Social News 24/12
Can Tho to host int’l Mekong Delta agriculture festival
The International Agricultural Festival of the Mekong Delta will be held from March 9-13, 2017 in Can Tho city, expecting to attract up to 500 domestic and foreign enterprises, announced the organising board at a press conference on December 22.
The festival aims to support agricultural development for the Mekong Delta region through the research and application of science and technology advances in production and building trademarks to increase competitiveness.
Major activities of the event include introducing farm produces, meetings of scientists and enterprises to deal with current issues in researching and applying science and technology in agricultural production to increase productivity and quality.
An agricultural products exhibition will be held with the participation of about 300-500 enterprises, along with a conference on science-technology application in agricultural development.
Outstanding research institutes, training facilities, businesses, cooperatives and farmers with applicable agricultural technology inventions will be honoured, while scientists and enterprises will be connected to seek partnership.
According to Phan Xuan Dung, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, the festival is an important event that creates opportunities for enterprises, scientists and management officials to meet, introduce their products and share experience in science-technology research and application in production and business.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong held that amidst the sector’s restructuring efforts towards increasing added value and sustainable development in line with new-style rural area building, the festival is expected to contribute to promoting the smart agricultural production in the region, thus implementing the Party and State’s policy on agriculture and rural development.
Dak Nong spends over 168 billion VND to upgrade electricity
The Power Company of the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong (PC Dak Nong) has spent 168.2 billion VND (7.3 million USD) in 2016 to upgrade and expand the provincial grid, said Director Tran Van Thuan.
The investment has contributed to ensuring power supply for socio-economic development, national security-defence while bringing electricity to ethnic communities in remote and mountainous areas.
Besides, the company also sold more than 4 million kWh of electricity to the neighbour country of Cambodia, an increase of 28 percent compared to last year.
According to Thuan, Dak Nong province has also received more than 700 billion VND (30.8 million USD) from the Government to bring electricity to rural and mountainous areas in 2016-2020.
He added that the electricity sector will invest additional 650 billion VND (28.6 million USD) to expand electricity network in Dak Nong, with the goal of connecting 99 percent of local households to the national grid by 2020.
According to the PC Dak Nong, 95.04 percent of local households have access to electricity at present.
Dak Nong is a large yet sparsely populated province, with a population of about 600,000 people of 40 ethnic groups.
Vulnerable areas benefit from disaster risk management project
A project on community-based disaster risk management is benefiting thousands of people in rural and urban areas of Quang Binh, a central province prone to natural disasters.
The project is being implemented from April 2015 to March 2018 at an estimated cost of 600,000 EUR funded by the German Red Cross.
It is set to benefit 4,000 people directly and more than 24,000 others indirectly in Phu Hai ward and Bao Ninh commune of Dong Hoi city, and Thuan Hoa and Mai Hoa communes of Tuyen Hoa district.
During nearly two years of implementation, the project has offered many training classes on disaster risk response for local Red Cross staff and made emergency communication plans, heard a meeting to review the project on December 21.
It has also provided Mai Hoa and Thuan Hoa communes with early-warning loudspeaker systems and built nine flood-resistance houses in Thuan Hoa – one of the localities heavily affected by the historic double flooding last October and November.
Other activities have also been carried out successfully such as teaching local students swimming skills, providing water tanks, and equipping schools with first-aid kits.
Vice Chairman of the Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Hoang said the project has proved effective, especially in preventing, responding, managing and settling disaster consequences.
He hoped for more efforts to implement the project and asked the German Red Cross to continue its assistance to his province.
Website for second “Don Ca Tai Tu” festival launched
Activities and information related to “Don Ca Tai Tu”, the musical art that UNESCO recognised as an intangible cultural heritage in 2013, will be available at http://doncataitu.vn launched in the southern province of Binh Duong on December 22.
According to Lai Xuan Thanh, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the website will update official information about the second national festival of “Don Ca Tai Tu” – Binh Duong 2017 provided by the organisation board.
Other relevant information and services will also be offered on the website, including artists, sponsors, volunteers, documents and maps.
The festival will take place in new Binh Duong city from April 8-12 with the participation of representatives from 21 provinces and cities in the south.
The event will feature traditional art performances, and workshops on the art genre and local tourism development.
The first national “Don Ca Tai Tu” festival was organised in the southern province of Bac Lieu in 2014.
Known as a musical art that has both scholarly and folk roots, Don Ca Tai Tu was developed in southern Vietnam in the late 19th century. The impromptu art honours the creativeness and artistry of the performers.
The art is performed at numerous events, such as festivals, ‘death anniversary' rituals, and celebratory social events. The audience can join in, by practicing, making comments or creating new words for songs.
It has been transmitted from generation to generation through official and unofficial forms of education in all 21 provinces, where the art form is popular. Don Ca Tai Tu has continually been popularised through cultural exchanges among peoples, presenting their mutual harmony and respect.
The art form is played on a variety of different instruments, including the kim (moon-shaped lute), co (two-stringed fiddle), tranh (16-string zither), ty ba (pear-shaped lute), song lang (percussion), bau (monochord) and sao (bamboo flute), and the violin and guitar, which were adapted.
The musicians who contribute to Don Ca Tai Tu include master instrumentalists, master lyricists, master singers, instrumentalists, and singers.
Influenced by other forms of cultural heritage from the central and southern regions of Vietnam, such as nhac le (ceremonial music) and hat boi (classical theatre and folk song), the music genre was added to the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012.-
Swedish ambassador meets with Ho Chi Minh City bookworms
Newly-appointed Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg on December 21 gave Ho Chi Minh City book lovers a closer look into the life of world-renowned Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as well as the culture of the Nordic country.
After greeting the audience with a fluent Vietnamese greeting, the friendly ambassador joined journalist Tran Minh, the Vietnamese translator for Ibrahimovic’s autobiography, to share their thoughts on the life story detailed in the 35-year-old Manchester United striker’s book.
“The evening is about Zlatan and the book, but also the other things that Zlatan stands for,” Ambassador Högberg told Tuoi Tre News at the event.
“If you are good at something, you should be able to succeed,” he said, adding the book is also about strong friendship, trust, and open society.
The Vietnamese version of the famous Sweden national team member’s autobiography was officially released in August this year under the title “Tôi là Zlatan Ibrahimovic” in Huy Hoang Bookstore.
Journalist Tran Minh said it took him about two years to translate the book.
The December 21 workshop, titled “Sweden – The Ambassadors of Contemporary Culture," also included a Q&A session with topics ranging from Sweden’s cultural values and education to opportunities for international students.
“It’s an opportunity to talk about the country where Zlatan comes from,” the Swedish ambassador said.
Högberg devotedly answered the excited crowd’s questions related to international students in Sweden, explaining his observations of the differences between Vietnamese and Swedes and giving tips for people who want to live in Sweden and communicate with Swedish people.
The ambassador also discussed similarities in the two countries' cultures, pointing out similarities in music and noting that traditional Vietnamese music seems to have the same tone as indigenous Swedish music.
Discussing food, the diplomat humorously shared that he lost a lot of weight after coming to Vietnam because the food is both extremely delicious and healthy.
The ambassador also proudly announced in Vietnamese that “bun thang," “pho bo”, and "cha ca” are amongst his favorite dishes.
He even repeated “bun thang” twice to make sure everyone understood his Vietnamese pronunciation.
Before his appointment as Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam in August, Högberg was the Deputy Director-General acting as Head of Sweden’s foreign ministry’s Africa Department.
Sơn La police seize 50 cakes of heroin
Police on Thursday arrested two people from the northern mountainous province of Sơn La for illegally transporting 50 cakes of heroin.
Following a tip-off, the police stopped a car on National Highway No 6 for inspection and seized 50 cakes of heroin, each weighing around 350g, three mobile phones, VNĐ1.5 million (US$66) in cash and other items.
The suspects have been identified as Hoàng Anh Tuấn, 41, from Hà Nội’s Hà Đông District and Trần Lê Hùng, 27, from Thanh Hóa Province’s Quảng Xương District.
The duo told the police that they had bought the heroin from Hòa Bình Province’s Mai Châu District for consumption.
A VNĐ50 million (US$2,200) award has been presented to investigator team who took part in the case.
In a separate incident, police officials from the northern province of Phú Thọ and the capital uncovered a workshop that was producing methamphetamine, or crystal meth, which is a powerful stimulant.
Thạch Văn Hòa, 60, a resident of Nam Từ Liêm District’s Đại Mỗ Ward, was caught red-handed on Thursday while selling meth to Đỗ Hiệp Hải, 59, and Nông Thị Hường, 21, also from Hà Nội.
The police said they had their eyes on Hòa, who is a suspect in a case related to the illegal transportation of 300 cakes of heroin.
The police confiscated 10kg of crystal meth worth around VNĐ10 billion (US$440,000), VNĐ31million ($1,400) in cash and equipment used to produce the recreational drug.
Hòa told the police that he and his wife learnt how to produce meth while they were working overseas for several years.
Formosa spill spikes Vietnam's labor exports
Half of the country's labor exports, who are mostly low skilled, headed to Taiwan this year, followed by Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Vietnam has sent mainly low and medium-skilled workers to over 50 countries around the world in recent years.
Experts made up a humble 0.18 percent of the 560,000 employees sent overseas since 2011, according to the Department of Overseas Labor.
During the first eleven months of the year, Vietnam sent around 108,000 people to work overseas.
Applicants for overseas work spiked in the third quarter following the toxic waste release at the Formosa Steel Plant in Ha Tinh Province this June.
The chemical release caused a massive fish death and virtually shut down the fishing industry in four central provinces.
By the end of August, Ha Tinh Province alone had sent 17,000 locals overseas to work, mainly in the Republic of Korea.
Half of Vietnam's exiting workers tried their luck in Taiwan. The rest left for ROK, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Labor exports have been touted as a solution to unemployment in rural areas.
The practice also provides remittances to those left behind. On average, 15-20 percent of total remittances comes from exported labor.
Winners of ‘Vietnam’s beauty’ photo contest honoured
Rescue the Whale
Tran Van Yen from Nghe An province won the first prize of a photo contest on ‘Vietnam’s Beauty’ for his photo entitled ‘Giai Cuu Ca Voi’ (Rescue the Whale) at an awards ceremony held at Nhan Dan Newspaper headquarters in Hanoi on December 22.
The second prize went to Hieu Minh Vu from Dong Thap province, and three third and nine consolation prizes were also presented at the event.
The ceremony was attended by Thuan Huu, Party Central Committee (PCC) member, Editor-in-chief of Nhan Dan newspaper and Chairman of Vietnam Journalists’ Association; Le Quoc Khanh and Dinh Nhu Hoan, Deputy Editor-in-Chiefs of Nhan Dan Newspaper; and representatives from the PCC Commission for Communication and Education.
Addressing the event, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Dinh Nhu Hoan, who is also Director of Nhan Dan Television - the contest’s organiser, said that the first-ever contest received an enthusiastic response from photographers and photography lovers.
One year after being launched, nearly 9,000 entries were submitted to the organising board, focussing on 14 topics praising the land and people of Vietnam as well as pressing issues of the country, such as environmental protection, urban architecture, traditional costumes of Vietnamese ethnic groups, education, children and workers’ lives.
According to the jury, the ultimate goal of the contest was to inspire patriotism and national pride among photographers and viewers while helping them to learn more about traditional culture and the customs of their country.
At the ceremony, the organising board also presented VND 5 million to an eight-year-old girl with disabilities, Hoang Thuong from Ho Chi Minh City, who was the main subject of a photo collection submitted to the contest. Nhan Dan Newspaper editorial board will also sponsor her with VND 3 million each month until she turns 18.
Italisa Vietnam relapses into environmental violation
Chinese-invested Italisa Vietnam Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Boway Group, relapsed into environmental violations in Song Khe-Noi Hoang Industrial Zone of the northern province of Bac Giang.
According to newswire Dantri, the Bac Giang People’s Committee has issued a fine of VND620 million ($27,257) on Italisa Vietnam for discharging untreated wastewater into the environment, causing serious environmental pollution.
According to the inspection records, the company’s wastewater samples showed pollution levels exceeding the permitted level by 3-6 times.
Furthermore, the company did not sort hazardous waste according to regulations. It simply put them into bags and piled them into the warehouse or outdoors.
The province ordered the company to stop discharging wastewater into the environment, and simultaneously took appropriate measures to mitigate the environmental damage caused. In addition, the province ordered the company to improve its existing wastewater treatment system.
It is not the first time that the company commits environmental violations. In early 2013, the Police Department for Environmental Crime Prevention and Control (C49) also detected similar conduct.
In January 2015, C49 issued a fine of VND310 million (US$13,628) on the company after finding that the company’s wastewater samples exceeded pollution levels by 5-10 times the permitted level.
In the latest move, in March 2016, a fine of VND650 million ($28,576) was imposed on the company due to relapsing into environmental violations.
Disconcertingly, while authorities consecutively detected the company’s violations, Bac Giang’s Centre of Environmental Monitoring showed results confirming that analysis indicators were at the permitted level.
Established in 2008 under the initial name of Powerway Alloy Material Vietnam Co., Ltd., the company was renamed Italisa Vietnam Co., Ltd. in 2010. The company specialises in manufacturing sanitary equipment and has a distribution system stretching across the country.
Deputy PM wants increased train capacities
The domestic railway sector is urged to fix its current infrastructure weaknesses to raise the capacity of carrying passengers to at least 13 per cent and loading goods to at least 14 per cent by 2020 following Government targets.
To reach the goals, Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng, during his visit to several train stations in Hà Nội and then working with the Việt Nam Railway Corporation, tasked the sector to quickly upgrade its major railway stations.
It was ordered to attract more investment capital from the private sector to connect the railway infrastructure system with domestic and even regional sea ports for conveniently transporting both passengers and goods, he said.
Dũng said his requirements came after the domestic railway sector was found to be lagging behind, with loading capacity only meeting about 2 per cent of demand of passengers and goods compared to road and air travel.
The current railway infrastructure system also failed to link with sea ports or major industrial processing zones, he said.
Additionally, maintaining and repairing incidents on the railway was still slow and fatal railway accidents reportedly occurred mainly at level-crossings, he said.
Dũng said the transport sector failed to point out a clear and consistent direction to develop the railway sector.
According to the corporation, low investment to develop the railway sector was exacerbating the situation.
Data from the corporation showed that investment for the railway sector only accounted for nearly 3 per cent of total investment for the transport sector.
It was estimated to be VNĐ4.8 trillion (US$211 million) of the total VNĐ140 trillion ($6.1 billion) in the period 2001-10, and VNĐ11 trillion ($484 million) of the total VNĐ484 trillion ($21 billion) during the period 2011-15.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Ngọc Đông said the current investment capital spending on the railway sector each year only met about 40 per cent of demand.
Đông suggested that the Government give priority to pouring medium-term investment capital to develop the railway infrastructure in the near future.
Vũ Tá Tùng, general director of the corporation said weak infrastructure was the main obstacle for raising loading capacity and train speed.
Tùng also said the railway sector was facing severe competition with other means of transport, especially low-cost airlines.
Thus, improving the infrastructure would help the railway sector raise the frequency of trains running, reduce the transport cost and raise competitive capacity, he said.
"However, the most important thing is we are in need of $1.8 billion to make the improvements," he added.
In response to the proposal of raising investment capital for the railway sector, Deputy Prime Minister Dũng said additional investment capital would be spent to develop the railway sector, but the sector was required to ensure effectiveness.
The railway sector stretches throughout the country with a total length of over 3,143 km. The number of level-crossings is estimated to be 6,400.
HCM City earmarks $29m for Tết gifts to poor, others
HCM City plans to give VNĐ661 billion (US$29 million) worth of gifts to its residents during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, 10 per cent more than last year, the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said on Wednesday.
According to Lê Minh Tấn, director of the department, said the department would spend VNĐ294 billion ($13 million) presenting gifts to more than 2,500 Heroic Mothers, war veterans and others.
Presents will also be delivered to 57,000 poor households, 49,500 people who live on social security assistance, and 70,000 people aged above 80 years.
Besides, 42,200 bus and train tickets would be gifted to poor students and factory workers returning home for Tết, 35,000 of them by the city’s Labour Union and 7,200 by the HCM Communist Youth Union.
They will also give gifts worth VNĐ500,000 ($22) to more than 600,000 poor students and workers.
According to the city’s Labour Union, many activities would be organised for the entertainment of factory workers who are not going home during the holidays.
The Department of Transport will gift 1,000 bus and entry tickets to factory workers for attending the Spring Flower Festival while the Department of Industry and Trade will arrange 40 sales events at industrial parks.
Quảng Ninh to stop transporting coal on highways
Quảng Ninh Province should prepare plans to transport coal via the seaway instead of the roadway, which it was doing presently, the province’s Party Committee Secretary Nguyễn Văn Đọc stated.
He said this at a conference held on Tuesday in the province on coal and construction materials management, which drew the participation of the Việt Nam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) and other local concerned organisations.
Đọc said the province was determined to stop transporting coal on highways 18A, 10A and Road 188 from next year.
From the end of July 2016 until now, the province uncovered and penalised 59 cases of illegal dredging, transporting and trading of sand, with total administrative fines of more than VNĐ800 million (US$35,500), according to the province’s report.
Nearly 4,000cu.m of sand and 21 sand dredging equipment items were withdrawn.
The province also seized more than 5,800 tonnes of coal, withdrew 11 coal transporting vehicles and imposed administrative fines of more than VNĐ1 billion ($44,400).
Đọc said the province had recently successfully dealt with coal exploitation, and therefore one did not see illegal coal exploiting hot spots, but management of coal transportation was weak, hence some drivers still transported coal via roads to other provinces for sale.
Đọc asked the coal sector to better manage coal mines, especially in the border areas, and impose strict penalties on workers flouting norms.
Đặng Thanh Hải, general director of Vinacomin, said the corporation was prepared to transport coal via the seaway.
Photo exhibition to mark Đà Nẵng’s 20-year development
An exhibition featuring 100 colour photographs of Đà Nẵng City’s 20-year development will be opened from December 26 to January 10 at the city’s Museum.
The museum said the photo exhibition will review the developments since the city separated from Quảng Nam Province and came under the direct control of the central government, along with Hà Nội, HCM City, Hải Phòng and Cần Thơ.
The exhibition, entitled Đà Nẵng – a 20-year Development Course, will focus on the process of urbanisation, administrative reform and environmental protection.
Đà Nẵng, which was the capital of the former Quảng Nam-Đà Nẵng Province, is expected to play a prominent role in ASEAN and Asia in the future.
The museum covers 3,000sq.m and displays 2,500 objects, photos and documents related to the culture of Đà Nẵng and neighbouring central provinces.
The museum also preserves a collection of 11 ancient, cast-iron cannons (made during the Nguyễn Dynasty between 1802-1860) that were unearthed in digs at the Điện Hải Citadel from 1979-2008.
Report on ancient kiln announced
A final report on the archaeological excavation of a ceramic kiln, dating back to the 13th century, in the northern province of Yên Bái was recently made public.
The report was made by scientists from the Việt Nam Social Sciences Institute and the Yên Bái Provincial Museum, who conducted excavations at the Pù Lườn Xe site in Tân Lĩnh Commune, Lục Yên District, in 2011, 2015 and 2016.
Through objects found at the site during the three excavations, scientists came to the conclusion that there used to be a kiln for baking building materials, such as tiles, bricks, clay statues and towers, for constructions sites at nearby Hắc Y Hill, Bến Lăn Pagoda and other areas during the period.
All objects found at the site dated back to the 13-14th century during the rule of the Trần dynasty (1225-1400).
Prof Bùi Minh Trí, an official from the institute, confirmed that the kiln is the first of its kind to be excavated in the north of Việt Nam.
The discovery will open a new approach to research on the production of building materials during the Trần dynasty, he said.
Hà Nội cares for residents near rubbish dump
Seven months after chairman of the Hà Nội People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung met residents living near the Nam Sơn rubbish dump in Sóc Sơn District, compensation due to environmental pollution has been successfully distributed.
The city authorities also organised health examinations and set up clean water systems to gradually improve the lives of the residents.
Nguyễn Ngọc Oanh, deputy chairman of the Nam Sơn Commune People’s Committee, said the Nam Sơn rubbish dump was opened for public use in 1999, with the capacity to handle about 1,000 tonne of rubbish per day.
But the population increased rapidly and the amount of rubbish was greater than planned, reaching some 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of rubbish per day.
However, the local waste treatment plant was not capable of treating such large volumes of rubbish, resulting in water and air pollution affecting the lives of residents in Nam Sơn, Bắc Sơn and Hồng Kỳ communes.
In order to listen to local residents’ opinions and view their petitions, in May this year the chairman of the Hà Nội People’s Committee, Nguyễn Đức Chung, met with them and discussed the environmental and health care problems.
Local residents proposed to raise financial support for environmental pollution, and set up stations to keep close watch on air and water to limit the effects on residents.
Right after the meeting, chairman Chung asked organisations to develop projects, issue health insurance cards and bring in clean water pipes, along with opening health stations for local residents.
Deputy chairman Oanh said, at present, six projects had been implemented in the areas being affected by the Nam Sơn rubbish dump.
The projects focus on upgrading several roads, canals, waste water treatment systems and clean water. A project of supplying clean water has been completed and has opened for public use.
According to Nguyễn Thị Thuận, a resident in Nam Sơn Commune, earlier, a road near her house was choked by dust and odors, as trucks transporting rubbish ran day and night. Now, a special truck cleans the road every day and the problem is improved. The truck transporting rubbish also do not run during hours when children leave schools to avoid endangering them.
Triệu Tuấn Đức, director of the Nam Sơn Branch of the Hà Nội Urban Environment Company, said that waste water in reservoirs was strictly supervised.
Every month, the company joins with the Sóc Sơn Preventive Medicines Centre to clean the area and spray chemicals to kill harmful insects in the three communes being affected by the Nam Sơn rubbish dump.
Also, the city spent VNĐ7.6 billion to support residents in the three communes.
But, Oanh said, residents living near the rubbish dump were still facing problems.
The city authorities should develop plans to create jobs for residents and increase their income, he said.
Joint-programme signed on reproductive health
A co-operative programme on population and reproductive health was signed on Thursday between the General Office on Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health, and DKT International.
Under the programme, the two sides will propose joint-plans to target the population and provide family planning education.
The two sides will also offer consultancy and education to improve professional skills for medical workers and knowledge for residents in those areas with high birth rates and abortion rates. They will also offer financial support to carry out events and target programmes to reduce abortions and spread knowledge about family planning.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Professor Nguyễn Viết Tiến, Minister of Health, said that the population sector was targeted with much success, but also faced difficulties.
Shortages of funds and manpower was a challenge for the country, he said.
“I totally encourage the target of the joint-programme. We should find suitable measures, so that population and reproductive health programmes can be more successful,” said Tiến.
According to Michael Evans, DKT International Head Representative in Việt Nam, besides success, Việt Nam still has to overcome obstacles, since education on contraceptive methods among the youth remains weak.
Việt Nam’s abortion rate ranks first in the Southeast Asia and fifth in the world.
“Việt Nam changed from a poor country to a country with average income, but as a result, different foreign countries cut their financial support to Việt Nam and gave that support to poorer countries, so now many localities do not receive support,” he said.
The signing ceremony began a new period, and re-started the programme on family planning in Việt Nam, he added.
DKT International is a social marketing nonprofit organisation working in Latin America, Africa and Asia to improve access to reproductive health products and services.
350 minority youths benefit from sustainable job project
Some 350 young people from Quỳ Châu and Quế Phong in the central province of Nghệ An benefited from a project on employment for ethnic minority youths in the province.
The project results were announced on Friday during a conference held in Hà Nội by ActionAid Việt Nam (AVV) and the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA).
The project received financial support of more than VNĐ517 million (US$23,000) from the AVV.
The first period for the project was conducted in 2013-14 in Quế Phong District, whereas the second period was held in 2015-16 in Quỳ Châu District.
The project aimed at supporting ethnic minority youth in the two districts and run effective employment models to replace the old, ineffective ones that were followed in the localities.
As part of the project, youths attend training courses on planting mushrooms, lime and some other agricultural products.
Those youths participating in the project now have incomes of about VNĐ30 million ($1,300) per year.
Đinh Quế Hải, deputy chairman of the CEMA, said the CEMA strived to promote socio-economic development for ethnic minorities by providing the Government’s guidance.
“Ethnic minorities’ rights are one of the priorities of the CEMA in the near future, and economic rights are the first priority,” he said.
Setting up businesses for ethnic minority youths contributed an important part in assuring sustainable reductions in poverty, noted Hải.
Hoàng Phương Thảo, AAV head representative, said that ethnic minorities, especially the youths, were one of the priorities of AAV.
“We believe that co-operation between AAV and the CEMA will create better conditions to conduct the National Target Programme from 2016-20 targeting sustainable poverty reduction and setting up new-style rural lives,” she said.
Quế Phong is one of the poorest districts of western Nghệ An Province. The district has more than 5,000 youths, and most of them did not have sustainable work. The district is home to more than 13,500 households with 64,500 people. Most of the residents are Thái, Khmu, Thổ, Tày and Chứt ethnic minorities. More than 40 per cent of the households are poor.
Quỳ Châu is the neighbouring district of Quế Phong District, with more than 10,000 households, and 20 per cent of them living in poverty. Average income for these households is about VNĐ6-7 million ($266,600-311,100) per year.
Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital asked to increase scientific research
President Tran Dai Quang asked the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital in particular and the health care sector in general for strengthening scientific research, technological application, and personnel training to improve services.
Addressing a ceremony in Hanoi on December 23 to mark the 110th founding anniversary of the hospital, the President urged the hospital to focus on delivering professional support and technology transfer to health care staff at local levels.
At the same time, the hospital should work closely with the media in popularising preventive measures to help people avoid diseases.
He lauded efforts and achievements of the hospital and affirmed that the Party and State always give special attention to health care and consider the sector a priority for investment.
Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital, long previously known as Phu Doan hospital, is among the top central-level hospitals of Vietnam. It has gathered such well-known doctors and scientists as Professors Ho Dac Di, Ton That Tung, Nguyen Trinh Co and Nguyen Duong Quang. Closely attaching to the development of Vietnam’s health care sector, it has become the leading surgery hospital of Vietnam.
Currently, the hospital is running one institute, 10 centres, 18 clinical and 8 para-clinical faculties, and 11 functional offices. It has more than 50 surgery rooms with an endoscopy surgery system meeting the world standards.
It has 1,500 beds and a highly qualified staff, including three professors, 23 assistance professors, and 36 doctorate degree holders.
On the occasion, the hospital also launched its traditional house and two large meeting halls.
It received the Labour Order, first class, for the second time.
Hoa Hao Buddhism founder's birth anniversary celebrated
The 97th birth anniversary of the founder of Hoa Hao Buddhism, Prophet Huynh Phu So, took place at An Hoa temple in Phu My township, Phu Tan district, the southern province of An Giang on December 23.
The event was attended by representatives from the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, Military Zone 9 High Command, and An Giang authorities, along with over 25,000 Hoa Hao Buddhism followers in and outside the province.
Tran Tan Hung, deputy head of the Committee for Religious Affairs, highlighted Hoa Hao Buddhism’s patriotism, solidarity as well as social operations, particularly charity activities, over the past years.
In 2016, Hoa Hao Buddhism followers donated about VND360 billion to charity activities, contributing to the local success in fulfilling socio-economic development tasks and building new-style rural areas.
Hoa Hoa Buddhism currently has 391 executive committees in 17 cities and provinces and over 2 million followers nationwide, mostly in An Giang.
Lao leader lauds cooperation in popularisation work with Vietnam
General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Bounnhang Volachith has lauded the sound cooperation between his Party’s information and education commission and that of the Communist Party of Vietnam over the past years.
He received Head of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education Vo Van Thuong in Vientiane on December 23.
The Lao Party and State leader suggested that the two commissions increase the discussion of theoretical and practical issues, while strengthening partnership in personnel training, especially for Lao officials.
He also asked the two agencies to share information and experience in Party building, contributing to the successful implementation of resolutions of each party.
On his part, Thuong, who is on a visit to Laos from December 22, congratulated Laos on the country’s important achievements over the past 30 years of renewal and the first year implementing the resolution of the LPRP’s 10th congress, as well as its good performance as the ASEAN Chair in 2016.
He expressed his delight at the growing friendship and special solidarity between Vietnam and Laos, affirming that Vietnam will do its utmost to preserve and promote the ties.
Briefing the host on the outcomes of his talks with the head of the Lao Party Central Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training, Thuong thanked Party leaders for their close direction and support to the two commissions.
The two commissions will continue working closely together and exchanging information and experience, thus strengthening education to raise public awareness of the Vietnam-Laos ties and popularising the ties among international friends, he said.
The two sides also agreed to coordinate closely in fighting wrongful arguments of hostile forces that aim to harm the two countries’ solidarity.
Danang official backs Han River tunnel costs
Danang Party Secretary Nguyen Xuan Anh said the plan to build the tunnel beneath the Han River had been agreed long ago and was now even more necessary.
On December 21, the river tunnel was the top concerns of all attendees during a press conference about major problems facing Danang City. The six-lane 1,315-metre tunnel will run from Dong Da Street in Hai Chau District to Van Don Street in Son Tra District and take three years to build.
Regarding the project’s number, Tho said that it would partly come from the sell-off of land along local beaches.
The plan to build the tunnel beneath the Han River was approved long ago
According to Anh, the population is rising fast and by the next 5 to 10 years, the population will reach three million. The city is also experiencing a 10-12% increase in the number of personal vehicles each year. Anh said Danang might face the same severe congestion as Hanoi and HCM City.
The plan to build the river tunnel was agreed last October and many meetings have been held to discuss the problem. However, the the date of construction or detailed plan are yet to be agreed.
"This project is for our children, for the next generation. People can judge whether the project will have negative impacts or not. The chairman of Danang Huynh Duc Tho and myself don't have any personal interest in this," Anh said.
He went on to say that there was also opposition when the plans to build Dragon Bridge and Han River Bridge were first raised.
Tran Van Minh, former chairman of Danang City, thought the plan was too rushed. According to Minh, millions of USD could be used on more urgent issues. Costs would also rise with each meeting, from USD136m to USD180m. Minh suggested continuing research to not overspend and gather more opinions from experts and local people.
Tran Dan, vice head of Vietnam Bridge and Road Association said the plan designed by the Bridge And Tunnel Engineering Consultants Company would fail because it was unsuitable for huge vehicles like lorries. He went on to say that because the local authorities refused to listen, many new constructions like Cam Le, Thuan Phuoc and Hoa Xuan bridges were showing short-comings.
Christmas book fair opens in HCM City
A Christmas book fair opened at the Ho Chi Minh City Exhibition House in District 1.
The event features display booths of more than 30 publishing houses, presenting to readers thousands of book titles, stationeries and Christmas decorations.
Readers will have a chance to buy cheap books at prices from VNd5,000 – VND50,000, and a big discount of 20- 50 percent.
Visitors are invited take part in various sideline activities such as exchanges between writers and readers, and a meeting themed “ Sweden- Contemporary cultural ambassadors” with the participation of Ambassador of Sweden in Vietnam.
The book fair will run until December 25.
Friendly Art Club to host painting and pottery exhibition
The Friendly Art Club will hold a painting and pottery exhibition featuring the beauty of Saigon-HCMC on Nguyen Van Binh book street in District 1, HCMC from December 24 to January 1.
The Friendly Art Club, which consists of 23 artists and artisans, will present 50 pottery items by eight young artisans and 58 oil-on-canvas and watercolor paintings by 17 professional and amateur artists.
The beauty of HCMC is seen through images of a girl in ao dai (Vietnamese long dress), an old-style market, the bustling atmosphere of a floating market in a river, and old and new architectural works. The paintings show the artists’ profound love for the city where they were born or brought up.
There will be other activities at the event, including portrait sketching and pottery making instruction. The organizer will spend half of the proceeds from paintings sales to help child cancer patients at Children’s Hospital 2.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition is slated for 9 a.m. on December 24.