Thứ Tư, 4 tháng 1, 2017

Social News 4/1

Government gives further flood relief to Binh Dinh province

Flooded houses in Nhon Hoa ward of An Nhon township, Binh Dinh province

Binh Dinh, the worst-hit province by flood in the central region, is set to receive more assistance from the Government to address flood consequences.
The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to provide Binh Dinh with more than 1,500 tonnes of rice along with 10 high-speed boats, 70 sets of tent, 1,500 lifebuoys and four sets of water pumping machine.
The relief, sourced from the national reserves, is allocated amidst the approaching Lunar New Year – the biggest traditional festival in Vietnam. Material aid has also been given to Binh Dinh and other south central provinces by the State and people from across Vietnam recently.
The south central region has suffered from back-to-back floods since October 2016.
Floods killed nearly 40 people, injured 10 others and resulted in damage of some 1.9 trillion VND (83.5 million USD) in Binh Dinh, preliminary data show.
Bac Ninh looks to become centrally-run city
The northern province of Bac Ninh will make most of its potential and advantages as well as overcome difficulties and challenges to continue creating strong breakthroughs in social-economic development and become a centrally-governed city by the 2020s.
Nguyen Nhan Chien, Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of the People’s Committee of Bac Ninh, made the remarks at the 20th anniversary of the province’s re-establishment on January 3.
The province will also strive for becoming one of the leading localities in building an e-government and developing a smart city, Chien said.
Speaking at the event, To Lam, Minister of Public Security, recognised and praised important achievements the province’s Party Committee and its people have achieved in the past 20 years.
Lam recommended Bac Ninh to optimize its potential and advantages for sustainable development.
The province needs to review the planning of sectors in connection with the master plan for social-economic development, the overall urban planning and the modified Hanoi Capital region planning.
He also urged the province to apply information technology in urban management, restructuring economy, reforming growth model, effectively managing and using resources, and solving environmental pollution, especially at industrial clusters and craft villages.
He also recommended the province to boost activities in attracting investment and developing support industry and applying high technology into agriculture and implementing the national goal programme on building new rural areas.
Bac Ninh province was re-established on January 1, 1997. After 20 years, the province has transformed from an agricultural province into an industrial one with the economic growth rate of 15.1 percent on average during the 1997-2016 period.
The province’s 16 concentrated industrial zones have attracted 935 projects with a total registered capital of 12.3 billion USD, including many multinational corporations like Samsung, Microsoft, Canon, and Pepsico.
The province’s 2016 industrial production value is estimated at 766 trillion VND (34.5 billion USD), a 1,200-fold rise over that of 1997.
The province has 58 communes and two districts qualified as new rural localities. Healthcare and education have been improved significantly.
The province has two UNESCO-recognised intangible cultural heritage – Quan Ho (love duets) and Ca Tru (ceremonial song). It also has four special national relic sites, five groups of artifacts recognised as national treasures, one ritual, one folk game, eight festivals and villages honored as national intangible cultural heritages.
Vietnam Buddhist Sangha gains good outcomes in 2016
The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) has more than 53,900 member monks and nuns at present.
There are 18,466 Buddhist pagodas and places of worship nationwide.
Buddhist monks, nuns and followers donated more than 1.33 trillion VND (58.52 million USD) to social and charitable activities in 2016.
These were reported by the VBS while reviewing its performance at the fifth meeting held by the Sangha’s executive council, seventh tenure, in Ho Chi Minh City on January 2-3.
In 2016, the VBS organised many important religious events.
Major events included ceremonies marking 708 years of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong’s Nirvana attainment, the VBS’s 35th founding anniversary (November 7, 1981), and the Lord Buddha’s birthday. 
The VBS also participated in the Vesak Day, which paid homage to Lord Buddha, in Thailand.
EVN asked to keep key role in national electricity supply
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) should continue promoting its key role as a State-run company in national power supply, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a conference in Hanoi on January 3.
For that goal, the group needs to ensure the progress of underway power projects, while carrying out new ones and working on projects to develop renewable energy. 
It should work out mechanisms to encourage all economic sectors to produce electricity and fine-tune financial mechanism, the PM said.
The PM asked the group to push ahead with restructuring to improve its operational efficiency and competitive edge as well as complete the equitisation of its three power generation corporations in 2017-2018.
The EVN will keep operating six strategic, multi-target plants and relevant ones, whilst equitising the retail and service sections, he directed.  
The Government leader requested the EVN to strengthen management, especially financial administration, to prevent corruption in equitisation and investment stages.  
He reminded the group to focus on environmental protection and not to produce electricity at all cost.  
Regarding the nuclear power project in the central province of Ninh Thuan, PM Phuc ordered the EVN to arrange the project’s human resources appropriately and utilise infrastructure effectively to make up the lost amount of electricity due to the project’s halt. 
He pointed to shortcomings such as uneven distribution of electricity in the southern region, economic losses of some fundamental construction projects, and several projects harming local people’s living environment.  
A shortage of electricity in the middle and long term is likely to occur, he worried, adding that the EVN should work out measures to meet the country’s development targets such as economic growth of 6.5-7 percent, one million businesses by 2020, and export surge of 8-10 percent.  
The EVN needs to step up administrative reform and directly help the country enter the leading group of competitiveness in ASEAN, he said, noting that Vietnam is ranked sixth in ASEAN in the index of electricity access.  
In 2016, the EVN generated and purchased 176.99 billion kWh of electricity, a yearly increase of 10.8 percent. 
Commercial electricity reached 159.45 billion kWh, a year-on-year rise of 11 percent, surpassing the annual target by 350 million kWh.  
The group coordinated with the irrigation sector to provide over 3 billion cubic meters of water for the 2015-2016 winter-spring crops in the northern delta while ensuring sufficient water for drought-hit areas in the central and Central Highland regions.  
At the end of 2016, 73 power plants joined the power market, generating 17,929 MW of electricity.  
The EVN fetched over 264.6 trillion VND (over 13 billion USD) in revenues last year, up 12.9 percent against 2015.  
The group also put into operation the Lai Chau hydropower project in the northern province of Lai Chau in 2016, one year earlier than scheduled, saving 5 trillion VND and ensuring electricity for flood-hit localities.
Parliamentary officials pay tribute to heroic martyrs in Quang Tri
National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong and other officials paid homage to martyrs at the Ancient Citadel of Quang Tri on January 3.
At the special national relic site, the delegation, which was on a working trip to central Quang Tri province, offered incense to the people who laid down their lives during the fierce 81-day battle to protect the citadel and Quang Tri township from the US-backed army of the Republic of Vietnam in 1972.
The fight contributed to Vietnam’s triumph at the Paris Conference and was a prerequisite for the General Offensive and Uprising in the Spring of 1975, which completely liberated the South and reunified the country.
Vice Chairwoman Phong said she hopes the administration and people of Quang Tri will continue doing a good job of repaying national contributors and educating younger generations about Vietnam’s revolution history.
On this occasion, she visited two war veterans in Quang Tri township and 20 families affected by recent floods in Trieu Phong and Cam Lo districts.
Vietnam Fatherland Front upholds great national unity
The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) has highlighted the role of the great national unity in national development via a series of activities in 2016, President of the VFF Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan told the press on the occasion of the New Year. 
During 2016, the VFF introduced nominees to the election of deputies to the 14th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2016-2021 tenure and directly supervised the election process. 
The front’s all-level chapters raised 214 billion VND (9.3 million USD) in support of nearly 1.2 million people hard hit by the Formosa-caused marine environment incident and prolonged flooding in the central region, droughts and saline intrusion in the Central Highlands and the south. 
It conducted inspection on food hygiene and environment pollution caused by thermal power plants, as well as continued a survey on the public satisfaction about services of the State administrative agencies. 
On promoting the connectivity of religions, the VFF signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and 40 accredited religious organisations on environment protection and climate change response, as well as collected public feedback on the draft Law on Belief and Religion to submit to the National Assembly for adoption. 
Regarding the campaign “All people stay united to build new rural areas and civilised urban areas”, Nhan said the VFF partnered with ministries and agencies to issue relevant criteria to be applied in 2017.
Hanoi churches, temples asked to help ring in Lunar New Year
The city, which has canceled its plan for fireworks shows, hopes that the sounds of the bells will create a meaningful moment.
After confirming that there will be no fireworks shows for the upcoming Tet holiday, which is just a few weeks away, the city of Hanoi is now asking churches and temples to all ring their bells at the same time on Lunar New Year's Eve.
To Van Dong, director of Hanoi's culture department, said the bells across the city will "herald the new year for everyone."
He reaffirmed that all fireworks displays, which used to be a mainstay of Vietnam's biggest holiday, will be replaced by other cultural events and free performances.
The Year of the Rooster will start on January 28. The country will celebrate with a seven-day break, from January 26 to February 1.Hanoi and other major cities are following the government's call for austerity. The capital city said by scrapping fireworks shows for both New Year's Eve and Lunar New Year's Eve, sponsors could save around VND10 billion (US$440,000), which could then be donated to disaster-hit provinces.
The Tet festival is usually an occasion for visiting others and offering greetings and gifts. This year, the country's top leaders have prohibited gift giving among officials.
Homeless elders toil through nights for a living in Hanoi
Many elderly people have been living without a home on the streets of Hanoi, struggling to survive each day and not knowing how they will welcome the Lunar New Year under such harsh circumstances.
If one wanders along the streets of the Vietnamese capital under brisk and wet conditions at night, they can potentially run into one of these underprivileged elders.
Why do people at such an old age still have to put up with the misery? Some of them said they were left by their spouses or kicked out of their own house by ungrateful children.
Others said that they suffer a terminal disease or have lost everything to a failed business.
While most residents are soundly asleep in the comfort of their home, these elderly people have to do all sorts of jobs to earn themselves some meager income.
Sitting under a nacre tree along a sidewalk at 3:00 am, Nguyen Van Hung, 70, slowly pulled up a thin scarf to cover his torso while holding an old tire pump, fixing his eyes to the corner of the street as he was waiting for a customer in the cold evening.
Hung had earned only VND13,000 (US$0.57) that night from pumping the tires of two bicycles and two motorcycles.
Meanwhile, his wife, 65-year-old Thu, was still collecting rubbish and scrap elsewhere, having not returned to his tire pumping shop.
The ‘shop’ is located on the corner of Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, comprising only a bicycle and a pump, which is open at night and closed during the day for house owners along the road to run their businesses.
When the sun rises, Hung takes a quick rest somewhere near the Hanoi Railway Station.
According to the elderly man, he met his wife back in their hometown in the northern province of Bac Ninh before the couple decided to earn their living in the capital.
Hung works every night to provide for themselves as well as affording medications for his wife’s breast cancer.
Located a few blocks away is the shelter Dao Rach Thoa, a 52-year-old woman, often takes.
Thoa was a member of a happy family like others before everything started to fall apart.
“My husband turned out to be a bad man while our son was not properly raised. I ended up living as a homeless person,” the woman said as she choked back her tears.
Lightning struck twice as Thoa was caught in a road accident a few years ago, right ahead of the Lunar New Year, paralyzing her left leg.
Thoa now cycles along the streets of Hanoi every night to collect trash and scrap metal for reselling for some cash.
“I cannot earn much as my body is too weak. Other collectors sometimes share some of their scrap to help me get through the rough days,” the woman said.
At a corner on Le Duan Street, Nguyen Thi Man, 78, and Dinh Thi Nga, 77, have been helping each other like two biological sisters for some decades.
Each of the elderly women can make about VND15,000 ($0.66) a day from collecting and classifying plastic bags.
The pair sometimes helps Van, an 80-year-old woman, who still has to work as a drinks vendor on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street to take care of her ill son.
Van previously had her own house before having to move into a rented room as her husband had to sell everything over a botched business.
Despite old age, the senior still has to work daily to afford medicines for her son, who is now over 40.
“What do you wish for the Lunar New Year?” Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters asked the senior citizens.
What they need for the traditional holiday is some sugar to add to their cups of tea, a new pair of slippers and a warm scarf to welcome the Lunar New Year.
“I want a can of Hanoi beer and a can of soda to enjoy on New Year’s Eve,” Hung added with a humorous tone.
The man stated he had always wanted to return to his hometown in Bac Ninh for the holiday, which is impossible as he must stay in Hanoi to work and take care of his wife.
“I sometimes have a dream, in which I was having a meal and drinking rice wine with my family during Tet,” he said, using the Vietnamese word for the holiday.
Meanwhile, Nga hoped she could prepare some traditional dishes, especially ‘banh chung,’ or rice cake, and a branch of cherry blossoms during the holiday.
The Lunar New Year falls on January 28.
Vietnam seizes 275 kilos of bullets in truck from Laos
The bullets were hidden inside a large amount of smuggled garment and footwear.
Police in the central province of Quang Nam on January 1 seized a truck from Laos for smuggling 275 kilograms of bullets into Vietnam.
The police stopped the vehicle at around 9 p.m. on January 1 and found the bullets hidden inside nearly 3.3 tons of garment and footwear products, local media reported.
The 50-year-old Vietnamese driver said he picked up the goods in Laos but failed to produce any legal documents.
Vietnam strictly controls the use of guns and bullets, and smugglers often face tough penalties.
World’s most beautiful bay Lang Co looks to better serve visitors

 world’s most beautiful bay lang co looks to better serve visitors hinh 0

Lang Co, voted as one of the world’s most beautiful bays by the Worldbays Club in May 2009, has become a tourist attraction in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.
Endowed with over 10km long beach with white sand and pure sea water, Lang Co lies on the route “Central Heritage Road” with four famous world heritage sites, including Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province, the ancient imperial city of Hue, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam province. 
The beach now attracts 16 percent of total visitors to Thua Thien-Hue, besides the main attraction of Hue city. 
Investors have noticed the potential of Lang Co.
Last year, work started on the five-star Mediterraneo resort complex on a site of 77,000 sq.m at the cost of over 750 billion VND, which will offer 52 luxury villas, 100 hotel rooms, halls and apartments. 
Earlier, the first stage of the world-class Laguna Lang Co resort invested by Singapore’s Banyan Tree, went operational. 
Covering an area of 280ha, the 875 million USD resort is surrounded by a 3km coastline and offers riverside apartments, hillside and golf course-overlooking villas. 
It takes less than one hour from Lang Co to Da Nang or Phu Bai airports. International visitors can also reach the site via sea route to Chan May deep-water port.
The Lang Co site currently offers six resorts, 45 hotels and guesthouses with 1,200 rooms and 1,800 beds. 
Twenty other projects worth more than 10 trillion VND (430.4 million USD) are underway. 
Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Phan Tien Dung suggested diversifying services at affordable prices to stimulate demand, especially for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) tours.
In the foreseeable future, the province will continue partnering with regional localities to market “central heritage road” tours as well as tourist attractions on the east-west economic corridor, encourage investment in infrastructure to develop Lang Co, Bach Ma National Park and Chan May port into a cultural and ecological tourism triangle. 
Last year, Lang Co served more than 700,000 visitors and earned nearly 1 trillion VND (43.47 million USD) from tourism.
Besides Lang Co, two other bays in Vietnam which are Ha Long and Nha Trang were also named among the world’s most beautiful by the club./.
Six fishermen rescued off Hoàng Sa Archipelago

Six fishermen and crew members of a fishing boat have been rescued off the Hoàng Sa (Paracels) Archipelago of Việt Nam.
The SAR 412 rescue ship of the Regional Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Zone 2 (MRCC 2), in central Đà Nẵng City, early on Tuesday rescued and towed to the port vessel QNa 95979 TS, owned by Lê Văn Mai from the central province of Quảng Nam’s Thăng Bình District, according to the online newspaper
The rescue force said the fishing boat with six crew members on board was sinking while trailing towards the west off the Hoàng Sa Archipelago on Monday.
The centre received an emergency signal from the boat at about 11.53am on the same day. It immediately requested the Đà Nẵng maritime broadcasting centre to inform all nearby boats to urgently help in supporting the damaged vessel.
At the same time, Nguyễn Vũ Anh, general director of the Việt Nam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre, decided to assign the SAR 412 to immediately initiate its search operation for the wrecked boat.
The rescue ship left at 12.53pm and reached the wrecked boat at about 4.45pm. All the crew members were found safe and were moved inland. The wrecked boat was also towed to the shore.
Traffic jams after New Year holiday lighter than last year
An influx of residents has returned to big cities, particularly Hà Nội and HCM City, after enjoying a three-day holiday, causing some congestion but less serious than last year’s.
The improved situation has raised hopes of a brighter future for city traffic in 2017.
Travellers, especially office workers or children visiting their families in different provinces, tried to reach the city on time to begin their working day or school yesterday, and many were forced to scramble to find an available city-bound bus.
The bus stations of Mỹ Đình and Giáp Bát in Hà Nội, for example, were chaotic due to thousands of passengers arriving at the same time on Monday and early yesterday.
The National Highway 1 running from north to south, experienced the most serious traffic jams at its Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ crossroads heading towards Hà Nội, but there was only one hour-long holdup on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, some streets in central Hà Nội, including Nguyễn Trãi, Nguyễn Xiển and Khuất Duy Tiến, were jammed as crowds thronged the center of town for New Year’s eve street events, but a massive traffic police presence averted chaos, the Dân Trí online newspaper reported.
Yesterday was also the debut of Hà Nội’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). But despite an order issued by the Hà Nội Transport Department banning all vehicles from the special BRT lanes, many cars, motorbikes and even other kinds of buses violated the ban.
City traffic police said they would not impose fines during the first days of the BRT operation, but would be stricter in the future, according to
In HCM City, earlier on Monday, Dân Trí reported that entrance roads, including the city’s southwestern Tân Túc in Bình Chánh District and the Nguyễn Văn Linh and Nguyễn Hữu Trí roundabouts, were more crowded than usual but no traffic jams were recorded.
However, at the western entrance to the southern hub, vehicles of all types were stuck in congestion as people dashed back to the city from the Mekong Delta region, while the eastern entrance to the city was also clogged by a large number of commuters who had just concluded their trips to the southern beach city of Vũng Tàu, the resort town of Đà Lạt in the Central Highlands, and the southcentral beach city of Nha Trang, according to the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
The congestion was exacerbated by a road collision between two cars on the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây Expressway, which connects the city with neighboring Đồng Nai Province, the paper reported.
The volume of vehicles on the expressway rose by 1.5 times during the holiday.
According to the National Committee for Traffic Safety, traffic jams were less severe than those in the past thanks to thorough preparations.
However, there have been reports that buses overcharged passengers and carried more people than allowed, Tuổi trẻ reported.
Ninety-three accidents occured over the three-day weekend, killing 79 people and injuring 54, the committee said. Two of the accidents that resulted in two fatalities were related to train traffic.
Two fires in Kiên Giang cause major loss
Two fires broke out in southern Kiên Giang Province yesterday. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported.
The first fire occurred at 11.30am in a house on Rạch Giá City’s Rạch Sỏi Road, which destroyed all the furniture and two motorbikes. 
The house, owned by Trần Quang Sáng, is located near the city’s airport. Airport authorities mobilised staff to stamp out the fire, which was totally extinguished within 20 minutes. 
The second case occurred at 11am at a vessel repair workshop in Châu Thành District’s Vĩnh Hòa Phú Commune.  
Lý Nhật Trường, owner of the workshop, said the workers saw smoke at lunchtime from one of the two vessels they were repairing. 
The fire quickly spread to the second vessel.  
It took two hours for firefighters to extinguish the fire. 
According to the initial investigation, short circuit was the cause of both the fires. Total loss was estimated to be more than VNĐ1 billion (US$43,940). 
Hà Giang investigates largest firecrackers transportation case
Police and soldiers in northern mountain Hà Giang Province are investigating the largest case uncovered involving the illegal transportation of firecrackers in the area, according to Col Nguyễn Ngọc Châu, deputy commander of the local border guard force.
Earlier, on Sunday, soldiers detected a number of people transporting firecrackers illegally in Mèo Vạc Distict’s Xín Cái Commune.
The force arrested Ma Văn Hồng, 23, and seized 58 casks containing 1.2 tonnes of foreign-made firecrackers.
At the border station, Hồng confessed that he was taking the firecrackers to two unknown persons.
According the soldiers, this is the largest transportation of firecrackers that has ever been uncovered in the province.
Ahead of the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival, smuggling and illegal transportation of firecrackers are increasing in Hà Giang Province through bordering areas with China.
The relevant forces are strengthening inspection and control along the trails to timely detect firecrackers traffickers entering Việt Nam.
On the same day, police in the central province of Nghệ An also detected a truck carrying 500kg of different kinds of firecrackers.
At the police station, driver Nguyễn Bá Thìn, 28, from Thanh Chương District, admitted that he bought these firecrackers from Laos to sell them during the upcoming Tết.
According to statistics, local police detected 250 cases related to firecrackers smuggling from November 15 to December 15, 2016, and seized nearly 4,000kg of firecrackers.
Illegal mining continues in Đắk Nông
Illegal stone mining activities have been going on since April in Đắk Nông Province’s Đắk Kút Quarry, but no action has been taken against violators.
Last month, after Vietnam News Agency (VNA) published multiple reports on illegal quarrying at Đắk Kút Quarry in Gia Nghĩa Town’s Đắk Tân Village, the provincial People’s Committee set up a special working group to look into the issue. 
A decision signed by Trương Thanh Tùng, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the group would include leaders of the provincial natural resources and environment department, the provincial police and the people’s committees of Gia Nghĩa Town and Đắk Nia Commune. Đàm Quang Trung, Director of the provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department, was appointed head of the group. 
The group was asked to inspect the quarry and figure out what illegal mining was being done, those involved in the activity as well as the responsibilities of the various State agencies in the incident. It was to hand over its report to the People’s Committee before December 20. 
On December 20, however, when the working group held a meeting to share its assessment and offer solutions, representatives of the provincial police department and Gia Nghĩa Town’s People’s Committee were absent.  
At the meeting, the working group asked related authorities to work with representatives of Duy Quang Commerce JSC, the alleged violator, before December 30 to define the company’s illegal mining activity and come up with appropriate punishments. It also asked Gia Nghĩa and Đắk Nia authorities to report on the responsibilities of those involved in the case before December 26, and asked the provincial police department to report on the two trucks carrying stones that were seized in September. However, so far, the group has received no responses. 
The working group has also asked the provincial authority to postpone the deadline of the final report to January 15, saying that the incident was “complicated” and “needed time to be resolved”. 
Last October, the VNA reported illegal mining in Đắk Tân Village, which is around a kilometre from Đắk Nia Commune’s People’s Committee office. Stones were piled up two to three metres high and spread over 0.5m in the quarry. A group of five workers were seen working with machines and loading stones in trucks. 
Hoàng Văn Tẻn, head of Đắk Tân Village, said that stone quarrying had been going on since last April, making the area noisy and dusty, and damaging the village roads. When VNA reporters asked Đồng Quang Huy, chairman of the People’s Committee, he said the committee had no idea who was behind the illegal quarrying.
’Queen of Bolero Music’ live tonight
Hà Nội native songstress Lệ Quyên, whose voice has bewitched audiences for years, will once again seduce fans during her live show tonight at the city’s Friendship Palace. 
Dubbed as “Queen of Vietnamese Bolero Music” due to her roaring  success with slow-tempo songs, the 36-year-old singer will perform the songs by veteran songwriter Lam Phương, which are also featured in her latest album Khúc Tình Xưa (Old Love Songs): Lệ Quyên – Lam Phương that was released on December 24.
A big name in light music in the South of Việt Nam before the country’s unification in 1975, most of Phương’s works are about love. After resettling in the US and France, he continued to compose nostalgic songs about his homeland. His up-and-down love life has also provided abundant inspiration for many of his songs.
In the beginning of last year, his songs were introduced for the first time on the music channel VOV3 of the Voice of Việt Nam radio.
Singer Quyên said she had been lucky to meet the veteran songwriter, who is now partly disabled due to a stroke in 1995, during a tour in the US few years ago.
“He uttered my name right after seeing me at his door. He recognised me although we’d never met before. It was very moving,” recalled Quyên, who currently lives in HCM City.
“Moreover, the 80-year-old songwriter said he often listens to his songs sung by me. That’s why he immediately agreed when I asked him for permission to use his songs for my album,” she said.
Quyên also said that the composer has about 200 songs that he has never unveiled.
Quyên’s newest album features 12 songs – some of the best by Phương, including Thành Phố Buồn (Sad City), Bài Tango Cho Em (A Tango for You), Thu Sầu (Melancholy Autumn), Cỏ Úa (Withered Grass), and Xin Thời Gian Qua Mau (Time, Please Fly Quickly).
Quyên will perform all these songs in her show, as well as some other hits. She has invited male singers – Quốc Thiên, Quang Đại and Dương Triệu Vũ - who are among the best of Vietnamese bolero music performers, to share the stage with her tonight.
Artist honours chicken
Famed artist Thành Chương will exhibit 60 pastel, oil and lacquer paintings featuring chickens, occasioned by the coming Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rooster.
The paintings tell different stories related to chickens.
The exhibit runs until January 27 at Ha Noi Creative City located at 1 Lương Yên Street, Hai Bà Trưng District. 
Young music talents perform to raise funds
Eleven young music talents will perform to raise funds for the Books For Children project tonight at the French Cultural Centre (L’Espace) in Hà Nội. 
The children are participants of top television reality shows, such as Việt Nam Idol Kids, The Voice Kids, Người Hùng Tí Hon (Little Hero), Gương Mặt Thân Quen (Your Face Looks Familiar) and Bước Nhảy Hoàn Vũ (Dancing With The Star Kids). 
The lineup of artists includes Jayden Trịnh, a Vietnamese-Singaporean kid who can play 14 musical instruments; Gia Khiêm with poignant vocals; Thiên Tùng, famous for his Michael Jackson dance cover; and the winners and runners-up from the shows.
The two-night concert titled Chuyến Đi (The Journey) will also see 30 young children from the Họa Mi Club performing.
"The Journey is inspired by the Books For Children project, which is being held for the past two years," Phan Tố Nga, the project’s communication officer, said.
"When we do charity projects in the northern and mountainous provinces, we experience severe weather conditions, which are the reasons for the interminable poverty. We understand that material support is very small and is not a stable source to help children escape hunger and poverty."
"We hope the young talent from popular television shows will meet each other in The Journey with one desire, which is to give poor children the opportunity to interact with their favourite singers."
All the proceeds will be used for organising a charity gala at the Xín Cái Junior High School in Mèo Vạc District in Hà Giang Province on January 15, aimed at encouraging and inspiring children to pursue their dreams.
The concert will kick off at 7.30pm tonight and tomorrow. Ticket prices are from VNĐ120,000 (US$5.3) to VNĐ500,000 ($25) and can be booked at Please call 0934628739 for more information.
Thanh Hóa to test new players in Sunday derby
Everyone in the V.League is now well acquainted with the shopping habits of FLC Thanh Hóa, who have bought a number of quality players to dominate the national premier league.
Last year, they had Hoàng Thịnh, Mai Tiến Thành and Văn Bình who were to push FLC Thanh Hóa to new heights. However, they not only did not lift the trophy, they did not even make it to the top three as they had in the two previous seasons. Instead, the team finished at No 6.
As this year’s tournament approaches, Thanh Hóa’s managers are once again determined to win the title, last year’s failure giving them a stronger impetus. And once again, they have taken on new players who they hope will help fulfil their dream.
Months ago, Thanh Hóa introduced a new head coach, Ljupko Petrovic, who won the European Cup - now called the Champions League trophy - in 1991 when he took charge of Red Star Belgrade FC.
The Serbian coach has made an impressive mark, and recently, he signed contracts with striker Uche Iheruome and midfielders Đinh Tiến Thành and Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng.
Iheruome scored 14 goals for former club Sanna Khánh Hòa and was one of the three best scorers last year, while both Thành from Cần Thơ and Hoàng from Becamex Bình Dương are members of the national team.
“V.League is a tough tournament that sees the strongest teams in the country. All of them have recruited talented players to build their strength. Hà Nội FC, Quảng Ninh Coal and SHB Đà Nẵng, for example, are powerful teams. I think this year V.League will be tense and competitive,” said Doãn Văn Phương, president of Thanh Hóa.
“We have prepared well and we target the top position. But it is difficult to predict anything in football. We are determined and will try hard, but of course, we also need a little luck to make it happen.”
Thanh Hóa’s ambition and hope are running high after they lifted the FLC Cup trophy two weeks ago on home turf.
Last week, Petrovic finalised his list of 26 players. Petrovic, his assistant Alan Fiard, and the players were busy with practice and chose not to take a break to celebrate the New Year.
Players are also looking forward to the club’s plans - announced recently - to upgrade facilities at their home stadium. Architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, which designed Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena Stadium, will be invited to work on the Thanh Hóa Stadium, which will be upgraded to a 40,000-seat venue.
The project also includes a centre that promises the best training fields, functional rooms, apartments and a hotel. The plans have been submitted to provincial officials for approval.
Their first match is against archrival Sông Lam Nghệ An on Sunday on home ground, a central region derby that draws all eyes as the two teams have the largest number of fans among all other teams in V.League. The two teams have clashed six times in the past three years, in which Thanh Hóa beat Sông Lam Nghệ An twice, lost twice and drew twice.
Seven day Tet holiday announced
Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has just announced civil servants and goverment employees will have the seven days off starting on January 26 and ending on January 30, 2017, running from the 29th day of the 12th lunar month to the 3rd day of the 1st lunar month).
As of two days of the Tet holiday (January 28 and 29) adjoin the weekend therefore civil servants will take two day off on January 31 and February 1.
Besides, the Committee asked organizations, schools, hospitals and other agencies, families have to hang the national flags during Tet holiday.
PM asks Binh Phuoc to develop smart agriculture
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the southern province of Binh Phuoc to focus more on the development of smart agriculture.
At a working session with provincial leaders on January 2, the Government leader said the province should mobilise all resources to expand a smart model of vegetable growing in order to make prestigious export products branded as a representative of Vietnam in the world market. 
Binh Phuoc is the country’s largest province but also one of its poorest in the southeastern region. The province serves as a bridge to connect the region with the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and areas bordering Cambodia. It three main products are rubber, pepper and cashew. 
Last year, a volatility of prices and a slow recovery from damages due to prolonged drought significantly impacted the growth of local agriculture. 
The Prime Minister also pointed out that although the province boasts fertile land and abundant natural resources, its per capita income in 2016 was just 42.1 million VND (1,850 USD), lower than the national average of 50 million VND (2,190 USD).
Also in Binh Phuoc, Prime Minister Phuc broke ground for the construction of the Minh Tam Cement Factory in Hon Quan district.
Speaking at the ceremony, he highlighted the importance of the factory and praised businesses for their decision to invest in this remote area. He also noted that the project will benefit from advanced technology imported from Germany.
The 12 trillion VND (527 million USD) plant, with a total capacity of about 4.5 million tonnes per year, is expected to create thousands of jobs for local people and revenues for the local budget.
In his remarks, the PM also urged investors to use local land and water resources in the most effective and safe way in order to protect the natural environment of the region.
The project should strive for a long-term sustainable operation by focusing on protecting the environment rather than exploiting it for a short time.
PM Phuc asked investors to complete the project within 18 months so as to contribute to the local socio-economic development.
He also request Binh Phuoc province to create favourable conditions for the investors during construction and to ensure the safe relocation of local residents for the project’s land clearance.
On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Binh Phuoc province (January 1, 1997-2017).

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