Thứ Bảy, 11 tháng 3, 2017

Social News 11/3

Hanoi looks to private sector to fund more public toilets this year

Hanoi plans to build 250 new public toilets this year to add to the 370 currently in use, the city’s construction department said.

The new toilets will be built based on financial sources of private sectors, according to Le Van Duc, head of Hanoi’s Department of Construction.

The capital has 371 public toilets, of which only 100 are situated along streets or at entertainment facilities while two thirds are still located in residential areas.

Most of the toilets were built in 1990 and have been going to pots for years, Duc said.

In 2012, the city’s authority intended to replace the old public restrooms with the new ones but high construction costs deterred them from doing so.

It was not until August, 2016 that a private company agreed to set up 1,000 new public toilets across the city. In exchange, it would be allowed to put up advertising billboards on footbridges and overpasses.

The lack of public toilets has resulted in public urination in the capital, which had a population of 7.6 million by the end of 2015, not to mention large numbers of migrants and foreign visitors.

Ho Chi Minh City faces the same problem with only 200 public toilets serving the needs of its 10 million residents and the 5 million foreign tourists that visit the city each year.

From February this year, the Vietnamese government has slapped a fine of US$44-133 on people peeing in public, significantly higher than the previous rate of US$9-13.

Improving labor quality for overseas workers

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has called for better training to improve Vietnamese workers’ foreign language and career skills to make them more qualified for working overseas.

He was speaking at a conference hosted by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in Hanoi on March 8 to address pending issues facing Vietnamese workers abroad.

“Market expansion for laborers requires new careers and less menial jobs while engaging more provincial contribution and training for workers. The government has planned to amend laws regulating Vietnamese workers serving abroad.”

Last year, Vietnam sent nearly 130,000 workers abroad, mostly in Chinese Taiwan, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Electronic toll collection to be installed in central region

Electronic toll collection (ETC) will be introduced at three toll stations in the central provinces of Việt Nam from this May.
This was stated by a representative of Việt Nam Electronic Toll Collection (VETC) Company, the project’s investor.

The three stations that will install the modern technology are Phú Bài toll station in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, Tam Kỳ station in Quảng Nam Province and Hoàng Mai station in Nghệ An Province.
Transport Minister Trương Quang Nghĩa has asked road investors and ETC service enterprises to complete signing contracts by April 30 to install ETC at all stations on highways No 1 and No 4 running through the Central Highlands region by July 1. 
Earlier, on March 1, Hòa Phước toll booth on Highway No 1 in Quảng Nam Province already began operating the system. Hòa Phước toll booth is a gateway connecting to the busy central city of Đà Nẵng, with some 7,000 vehicles running through the station every day.

Bùi Ngọc Long, head of operation division of VETC Limited Company, said ETC at Hòa Phước station is available in both directions, using monthly or quarterly tickets. In mid-March, one-time tickets will be applicable.
Automobiles are installed with e-tags free of charge and connected with an online payment system via banks.
Car owners can have their e-tags stuck at the Hòa Phước station or at motor vehicle register centres of Quảng Nam Province and Đà Nẵng City.

“Automobile drivers no longer have to stop to pay fees and will be able to save time and fuel. Electronic receipts can be received on VETC’s smartphone app,” Long said.
According to transport experts, each stop for fee payment slows down a vehicle’s journey by two to three minutes and wastes fuel. ETC is estimated to help save running time, equivalent to some VNĐ2.8 trillion (US$124.5 million) per year and save fuel worth VNĐ233 billion ($10.4 million) at each station every year.

Thật grabs defeat from jaws of victory

National cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory in the first stage of the Bình Dương International Women’s Cycling Tournament, or Biwase Cup, yesterday due to celebrating her win too early, allowing her Japanese rival to overtake.

In the opening stage yesterday, 90 cyclists from 18 teams competed in the 66km race around Bình Dương City.

With strong sprinting skills, Thật of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang, Kajihara Yumi of Japan, Namkung Soyoung of South Korea were expected to perform well.

In first place and close to the finish line, Thật began celebrating. Taking full advantage of Thật’s mistake, Yumi passed her to win the race. The third place went to Soyoung.

Yumi currently holds the green and yellow jersey.

Today, cyclists will compete in the 115km second stage from Định Quán District in Đồng Nai Province to Bảo Lộc City in Lâm Đồng Province.

The tournament is themed Blue Sea, and organisers hope it will encourage people to protect the environment and the oceans.

Apart from prizes for stage winners, the organisers will award VNĐ30 million (US$1,300) for the overall yellow jersey winner. Cyclists who win the green, white and red jerseys, and the Miss Cycling title as well as the best team will also receive cash.

Who pays for parking fines in Vietnam? You or the café owner?

With the ‘sidewalk reclamation’ campaign continuing in District 1 and several other neighborhoods of Ho Chi Minh City, chances are that if your motorbike or car is parked outside a café or an eatery, it will be slapped with a ticket. But who will pay the fine?

It is common practice in Vietnam for customers to leave their vehicles outside a service venue, usually parked on the pavement. Some venues have attendants to look after their customers’ vehicles, but some do not.

Suppose members of the ‘sidewalk clearing’ team arrive to check the street where your motorbike is parked, while you are enjoying coffee inside. How will the law deal with this violation?

According to government decree No.46 issued in 2016, there are two kinds of administrative road traffic violations taking place, with corresponding fines.

If a customer leaves his motorbike on the pavement of his own accord, he has committed an act of “leaving motorbikes on the street or the pavement against the law,” which carries a fine of between VND100,000 (US$4.46) and VND200,000 ($8.93).

However, if a customer gives his vehicle to an attendant to look after, it is the venue owner who is deemed to be “occupying the street or the pavement to open a parking lot.”

Fines for this type of violation range from VND2 million ($89) to VND15 million ($670).  If the offender is an organization, then fines increase to between VND4 million ($179) and VND30 million ($1,339).

As for cars, the violation could be for “parking on the road in nonurban areas” or “parking on the sidewalk against the law,” carrying fines from VND300,000 ($13.4) to VND400,000 ($17.8), and from VND600,000 ($26.8) to VND800,000 ($35.7), respectively.

“The first thing to do when handing out a civil fine is to identify the violator,” lawyer Tran Cong Ly Tao, from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“If the illegal parking is done by the vehicle owner himself, he will be fined.

“On the other hand, if the customer has handed his motorbike to the venue owner to look after, through a ‘contract of mouth’ or a ‘parking receipt’, the latter will be held responsible.”

At some café’s or shops, security guards will normally ask customers to go inside the venue, implying that he will look after their motorbikes. In other cases, guards will give customers a sheet of paper as ‘receipt’ that he will keep an eye on their bikes.

According to lawyer Tao, it is the responsibility of the shop owner to find a legal parking space for their customers.

“If they simply leave the motorbike on the sidewalk, they should be fined and in no way should the customers be sanctioned,” he said.

Lawyer Tran Thi Mien, also from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, noted that there are cases in which both the customers and the store owners are fined, which she said is incorrect.

“The principle here is that only the direct violator is fined, and one violation is fined only once,” she said, implying that one cannot fine a customer for the same violation used to determine the penalty for the shop owner.

“In this case, either the customers or shop owners can lodge a complaint and even bring law enforcement officers to court for their wrongdoings,” she said.

HCM City proposes US$44 mln tunnel to ease congestion at eastern gateway

Nearly 4,200 new cars and 9,000 new motorbikes are registered in the city every month.

Ho Chi Minh City is seeking approval from the transport ministry to construct a new tunnel at An Phu Intersection in District 2.

The tunnel, which would cost over VND1 trillion (US$44 million), is aimed to curb traffic congestion at the eastern gateway of Vietnam’s largest economic hub, according to the municipal administration.

The city is also considering an overpass above Mai Chi Tho Street to connect Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and Luong Dinh Cua Street.

Details of construction phases have yet to be published.

With around 12 million people, Ho Chi Minh City is looking at various methods to solve its severe congestion, especially during rush hour.

In March, the city kicked off work on two overpasses near Tan Son Nhat International Airport to reduce traffic jams that often build up on nearby streets.

It also launched a mobile app to provide traffic updates and is now planning river bus services to alleviate pressure on its congested streets.

Statistics show that about 8.8 million motorcycles are currently running on the city's streets, not to mention private cars and bicycles. Nearly 4,200 new cars and 9,000 new motorbikes are registered in the city every month, while public transport is limited to buses.

Hoi An bus staff suspended for mistreatment of disabled passenger

A bus driver and assistant in the central province of Quang Nam’s Hoi An Town were suspended from their work for refusing to serve a disabled passenger.

The driver of bus 92B -008.69 Phan Nguyen Duy Lam was suspended for one month, while Le Xuan Tuong was given a three-month suspension without salary. They work for Hoi An transport co-operative under the province’s Department of Transport.
The case was detected after a short clip went viral on Internet, showing that the bus 92B. 008.69 on the Hoi An-Danang route declined to help a young disabled man.

The clip showed the disabled man in a wheelchair with accompanying woman refused help by the assistant and driver.

The footage, which stirred public outrage over the bus staff’s ignorance to the disabled passenger, was identified to be filmed on Le Duan Street on February 8.

Smart tech used for expressway management


Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) will start operating an intelligent transport system (ITS) on March 10 to regulate traffic and ensure safety on HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway.

The system consists of 16 surveillance cameras and 52 vehicle delivery service (VDS) cameras, said VEC.

The VND800 billion ITS will transmit all data and video footage to a control center in District 9, HCMC to supervise the entire expressway 24 hours, thus helping reduce traffic congestion, ensure traffic safety, and detect traffic accidents swiftly and road rule violations such as speeding and wrong lane use.

Electronic boards are installed along the two sides of the expressway to provide updates on traffic, road conditions and weather.

VEC will use a 33-lane tolling system, including eight lanes for electronic toll collection (ETC) to reduce congestion at tolling stations.

According to VEC, an average of 28,000-30,000 vehicles use HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway, but on some peak days in 2016, the figure shot up to 40,000-50,000.

The 55-km HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway was opened to traffic on February 8, 2015.

HCMC to build tunnel at An Phu intersection

To ease traffic congestion at An Phu intersection in District 2 that leads to HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway, HCMC has asked the Ministry of Transport to approve a traffic infrastructure development project for An Phu intersection, beginning with construction of a tunnel there.

The city government wrote to the Ministry of Transport on March 2 saying HCMC agencies had completed the investment plan for the intersection, including an overpass on Mai Chi Tho Street to connect HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and Luong Dinh Cua Street, and a two-way tunnel connecting the expressway and Mai Chi Tho street towards the Saigon River Tunnel.

The project is divided into two phases. In the first phase, a two-way tunnel with four lanes will be built to connect the expressway and Mai Chi Tho Street towards the Saigon River Tunnel at a total investment of an estimated VND1.04 trillion, with the construction cost alone amounting to over VND800 billion. In the second phase, all the remaining components will be completed.

The city government proposed that the Ministry of Transport approve the project’s scale as well as the two planned phases and empower HCMC authorities to evaluate and approve the first phase of the An Phu intersection project.

The city will hand over the project documents to Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) to carry out the next phase by using surplus funds from the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway project.

An Phu intersection is always overcrowded with vehicles as this is the convergent point of four traffic directions.

Vehicles will then have their own lanes after the completion of the overpass and tunnel, which will basically solve traffic congestion at the intersection.

An Phu intersection is the starting point of HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and the finish point of Luong Dinh Cua Street at the junction with Mai Chi Tho Avenue, formerly East-West Highway. Since it was opened to traffic,  the expressway has seen huge traffic, causing constant traffic congestion.

Cameras installed around construction sites to cope with traffic congestion

The HCMC Department of Transport has completed installing surveillance cameras around construction sites such as Truong Son intersection and Nguyen Thai Son-Nguyen Kiem roundabout to deal with traffic congestion there.

Cameras are now also available at the construction sites of Nhi Thien Duong bridge, An Suong intersection, two overpasses near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and Go May crossroads, said Le Minh Triet, director of the Management Center of Saigon River Tunnel (MCST), which manages the city’s traffic information website.

The city now has a total of 300 traffic monitoring cameras operational round the clock. Traffic in the city can be monitored and updated on the traffic management website in real time. With an app downloaded to their mobile phones or computers, road users can plan the best route to avoid getting into a traffic snarl.

In January, the HCMC Department of Transport launched the website where users can find a digital map for Android and IOS devices. It provides real-time traffic updates, advice on route planning and other useful information. Users can also report traffic incidents and infrastructure problems via the website.

According to statistics of the department, the website has had more than 400,000 pageviews since its launch, with 65,000 of them by users of mobile devices.

The digital traffic map will be soon added with information about parking areas, public restrooms, hospitals and others.

Photo exhibition on Buon Me Thuot coffee and Gong Cultural Space opens

The awarding ceremony of a photo contest on Buon Me Thuot coffee and Gong Culture Space opened 2017 Buon Me Thuot Coffee Festival yesterday.

The photo titled “Duoc mua” (Bumper crop) by Vo Dinh Quyt from the central highland province of Lam Dong and “Suc song dai ngan” (Vitality of high mountain and thick forest) were granted the first prize.

This year’s event received 495 photos of 71 photographers throughout the country. It is one of the activities in  2017 Ban Me Thuot Coffee Festival and Cultural Festival Highlands Gongs that is organized in Buon Ma Thuot City in Dak Lak Province from March 8-13.

144 best photos have been displaying at Dak Lak Province’s Cultural Center as an activity of the festival.

2017 Ban Me Thuot Coffee Festival and Cultural Festival Highlands Gongs themed “Quintessence Convergence – Identity Promoting – Connecting for Development” will include activities, such as exhibition on coffee industry, seminar on development of the Vietnamese coffee, exhibition on Highlands Gongs’ history; display on agricultural products, machinery and equipment for agriculture; street festival, food fair, elephant festival, boat race, art performances and more.

Southeast Asian centre for lifelong learning launches portal

The online portal of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation’s  Regional Centre for Lifelong Learning (SEAMEO CELL) has been launched.

The website, will be a forum for policy makers, researchers, scholars, teachers and other experts to discuss theories and practices related to lifelong learning in the region.

It is part of the ongoing project called ‘Towards an ASEAN Lifelong Learning Agenda’ by the SEAMEO CELL and UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning to provide assistance to SEAMEO member countries in establishing and implementing comprehensive policies about lifelong learning.

Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, the Thai Minister of Education and chairman of SEAMEO, attended the launch ceremony on Monday and visited SEAMEO’s regional training centre, which provides training in English, leadership and management.

He also met Việt Nam’s Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ and discussed bilateral co-operation in education.

Contribution level to unemployment insurance fund to reduce

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is collecting opinions about a draft NA resolution to reduce employers’ contribution level to unemployment insurance fund from 1 percent to 0.5 percent.

If being approved, the changed level is expected to last until December 12, 2019.

According to the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency, unemployment insurance spending topped VND5.7 trillion (US$250.3 million) and the remainder of the fund was VND56 trillion ($2.46 billion) last year. The fund is forecast to still ensure safety by 2020.

Therefore, it is necessary to cut the contribution level to facilitate businesses’ development and competitiveness improvement.

Laos’ top legislator encourages local cooperation

Lao National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathotou toured the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau on March 8 as part of her official visit to Vietnam.

At a meeting with local officials, the Lao NA Chairwoman called for increased exchanges between Ca Mau and Lao localities to share experience on People’s Councils’ operation, the handling of socio-economic issues and prevention of natural disasters.

Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Duong Thanh Binh briefed the Lao guest on the local social-economic situation, particularly the growth of aquaculture as the leading economic sector.

He underlined the increasingly serious consequences of climate change as seen through frequent and unpredictable natural disasters such as drought, salt water intrusion, storm and high tides.

Host and guest discussed the operation of elected agencies, compared notes on the protection of people’s rights and interest in forest protection, and shared experience on natural disaster prevention, investment attraction and the settlement of complaints and petitions.

During her stay in Ca Mau, the Lao legislative leader visited and planted trees at the Ca Mau Cape, the southernmost point of Vietnam.

Nearly 80 percent of Thua Thien – Hue population use clean water

Nearly 80 percent of people in the central coastal province of Thua Thien – Hue have access to clean water thanks to a national target programme on clean water and environmental sanitation in 2016-2020.

The locality aims to provide clean water to 100 percent of rural people by 2020 and build clean water supply facilities at all schools and medical stations.

The Thua Thien Hue Construction and Water Supply State One Member Co., Ltd. has selected Phong Dien district, located far from the centre of Hue city, to carry out a project worth 51.5 billion VND (2.25 million USD) to provide clean water for locals.

The company plans to increase the capacity of Phong Thu factory in the district to 21,000 cubic metres per day by 2020 in the second phase of the project funded by the Asian Development Bank.

It has also invested more than 158 billion VND (6.9 million USD) to upgrade several old water supplying plants and build new ones.

The company runs 13 water production plants with combined capacity of 105,000 cubic metres per day, providing water across Thua Thien – Hue province.

 Vietnam, Laos youth unions forge stronger ties

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) of Vietnam and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union (LPRYU) have agreed to jointly organise activities to celebrate the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40 years since the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).

The agreement was reached during the talks between First Secretary of the HCYU Central Committee Le Quoc Phong and Secretary General of the LPRYU Central Committee Sonethanou Thammavong.

The two sides expressed delight at their fruitful cooperation in 2016 through the exchange of high-level delegations and large-scale exchange programmes. They also held seminars to share experience, along with many other programmes and activities, thus enhancing the friendship between the two countries.

Additionally, hosts and guests agreed to enhance communications and education among young people about the solidarity between Vietnam and Laos as well as ties between the youth unions.

The Vietnamese side suggested increasing the quantity, scale and quality of exchange activities between the two unions, as well as expanding training courses for Lao youth union officials at the Vietnam Academy for Youth and Adolescents.

This year, the two sides aim to improve ties among young entrepreneurs, while increasing experience sharing between officials of the two youth unions in organising youth movements as well as volunteer activities.

In 2017, the two sides will also work together to review their cooperation agreement for the 2012-2017 period and sign a similar deal for 2017-2022, with a focus on enhancing the effectiveness of their partnership and boosting the development of the friendship of the two nations.

Book collections for poor kids

Room to Read, a non-profit organization focused on girls' education and children's literacy in Asia and Africa, has had an initiative to launch a collection of picture books with colorful and cute paintings to serve children in remote areas of Vietnam for free.

One of the targets of Room to Read (RR) is to help build and develop the reading habit of elementary students. And picture books are one of the major publications by RR not for commercial purposes but serving as gifts to libraries in remote areas.

One of the differences of RR’s creations compared to other similar books is to nurture the natural development of kids’ mind by both the content and form of the books. Kids have freedom to think and imagine by their own mind, not be imposed by adults’ thoughts.

Experts who joined in the book project said that picture books are children’s must-read creations during their first years. Words and paintings have the same roles that help support each other to tell a story. Paintings even play more important roles than words.

Most of the authors who have joined RR’s projects are young writers. They have creativity and good memories about their beautiful childhood to help turn each book into an adventure for children. Making books for children must be a fate to many writers as they must know how to draw and write to attract kids’ attention.

Young artist Pham Quang Phuc considers making books for children help him relaxed in life. Phuc expects to use his stories to bring more beautiful dreams to children. Artist Huynh Kim Lien, who shared the first prize with Phung Nguyen Quang at a children book making contest in Asia in 2015, wishes to nurture the imagination and love and curiosity for children.

Writer Truong Huynh Nhu Tran said that making book for kids is a good opportunity to have a ticket back to her childhood while Vu Thi Thuy Dung, a long-term author at RR who has so far published 20 books, has silently written and created paintings for kids for years. Dung’s creations have received much love from child readers.

During the past years, RR has been passionate in improving the quality of children’s book by hosting many seminars and roundtables for painters and writers.

It’s an issue for local organizations and publishers to learn from the idea of Room to Read to make good books for kids and to earn profits and to further develop the market for children’s book in the country.
Expat suspected of alcoholic poisoning hospitalized in Hanoi

A foreigner has been admitted to a hospital in Hanoi with dimming vision suspected of methanol poisoning, Tuoi Tre Online reported on March 8.

It named the 35-year-old patient as Martin, saying he was hospitalized on March 7, a day after having his eyes checked at another hospital. The report neither identified Martin's nationality nor gave his last name.

Martin started having problems with his eyesight after drinking alcohol he bought from his street.

Doctors said dim-sightedness is one of the clear signs of being poisoned by methanol. Martin's medical examinations are pending final results.

Three other Vietnamese patients admitted to the same hospital, who had also drunken alcohol at street vendors, were diagnosed with methanol poisoning. One of them is in a coma while the other two have the same symptoms with Martin.

Vietnam is the second biggest consumer of beer and liquor in Southeast Asia after Thailand and ranks the 10th largest in Asia for alcohol consumption.

Most alcoholic beverages contain low levels of methanol, which causes no harm. High levels of methanol, however, may lead to neurotoxicity and organ failure, the Vietnam News Agency said in a report last month.

In one of the country's worst deadly alcohol poisoning cases, seven people were killed while many others were hospitalized in the mountainous province of Lai Chau last month after drinking alcohol bought from a commune on the Chinese border.

Initial tests show that the methanol content in the alcohol consumed by the victims was thousands of times higher than permitted, according to the news agency.

Northern Vietnam braces for coldest night of year so far

Northern Vietnam is forecast to suffer its coldest spell of weather so far this year on March 8, with temperatures in Hanoi expected to drop to as low as 14 degrees Celsius.

The northern and north-central regions began experiencing cold weather and rain on Monday, but the cold snap is expected to strengthen tonight, the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said on March 8.

The latest update at 7:00 am found temperatures had dramatically dropped in several areas.

In Hanoi, the Lang Fortress, Ha Dong and Hoai Duc Districts reported readings of 15.5, 15.4 and 14.7 degrees Celsius, respectively.

In Bac Son District, Lang Son Province, temperatures dropped to as low as 12.7 degrees Celsius, and Dong Van Karst Plateau, a famous destination in Ha Giang Province, 10.1 degrees Celsius.

In the popular tourist town of Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province, the cold front sent temperatures to 9.6 degrees Celsius, and in Mau Son Mount, 7.8 degrees Celsius.

Tonight, temperatures in northwestern Vietnam are expected to average 15 to 17 degrees Celsius, 10 to 12 degrees Celsius in mountainous areas, and 8 to 9 degrees Celsius in Sa Pa.

Hanoi will experience temperatures between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius, and Mau Son, 7 to 8 degrees Celsius.

161 members selected to VWU’s central committee

Delegates at the ongoing 12th National Women’s Congress elected 161 members of Central Committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) for the 2017-2022 tenure during their second working day on March 8.

Earlier the same day, the congress adopted a proposal that the VWU Central Committee will have 171 members.

Therefore, the remaining 10 members of the committee will be elected later.

The new Central Committee convened their first session in the afternoon the same day.

Also on March 8, participants contributed ideas for the congress’s documents, including a draft political report and the union’s charter.

Delegates continued to present their reports and recommendations on women’s affairs, women’s movements and the union’s operation.

Many solutions were proposed to promote the role, potential and creativity of all-level women’s unions in national construction, defence and development.

The congress is slated to conclude on March 9.

National Women’s Congress talks improving vocational training

The 12th National Women’s Congress discussed improving the efficiency of vocational training for women and protecting interests of female workers during its second session in Hanoi on March 8.

According to the General Statistics Office’s employment survey for the third quarter last year, there were 53.27 million paid workers nationwide, 25.8 million of them were women, accounting for 48.48 percent, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam.

He stressed that job generation for women is one of the priorities of the Government during recent years.

The National Fund for Job Assistance, which provides credit for job generation, helped create employment for around 105,000 workers in 2016, about 60 percent of them were women.

The fund also earmarked 62 billion VND (2.69 million USD) last year to offer job assistance to over 1,000 members of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU).

Since 2011, Vietnam has sent 80,000-100,000 workers abroad for contracted jobs each year, 35-40 percent of them are women.

Deputy Minister Dam said renewing management on vocational education is one of the two breakthrough measures proposed by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, which will focus on issuing legal documents guiding the implementation of the Law on Vocational Education, technical standards on the operation and management of vocational education system and improving the capacity of State management agencies in the field.

Additionally, the ministry will improve the efficiency of vocation training in tandem with job creation by rallying public resources, including businesses, to offer training to workers, especially adult women in rural areas. At the same time, it will also diversify job transaction activities by regularly holding mobile job fairs in rural areas, thus increasing women’s access to job opportunities.

Trinh Thanh Hang from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) said protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women is the responsibility of the confederation and the VWU.

The VGCL has adopted a Resolution on the mobilisation of female workers and an action programme on gender equality with specific goals, she said, adding that the VGCL and the VWU are active in reviewing and offering recommendations on amendments and supplements to legal documents regarding female officials, cadres and workers.

In the near future, both organisations will continue to well perform its role as advisors in terms of law building and enforcement involving female workers, gender equality, women’s advancement, population, reproductive health, family and children.

The VGCL will continue listening to female workers’ aspirations, holding dialogues with employers, and proposing relevant laws and policies.

Women’s role promoted in new rural area development

The 12th Congress of Vietnamese Women continued its 2nd day in Hanoi on March 8 with a focus on discussing the role played by women in the building of new rural areas through movements of the Vietnam Women’s Union.

Dang Thi Hong Nga from the Phu Yen provincial Women’s Union said local members have contributed to the development of road networks and welfare facilities.

 “Local women have responded positively to the movement of building new rural areas. They have registered since the beginning of the year with local government what contribution they could make, especially in environmental protection, land offer for road building and other public works," she said.

The Congress also discussed ways to improve the efficiency of vocational training and protect the rights of female workers. Women’s employment has been of the top concerns of Vietnam.

By November 2016, the total capital for employment fund reached US$217 million, helping to generate about 60,000 jobs each year for women. In addition, since 2011 Vietnam has sent from 80,000 to 100,000 people to work abroad each year, of which women account for 40%.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam said renewing management on vocational education is one of the two breakthrough measures proposed by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, which will focus on issuing legal documents guiding the implementation of the Law on Vocational Education, technical standards on the operation and management of vocational education system and improving the capacity of State management agencies in the field.

In addition, the ministry will improve the efficiency of vocation training in tandem with job creation by rallying public resources, including businesses, to offer training to workers, especially adult women in rural areas. At the same time, it will also diversify job transaction activities by regularly holding mobile job fairs in rural areas, thus increasing women’s access to job opportunities.

Trinh Thanh Hang from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) said protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women is the responsibility of the confederation and the Union.

The VGCL has adopted a Resolution on the mobilisation of female workers and an action programme on gender equality with specific goals, she said, adding that the VGCL and the Union are active in reviewing and offering recommendations on amendments and supplements to legal documents regarding female officials, cadres and workers.

In the near future, both organisations will continue to well perform its role as advisors in terms of law building and enforcement involving female workers, gender equality, women’s advancement, population, reproductive health, family and children.

The 12th Congress of Vietnamese Women elected 161 members to Executive Committee of the 12th Vietnam Women’s Union for the next 5 years term. The congress will close on March 9.

Gyalwang Drukpa to gift Vietnam giant Guanyin embroidery

A giant embroidery of Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, will be the special gift prepared by the Gyalwang Drukpa for his visit to the country next week.

The 12th incarnation of the Gyalwang Drukpa, an honorific title for the head of the millennium-old Drukpa Lineage school of Tibetan Buddhism, will pay a visit to Vietnam next week, announced Vietnam’s Drukpa center at a press conference in Hanoi on March 7.

He has been to Vietnam many times before.

This time, the Gyalwang Drukpa will be staying in the country from March 14 to April 2, during which he will hold religious ceremonies to pray for peace in Vietnam’s and the happiness of its people.

He will lead a delegation of 100 Drukpa monks in an Indian Buddhist festival held at Truc Lam Tay Thien Zen Monastery in northern Vinh Phuc Province, as well as oversee the opening of a local festival honoring the Buddhist Goddess Guanyin.

During his visit, the religious leader will gift Vietnam an 11.7-by-16-meter embroidery of ‘Guanyin with 1,000 Arms and 1,000 Eyes’, the largest ever seen in Vietnam, according to VietKings, an organization specializing in certifying national records.

Guanyin, or Quan The Am in Vietnamese, whose name literally means “[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World”, is an East Asian Buddhist divinity associated with compassion.

According to Dang Tung Lam, a representative from Drukpa Vietnam, the masterpiece is impressive not only in its size but also in the tremendous efforts and delicacy put into the embroidery by 40 Bhutanese artisans who worked under close supervision of senior Drukpa monks.

The embroidery will be displayed publicly at the big temple of Tay Thien in Vinh Phuc Province starting March 16.

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