Social News 11/5
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia join hands in controlling infectious diseases
Health officials from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia shared experience in fighting infectious diseases, especially avian flu, at a workshop in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on May 10.
Highlighting the complex developments of infectious diseases in the region and the world at large, participants said comprehensive cooperation between countries sharing border lines is decisive in preventing the spread of the diseases, helping ensure health security between the nations as well as public health.
Dang Quang Tan, deputy head of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Vietnamese Health Ministry, said Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have carried out a project on curbing infectious diseases funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), adding that the workshop forms part of the project.
Lysovann from the Cambodian Health Ministry said the three countries have conducted a range of exchanges and exercises to share information and increase public health.
Reporting a recent outbreak of H5N1 in Svay Rieng in Cambodia’s south-eastern region, he said after hearing about the incident, the local health sector promptly zoned off the area to hinder the disease from spreading.
Cambodia appreciates the support and cooperation of Vietnamese agencies through the sharing of experience, information and professional skills, he noted, stressing that the three countries will continue to join hands with each other in controlling the diseases and improving public health.
According to the Vietnamese Health Ministry, cases of dengue fever, malaria and hand-foot-mouth disease decreased in early 2017 with no deaths reported.
The number of fatalities caused by rabies contracted by 34 percent compared with the same period last year. Six outbreaks of A/H5N1 were recorded among poultry while no human cases were reported over the past time.
Body of American tourist discovered in Hoi An
Police in the tourist draw town of Hoi An in central Vietnam discovered the body of an American tourist in a hostel on May 10, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The dead man has been identified as a 31-year-old American, but his name has yet to be disclosed.
Police were alerted after locals reported a stench coming from a hostel room on Tran Nhan Tong Street, and subsequently discovered the decomposing body of a male foreigner.
Investigators are treating the death as a suicide.
“The victim had been staying at the hostel since 2016," Phap Luat (Law) newspaper quoted Colonel Dinh Xuan Nghi from Hoi An's police force as saying. "During that time, he wrote a suicide note and asked the landlord to send it to his relatives in the U.S.”
Further investigations are underway.
Earlier this year, an Australian tourist also committed suicide in Ha Long Bay. Stephen John Scott, 54, reportedly jumped off an anchored cruiser with his legs tied to a heavy dumbbell while visiting the popular tourism destination in February.
APEC SOM 2 continues discussing women’s role, HR development
Representatives from APEC member economies continued to discuss the role of women in economy, people with disabilities, human resources development, mining and auto industry in Hanoi on May 10 .
The First Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) Meeting focused discussion on women’s participation in economic development and measures to promote the inclusion of gender equality in APEC’s specialised areas while defining priorities of action, policy recommendations and preparations for the Women and the Economy Forum 2017 slated for September.
The 21 APEC economies are currently employing around 600 million women as part of their workforce, with more than 60 percent working in the formal sector, contributing up to 89 billion USD annually to the bloc.
Meanwhile, the meeting of the Mining Task Force (MTF) debated measures to enhance mining cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, growth based on renovations and social responsibility.
Delegates held that mining may play an important role in fostering socio-economic development, generating jobs, reducing poverty, improving infrastructure and narrowing development gaps in the region.
On the same day, the Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) and the Group of Friends on Disability Issues co-hosted a symposium on increasing job opportunities for the disabled.
Participants discussed legal regulations and international frameworks to provide people with disabilities with training, education and social integration while sharing experience in creating jobs and development opportunities for this group.
At a conference on export licence held by the Food Security Cooperation Forum’s Partnership Training Institute Network (FCSF PTIN) under the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance, delegates agreed that the facilitation of safe food trade and cooperation in improving food safety will be scrutinized at the Food Security Week scheduled for August in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
Also on May 10, partners of the Auto Dialogue convened bilateral meetings before their plenary session on May 11-12.
Hanoi plans to open exclusive rapid bus lanes to public buses
Transport experts are skeptical, saying that more buses in the exclusive lanes could cause traffic chaos and crashes.
Hanoi plans to open its exclusive rapid bus lanes to public buses from next month on a six-month trial run in an effort to reduce traffic jams.
Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Center, said at a press briefing on May 8 it has asked for the green-light from municipal authorities to start the plan, which will reduce pressure on the road for other vehicles.
Hai said public buses will make use of five-to-ten minute intervals between rapid bus trips.
The $53.6 million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network stretches nearly 15 kilometers between Kim Ma and Yen Nghia, two of the city’s most populated areas.
The center is working on technical measures to allow public buses to turn onto the route and relocating some of its existing bus terminals.
However, transport experts are skeptical, saying that more buses in the exclusive lanes could cause traffic chaos and crashes.
Hanoi launched the BRT route last December in a bid to promote public transport and reduce congestion. The journey takes 45 minutes, 10 minutes faster than a normal bus.
The number of daily passengers has increased from around 8,000 to 13,000 since it was launched, compared to the daily average of 3,000 who used to ride public buses along the route, Hai said.
Human resources in digital era to be hot topic of APEC meetings
APEC economies will participate in a high-level policy dialogue on human resources development in the digital era in Hanoi on May 14 and 15, as heard at a press conference by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs on May 10.
The APEC 2017 National Secretariat said the dialogue is considered a highlight of APEC activities this year, as human resources are among key solutions to economic development.
The dialogue will focus on the topics of employment and workforce challenges in the digital era; policies and models for vocational training amid the 4th industrial revolution; and social welfare policies that need amendments.
Through these issues, cooperation frameworks on job creation, vocational training and social welfare will be tabled.
Dao Quang Vinh, Director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs and deputy head of the APEC 2017 National Secretariat, said Vietnam expects to devise an action plan that could provide the groundwork for APEC economies to enhance engagements in the field.
On the sideline of the dialogue, a number of meetings were scheduled between May 11 and 15. They consist of two separate conferences on labour market information in the digital era and boosting social welfare in APEC region on May 11 and 12; a conference to review preparations for the dialogue on May 13; and a meeting of the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group on May 14.
About 200 APEC activities are set to take place across Vietnam this year.
Presser highlights upcoming Nha Trang Sea Festival
The Nha Trang Sea Festival returns June 10-13, and this year’s event is shaping up to be quite special with more art performances, exhibitions, sporting competitions, and food events than ever before.
We are extremely excited with the scope and depth of the new attractions coming to the festival this year, Phan Thi Thanh Truc, deputy director of the Khanh Hoa department of tourism, said on May 10 at a press conference.
We’ve tried to add a little bit of something for everyone at this year’s event to spice it up with more folk games, kite flying, women’s beach volleyball tournaments, a beach handball tourney and an amateur open golf contest to name only a few of the many events.
We will also concurrently hold bird’snest, wine and coffee festivals along with a special exhibition showcasing the evidence that documents Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos.
In addition, said Truc, the festival will feature a wide array ofsea food events and city officials are going the extra mile to ensure that all food vendors take precautions to ensure food safety for visitors.
US expert trains doctors on arthroscopy in Hà Nội
Nearly 100 doctors from hospitals in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces are learning advanced arthroscopy techniques during a three-day training course at Saint Paul General Hospital in Hà Nội.
The training course, that began today, is being conducted under the framework of a cooperation programme between Saint Paul General Hospital and the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA).
During the three-day event, participants will be taught by Prof Pietro M.Tonino from US Loyola University’s Medicine Centre, Saint Paul Hospital deputy director Prof Trần Trung Dũng and HCM City Sports Medicine Association deputy chairman Nguyễn Trọng Anh.
Participants will hear lectures on knee and shoulder arthroscopy and be informed of the latest orthopaedic methods for treating complicated shoulder and knee injuries.
The training course is a good opportunity for Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons to exchange experiences and learn advanced arthroscopy techniques from US-based experts.
Urgent action to ensure railway safety urged
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has ordered the Ministry of Transport to instruct the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam and Việt Nam Railway Authority to work with agencies in provinces and cities that the railway runs through to increase safety.
Bình, who also heads the National Traffic Safety Committee, requested that the agencies enhance dissemination information on ensuring safety at level crossings for road users.
It is necessary to appoint guards at crossings that have a high rate of vehicles crossing them as well as places that accidents occur regularly, he said.
He asked the Ministry of Public Security to work with police in localities to reinforce patrols and deal with violations, especially the illegal lifting of barriers.
His order came after a north-south train crashed into a seven-seater car at a rail crossing in a residential area in the southern province of Bình Định’s Tuy Phước District on April 24. The accident left four people dead and two injured.
Bình ordered the People’s Committee of Bình Định Province to identify the cause of this accident and determine the responsibility of individuals and organisations involved, he said.
The Deputy PM authorised the National Traffic Safety Committee to collaborate with the Ministry of Transport in compiling a report on settlement of the accident and submit it to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc within this month.
Women’s football championship begins today
The National Women’s Football Championship will kick off today, with the defending champions HCM City 1 playing Việt Nam Coal and Minerals in HCM City.
HCM City, who won two of the last seasons in a row, are still considered the strongest among the eight participants.
Coach Đoàn Thị Kim Chi and her players, including many national team members, especially Golden Ball winner Huỳnh Như, have set a goal of winning a hattrick.
“Things are different this year, as Phong Phú Hà Nam and Hà Nội 1 have made some changes with a view to replacing us in the top position. However, we will play our best and work hard in every match to defend our title,” said Chi.
Their first rival, Việt Nam Coal and Minerals, ranked third last year.
The team hope to change their medal colour.
Some senior players have retired, but they have appointed the talented Thúy Hằng and Nguyễn Thị Vạn to lead the team.
In the second match of the day today, HCM City 2 and Sơn La, who were at the bottom of the ranking in 2016, will meet each other.
Former champions Hà Nội 1 and potential Phong Phú Hà Nam begin their journey tomorrow.
Hà Nội 1, who finished second after HCM City in the last two years, will meet with Hà Nội 2.
Phong Phú Hà Nam, under new coach Nguyễn Thế Cường, hope to beat TNG Thái Nguyên as their first step towards winning the championship for the first time.
Ambassador Club to be launched in Hà Nội
Tomorrow, the Ambassador Club will be officially inaugurated by the Diplomatic Corps at the Hanoi Daewoo Hotel, fostering friendly relations among the Heads of Mission and their families.
The event, which will take place at the hotel’s Lakeview Sky Lounge from 7pm to 12pm, will see the attendance of distinguished guests including ambassadors and spouses, representatives of major organisations and media members.
Master scheme on Vung Tau city adjusted
The PM has ratified adjustments to the development planning of Vung Tau city by 2035.
The planning aims to convert Vung Tau city into a national centre of tourism, finance, and trade of regional and international standards. It will develop the maritime economy and become an environmentally friendly city.
Under the planning, Vung Tau city has a total area of 15,000 hectares.
The document targets to review urban planning areas, land funds; supplement urban designs; make strategically environment evaluation; respond to climate change and sea level rise; build a public transport system and urban underground system; and install an urban lighting system.
The planning sets to propose development orientations on ecological farming and high-tech centers.
The document also targets to analyze advantages and disadvantages of the city's geographical position as it is located next to HCMC, the biggest metropolis in Viet Nam.
VND1.4-trillion social insurance debt yet to be settled
Some VND1.4 trillion in social insurance debt has been overdue for 10 years and is seen irrecoverable, putting about 194,000 workers at risk of losing their insurance benefits.
Social insurance debt and evasion occur mainly in the non-state sector, said Dao Viet Anh, deputy general director of Vietnam Social Security.
The main reasons are the low level of compliance with social insurance law by employers, the lack of a sense of responsibility and insufficient attention paid to social insurance for employees, he said at a seminar on “Undoing the bottlenecks in lawsuits against social insurance evasion.” The event was held by the Government web portal in Hanoi on Monday.
“The most worrying thing is about VND1.4 trillion in social insurance is owed by enterprises that have stopped operating, been disbanded, gone bust or taken flight. This sum has been tracked on the book-keeping system for more than 10 years,” said Anh. He added that this type of debt was almost irrecoverable and the interests of employees at these firms had not been solved.
By 2015, nearly 194,000 workers had been affected by the VND1.4-trillion debt.
To strengthen the collection of social insurance debt, grassroots trade unions or their direct superiors (the latter case for units and enterprises which have not set up a trade union) are to file a lawsuit on behalf of workers, according to the Law on Social Insurance and the Trade Union Law.
However, the lawsuit must be filed by a grassroots trade union or have written authorization from employees. This is one of the reasons why lawsuits brought by trade unions are not effective.
Although the social insurance agency has transferred more than 1,800 files on insurance debt to trade unions, the number of cases filed by these organizations is small (just 82), said Anh.
There are cases in which the files have been returned by court for the lack of employee authorization or that of a grassroots trade union. In some others, the court has accepted the case and later issued a decision to suspend settlement on the ground that the plaintiff has no right to initiate a lawsuit in accordance with Articles 186 and 187 of the Civil Proceedings Code.
Authorization is not the only problem. Many grassroots trade unions dare not bring a lawsuit or authorize their superiors to do so.
Meanwhile, workers dare not authorize a trade union to sue their employers since they need a job.
In addition, for a trade union to file a lawsuit and get accepted by the court, the Civil Proceedings Code must be adhered to. Yet, while the Law on Social Insurance took effect on January 1, 2016, the Civil Proceedings Code came into force on July 1, 2016.
Not only that, the Penal Code become effective on July 1, 2016, but has been temporarily invalidated waiting for amendments at the next National Assembly sitting.
Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, deemed it necessary to review and unify the promulgation of legal regulations. On pending the synchronization of the legal system, to overcome the current shortcomings, the superior trade unions should be allowed to file a lawsuit for claim of social insurance debt to remove difficulties with authorization for trade unions.
Truong Ba Temple Festival named national cultural heritage
The central province of Quang Ngai received on May 10 a certificate recognising the Truong Ba Temple Festival in Tra Xuan town, Tra Bong district, as part of the national intangible cultural heritage.
Located 52 km to the northwest of Quang Ngai City, Truong Ba Temple worships Thien Y A Na (Lady Po Nagar), the holy mother of the Cham ethnic community in the south central region. It is also dedicated to Bui Ta Han and Mai Dinh Dong, two saints who actually existed.
The festival at the temple reflects the development of communities in western areas of Quang Ngai and shows local residents’ aspirations for peace and wealth.
It combines the cultures of the Kinh, Cham and Cor ethnic people. This year’s event, beginning on May 10 (the 15th day of the fourth lunar month), also attracts Hoa (ethnic Chinese) and Hre ethnics, along with people of other ethnic groups in nearby Quang Nam province, Da Nang city and from the south of Vietnam.
As the Truong Ba Temple Festival is a destination for people of different ethnic groups and religions, it is significant to uniting communities.
Chairman of the Tra Bong district People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Bac said the festival is an occasion for locals to refresh themselves before a new crop. It also demonstrates the solidarity of people from different areas.
Lasting through May 12, the festival will include a wide range of activities such as lion and dragon dancing, “ba trao” singing, “ca dao” singing and dancing, gong performances, and folk games.
It is expected to attract more than 4,000 visitors.-
Beaches nationwide crowded in summer
The central provinces saw a rise in number of tourists to their beaches during the four-day national holiday in early May, signaling a bright prospect for sea tourism in the region in particular and in the nation in general, an official has said.
According to Ngo Hoai Chung, Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), the central region saw a year-on-year increase of around 3 percent in the number of visitors in the first four months this year. International arrivals surged 11-12 percent from the same period last year.
During the holiday on the occasions of the National Reunification Day and the International Labour Day from April 30 to May 3, all accommodation facilities were occupied up to 95 percent, Chung cited local reports as saying.
Under the Ministry’s national action plan for tourism development in 2017, priorities are given to assist the central region to recover tourism development from a slump after the marine environment incident last year, according to Chung.
A number of measures have been implemented including arranging famtrips for press representatives and encouraging tourist agencies to develop new sea-related products. Assistance will be provided to local tourism sector to train human resources for tourism services and hospitality.
Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Nam province Le Van Thanh said Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2017 is expected to be a major event in the sea tourism season, with numerous activities such as an international kite flying contest in Tam Thanh beach and a choir competition with the participation of 32 troupes from 15 countries and territories.
Deputy Director of Vietrantour Pham Thi Bich Ngoc said the company expects to serve 15,000 visitors during this summer, up nearly 30 percent from the same period last year. The most popular tours are those to beaches in Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan in the central region.
Other sea destinations also hope for a good season. Deputy Director of Tourism Department of the northern province of Quang Ninh Trinh Dang Thanh said since the start of summer, the province has welcomed over 320,000 arrivals, partly thanks to the “Ha Long – Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2017”.
The sea tourism season is expected to see an increase of 30-35 percent from 2016 in the number of visitors.