on his successful term in Viet Nam and thanked the guest for his close sentiment and great contributions to Viet Nam and the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The host leader praised the guest for touring almost all localities in Viet Nam and his helpful measures to promote people-to-people activities and local coordination in terms of economics, culture, education, and manpower training.

Mr. Quang also treasured the Ambassador’s effort to the success of high-ranking visits, the lifting of the bilateral ties to the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia and the introduction of the Joint Vision Statement on Japan-Viet Nam Relations.

Finally, the Head of State hoped that Ambassador Hiroshi Fukada would serve as a bridge to connect respective localities, businesses, and people and nurture the bilateral ties.

In reply, Ambassador Hiroshi Fukada was convinced that the friendly and cooperative ties between Viet Nam and Japan would flourish in the coming time./.

Da Nang city should not rest on its laurels: PM

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told authorities of the central city of Da Nang to not rest on their laurels at a working session with municipal officials in Hanoi on September 28.

He recognised the city’s achievements such as a favourable investment environment, dynamic human resources, efficient public servants, and a large number of enterprises. Da Nang has also done a good job of developing tourism.

At the same time, the PM pointed out outstanding problems of the city such as the small-scale economy and the modest capacity of services provision and agricultural production. The city has not fulfilled its role in regional connectivity and integration.

Da Nang needs to invest more in its western areas where socio-economic conditions are not as developed as in other areas of the city, the PM said, adding that in the long run, it should strive to become a smart and competitive city that helps connect other localities in Vietnam and cities around the world.

He suggested the city have a better planning to optimise the limited land resource and open its door wider to talented people and domestic and foreign businesses.

The Government leader commended the city’s resolve to reject polluting investments so as to protect the environment. He asked it to support other central provinces and promote trade with strong economies like Singapore and Hong Kong.

At the session, municipal officials reported that tourism is a key economic sector that generates the most revenue for Da Nang. The city welcomed 4.41 million tourists in the first nine months of 2016, up 18.3 percent from a year earlier. It earned almost 12.8 trillion VND (573.7 million USD) in tourism revenue, rising 25.4 percent year on year, while attracting many multi—billion USD tourism projects.

Da Nang has led the country for eight straight years in terms of the Information, Communication and Technology Index and for four consecutive years in the Public Administration Reform Index.

The city is hosting the fifth Asian Beach Games and is gearing up for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in 2017, local officials added.

Dien Bien has first Catholic parish

The northern province of Dien Bien will have the first parish after the provincial People’s Committee issued a decision allowing the Bishop Office of Hung Hoa Diocese to set up the parish.

The Decision was announced at a ceremony on September 28.

The Dien Bien parish has 576 parishioners living in Dien Bien, Tua Chua and Muong Ang districts.

The parish currently does not have its own church and praying house, so all worshiping activities temporarily take place at local parishioners’ houses in Noong Het commune, Dien Bien district.

Le Huu Khang, director of the Dien Bien Department of Home Affairs, said the establishment of the Dien Bien parish is an important event in the religious life of Catholic followers in the province.

He asked the Dien Bien parish to operate in line with the law and encourage parishioners to develop production and join in the building of new-style rural areas.

Dien Bien currently has over 50,000 followers of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Buddhism.

The local government has granted operation licences to 12 groups of Protestants. The province has also allowed the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam to establish a chapter in Dien Bien.

Lam Dong hosts exhibition on Hoang Sa, Truong Sa

An exhibition featuring over 200 maps, documentaries and objects on Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes opened in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on September 27.

Titled “Vietnam’s Hoang Sa, Truong Sa – Historical and Legal Evidence”, the event aims to affirm the country’s sovereignty over the two archipelagoes.

The exhibits include documents in Chinese, Nom (old Vietnamese writing using Chinese characters), modern Vietnamese and French issued from the 17th to the 20th century by the Vietnamese feudal states and the French government in Indochina (on behalf of the then Vietnamese state).

There are also four atlases published by China and a six-volume atlas by Western countries also proving Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands, together with the woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty and official documents approved by Nguyen kings relating to Vietnam’s exercise of sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.

Especially, images of President Ho Chi Minh in the National Assembly election in 1960 provided by Vietnam News Agency are also on display.

Nguyen Viet Van, Director of the provincial Department of Information and Communications, the exhibition helps raise the awareness of protecting the country’s sea and island sovereignty among local officials and people.

Mekong Delta must avoid subjectivity in climate change response

Localities and ministries must steer clear of subjectivity and strive to find new models for climate change adaption, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told a meeting on September 26.

At the event in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau, he said climate change has posed challenges affecting development, the environment and local livelihoods.

He asked ministries and central agencies to work closely with the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region and the People’s Committees of the Mekong Delta localities to devise climate change adaptation plans.

Climate change response must be included in local development plans, he noted, suggesting Mekong Delta authorities re-organise operations of irrigation networks and anti-saltwater culverts while reinforcing and building new sea dykes. They should also raise public awareness of climate change.

The Mekong Delta comprises 12 provinces and one centrally-run city, covering about 40,000 of land or 12.3 percent of Vietnam’s total area. It is home to 18 million people, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s population.

The region has low and flat terrain which is about 0.7 – 1.2 metres above the sea level, leaving it vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as tidal surges and saltwater intrusion, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

About 50 percent of the Mekong Delta is flooded for three-four months every year while 40 percent of its area is affected by saline intrusion. However, the effects of climate change have worsened, with the region suffering from serious floods and saltwater intrusion.

At the meeting, the ministry called for synchronous solutions to be taken to cope with climate change.

Also on September 26, Deputy PM Hue attended a ceremony starting the construction of a wind power plant in Dat Mui commune of Ngoc Hien district in Ca Mau.

The plant, located at Khai Long tourism site, will cover 2,185ha and feature 50 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 100 MW. It is expected to generate 280 million KWh of electricity when operational.

Logo design contest marks Vietnam-India’s 45-year diplomatic ties

The Vietnamese Embassy in New Delhi opened a logo design competition on September 26 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam.

"There will be many events organised by both Vietnam and India to celebrate this anniversary next year. So, we need a good and meaningful logo to be used in these events as well as in the publications and website of the Embassy in 2017," Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said.

"We are looking forward to receiving a large number of entries, considering the close relationship between Vietnam and India over the past 45 years and the promising future of the newly established Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our two countries," he added.

Highlighting the importance of relationship with India, Thanh said India is the third country, after China and Russia, with whom Vietnam has a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. After the Vietnam visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early September, the bilateral relationship is at its highest level.

Among the 12 agreements signed during the visit, there was a protocol between Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry and India’s Ministry of External Affairs on activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties, he noted.

India and Vietnam established diplomatic relations on January 7, 1972.

Ninh Thuan: Grapes, wine and cuisine fair opens

A fair promoting grapes, wine and cuisines in central Ninh Thuan province was opened on September 27.

Some 120 booths include 30 marketing local grape products, wines, and handicraft items and 90 others displaying commercial products from other localities.

The fair will run till October 1. It is held ahead of the “Grapes and Wines Festival-Ninh Thuan 2016” which will take place from September 29-October 1.

The festival looks to create opportunities for grapes farmers, businesses and consumers to meet and seek partners.

The central province of Ninh Thuan has the largest vineyards in Vietnam, with 2,500 ha mainly in Ninh Phuoc and Ninh Hai districts and Phan Rang-Thap Cham City.

In February 2012, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) issued Decision No.194 certifying the geographical indication of Ninh Thuan grape products, which helps raise the value of Ninh Thuan grapes on the market.

Greetings to Khmer people on Sene Dolta festival

A delegation of the Central Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region on September 27 visited several pagodas in southern Vinh Long province and the provincial Patriotic United Buddhist Association on the occasion of the Sene Dolta festival.

The delegation, led by Major General Nguyen Doan Ket, head of the committee’s Department for Security and National Defence, wished the Khmer people a merry and happy festival.

They hailed Khmer Buddhist followers for joining with local people and authorities in realising the Party’s policies and guidelines and the State’s laws, contributing to local socio-economic development, political security and social order.

The Sene Dolta Festival is one of the largest annual Khmer festivals, along with Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year) and Ooc Oom Bok, a festival to thank the Moon for good harvests.

It lasts from the 30th day of the eighth lunar month to the second day of the ninth lunar month each year, during which Khmer people pay tribute to their ancestors and take part in community celebration activities with traditional songs and dances after a hard working year.

The majority of Vietnam’s Khmer population reside in the southwestern region, who worship at more than 450 Khmer pagodas.

Typhoon ‘Megi’ & southwest monsoon bring heavy rain in south

A super typhoon named Megi operating powerfully offshore northeastward of the Philippines is forecast to , cross into the East Sea, reported the National Hydrology Meteorology Forecast Center.

Although the typhoon did not enter the East Sea, it caused the southwest monsoon hitting the Gulf of Thailand, the southern and southwestern territorial waters.

The monsoon is predicted to bring heavy rains, deep cloud and thunderstorms to the southwest and southern territorial waters including Ho Chi Minh City.

From September 27 to October 5, rainfall in the southern region is going to increase sharply. The maximum wind in the western region will be at level 2- 3.

The phenomenon weathers of heavy rains and thunderstorms will continue hitting Ho Chi Minh City by next two or three days.

Yesterday, typhoon ‘Megi’ was centered  at 21, 4 degrees north latitude and 126, 2 degrees east longitude, at 580 kilometers of the southeastward of Taiwan Island (China) with the strongest wind of level 14- 17 near the center.

The super storm is forecast to land in Taiwan (China) before it enters Guangdong and Fujian province (China) in next days.

Because of its influence, the northeastern territorial water of the East Sea will see wind force level of 8- 10, even up to 11- 16 near the center with sea rough.

According to weather forecast, the southwest monsoon will operate lowly in the southern region as soon as the storm ‘Megi’ will be weakened in next days.

6th National Environmental Film Festival kicked off

The organization board of the 6th National Environmental Film Festival starts to receive film submissions nationwide from now until November 5.

Movies can be sent to the Center for Environment and Community under the General Department of Environment in Hanoi at No.556, Nguyen Van Cu Street in Long Bien District.

The organizers, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam Television and Vietnam Cinema Association, will award 21 prizes, including the highest title “Green Vietnam” worth VND30 million.

The award ceremony is expected to take place in the capital in December and will be broadcast live by Vietnam Television.

Launched since 1998, the film fest received 479 submissions and honored around 130 pictures, including 5 movies that won the “Green Vietnam” Grand Prize, in categories of feature film, documentary film, report, scientific film and animated films.

The event aims to raise awareness of environmental protection and create a chance for film makers to share experience on environmental filmmaking

Vietnam attends Asian Parliamentary Assembly’s meetings in Cambodia

Vietnam participated in the first meeting of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Executive Council and a meeting of the APA Standing Committee on Staff and Financial Regulations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on September 26-27.

Vice Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Committee for External Relations Vu Hai Ha led a delegation to the events.

Speaking at the function, Second Vice President of the Cambodian National Assembly Nguon Nhel highly valued APA achievements in regional and global development and peace.

The meetings open up opportunities for Asian countries to discuss measures to address such issues as economic downturn, aid reduction, natural disasters, diseases, war, and climate change.

They hold significant meaning to promote APA works and ensure the success of the ninth APA Plenary Session to be hosted in Siem Reap later this year.

Participants discussed financial, political, economic, social and cultural matters during the two-day function.

Established in 2006, APA is currently the biggest legislative organisation in Asia with 42 members.

Japan wants more Vietnamese nurses, orderlies

Vietnamese nurses and orderlies are in demand in Japan, with around 760 needed this year, but there are only 210 qualified candidates, according to the Department of Overseas Labour under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

The information was revealed during a conference held on September 26 in Hanoi to review three years of the implementation of a programme on sending Vietnamese nurses and orderlies to Japan, which is part of the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) signed on December 25, 2008.

The MOLISA has worked with the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam and the Japanese language school Arc Academy on selecting candidates for the programme, who receive Japanese language training before taking up their jobs at Japanese hospitals and sanatoriums .

So far 470 caregivers have been sent to Japan.

The ministry noted that in 2015 and 2016, more than 40 percent of Vietnamese care workers have passed Japan’s national certification exams.

At present, 210 care workers are taking their language training course in Vietnam.

Also at the conference, the MOLISA announced that it will recruit 260 nurses and orderlies this year for the working-in-Japan programme.

Japan has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world. In the next ten years, the country will need up to 600,000 nurses and orderlies to take care of elderly people; hence the great demand to recruit from Vietnam.

Vietnam is the third country after the Philippines and Indonesia to cooperate with Japan in the exchange of nurses and orderlies.

The agreement provides a good chance for Vietnamese nurses and orderlies to be trained and stationed in a professional overseas working environment, thus improving their qualifications.-

Hanoi, Italy cooperate to develop transport infrastructure

The Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport will engage in infrastructure construction and development in Hanoi, specifically aviation, railway and sea route projects.

Minister Graziano Delrio made the remark at a working session with Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung in the capital on September 26.

He said his ministry will serve as a bridge for Italian businesses to invest in Vietnam and Hanoi particularly, noting that Italy has an effective transport network, especially in the northern city of Milan, and provides technical support for other European countries.

Italy is willing to work with Hanoi to build and improve its transport system, he confirmed.

Chairman Chung said Hanoi is striving to accelerate the implementation of transport projects such as the Nhon-Hanoi Station elevated railway line, the railway connecting Yen Vien and Hanoi train stations. Construction will be started soon on the Nam Thang Long – Tran Hung Dao railway.

The city is completing investment procedures to build six bridges across the Red (Hong) River, he added.

He said Hanoi hopes to receive technical and financial support from foreign businesses, including those from Italy, to build and upgrade infrastructure.

The Chairman proposed Italy host more investment promotion workshops to help Hanoi forge links with Italian hi-tech firms to develop transport in the city.

To fulfill socio-economic development goals in 2016-2021, Hanoi is concentrating on infrastructure investment, developing high-quality human resources, administrative reform, and improving the investment climate.

Dealing with transport issues in an effective manner is a priority, he stressed.-

Police arrest suspect in Quảng Ninh murder case

The Quảng Ninh Police, in co-ordination with the Hải Phòng Police, yesterday arrested Doãn Trung Dũng, the prime suspect in the murders of a grandmother and her three grandchildren in Phương Nam Ward of Uông Bí City.
Dũng, 45, also of Uông Bí City, was arrested near the Bính Bridge in Thủy Nguyên Ward, Hải Phòng City at about 8.30pm yesterday.
Yesterday at midday, police issued a wanted notice for Dũng, and initiated legal proceedings against the suspect for murder.
During the past two days, security along roads in the city has been monitored strictly. Police have inspected hotels and other places of interest in the city and Quảng Ninh Province to search for Dũng.
The bodies of 61-year-old Nguyễn Thị Hát and three of her grandchildren - aged three, eight and nine - were found in their home on Saturday morning.

New tree frog discovered in Vietnam jungle

The frog was discovered by Vietnamese and German scientists in the northern Hoa Binh Province.

Vietnamese and German scientists announced they have found a new tree frog species in the northern province of Hoa Binh.

The frog is distinguishable by its small size, with a snout-vent length of up to 2.85 centimeters in males and 3.26 in females, head longer than wide, and smooth dorsal skin of grayish green.

It does not have vomerine teeth or spines on the upper eyelid, while its throat and ventral surface of arms and thighs are brown with white spots.

The frog was found at the Ngoc Son-Ngo Luong Reserve and has been named Theloderma annae Nguyen, Pham, Nguyen, Ngo & Ziegler, 2016 after four Vietnamese scientists from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and one from Cologne Zoological Garden.

5 Vietnamese arrested for beating dog theft suspect to dead

They said they were angry about pet dogs being stolen continuously in the neighborhood.

Police in the northern province of Quang Ninh have arrested five men for allegedly beating a dog theft suspect to death.

The men, between 21 and 32 years of age, said they were angry that local families kept having their pet dogs stolen, which sometimes happened in broad daylight.

So they decided to catch the thieves and their first victim was a 26-year-old man, who they claimed was trying to steal dogs in the area early on September 26.

The suspect was found dead on the street with many injuries at around 2:30 a.m. on September 26.

The five said they had beaten him with iron sticks, canes and tubes with sharp blades.

Vietnam is estimated to consume 5 million dogs per year and is second only to China, which consumes roughly 20 million.

Many of the dogs are stolen pets sold to small, unregulated abattoirs.

Dog thieves are rarely punished. The people who buy and sell stolen meat almost never get punished either.

Vietnamese law only treats theft as a criminal offense if the object stolen exceeds VND2 million, less than US$100.

Due to rising pressure both inside and outside the country, legislators are considering a provision that would criminalize the theft of a pet.

For now, vigilante mobs often justify their actions, which sometimes prove fatal, to the lack of legal repercussions for the crime.
Quang Nam asked to become model of sustainable growth

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the central province of Quang Nam to become a model of rapid, sustainable and comprehensive development and work together with neighbouring localities of Da Nang and Quang Ngai to form an economic hub of the central region.

To this end, the province needs to mobilise all available resources, develop a transparent and growth-driving administration to support locals and enterprises as well as tap all opportunities for development, he said during a working session with leaders of the province in Hanoi on September 28.

He stressed the importance of a responsible administrative system, and strict punishment of reckless officials.

He asked Quang Nam to restructure its economic towards comprehensive development, improving the agricultural sector with a focus on maritime economy and offshore fishing.

Quang Nam should resolutely say no to industrial projects possibly harming the environment, he requested.

Along with rearrangement of population planning, the province should seek measures to deal with conflicts in planning of industry and tourism, ensuring a healthy living environment for the locals.

The Government leader asked Quang Nam to encourage startups to triple the current number of enterprises, while making more efforts to attract investors to industrial parks and economic zones, and completing its infrastructure system.

Lying in the central major economic region, Quang Nam has a favourable location for connection of regional localities, In the ASEAN map, Quang Nam is in the central of the East-West Economic Corridor with easy access to Laos , Cambodia , Thailand and Myanmar .

In a 3,200km radius, Quang Nam is in core area of the most dinamic region of East Asia that containing Singapore , China , the Republic of Korea and Japan . It takes only 4-5 hours to fly from Quang Nam to almost all major airport of Asia-Pacific.

Owning 125km-long coastline, Quang Nam has various attractive beaches and a warm weather.

In the first nine months of this year, Quang Nam recorded an economic growth of 12 percent, with 640 newly-established companies. It has fulfiled the yearly target in budget collection with nearly 13 trillion VND, a 40 percent rise over the same period last year and reaching 90 percent of estimate. As much as 60 percent of the province’s income is sourced from the Chu Lai-Truong Hai auto factory, which is considered a model of industrial production of Vietnam.

Although more than 50 communes of Quang Nam have been recognised as new-styled rural areas, nine local mountainous communes have still been poor localities with extreme difficulties.

Embassy works to forge Vietnam-Germany ties

Vietnam is one of the important partners of Germany and the German Embassy in Vietnam will work hard to reinforce and further strengthen the relations between the two countries, a German diplomat has said.

In his speech at a press conference in Hanoi on September 28 on the occasion of the 26th Unification Day of Germany, German Ambassador to Vietnam Christian Berger stressed his country and Vietnam have cooperated in many fields, especially in politics, economy, culture, culture, science and education.

The sound relationship was also reflected through high-level visits of the two countries’ leaders, he said.

While updating recent economic links between the two nations, Deputy Ambassador Wolfang Manig said with two-way trade hitting nearly 9 billion USD in 2015, Germany is Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the European Union (EU).

He said he hopes that the free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Vietnam and the EU in February will facilitate bilateral trade links.

He expressed his wish that a bilateral commerce chamber will be set up in Vietnam with an aim of deepening the Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership.

Regarding development cooperation in Vietnam, the embassy’s cousellor in charge of development cooperation, Martin Hoppe, affirmed that the field is a key part of the relationship between the two nations.

Last year, Germany pledged preferential loans worth 220 million EUR within two years for development cooperation projects in Vietnam, mainly in vocational training, environmental protection, energy and green growth.

Thomas Lenferding, the cousellor in charge of culture and education cooperation with Vietnam, said the Goethe Institute has worked hard to promote cultural cooperation between the two countries, while Germany’s educational institutions are active in introducing the German language in Vietnam’s schools.

Friendship exchanges, film festivals, concerts and art performances have contributed to tightening the two nations’ ties and fostering mutual understanding between their people.

World Vision International supports poverty reduction in Vietnam

The World Vision International (WVI) pledges to continue its contributions to poverty reduction, sustainable development, and climate change mitigation in Vietnam, its President Kevin Jenkins assured President Tran Dai Quang during a meeting in Hanoi on September 28.

Jenkins thanked the Vietnamese leader for appreciating WVI’s activities in Vietnam, adding that the organisation targets supporting the poor and the most vulnerable worldwide.

President Quang congratulated Jenkins on receiving the Friendship Order – the highest decoration of the Vietnamese State in honour of foreign individuals and organisations which foster friendship between Vietnam and countries worldwide.

Among over 500 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Vietnam, WVI is one of the first ones operating in the country.

He praised WVI for introducing sustainable and comprehensive approaches to poverty reduction in Vietnam.

On the occasion, he asked WVI to continue standing side by side with Vietnam to deal with difficulties regarding rural development, health care and education infrastructure for residents living in remote and mountainous areas, as well as disaster mitigation.

Vietnam, EU enjoy more comprehensive cooperation

The cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union (EU), especially the conclusion of the bilateral free trade agreement at the end of 2015, was highly valued at a meeting held in Belgium on September 27.

Over 350 international guests, staff of the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium and overseas Vietnamese gathered at the event to exchange opinions on issues of common interests.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Vuong Thua Phong said Vietnam’s friendly ties and collaboration with the EU and Belgium in particular has been unceasingly enhanced.

He particularly hailed the conclusion of negotiations on the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), with the two sides now conducting legal procedures to submit the agreement to their parliaments for ratification.

President of the parliamentary friendship group with Vietnam in the European Parliament (EP) Jan Zahradil said many members of the EP support the sound relations between the EU and the Southeast Asian country.

He said the conclusion of the EVFTA negation at the end of last year as a step forward, saying this is the first deal that the EU signed with a developing country.

The EVFTA was officially signed on December 2, 2015, after over three years of negotiation.

Once it enters into force, the EU will eliminate about 85.6 percent of tax lines on Vietnam’s exports. The rate will increase to 99 percent seven years later.

Meanwhile, Vietnam will liberalise 65 percent of import duties on EU exports. Ten years later, about 99.8 percent of EU goods exported to Vietnam will enjoy a zero percent tax rate.

Lao papers highlight NA Chairwoman’s visit

Several major Lao newspapers have featured the visit by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan from September 26-27 on their front pages, hailing it as a contributor to the strengthening of bilateral friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation.

The KPL News, Lao Phatthanna and Vientiane May said during the talks between Chairwoman of the Lao NA Pany Yathotou and her Vietnamese counterpart, both sides shared view that the bilateral ties have seen fruitful results in diverse areas, evidenced by regular visits by high-ranking leaders and increased coordination in the fields of economy, trade and investment.

Ties across national defence-security, energy, health care, tourism, education and training have also been expanded.

The Pasaxon – the mouthpiece of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, highlighted a warm reception for the Vietnamese guest by Party General Secretary and President Bounnhang Volachith.

Volachith appreciated the Vietnamese top legislator for choosing Laos as the first country to visit since she took office, and believed that ties between the two law-making bodies will be increasingly intensified, it wrote.

The Pathet Lao paper ran stories about the meetings between the Vietnamese guest and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Chairman of the Lao Front for National Construction Central Committee Saysomphone Phomvihane, affirming that the visit would contribute to reinforcing the special relations and all-around collaboration between the two Parties, governments and peoples.

The Lao media also drew public attention to the outcomes of a seminar on public debt management.

They said the event reflected the effective and closer ties between the two NAs and governments.

Young Vietnamese, Lao officers join exchange activities

A young Vietnamese military officer delegation arrived in Laos on September 26 to start a young officer exchange programme between two armies.

The programme is part of defense cooperation between Vietnam and Laos with the aim of boosting solidarity between the two countries’ young officers.

It is also a platform for the officers to exchange their experiences in youth affairs.

Headed by Senior Lieutenant Colonel Dinh Quoc Hung, Head of the Vietnam’s Army Youth Committee, the delegation will participate in exchange activities with Lao officers in some military schools and visit Laos’ destinations and museums from September 26 to October 2.

Chinese Embassy hosts get-together marking national day

China’s Ambassador to Vietnam Hong Xiaoyong has affirmed that China is ready to work with Vietnam to step up mutually-beneficial cooperation and bring bilateral ties to a new height for the sake of people of the two countries and peace, stability and development in the region.

Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong was addressing a get-together in Hanoi on September 27 to celebrate the 67th National Day of his country (October 1).

The Ambassador noted that concerted efforts have helped the two countries grow their relations in a positive manner after reviewing the achievements attained by the Chinese Party, Government and people over the past 67 years.

Speaking at the event, Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade, congratulated the Chinese Party, State and people on their tremendous attainments and wished them to obtain more in the future.

He gave high estimations to the relations between the two countries over the past years, asserting that the Vietnamese Party, State and people are consistent in promoting friendship and comprehensive cooperation with China.

Vietnam stands ready to work together with China to continue developing the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in a stable and healthy fashion towards new progresses, the Vietnamese representative said.