Thứ Ba, 18 tháng 4, 2017

Social News 18/4

HCMC asks for Government permission to implement 36 anti-flooding projects


The HCMC People’s Committee has proposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment to submit the investment policy of 36 anti-flooding projects in the city to the Prime Minister with the total funds of VND9,936 billion (US$439 million).

The funds will be raised from State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), according to the proposal.
Besides the above projects the city needs VND73,057 billion ($3.21 billion) to implement a slew of other projects under the flooding mitigation program, said the committee.

Hot weather drives Saigon people into hospitals

The scorching sun in Ho Chi Minh City over the past week drove locals, especially kids and elderly people to hospitals.

The Children Hospital 1 admits around 6,000 kids suffering from respiratory, digestive problems and hand-foot-mouth.

The hospital was crowded with kids and their relatives on April 17. Patients were seen in stone chairs in front of doctors’ rooms and flower garden, lobbies.

Doctors warn that though diseases in hot season are not dangerous yet parents should not neglect or else it could lead to death.

Dr. Dinh Thach said that two most common diseases this season are respiratory infection and digestive disorders.

Respiratory illnesses are usually caused by different temperature between air-conditioned rooms and outside; therefore, parents should set room temperature properly. Moreover, parents should give kids with more water and keep the house clean.

Meantime, the Medicine University Hospital has seen the surge of patients from 4,000 to 5,800 people a day with most cases of digestion, blood pressure, heart problems and asthma. Meanwhile, the number of patients with mental illness increased in the Mental Disease Hospital leading to overcrowding.

Medical experts warned people not to go out in these days under the sun. Adults with hypertension must have enough water and measure on their blood pressure regularly.

Tropical depression weakens into low pressure zone

According to the latest weather news from the National Hydrology Meteorology Forecast Center, a tropical low depression was positioned at 14.8 degrees north latitude and 116 degrees east longitude, at around 460 kilometers of the southeastwards of the Paracel Islands in the early morning today.

The maximum wind near the center speeded up 40- 50 kilometers an hour.

The pressure is forecast moving the northwestward or the north- northeastwards in next 24 hours,, and after that it will be downgraded to a tropical depression zone.

By the early morning of April 19, it will be at 17.8 degrees north latitude and 116.5 degrees east longitude at 490 kilometers of the east northeastwards. The highest wind near the center will be below 40 kilometers.

In the following day, the damaged zone will be defined at 13.5- 18 degrees north latitude and 114 degrees east longitude.

Liver transplantation conducted on kids with cirrhosis

The Children Hospital No.2 in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday announced a successful liver transplantation for a 10 year old kid.

This is the eleventh liver transplantation carried out by hospital doctors.

The kid patient from Mekong delta province of Bac Lieu had been treated by Kasai's hepatic portoenterostomy operation before the transplantation. But later his illness developed into cirrhosis.

The donor is his mother. The operation lasted 12 hours because surgeons faced difficulties including much bleeding in the donor. His ectopic liver tissue is occasionally found either attached to the diaphragm and gallbladder. The kid suffered pleural effusions yet he was taken care of by doctors so his condition is stable later.

The donor and the recipient recovered. They will be discharged next week.

Operation consultant Professor Tran Dong A said that liver transplantation for kid under ten years old and alive donor is the most difficult technique because blood vessels are very small.

Vĩnh Long’s e-commerce website makes debut

The southern province of Vĩnh Long’s Department of Industry and Trade on Monday officially launched e-commerce platform

The e-commerce website features images of the province’s localities, industries and their specialties and updated information of markets and legal documents, serving as a bridge to connect enterprises.

Enterprises seeking trade and business opportunities on the platform will have their own page to introduce themselves, the products and services that they provide and their discount policies offered to consumers.

According to the department, the website was built to support enterprises to access business and investment opportunities, help them save costs and trading time, thereby enabling them to efficiently increase their competitiveness, diversify consumer markets and make full use of the digital economy.

Phạm Tứ Phương, director of the department, said in the time ahead, the department would boost the application of e-commerce, disseminate legal documents related to e-commerce, provide public services online to businesses and focus on improving firms’ awareness of this kind of trading platform.

Meeting discusses anti-corruption work

 meeting discusses anti-corruption work hinh 0

Permanent members of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption convened a meeting in Hanoi on April 17 under the chair of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also head of the committee.

The members discussed and gave opinions to the progress, results, difficulties and obstacles regarding the investigation, prosecution and trial of cases under the supervision of the committee.

They agreed to complete the investigation, prosecution and trial of 12 cases that are under the supervision of the committee in 2017.

The permanent members requested authorised agencies to make greater efforts and enhance coordination to address difficulties and speed up the investigation, prosecution and trial of serious cases, focusing on three remainders out of the six cases mentioned in the notice No. 30-TB/BCDTW issued by the committee.

They also asked relevant agencies to further investigate the case at the PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC), and pursue and extradite Trinh Xuan Thanh to serve the investigation and trial.

The participants agreed to establish eight working teams of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption to inspect and supervise the prosecution, investigation, and trial of complicated and serious corruption and economic cases of public concerns in 20 provinces and cities nationwide.

Concluding the meeting, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong spoke highly of the recent efforts by relevant agencies as well as members of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, which have brought in remarkable results.

However, there is much work to be done in the time ahead, requiring the closer coordination among authorised agencies, he noted.

At the meeting, the participants also agreed to assign Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, deputy head of the committee, to participate in directing authorised agencies to settle a number of serious economic and corruption cases when requested.

Thua Thien – Hue: compensation effectively used

Most fishermen in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue have effectively used their compensation from last year’s Formosa-caused marine environmental incident.

Two batches of compensation, worth nearly 33 billion VND (1.45 million USD), have been distributed to 2,048 affected locals in Phong Dien district.

About 25 billion VND (1.1 million USD) is being provided to 800 people with seasonal jobs, 177 others fishing with small boats and 135 those who farm aquatic products.

In Phong Hai commune, 1,379 people have received compensation from the two batches, with the total amount exceeding 21 billion VND (924,000 million USD). Most of them bought fishing tools for offshore fishing. Some built tanks to farm eels, while other households invested in pig and poultry raising.

Meanwhile Phu Loc district is giving compensation of 149 billion VND (6.55 million USD) to 7,484 people. More than 2,000 people from Loc Vinh commune will receive 37.343 billion VND (1.65 million USD) from April 18-21, while 2,900 others from Lang Co town will receive about 57 billion VND (2.5 million USD) from April 25-29.

From April 3-15, 1,534 people from Vinh Hien commune received 27.688 billion VND (1.2 million USD).

On April 11-12, 90 people from Loc Tri commune received 5.058 billion VND (220,000 USD), 391 people from Vinh Hai commune received 6.225 billion VND (265,000 USD), 349 people from Loc Binh commune 6.670 billion VND (291,000 USD), and 217 from Vinh My commune 8.162 billion VND (360,000 USD).

Tran Ven from Loc Tri said he will use the compensation to repair ships and buy fishing tools and fuel for offshore fishing.

Children’s painting exhibition marks aerospace day

An exhibition of 65 aerospace paintings by Vietnamese children opened in Hanoi on April 17 to mark Russia Cosmonaut Day (April 12).

The event was held by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Vietnam, Hanoi Children’s Palace Arts and Culture and the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, acting director of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Vietnam Natalya Shafinskaia stressed that it is necessary to ignite children’s passion for astrology to continue exploring space.

Children’s vivid imaginations were shown in the exhibition, she said, adding that outstanding paintings will be printed in a book called “way to the stars”.

At the event, documentary films about first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova and first Vietnamese in space Pham Tuan were screened.

The exhibition will run until April 21. Awards will be presented for the best paintings the same day.

Vietnamese, Cuban writers share experience

Vietnamese and Cuban writers met at an exchange held in Hanoi on April 17 on the occasion of a visit by a delegation of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples.

Vice President of the Vietnamese Writers’ Association Nguyen Quang Thieu said that the visit by Cuban friends was a chance for Vietnamese and Cuban writers to meet and share experience.

It also offered an opportunity for Vietnamese writers to understand more about Cuba’s literature during the renewal process and express solidarity with the Cuban nation, people and literature.

At the event, Cuban writer and journalist Marta Rojas Rodrigues, author of the famous book titled “the south of Vietnam: strategic weapon is people”, talked about her book and the path that brought her to journalism, literature and Vietnam.

She affirmed that exchanges and meetings will tighten solidarity between the two countries’ writers and help them create more works about each other’s culture and people.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese Writers’ Association presented the English version of the historical-documentary novel “A War Account 1-2-3-4.75” of journalist-writer Tran Mai Hanh, who was awarded the Félix Elmuza Award from the Association of Cuban Journalists, to the Cuban delegation.

Vietnamese Ambassador to US greets Laos on traditional New Year

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh and his spouse extended their wishes to Lao Embassy’s diplomats and staff on their traditional New Year festival, Laos Boun Pi May.

During their meeting on April 14 at the Lao Embassy in Washington DC, the two ambassadors affirmed to further enhance coordination between the two embassies, contributing to stepping up solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and Laos.

They agreed that the two agencies will effectively cooperate with other ASEAN member nations’ embassies in the US in strengthening links with the host country, as well as in organising activities to celebrate the 40th founding anniversary of ASEAN-US relations, and the 50-year establishment of the group.

Ambassador Mai Sayvongs and his spouse conducted water splashing rituals to Ambassador Vinh and Vietnamese guest, wishing them a New Year of happiness, luckiness and success.

Poor ethnic minorities in Phu Yen aided to build houses

Five disadvantaged households of the ethnic minority group in Ea Bar and Ea Ba communes in the south central province of Phu Yen’s Song Hinh district have received a total grant of 200 million VND (8,810 USD) to build houses.

The financial assistance was handed over to the recipients by a delegation from the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands on April 17.

Deputy head of the committee Dieu K’re said the agency always pays attention to the lives of local ethnic minority people.

He asked the local authorities to deliver more support to the groups, particularly in restructuring farming models, escaping poverty, and preventing early marriage.

Dieu K’re stressed that Ea Bar and Ea Ba communes need to strengthen forest management, protection and development, especially upstream forests and forests between Phu Yen and Dak Lak provinces.

Thua Thien-Hue accelerates water environment improvement

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue is giving a push to a project to improve the water environment in the former imperial city of Hue, which has struggled to hit targets.

The 4.2 trillion VND (188.3 million USD) project, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has six construction packages. However, only two have been completed. Four others are underway, however they should have been finished in 2016.

Further, construction work in 11 wards in the south of the Huong River has greatly impacted local livelihoods.

The provincial People’s Committee demanded more effective operation from the project’s management board. Contractors were asked to reset detailed progress for the project and to speed up package deals.

Stiff punishments will be given for any violations of contracts while difficulties must be tackled in a timely manner.

Construction units must pay attention to ensuring works’ quality, construction and traffic safety and environment hygiene. They were requested to work with Hue city People’s Committee, the local Department of Planning and Investment and relevant authorities to supervise the project.

The head of the project’s steering board was directed to work with contractors and banks during contract payments to ensure the capital is used for the right purposes.

Helping people with disabilities always policy priority

Helping people with disabilities integrate into the community has always been a priority in Vietnam’s policies towards this disadvantaged group, and the nation will continue to focus on this task in the 2016-2020 period.

Vietnam has around 7.2 million people with disabilities, accounting for 7.8 percent of the population, one of the high levels in Asia-the Pacific. More than half (58 percent) of the disabled population are women, 28.3 percent are children and 15 percent live in poverty, according to statistics in 2016 of the National Committee for People with Disabilities.

Following the previous Constitution, the 2013 Constitution continues to affirm that the State shall create equal opportunities for citizens to benefit from social welfare and adopt policies to support the elderly, people with disabilities, the poor and other disadvantaged groups (Article 59). Article 61 of the Constitution stipulates that the State shall create the conditions for the disabled and the poor to receive education and vocational training.

The legal system on people with disabilities has been constantly updated, notably the adoption of the Law on People with Disabilities in 2010 and the national blueprint on support for people with disabilities for 2012-2020 (Project 1019).

The National Assembly approved Vietnam’s accession to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on November 27, 2014, which reiterates the country’s commitment to protecting and enforcing the rights of the disabled.

More recently, a National Committee for People with Disabilities was established in January 2016 with the task of assisting the Prime Minister in instructing and coordinating the work of ministries, agencies and localities in issues relating to people with disabilities.

The enforcement of laws has helped raise awareness about the rights of people with disabilities in society in general and among the group in particular, and reduce social barriers, thus facilitating their integration into social life.

According to statistics of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, around 900,000 people with disabilities are receiving monthly allowance. All centrally-governed cities and provinces have built rehabilitation facilities for the disabled. During 2011-2015, around 140,000 people with disabilities received vocational training and found jobs through State-sponsored programmes.

Activities supporting the disadvantaged group also receive warm response from the community. The Orphans and Disabled People Sponsorship Association has raised more than 2.5 trillion VND worth of donations and gifts for the target disadvantaged group during its 25-year operation. In addition, the association coordinated with relevant agencies and organisations to provide free treatment to more than 100,300 sight-impaired people and correcting surgery to about 17,500 patients.

Two Vietnamese sold as brides to China return home

Two young Vietnamese sold as brides to China have been rescued and returned home last week, South China Morning Post reported.

They had been sold to poor men in the coastal province of Shandong months ago before they were rescued by police and sent to Guangxi last week in order to be escorted back to Vietnam, the newspaper cited a state media report in China as saying.

One of them, 17, was abducted in November while attending a high school activity in Hoa Binh Province neighboring Hanoi, the report said.

A few days later, her father received a phone call from a man telling him to stop looking for his daughter and that she had been taken to China for sale.

Police in Vietnam then arrested a Vietnamese suspect and asked for help from their counterparts in China's Guangxi Province for help.

The schoolgirl was rescued in January. The other woman, 21, was rescued in March.

Many men in rural China have been paying traffickers for a foreign wife as they are either too poor or old to find one at home.

Vietnamese victims of human trafficking rose nearly 13% to 1,128 in 2016, according to official data.

They were sold to men seeking wives in China, Malaysia and South Korea, or just to bear children or work as prostitutes in these countries. Police only managed to rescue around half of them.

Bridgestone donates smart trash bins to HCM City

Bridgestone, a co-organizer of Earth Day (April 22) for the fourth consecutive year in a row, has announced it will donate 100 smart trash bins to Ho Chi Minh City as part of an effort to promote a cleaner environment.

Bridgestone Corporation is a multinational auto and truck parts manufacturer founded in 1931 in Japan.

It currently has more than 141 manufacturing facilities located in some 24 countries around the globe.

Bullet shortage, bureaucracy continue to haunt Vietnamese shooters

Hundreds of sporting shooters in Vietnam are continuing to practice without bullets despite a promise that ammunition would be re-stocked by the end of last year.

The earliest shipment of ammunition is not expected to arrive in Vietnam until May, ten months after a contractor won a bid to become the country’s official supplier of sporting ammunition.

The ammunition shortage has become a normal part of Vietnam’s sports shooting community over the past two years, with competitors losing count of how many national shooting championships have been held with athletes running around borrowing bullets from one another.

Beginning in December 2013, under a joint decree issued by the Ministry of Public Security and its sports counterpart, companies must go through a bidding process in order to supply sporting weapons in Vietnam.

In July 2016, a bid was won by the General Army of Economics and Technology (GAET), a corporate structure  run by Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense, which gave hope to local shooters that their thirst for ammunition would finally be quenched after two years of ‘air shooting’.

As of today however, their much needed bullets are still nowhere to be seen.

A GAET representative told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that an order of ammunition could take between three months and two years to complete, as the process involved a lot of red tape given the ‘sensitive nature’ of the goods.

According to the representative, in 2016 GAET was approved to import up to VND43 billion (US$1.92 million) worth of sporting arms, which included rifles, pistols, bullets and skeets.

GAET had worked with the sporting authorities of 12 provinces shortly after it won the bid, he said, but only four of those arrived at successful supply contracts, worth a total of VND12 billion ($535,000).

The representative explained that, since the time GAET had won the bid, halfway through 2016, most local administrations had already completed their budget allocations for the year, and were therefore unable to spare any more for sporting ammunition.

Though administrations can apply for emergency budgets, he added, Vietnamese law requires that any purchase made outside of original budgets be finalized within the same year, which was not possible given that the shipment could take months to complete.

The biggest and most important shipment of 1.5 million bullets, weighing five metric tons, is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam next month, he said.

In August, Vietnamese shooters will be in Malaysia to compete with regional athletes at the 29th biennial Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

As the event nears, local shooters have become anxious that they would not be able to properly practice before the largest multi-sport event in Southeast Asia, after over two years without bullets.

Top shooters Hoang Xuan Vinh and Tran Quoc Cuong have already scheduled training programs in Germany, which will commence in May, as concern grows that they won’t be in the best possible shape for the Games.

According to GAET, since 2014, European ammunition exporters have had tighter controls placed upon them due to growing concerns over terrorism.

It can take up to 90 days for an application to export bullets and arms to be processed by European authorities, according to EU regulations.

Recent terror attacks in Europe have also prompted airlines to refuse the transportation of ammunition and explosives, or flammable shipments, which are categorized as dangerous goods.

Most shipments of ammunition must be transported by sea, which makes the waiting time even longer, the GAET representative explained.

HCM City to open 62 petrol stations on waterways

Of the 407 petrol stations to be opened in HCM City from now until 2030, 62 of them will be on boats on local waterways.

The new plan was approved and signed by the deputy chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, after a previous decision about the matter became invalid.

Most of the new petrol stations will be located in outlying districts.

To develop river tourism, 62 stations will be located on boats in waterways along districts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Thủ Đức, Nhà Bè, Hóc Môn, Cần Giờ, Củ Chi and Bình Chánh.

On-land stations include 22 in District 2; 26 in District 12; 51 in Bình Chánh District; 53 in Củ Chi District; 21 in Cần Giờ District; 20 in Nhà Bè District, and 16 in Hóc Môn District, among others.

Around 106 petrol stations have already been closed, with 532 stations operating as of 2016, according to the Department of Industry and Trade.

Along with the new stations, there will be a total of 939 stations in HCM City by 2030.

The department said the volume of petrol consumption is expected to reach 2.35 million cu.m in 2020, 3.25 million cu.m in 2025, and 4.3 million cu.m in 2030.

More petrol stations are needed to meet demand resulting from an increase in population, it said.

Hoài wins stage of HCM City cycling event

Nguyễn Tấn Hoài won the ninth stage of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday.

Hoài of Đồng Tháp won the 100km stage from Pleiku City to Konplông District in a time of 2:37.30.

Nguyễn Trường Tài of VUS-TP.HCM and Lê Ngọc Sơn of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời-An Giang were the runners-up.

Phan Hoàng Thái of Calytos Đồng Tháp holds the red jersey as king of mountain with eight points, followed him by Hoài with six points.

Nguyễn Văn Dương retained his yellow jersey for best overall time of 19:30.25 after nine stages. Nguyễn Quốc Bảo of Calytos Đồng Tháp and Nguyễn Minh Việt of BTV Đại Nam-Bình Dương are second and third, respectively.

The green jersey as best sprinter belonged to Lê Nguyệt Minh of HCM City with 45 points. Hoài and Huỳnh Thanh Tùng of the Military Zone 7 are second and third with 42 points and 41 points, respectively.

In the team rankings, the Military Zone 7 lead with a time of 58:38.15. Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp and Bike Life ĐN follow the military team.

Today, cyclists will have a day off. Tomorrow, they will compete in the 10th stage from Ba Tơ District to Quảng Ngãi City lasting 86km.

National book festival to feature various activities

Vietnam Book Festival 2017, scheduled to open on April 20 at National Library of Vietnam, No. 31 Trang Thi Street, Hanoi, will feature various meaningful activities targeting readers of all ages.

The event is an activity to welcome Vietnam Book Day (April 21), the World Book and Copyright Day (April 23) and the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Vietnam.

The theme of the festival is "Book, Knowledge and Social Development". The festival aims to honour the value of books and reiterate their role and importance in society. The festival also intends to honour those who collect, compile, publish, print, distribute, preserve and disseminate books apart from encouraging the reading movement in the community.

It also aims to promote awareness on the significance and importance of reading for acquisition of knowledge, skills, development of thinking, education and personality development, while improving responsibility of relevant authorities and social organisations at all levels in the building and development of Vietnamese reading culture.

The festival features various activities, including an exhibition, "Book, Knowledge and Social Development" (April 20 to May 5), to introduce readers to materials on the essence of human knowledge; cultures and civilisations around the world formed on the development of knowledge; knowledge gained and Vietnam’s achievements in the areas of socio-economic, scientific and technological development, as well as education, healthcare security and defence.

An exchange of authors and works will be held on the morning of April 20. Participating speakers include historian Duong Trung Quoc and Nguyen Kiem, former director of Bureau of Publication under the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The speakers will introduce and discuss some of the typical works awarded by the Vietnam Publishing Association. Participants will also have chance to receive two return air tickets for Hanoi – the Europe route sponsored by Turkish Airlines.

In addition, several contests including an English storytelling contest and an author-and-book identifying competition will also be held on the opening day.

Within the framework of the event, the organisers call on and receive funding from agencies, organizations and individuals to support libraries in remote and difficult areas.

The event also features a book fair from April 20-23 with the participation of a number of publishers and bookstores, introducing thousands of books at preferential prices.

Ha Long – Quang Ninh tourism week to be held

The ‘Colourful Ha Long’ programme will replace the Carnaval Ha Long during the Ha Long – Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2017, which will be held from April 28 to May 7, in Quang Ninh province.

This was announced on April 17 by Deputy Director of the Quang Ninh provincial Tourism Department, Trinh Dang Thanh, at a press conference on the Ha Long – Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2017.

Organised by SunGroup, this year’s tourism week will feature a series of cultural, sports and tourism events in the two cities, such as the opening ceremony of 2017 Mong Cai Tourism Week, the 2017 Tuan Chau – Ha Long Asian Beach Volleyball Championship, and Quang Ninh provincial tennis tournament, in the province, Ha Long and Mong Cai.

The ‘Colourful Ha Long’ programme, highlight of the tourism week, is expected to be held at 8pm on April 28 at Ocean Park in Ha Long. The programme will see the participation of many famous singers in Vietnam, such as Dang Duong, Trong Tan, Tung Duong, Ho Ngoc Ha and Hoang Thuy Linh, as well as artists from Europe.

In the framework of Quang Ninh-Ha Long Tourism Week 2017, a wide range of events will be held, including Soong Co singing festival in Binh Lieu district, badminton tournament in Dong Trieu Town, and the second Culture-Sport-Tourism week in Co To island district.

The event is scheduled to welcome 500,000 tourists.

Under cover of charity, two suspects trick farmers out of tens of billions

The Investigation Agencies under the Ministry of Public Security has prosecuted and issued the arrest warrant of the former director and deputy director of the Center for Supporting the Poor in new rural development.

According to documents of the Investigation Agency, these two suspects under the cover of the "Heart of Vietnam" program to steal hundreds of billions from thousands of farmers in many provinces.

The Investigation Agency under the MPS conducted a criminal investigation into the case and arrested Tran Duc Trung (56) and Le Thi Hang (54), relatively former director and vice director of the Center for Supporting the Poor in new rural development under the Vietnam Association of Rural Industrial Small and Medium Enterprises.

Under the cover of the “Heart of Vietnam”, Trung and Hang mobilized many people to donate money as “support” to the Center.

Being deceived by them, thousands of farmers in various provinces, including Bac Giang, Nam Dinh and ThanhHoa have donated money to the Center.

The initial release of the Investigation Agency says that Tran Duc Trung and Le Thi Hang have defrauded farmers in Northern Vietnam of tens of VND billions.

Construction licensing time to fall to 42 days

The HCMC Department of Construction plans to launch an electronic construction licensing system in early July, shortening the approval process from the current 133 days to 42.

The system is set to operate on a trial basis in six months, according to Vo Thi Trung Trinh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Information and Communications.

In particular, the municipal departments of construction and information-communications are working on a set of guidelines for an electronic single-window mechanism for issuing construction licenses for projects within the licensing jurisdiction of the Construction Department.

After the pilot period, municipal authorities will review the system before introducing it at district level.

Local residents and enterprises applying for construction permits now have to go through three procedural steps: basic design, construction design, and construction licensing.

The e-licensing system is designed to merge these procedures into one, meaning applicants will need to send all documents to a particular office of the Construction Department.

The department’s officials will then transfer these documents to the offices responsible for environment, fire prevention and fighting, transportation, and architectural design through an electronic system using digital signatures to verify licensing conditions.

Trinh said the pilot scheme is aimed at slashing the construction licensing time from the current 133 days to 42.

Complaints about the time-consuming and complicated construction licensing process are not uncommon. Some have to make multiple visits to relevant agencies to get paperwork done.

Local officials will no longer use paper documents, except for some specific and confidential ones, from early July. Instead, they will do the job on the online platform using digital signatures, she added.

Film screening and panel discussion about autistic children in Hà Nội

A film about autistic children will be screened on Saturday in Hà Nội, followed by a discussion about autism with international health experts working at Family Medical Practice Hanoi.

The film Jack of the Red Hearts is a movie telling an emotional story about parenting, powerfully depicting the challenges caring for and teaching an autistic child. The movie is directed by Janet Grillo, a critically acclaimed filmmaker, Emmy Award-winning producer and the mother of a child diagnosed with autism.

Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion on early detection, early intervention and parenting a child with autism. Panelists will include pediatricians, early development/intervention specialists and parents of autistic children.

All are welcome to this event which is sponsored by Family Medical Practice Hanoi and the US Embassy.

The event will be held at 2pm at Toong Co-working Space (inside the Trade Union Hotel) located at 98 Tô Ngọc Vân Street, Tây Hồ District of Hà Nội. You can register via email to

Hanoi builds houses for social policy beneficiaries

The capital city of Hanoi is speeding up the building and repair of nearly 7,300 houses for social policy beneficiaries and revolutionary contributors, with a view to complete the work before July 27, which was designated as War Invalids and Martyrs' Day.

Of those, 3,520 new houses are being constructed and 3,778 others are being repaired, with an estimated cost of almost 379 billion VND (16.7 million USD), sourced from the State budget.

Khuat Van Thanh, Director of the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the implementation of the programme faces various obstacles.

Some of these difficulties are the large number of recipients and unclear criteria for deteriorated houses, thus making it hard to decide the level of financial assistance.

Thanh suggested a number of measures to these issues, including faster disbursement of the construction funds, which should be updated following current market prices.

Khmer people in Soc Trang celebrate traditional festival

Local Khmer ethnic minority people in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang are celebrating their traditional New Year Festival - Chol Chnam Thmay from April 14-16.

Soc Trang is a province having the largest Khmer community in the Mekong Delta region, with over 400,000 people, making up approximately 31 percent of the local population.

Ly Binh Cang, head of the provincial Committee for Ethnic Affairs, said the local authorities sent delegations to visit and present gifts to Khmer officers, soldiers, social welfare beneficiaries and families that made grate contributions to the nation during this occasion.
This year, the Steering Committee for Southwestern Region selected Soc Trang to host a gathering on April 7 for Khmer people in the region, with the participation of 900 delegates.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Chuyen said the locality has effectively implemented the Party and State’s policies on developing ethnic minority-inhabited areas such as providing land for house building and production, loans, breeding livestock and saplings for disadvantaged families.

Last year, over 8,000 households in the province escaped from poverty, including 3,500 Khmer families. As many as 16,000 households gained access to electricity, of them 5,500 are Khmer familes.

Chol Chnam Thmay is one of the most important festivals for Khmer people. It usually lasts three days and is celebrated mostly in pagodas. The festival is a demonstration of Khmer people’s aspirations, like many other ethnic groups, to move on from the previous year’s misfortunes and look forward to a promising new year.

HCM City to host Vietnam Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2017

Vietnam International Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2017 will take place from April 25 to 28 in Ho Chi Minh City.

This is a major fashion event in Vietnam, featuring the newest collections from the world’s and Vietnam’s leading designers, said the organising board. It aims to showcase Vietnam’s fashion sector.

Fashionistas as well as Vietnamese artists will attend the event.

Garment-textile exports of Vietnam in 2017 are expected to hit 30 billion USD, said Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

Binh Dinh spends over 1.6 trillion VND on disaster relief

The central province of Binh Dinh has invested more than 1.6 trillion VND (70.5 million USD) mobilised from different sources in relieving damage caused by natural disasters in late 2016, said Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

Accordingly, 52 million USD from the State budget was allocated to repair dykes and irrigation works. The Government provided the province with 120 billion VND (5.3 million USD) to overcome flood consequences and 65 billion VND (2.86 million USD) to exempt local students from school fees in the first semester of 2017, along with 3,000 tonnes of rice.

The province has poured 27.8 billion VND (1.2 million USD) into rebuilding and repairing more than 700 houses for flood victims, as well as supported 22 fishing boats sunk and damaged by floods with 1.8 billion VND.

Over 1,500 tonnes of rice were distributed to local people on the occasion of the Lunar New Year 2017 while several irrigation works and canals were repaired ahead of the 2017 crop.

Besides, the province will continue directing businesses to actively implement projects, especially those on tourism development, while speeding up the repair of dykes and transport facilities hit by floods and the construction of Phu Cat airport terminal to raise the airport’s capacity.

Mango producer struggles to meet Australian standards

Vietnamese producers have been aiming to put mangos on the shelves of supermarkets in Australia for years, but have failed to do so due to the stringent sanitary and phytosanitary regulations that they must comply with.

Now, Nguyen The Bao director of Suoi Lon Mango Cooperative, has announced his company has signed another memorandum of understanding to experiment once more in exporting mango to the land down under.
In the past attempts by the company have failed due to a lack of investment in the physical plant and technology that could treat the fruit with heated water to bring bacteria counts within acceptable limits.

They have also lacked in cold storage technology resulting in low quality product.

Bao claims his company is the first in Dong Nai to have received VietGap and GlobalGap certification yet the only foreign country it has had any marked exports to is China, which has no sanitary and phytosanitary regulations to speak of.

Efforts to get 30 million people covered by social insurance

Vietnam aims to have of its workforce covered by social insurance by 2020. To achieve this target, policies are needed to increase the number of insurees.

13 million workers in Vietnam are currently covered by compulsory social insurance and 200,000 more are covered by voluntary insurance.

Vietnam’s total workforce is projected to be 60 million by 2020, half of whom will have social insurance.

But to increase the number of insured from 13 million to 30 million will be a real challenge, said Doan Mau Diep, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs.

He said, "Under the 2014 Social Insurance Law, social insurance is compulsory with labor contracts of more than a month. Currently, 60% of Vietnam’s workforce works in unstructured sectors and sectors that lack formal labor relations. This law encourages those workers to voluntarily obtain social insurance.”

In the near future, a number of incentives will be implemented to make it easier for workers with compulsory insurance and those who don’t have labor contracts to obtain voluntary insurance.

The Vietnam Social Insurance Department has increased communications to address the problems of discontinued and delayed contributions.

Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said, “The 2014 Law on Social Insurance allows the Vietnam Social Insurance Department to establish and inspect collections for social insurance.”

The expansion of voluntary social insurance is expected to attract more than 40 million customers. Changes concerning insurers, contribution methods, and benefit mechanisms have been made to fine-tune incentives. These regulations will come into force in 2018.

Up to 15 storms, depressions forecast to enter East Vietnam Sea in 2017

Thirteen to 15 storms or tropical depressions will be seen in the East Vietnam Sea in 2017, the Vietnamese National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said on April 14.

This is a quite higher than the annual average number of about 12 storms in many previous years, according to the center.

However, of these expected weather conditions, only three to four storms or tropical depressions are likely to leave direct impact on the mainland of Vietnam, mostly in the central region, the center noted in the forecasts for the May-October storm season.

However, the center acknowledged that the El Nino phenomenon may occur later this year, reducing both the number and intensity of storms or depressions in the East Vietnam Sea.

The center also predicted that the rainy season will come and end sooner than usual in the Central Highlands and southern regions, whereas the northern and north-central areas will experience rainwater level drops.

Ten storms and depressions were recorded in the East Vietnam Sea in 2016, with four storms and two depressions directly affecting the mainland.

The country also experienced negative weather conditions last year, with multiple record cold snaps hitting the north, drought ravaging the central and salinity taking a toll in the Central Highlands and Mekong Delta.

HCM City seeks permission for Reunification Day fireworks shows

Ho Chi Minh City is seeking government approval to hold fireworks shows throughout the city in commemoration of the 42th anniversary of Reunification Day on April 30.

The southern metropolis is petitioning the government to hold one high-range and three low-range shows, along with other commemorative and artistic activities, on the evening of April 30, according to a proposal signed by municipal chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong.

This is the first time the Ho Chi Minh City administration has sought permission from the government for the traditional Reunification Day fireworks displays.

Last year the Secretariat of the Communist Party, the constitution’s highest implementation body, requested that all provinces and cities refrain from fireworks displays during Tet, or the Lunar New Year, falling late January 2017, and instead redirect funds earmarked for the shows to support the poor.

Salaried workers in Vietnam will have a holiday later this month, observing Reunification Day and the Labor Day on May 1.

The Ho Chi Minh City chairman said that funds for the shows would be raised from the private sector rather than the city’s own budget.

According to a government decree in 2009, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are allowed to hold fireworks displays, lasting no longer than 15 minutes, at 9:00 pm on April 30.

Ho Chi Minh City authorities are using that decree as grounds for the planned fireworks shows.

If approved, one high-range fireworks display will be held atop the Thu Thiem Tunnel in District 2, while three shows with lower range fireworks will take place at the Dam Sen Cultural Park in District 11 and the outer districts of Can Gio and Cu Chi from 9:00 pm to 9:15 pm.

Quang Thanh Giang, a passionate musician

The Mekong River Delta has nurtured young, passionate musicians. Quang Thanh Giang who lives in Can Tho city has an outstanding reputation for songs about his homeland.

Quang Thanh Giang was born in 1977 into a poor family in Ca Mau province, but showed an aptitude and a great passion for music from a young age. Giang and his sister began studying music at an Art College in Can Tho city. Despite financial hardship, the two worked hard to continue their studies at Ho Chi Minh City’s Conservatory of Music.

Giang began writing songs about love and the homeland. His song “The Mekong River delta in the rising sun” won second prize in a national music writing contest.

“I wrote the song 'The Mekong River delta in the rising sun' last year. It’s about Can Tho and the Mekong River Delta where I was born and raised. I have travelled to many places. When I returned, I noticed some big changes in my homeland and described this observation in my song”, said Mr Giang.

Quang Thanh Giang is now deputy head of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association in Can Tho City. He has produced music for a lot of local art programs and TV music shows. Le Nghiep has worked with Giang on many of these shows. Nghiep said “Quang Thanh Giang has an aptitude for music. He is at the peak of his music writing career”.

Do Hong Quan, Chairman of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association, says the Mekong River Delta has a number of rising musicians and songwriters doing impressive work, but Quang Thanh Giang is a music phenomenon: “Quang Thanh Giang is a new member of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association. His song “The Mekong River Delta in the rising sun” is excellent. He is phenomenal”.

Upcoming events calendar for HCM City

So it's April and time to celebrate the arrival of spring with a trip to the beach and start hashing out warm weather plans and figuring out things to do on a rainy day in or around Ho Chi Minh City.

At a press conference yesterday (Apr. 13), Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chair of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, reminded everyone that there’s a fireworks display coming up on Reunification Day (April 30), a food festival May 25-28, and southern fruit festival June 1-11.

Other events further out include the Vietnam International Tourism Mart 2017 (September 7-9), a fashion festival (September 14-16), a lion dance festival in late September, a marathon in November and a lighting show in mid-December.

Sa Huynh Salt Village in Quang Ngai

Sa Huynh salt village is located in Duc Pho district 60 kilometers south of Quang Ngai city. Sa Huynh has a beautiful beach and is well-known in the central region as a salt-making area.

From the section of Highway 1A that runs through Sa Huynh village, the salt fields look like mirrors sparkling in the sunlight.

Sa Huynh was originally named Sa Hoang, which means 'yellow sand'. Local elders say they had to change the name to Sa Huynh because “Hoang” was the name of Lord Nguyen Hoang of the Nguyen Dynasty. During the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century, Sa Huynh held an important position in guarding national territorial waters. Later the salt-making craft was established and has been maintained ever since.

Sa Huynh currently has 550 households and about 2,000 of its inhabitants are involved in salt making. With a production area of over 116 hectares, the village turns out an average annual volume of 9000 tons of salt. The salt season is from March to September.

Salt making is hard work. Salt workers, a majority being women, do manual work under the scorching sun of the central region.

Pham Thi Vang, a Pho Thach villager, told VOV “The salt-making process is as follows: We direct sea water into the fields. Then we have to wait for the sun to evaporate the water, leaving just the salt.”

Nguyen Thi Be, a veteran salt worker, recalled that in the past many villagers had to find new jobs because of an unstable market. Men got involved in ship building, fishing, or construction. Women wove fishing nets, started small businesses, or offered tourism services, as Be and her family are now doing.

“In the past our ancestors didn’t know what to do for a living besides make salt. They made salt from January to July and put enough aside for the whole year. My entire family earned less than US$880 a year. Now our income is from salt, raising fish, shrimp, and oysters, and providing tourism services. Our income has greatly improved,” said Be.

With government support, Sa Huynh villagers have invested tens of thousands of USD into new production models. Nearly 7 km of dikes have been constructed and one third of the area of salt fields has been paved.  This has improved the quality of Sa Huynh salt. It is now a favorite of consumers and is used by the seafood processing industry. As a result, its market has expanded across the central and central highlands regions. Sa Huynh now is one of the three biggest salt producers in Vietnam.

Though its infrastructure remains poor, Sa Huynh's tourism has been growing. From a tiny fishing village Sa Huynh has become an attractive town steadily growing in popularity. Visitors come to enjoy the unspoiled beach, explore the ancient culture, learn about the life of the salt makers, sample the local food specialties, and see the vast fields of salt.


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