Thứ Sáu, 12 tháng 5, 2017

Social News 12/5

Vietnam hopes for Laos’s support in Mekong River water management

 vietnam hopes for laos’s support in mekong river water management hinh 0

National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong has asked Laos to support Vietnam in the regulation and use of the Mekong River’s water resources.

She made the request at a meeting with Vice Chairman of the Lao National Assembly Somphanh Phengkhammy in Ho Chi Minh City on May 11. The visiting legislator is in Vietnam to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s seminar for the Asia-Pacific region on climate change response.

Vice Chairwoman Phong considered the Lao officials’ participation as important to the event’s success.

Vietnam is suffering severe climate change impacts, and it is ready to learn from other countries’ experience in coping with climate change, she noted.

She added that the regulation and use of the Mekong River’s water resources need to be actively discussed by the Mekong River Commission as this river traverses many countries in the region.

Regarding bilateral ties, Phong said Vietnam and Laos boast the time-tested friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation. They have also shared much experience at global parliamentary forums as well as during delegation exchanges.

For his part, Phengkhammy spoke highly of the IPU seminar’s content, along with Vietnam’s preparations for the event. The agenda covers important issues relevant to the current context, especially in Southeast Asia.

He added his country has included climate change-related issues such as natural disaster prevention and control in its socio-economic development plans.

Together with Vietnam, Laos is actively preparing for celebrations of 55 years of the two countries’ diplomatic ties and 40 years of the signing of the bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. A ceremony to mark those anniversaries will be held in Laos on July 18, he noted.

He also expressed his hope that the two parliaments will continue delegation exchanges and provide practical training for officials of Laos.

IPU Asia-Pacific seminar on SDGs opens in HCM City

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) regional seminar for the Asia-Pacific on responding to climate change and actions of parliaments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) opened in Ho Chi Minh City on May 11.

The three-day event is co-organised by IPU and Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA).

The opening ceremony was attended by Chairwoman of the Vietnamese NA Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, IPU President Saber Chowdhury, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong, Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities (Upper House) and Parliament Mahn Win Khaing Than, Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Alvarez Pantelon, President of Timor-Leste’s National Parliament Aderito Hugo Da Costa and Secretary General of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Isra Sunthornvut.

In her opening speech, Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said like other Asia-Pacific countries, especially coastal and island nations, Vietnam is seriously hit by climate change.

She cited Vietnam’s climate change scenarios which projected that by the end of the 21st century, sea water will submerge about 40 percent of the Mekong Delta, 11 percent of the Red River Delta and 3 percent of other coastal provinces. HCM City, the country’s huge economic hub, is forecast to have more than 20 percent of its area flooded by sea water.

As such, about 10-12 percent of Vietnamese population will bear the direct impacts from climate change and about 10 percent of national GDP will be lost, the chief legislator said.

Therefore, the Vietnamese NA has reached consensus with the IPU on the agenda of the seminar, focusing on the SDGs, particularly those on gender equality and healthcare in the context of climate change response; challenges, opportunities and actions against climate change; international commitments and the role played by legislative bodies; and the mobilisation of resources to achieve SDGs in general and respond to climate change in particular.

IPU President Saber Chowdhury hailed the presence of many senior officials in the region at the seminar.

He stressed that parliaments play an important role in realising the SDGs, while climate change is a global issue that could affect the world’s development, and is related to all 17 SDGs. If the goal on coping with climate change is not achieved, all the remaining goals will suffer, he said.

According to Chowdhury, as 80 percent of natural disasters are caused by climate change, the key in responding to climate change is to cope with natural disasters. He noted that 88 percent of those who are affected by natural disasters in the world are in Asia-Pacific, therefore, it is necessary to put forth more dynamic strategies for women, children and humankind to fight natural disasters.

The IPU President said there are five pillars for the fulfillment of SDGs, which are human; peace; prosperity; connectivity between Governments, Parliaments and within Parliaments; economic development and productivity on the basis of social resources.

He expressed the hope that the seminar will give out strong signals about the Asia-Pacific region’s commitment to the SDGs.

Secretary of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said the presence of Parliament leaders and legislators at the event reflects the significance of environmental protection to all nations.

The event offers an opportunity for HCM City to extend its cooperation with countries which are also facing climate change issue, the official added.

Following the opening session, the first plenary session was held with discussions focusing on SDGs and the role of parliaments in realising those goals.

Within the framework of the event, a trip to Can Gio district in HCM City will be arranged for delegates as a case study for an economic model adaptive to climate change.

On this occasion, the Vietnam NA will coordinate with the IPU to announce a toolkit to help Parliaments assess their performance in SDGs achievement.

Burial services for soldier remains repatriated from Cambodia


The Central Highland province of Gia Lai on May 11 held a memorial and burial service for the remains of 29 Vietnamese voluntary soldiers who laid down their lives in the battlefields of Cambodia during wartime.

The remains were found in the northeastern region of Cambodia in the 2016-2017 dry season by Group K52 of the Gia Lai Military Command.

Over the past 15 years, thanks to the two governments’ assistance and the active coordination of Cambodian authorities, people and armed forces, the group has discovered and repatriated nearly 1,400 sets of remains of fallen soldiers, which were buried at a martyr cemetery in Duc Co district.

APEC moves to enhance education cooperation

With the vision by 2030, APEC will have a strong and cohesive education community characterized by inclusive and quality education that supports sustainable economic growth, social wellbeing and employability of people in APEC economies.

Pham Chi Cuong, Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, made the statement at a Workshop on Action Plan of APEC Education Strategy which opened in Hanoi on May 11 afternoon.

Cuong expressed his hope that the workshop would provide a platform for APEC economies to discuss bilateral and multilateral cooperation in education and training, and that many new initiatives, projects and programmes would come out.

The official also affirmed that this was a chance of Vietnam to share experience in education and training with APEC economies.

For APEC economies, education is an important driver in preparing a population with technical and soft skills to be highly productive and capable of facing the challenges posed by rapidly changing regional and global economic environments.

Lifting the participation since early childhood through higher education and lifelong learning, especially those from disadvantaged groups, will enable APEC’s citizens to adapt to the structural changes in member economies.

The action plan will be developed by all economies and for all economies, aiming to achieve a common understanding of the role that education will play in economic growth and integration across the APEC region.

It will identify the objectives and targets of education development by 2020 with a vision to 2030; synthesize lessons from previous APEC work on education; propose actions to take in each priority area; and recommend implementation levers, in particular, projects and initiatives for the APEC Education Strategy.

The action plan will also help better links the APEC Education Strategy with education policies in specific APEC economies through relevant domestic projects and initiatives.

In her interview with Vietnam News Agency (VNA) correspondents, Wang Yan, Education Network Coordinator of the Human Resource Development Working Group, said the APEC Education Strategy was adopted at the 6thAPEC Education Ministerial Meeting in Peru last year.

The orientations for APEC education cooperation in the next four years are the main topic of discussion at today’s workshop.  The main task right now is to translate visions and objectives of the APEC Education Strategy into achievable targets and concrete projects and progammes.

Education research is the focus of APEC economies now. Firstly, it focuses on aligning competency of individuals with society and second is accelerating innovation.  Education cooperation contributes to economic growth in the APEC region, she noted.

Education cooperation is the responsibility of the APEC Education Network, which now has the participation of all the 21 member economies. Established in 1992, the network has two new initiatives, including granting innovation prizes to outstanding students, lecturers and researchers in the APEC region.

Subcommittees established to strengthen cooperation with Peru, Uruguay

The Prime Minister has approved the establishment of two subcommittees with Peru and Uruguay to promote cooperation with the two nations.

A sub-committee will be set up under the Vietnam – Peru Inter-Governmental Committee for economic and technical cooperation, with the other under the Vietnam – Uruguay Joint Committee on economic, trade, and investment cooperation.

The sub-committees will be chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai. Their secretaries will be department-level officials from the Government Office, with standing members drawn from the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development, Science and Technology.

The tasks of the Peru sub-committee are prescribed in the Agreement on establishing the Vietnam – Peru Inter-Governmental Committee for economic and technical cooperation signed on August 27, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Uruguay sub-committee’s role is detailed in the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between Vietnam and Uruguay signed on December 9, 2013.

Lawmakers urged to promote proper solutions to climate change

Delegates to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Asia-Pacific conference on response to climate change have stressed the need to raise lawmakers’ awareness of linkages among climate change, gender inequality and health care, thereby building laws to promote appropriate solutions to climate change response.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Asia-Pacific conference discussing response to climate change and actions of lawmakers to realise sustainable development goals is taking place in Ho Chi Minh City from May 11-13.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong said Vietnam will focus on fine-tuning policies to ensure sufficient legal framework for the fulfillment of the Plan of Action and Vietnam’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

At the same time, goals set in the National Action Plan to implement the Agenda 2030 will be incorporated into the 2016-2020 socio-economic development plan, he said.

According to him, in order to achieve 17 SDGs, Vietnam will face challenges arising from limited financial resources and needs support from the international community to improve its institutional capacity.

Lawmakers should have awareness of linkages among climate change, gender inequality and health care, thereby building laws to promote proper solutions to climate change response, delegates said.

Shoko Ishikawa, representative from the UN Agency on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and head of the NA’s Committee on Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Anh shared the view that women are more vulnerable to climate change.

Anh said nearly 80 percent of Vietnam’s population in rural areas lives on agriculture – which is impacted by the changing climate while agricultural land accounts for about 74 percent of the total.

Participants expressed concern over increasingly serious intensity and frequency of climate change, which they said, could reduce the world’s gross domestic product by 5-10 percent.

They urged Asian-Pacific nations to work closely together and make clear commitments to climate change reduction by pooling all possible resources for the effort and strengthening collaboration in technology research and transfer.

They vowed to raise their responsibility and role in refining relevant laws and step up serious delivery of commitments and international agreements on climate change, towards realising the Paris Agreement and contributing to the sustainable development of Asian-Pacific countries.

Vietnamese women play significant role in development

Vietnamese women play an important role in socio-economic development, Deputy Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang said.

The official made the remarks at a forum of mayors on May 11, which took place within the framework of the ongoing Global Summit of Women in Tokyo, Japan.

As the country’s political and administrative centre, Hanoi has exerted great efforts to promote gender equality, resulting in the noted rate of female labourers at 60.9 percent who engage in almost all sectors, she said.

Hang stressed that Vietnam has been regarded as the pioneer in removing gender gap over the past two decades.

However, she said, gender discrimination in the economic sector still remains, leading to the gap of income between men and women.

Other challenges facing the country include high rate of untrained female labourers and insufficient attention to gender index in all aspects, the official added.

To promote women’s social role, Hanoi has encouraged them to participate in management and leadership posts and made its best to narrow gender gap in economic and employment fields, raise the quality of female labourers, ensure gender equality in healthcare access and improve State management in this regard.

At the forum, Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko Koike highlighted the role and contributions of women in the modern world, urging them to be active, dynamic and confident.

Sharing her own success story, Koike said the resolve and knowledge are the key to achieving objectives of her career.

The Global Summit of Women takes place from May 11-13, bringing together more than 1,300 delegates from 60 countries worldwide.

NA Standing Committee to finalise preparations for NA’s third session

The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee will finalise preparations for the 14th-tenure parliament’s upcoming third session during its 10th meeting from May 15-17.

During the meeting, the NA Standing Committee is set to give opinions on a report giving additional assessment of the implementation of the socio-economic development and state budget plan for 2016. They will also review the realisation of the socio-economic development and state budget plan so far this year.

Other issues on the agenda include a draft decree of the Government stipulating some special mechanisms and policies for Hai Phong city, and a draft resolution on the settlement of bad debt at credit institutions and on state budget balance in 2015.

The NA Standing Committee is going to discuss a report on the supervision of the handling of voter’s opinions sent to the parliament’s second session last November.

Members of the committee will look into the North-South expressway project and amendments to a draft law revising and supplementing a number of articles of the 2015 Penal Code.

The NA’s third session is scheduled to begin on May 22.

Saigon: Best place in Southeast Asia for cheap love

For a night out with a potential life-long love in Ho Chi Minh City, love birds have to shell out around US$35, while in Singapore a date may cost them at least $80.

A cheap date night combo consists of: dinner for two at a local pub, movie tickets and two cocktails.

The findings were based on a cost of living index updated recently by, a database that compiles the global cost of living.

Date nights may be even cheaper in Hanoi where living costs are 2.62% lower than in Ho Chi Minh City.

Instead of cocktails, Ho Chi Minh City is also the cheapest place for beer with half a liter costing just US$1.5.

However, if couples fancy a date at an Italian restaurant with appetizers, a main course, wine and dessert, then watch out, Ho Chi Minh City may not be a good choice, take a look at Manila instead.

It seems that residents should choose their dates carefully, and marry young. It's cheaper that way.

Recently, Vietnam was named an ideal place to be in a relationship, with a new regional survey naming Vietnamese among the most satisfied lovers.

If you're looking for smooth sailing in a relationship, hook up in Vietnam.

Vice President Thinh meets with Japan business community

Vice State President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh attended a luncheon meeting on May 11 hosted by the Japan Chamber of Commerce at the invitation of the Chamber’s Chair Akio Mimura.

At the meeting, Vice State President Thinh expressed her appreciation to the roughly 300 participants for their attendance and noted she was keenly interested in learning of the problems they have encountered doing business in Vietnam.

During this visit, she said she would like to build a relationship of trust with them and wanted them to know that her commitment to developing a strong economic alliance between Japan and Vietnam is unwavering.

Chair Akio Mimura in turn stated his express appreciation to business leaders representing Japan for gathering. Japan and Vietnam share values and strategic interests and attach importance to freedom as well as the rule of law.

On this basis, the two countries have experienced problems and need to change their economic relationship for the better but should preserve what shouldn't be changed and deal with the various other issues dynamically.

Together, he said, the two countries could overcome the current difficulties and then play a leading role in economic growth in the world. With the world situation changing dramatically, he said, he would like to ask for their continuing support in working to strengthen trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Gov’t approves new bridges, roads for HCM City

 Vietnam hopes for Laos’s support in Mekong River water management, Burial services for soldier remains repatriated from Cambodia, Gov’t approves new bridges, roads for HCM City 

The Government has approved a HCM City plan to build two bridges and a parallel road to National Highway No 50 in HCM City.

The Cát Lái Bridge will cross the Đồng Nai River and link the city’s District 2 with Nhơn Trạch District in Đồng Nai Province.

The bridge project, which will be 4.5 km including approach roads, will be 60m wide with six motor vehicle lanes and two mixed lanes.

The Cần Giờ Bridge will replace the Bình Khánh ferry and link Nhà Bè and Cần Giờ districts.

The bridge will cross the Soài Rạp River, which will be about 7.3km long, inclusive of approach roads, and 40m wide with four motor vehicle lanes and two mixed lanes.

The new road parallel to the National Highway 50 will be 8.6km long and 40m wide, with six motor vehicle lanes, extending from Nhà Bè District to Long An Province’s Cần Giuộc District.

All of the projects will start this year and end in 2020.

NA committee talks economy

The National Assembly Economic Committee held a plenary session on Thursday to review the implementation of the national socio-economic development plan in 2016 and early 2017. They also talked about the amended law on credit institutions and a resolution on bad debt settlement.

The Government report stated that over recent months, the economy has overcome many difficulties to develop, with the macroeconomy basically stabilised and inflation within acceptable limits.

Money markets, banking activities and the stock market witnessed positive changes. State budget revenue was quite high, exceeding the set target.

Domestic and foreign investors’ confidence increased thanks to the improvement in the business environment, while more than 110,000 new enterprises were established with registered capital reaching more than VNĐ891 trillion (US$39 billion), the highest number ever.

Despite these achievements, the economy still faces many big challenges, the report said.

Economic growth and exports have not met targets. Business production was difficult, especially in the first four months of 2017. Large-scale diseases occurred and avian flu is at risk of breaking out, while the pork industry is in a state of "overcapacity" due to a serious imbalance between supply and demand. In addition, environmental pollution is a concern.

Deputy Chairman of the Economic Committee Nguyễn Đức Kiên said that to reach targeted GDP growth of 6.7 per cent in 2017, the Government needs to focus on some key solutions.

It is necessary to foster the disbursement of investment capital. If capital disbursement of construction and transport projects is done properly, capital from other economic sectors will be mobilised. He also emphasised the need to increase private capital mobilisation for investment in development.

In addition, he said if the Government wanted tourism to be the spearhead industry, it is necessary to concentrate investment in it.

In the afternoon, the Committee examined the draft law on credit institutions and the draft resolution of the National Assembly on dealing with bad debts of credit institutions.

Urgent need for workers’ housing in Đồng Nai

Đồng Nai faces a severe shortage of workers’ housing since 60 per cent of the southern province’s one million workers hail from other provinces and cities.

Most workers and their families live in a shabby rented room because budget social housing is being built too slowly.

Nguyễn Thanh Sơn is a worker who came from the central province of Nghệ An to work at the Hố Nai Industrial Park in Trảng Bom District 10 years ago.

He and his wife have three children. The couple earn VNĐ10 million (US$400) a month and can only save VNĐ1-2 million ($45-90) out of that.

His room measures a mere 15sq.m. His children often fall sick because of their poor condition.

“We try hard to save for a house but we cannot because our income is just enough for our daily needs,” Sơn told Việt Nam News Agency.

His is one of 12 rooms in Bùi Chu Hamlet in Trảng Bom’s Bắc Sơn Commune, most of which are rented by workers from central and northern provinces.

“Owning a house is a very distant dream for us. We used to hear a lot about social housing where workers like us can pay a little every month. But we hear no more.”

A recent survey by the Đồng Nai Trade Union found only 8 per cent of workers have savings while 72 per cent live from hand to mouth.

Due to their low incomes, 62 per cent of workers have to work extra time, with most facing financial difficulties and lacking support from their families.

In recent times several companies that hire a lot of workers, like Phong Thái and Chính Xác Việt Nam in Trảng Bom District and Chinwell Fastener in Nhơn Trạch District, have built a combined 65,000sq.m of bachelor housing for 10,000 workers.

“Companies building dormitories for their workers is very good but in the long term workers will marry and need their own houses,” Tăng Quốc Lập, deputy chairman of the Đồng Nai Trade Union, said.

The Trade Union has called on the provincial People’s Committee to build apartments for workers at VNĐ6 million ($266) per sq.m, VNĐ2 million ($85) less than the price stipulated by the Ministry of Construction.

Workers could pay for the houses each month together with low interest, Lập said.

Besides, the Trade Union would ask relevant authorities to fix standards for space, hygiene and rents for rented accommodation, he added.

Nguyễn Thanh Lâm, deputy director of the province’s Department of Construction, said “By 2020, Đồng Nai Province will complete 20,000 apartments for workers and low-income people and dormitories for students.”

By 2020, housing demand in Đồng Nai would increase to over 80 million sq.m, Lâm said.

The province said to provide housing, especially for workers, the Government should provide funding for several projects and have more policies to attract investment in social housing.

In the next three years, another 150,000 rooms are expected to be added around the province for workers and 7,500 apartments in Nhơn Trạch District.

Rice disease brings misery to Hà Tĩnh farmers

Local farmers in the central province of Hà Tĩnh are facing a disastrous rice crop season with nearly 5,300 ha of crop attacked over the past two weeks by Pyricularia oryzae Cav – a bacteria that causes rice blast disease.

Data from the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department showed that the disease mainly attacked rice of the Khang Dân 18, Xi, P6, Thiên Ưu and VTNA2 types.

Đức Thọ District is believed to suffer the most from the disease with 1,968ha of affected crop, the department said. Of which, about 300ha of crop were completely damaged in the communes of Đức Lạc, Đức Hòa, Đức Đồng, Liên Minh and Trường Sơn, the Nông thôn ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported.

Trần Thị Sơn, a local farmer in Đức Thọ District’s Đức Long Commune, said her family’s income mainly depended on its 2,880sq.m rice field. Now, about 2,100 sq.m of rice were damaged. “I don’t know what to do now,” she said.

Dương Thị Bảy, of Thạch Hà District’s Kỳ Sơn Commune, said over 6,120sq.m in her rice field contracted the disease this season. There was no symptom of the disease until the rice flowered, she added. “We will lose about five tonnes of rice this season,” she said.

Dương Văn Thư of Thạch Đài Commune said that apart from losing the crop, he also had to hire a harvester to deal with the affected rice. The price was VNĐ140,000 ($6) per 360sq.m,  and the affected rice area was about 4,320sq.m, he said. “One loss leads to another loss," he bemoaned.

To deal with the affected rice areas, many local farmers have to harvest the damaged rice early in the hopes that some rice will remain disease free and they will also get straw to feed their cows and buffalos.

Nguyễn Thị Vân, of Can Lộc District’s Mỹ Lộc Commune said her rice field was about 2,800sq.m. The entire field had already contracted the disease. She now had to harvest the rice soon and take the straw to her cows.

Lê Thị Thi, of Thạch Hà District’s Thạch Hà Town, said “Seeing my own field hit by the disease, I am desperately worried.” Thi tried to harvest the rice early, but she only extracted 100 kilos of rice from her 1,000sq.m of field.

Trần Xuân Định, deputy head of the Plant Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, said prolonged warm weather this year was blamed for the disease.

Nguyễn Tống Phong, deputy head of the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department, said this year’s weather with less sunny and more rainy days was the cause. Between April 22 and April 25 – the time that the rice flowered in every field, prolonged rainy weather occurred, creating favourable conditions for the disease to develop.

Nguyễn Trí Hà, head of the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department, said farmers neglecting to spray pesticide in order to prevent the disease were also to blame.

The vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Đức Thọ District, Đặng Giang Trung, told Nhân dân (People) online that the district planted rice on more than 6,500ha of agricultural land, including 1,900ha growing Thiên Ưu rice. The affected area was mainly in fields growing Thiên Ưu rice, he added.

Some people alleged that the problem stems from the quality of the varieties.

Trung said he asked the State managerial agencies to quickly co-operate with the locality find out the causes of the disease.

In response, the head of the ministry’s Plant Cultivation Department, Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, led a team on Wednesday to Hà Tĩnh to inspect the situation and seek immediate solutions.

Joining Ba Na Hills Wine Festival to taste wine of world famous brands

The festival entitled Taste of Ba Na Hills 2017 will give guests an opportunity to explore the taste of new wines and explore modern day distillation processes.

The festival will take place on May 22 - 26 at the main stage of Le Jardin D’Amour flower garden in Sun World Ba Na Hills.
Visitors will have a chance to experiment La Batalla del Vino rituals, a traditional activity at European wine festivals, get involved in the wine making process, visit grape gardens and explore the Debay cellar.

Between 10am and 1pm, any visitor who buys a cable car ticket will get a coupon for a premium wine of the world’s prestigious brands. Visitors will also enjoy performances by European music band Bryant and dancers.

Vietnam province fears ‘another Formosa’ as paper mill raises environmental concerns

With the fish death disaster caused by wastewater dumped by a steel plant into the waters off central Vietnam still fresh in the minds of citizens, administrators in a province housing a paper mill are worried about giving history the opportunity to repeat itself.

The administration of the central province of Quang Ngai has called on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to provide more detailed guidance on how to ensure the VNT19 pulp mill in Binh Son District will not become ‘another Formosa.’

The Formosa scandal refers to last year’s disaster in which more than 100 metric tons of fish were killed, severely affecting the environment, jobs, and economies of four provinces along Vietnam’s central coast, all thanks to poorly treated wastewater from the namesake steel mill in Ha Tinh Province.

Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group later took responsibility for the disaster and agreed to pay US$500 million in damages to the government.

In a dispatch sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on April 3, Quang Ngai chairman Tran Ngoc Cang demanded that the ministry confirm that the VNT19 wastewater discharge system installed under the water’s surface is in line with legal regulations.

The system raised concerns when it was publicized that it is the same system as that used at Formosa Ha Tinh.

The VNT19 complex, developed by the eponymous company, consists of a pulp making plant, a wastewater treatment system capable of treating 73,000 cubic meters of water per 24-hour period, and a 5.2km discharge pipeline.

The developer wants to discharge wastewater through Le Ninh River to the Viet Thanh Bay, about 500m to 1,000m away from the Le Thuy beach in the East Vietnam Sea.

More than 2,000 residents living near the pulp mill earn their livelihood from the sea, so the community was understandably on edge after hearing the mill will discharge its water into the ocean.

The Quang Ngai administration has every reason to fear that the VNT19 plant will follow in Formosa's footsteps.

VNT19, located on a 117-hectare plot in the Dung Quat Economic Zone, received its investment license in 2011 for its first-phase operation to run at a capacity to produce 250,000 metric tons of products per year.

When licensing the project, Quang Ngai insisted that the developer use advanced technology and brand new machinery and equipment for the facility.

In 2014, the developer asked to increase the capacity to 350,000 metric tons a year. Quang Ngai approved the request under the condition that the developer ensure the project will be pollution-free.

In September 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment approved the developer’s environmental impact assessment for the facility, reiterating that it must use 100 percent new machines.

However, after VNT19’s first shipment of equipment and machinery arrived at Dung Quat port in 2015, authorities discovered that the imports were used machines from a dismantled pulp mill in Norway, a clear violation of the company’s commitment to use brand new hardware.

The discovery came after Quang Ngai had already reclaimed more than 87 hectares of land, including 50 hectares of mangrove palm plantations from local residents to make space for a water supply reservoir for VNT19.

In 2017, the Quang Ngai administration asked the developer to hire an independent agency to assess the plant’s technology.

VNT19 then contracted Da Nang-based A Viet Co. for the job, but the Quang Ngai technology department quickly detected that the company had not been certified as an assessment firm by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In January 2016, the Dung Quat Economic Zone suggested that the Quang Ngai construction department ask VNT19 to relocate their discharge pipeline to Le Thuy beach.

“Dumping the [treated] wastewater directly into the sea leaves a smaller environmental impact,” the economic zone’s deputy manager Dam Minh Le explained.

But local residents do not seem to agree, citing the fact that the pipeline is underground as a difficulty in authorities supervising the wastewater discharge.

Quang Ngai authorities have demanded that the developer build a reservoir to hold the treated wastewater while administrators and locals oversee the treatment quality before the water is released into the sea.

Le insisted that no solution is better than having the pulp mill discharge its wastewater into the sea.

“It does not really matter where the wastewater is released,” Le said.

“What’s more important is that we ensure there is no environmental disaster.”

Le said the environment ministry will soon send a team of experts to examine the VNT19 project.

Coal and Minerals win at national women’s football

Việt Nam Coal and Minerals defeated defending champion HCM City 1 2-0 in the opener of the National Women’s Football Championship yesterday at the HCM City’s Thống Nhất Stadium.

Trần Thị Thu opened the score for Việt Nam Coal and Minerals just a few minutes into the first half.

Nguyễn Thị Vạn made it 2-0 near the end of the match in a one-two situation with goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh.

HCM City pushed up their speed, opened consecutive attacks but failed to break the visitors’ strong defence.

In the later match of the day, HCM City 2 lost 0-1 to Sơn La.

In today fixture, Phong Phú Hà Nam will play TNG Thái Nguyên and Hà Nội 2 will face Hà Nội 1.

Yuth wins stage, Cường leads An Giang race

Yoeun Phi Yuth of Cambodia won the second stage of the Return to Countryside An Giang cycling tournament yesterday.

Yuth came first with a time of 2hr 53.07min on the 120km stage from Gia Nghĩa Town of Đắk Nông Province to Đồng Xoài Town of Bình Phước Province.

He was followed by Trần Nguyễn Duy Nhân of Military Zone 7 and stage one winner Quàng Văn Cường of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang.

Cường remains the tour’s leader after two stages, clocking 3:42.17. Yuth keeps the green jersey as the best cyclist.

Cambodia top the team ranking. Premium Cycling Vĩnh Long and Military Zone 7 stand second and third, respectively.

The third stage is on 120km from Thủ Dầu Một City, Bình Dương Province, to Kiến Tường Town of Long An Province.

Hai Phong launches public service portal


The Hai Phong People’s Committee launched its official portal on May 11, offering access to online administrative procedures in the northern city.

Built in 2016, the site – – has provided 173 public services. Document processing progress now can be checked online.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Vice Chairman of the committee Le Khac Nam said the website will play a significant role in the local administration reform and business climate improvement, which can lead to better Provincial Competitiveness Index.

He requested the municipal Department of Information and Communications to continue connecting online single-window services of other agencies and districts with the portal.

He said a portal is just the first step in building the e-government, which requires infrastructure development, new technology and administration reform.
MoH urges authorities to enhance prevention of mosquito-borne diseases

Following the complicated development of dengue and Zika, Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday sent its document to chairpersons of people’s committee nationwide, asking to increase prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.

The country is entering the rainy season. During the rainy season, mosquitoes get conducive conditions to breed and multiply. The Ministry stressed efforts against mosquito-borne diseases reinforced in preparation for rainy season.

Local administrations in cities and provinces along with related agencies and social organizations should convince locals to throw away waste to eradicate places where mosquitoes can lay egg and breed as well as cover all water containers, to change the water in flower vases every day and kill larva.

Localities must keep enough equipment, drugs, and chemicals for preparation of the prevention campaign.

The municipal and provincial departments of health must intensify supervision to early detect infection cases to handle the outbreaks.  Medical workers must spray chemicals to kill the insect two or three times a week to kill mosquito and its larva.

The departments of health nationwide must provide training to medical workers how to spray chemicals handle the outbreaks, communication skills to convince locals to kill mosquito. Public and private infirmaries must have mosquito-borne disease treatment guidance.

Hospitals should follow the treatment guidance to limit the death. Additionally, hospitals should classify patients to treat serious patients first to cut down the mortality and reduce overloading.

MoH said in early months of the year, despite a reduction of 20 percent of infection cases across the country compared to last year, there has been a surge in some cities and provinces. So far in 217, over 21,000 are infected with dengue with eight deaths. Besides, scattered infection cases of disease caused by Zika virus in some southern provinces.

Modern auto testing center to be built in Bac Giang province

Vietnam Register has said that it is going to build a 45-50 hectare automobile testing center in the northern province of Bac Giang at the total capital of VND730 billion ($32 million).

According to the first design, the center will have five buildings and ten roads for auto testing, auxiliary works and modern equipment in accordance with national standards and international practice.
The project will serve road motor vehicle manufacturing, assembly, import and export; expected to be submitted to the Ministry of Transport for approval next month before stating construction.
The auto testing center was started in mid 2008 with the total area of 92 hectares and investment capital of VND1,398 billion. After considering, the Ministry of Transport required the agency to reduce the area to 40-50 hectares and the funds to VND730 billion in 2013.

Mural paintings disappearing because of new houses contruction

Many mural paintings in a coastal central commune are on the risk of disappearance because they were painted on dilapidated houses which needs to be re-built.

Moss-covered walls of dozens of houses in Tam Thanh coastal commune in the central province of Quang Nam had colorful murals painted on them by the Korea Foundation Community Art Exchange Program a few years ago.
However, they will disappear because they were painted on walls of old and need to repair houses.  For instance, the house of Mr. Phan Van Thanh in Trung Thanh village with the painting of three kids playing ball together - an attractive destination for holiday-makers to have a photo - is run-down seriously.
Mr. Thanh feels regret at the painting drawn by an old Korean artist in a whole day so he remained the wall waiting for experts to remove it. Before building the new house, he reported to the local authorities, expecting the help of experts in preserving the wall.
Tam Thanh Commune in Quang Nam Province has been sheltering generations of fishermen and their families.It is home to about 6,000 people in seven villages standing along a 6km stretch of unspoilt beach.
Nearly 100 houses in Trung Thanh Village were painted. The life of local residents, mostly fishermen, has changed in many ways after the commune hosted an art space late last year.

The art works feature daily life in the area, including fishing and related activities. Some of the old houses and fences in the area now sport 3-D paintings.

Chairman of Tam Thanh Commune People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh said that  three houses will be destroyed for building new houses. Experts planned to remove two mural paintings and knock down one in Thanh’s house and later Vietnamese artists will draw similar paintings.

Mr. Binh called on owners of these houses with mural paintings to report to the local administration to protect the paintings

APEC Study Centres Consortium convenes conference in Hanoi

The APEC Study Centres Consortium (ASCC) Conference 2017 opened in Hanoi on May 12 within the framework of the APEC 2017 Second Senior Officials Meetings (SOM2) and related meetings.

Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, who is also Vice Chairman of the National Committee for APEC, said that over the past nearly three decades, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has asserted itself as a leading economic mechanism in the region and the world that leads the liberalization of trade and investment as well as promote multi-layer cooperation trends.

APEC represents 39 percent of the global population and contributes 57 percent of GDP and 47 percent of trade in the world, he said.

In the coming time, APEC will play an indispensable role in the evolving regional architecture, coordinating and connecting regional linkage mechanisms, he noted.

According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, APEC now holds an important part in Vietnam’s multilateral foreign policy. The country has set up strategic and comprehensive partnerships with 13 APEC member economies. It has also signed and joined free trade agreements with 18 members.

APEC cooperation in promoting liberalization of trade and investment, developing quality human resources development, facilitating micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)’ operations, responding to disasters and enhancing connectivity will greatly contributing to Vietnam’s socio-economic development, he stressed.

He urged participants at the conference to work to identify emerging trends in Asia-Pacific that have great impact on APEC cooperation, promote the role of APEC in the new context, and propose measures to boost sustainable and inclusive growth, develop human resources, encourage innovation, enhance regional linkages and increase competitiveness of MSMEs.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Nguyen Nguyet Nga, Senior Advisor to Vietnam’s APEC 2017 National Secretariat, spoke highly of the role played by policy researchers in fostering understanding and connectivity among APEC members, especially when the region enters its fourth decade of development in 2019.

Researchers must be pioneers in making policies, laying basic foundations for policy makers to build next programmes and plans, she noted, adding that they should pay more attention to strengthening APEC collaboration in a practical manner and promoting sustainable growth and intensive regional connectivity.

During the two-day conference, delegates will discuss new trends, challenges and outlook for the Asia-Pacific region, relevance and dynamism for APEC in the new context, and the development of an APEC Labour Mobility Framework.

They will also focus on measures to promote resilience, sustainable and inclusive growth among APEC member economies, and human resources development and technological innovation in the region as well as deepen regional economic integration, and enhance capacity and competitiveness of MSMEs.

Network information security of 11 key areas prioritised

According to Decision No.632/QĐ-TTg of the Prime Minister, the network information security of 11 key areas must be prioritised.

The 11 key areas include transport (the Ministry of Transport); energy (the Ministry of Industry and Trade); natural resources and environment (the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment); information (the Ministry of Information and Communications); health (the Ministry of Health); finance (the Ministry of Finance); banking (the State Bank of Vietnam); defence (the Ministry of defence); security, social order and safety (the Ministry of Public Security); urban areas (the municipal People's Committees of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City); and the Government's direction and administration (the Office of the Government).

The Prime Minister also promulgated the list of important national information systems in the fields of information and the direction and administration of the Government.

Specifically, the information system comprises of the national domain “.vn”; the system of management, control, use and operation of telecommunication satellites; the system of management, control, use, operation of the broadband backbone network; the international switching management system; the submarine fiber-optic communication system, and the land-based cable system.

The Government's direction and administration area includes the data communication network for Party and State agencies; and the 4-level government document management system.

The Prime Minister requested relevant ministries coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Defence to develop specific criteria to identify important national information in certain fields, as well as evaluate and propose amendments and/or supplements to the list of important national information before November 30 each year.

Bebras Challenge 2017 kicks off second round

More than 350 students have attended the second round of the international mathematics competition Bebras Challenge 2017 in Hanoi and HCM City.

The event, the first of its kind in Vietnam, is organized by Hanoi Telecom and ISKOOL Education Joint Stock Company.

In the keynote address at the opening ceremony, Nguyen Cong Toan, director of ISKOOL JSC said the competition aims to promote computer science and computational thinking among school students and contribute to accelerating the development of the scientific and technological revolution in the world.

All exam papers of students will be sent to the International Bebras Committee for evaluation and the exam results will be unveiled after 30 days. The awards will be presented to the most outstanding students.

The winning candidates will have an opportunity to attend Bebras summer camp scheduled for June.

The first round of the contest took place under online platform from March 25 to April 7.

Japanese manga art on display


An exhibition of Hokusai Manga, considered the origin of today’s manga, is taking place in HCM City from May 12-26.

The Manga Hokusai Manga: Approaching the Master’s Compendium from the Perspective of Contemporary Comics will honour artist Katsushika Hokusai, who created and published first Hokusai Manga over 200 years ago.

The exhibition will introduce audiences to Hokusai’s publications, focusing on genre, pictorial storytelling and culture.

It is jointly held by the Japan Foundation Centre and the General Consulate of Japan in HCM City.

Ethnic minorities’ cultural festival in Huế

A festival on traditional sports and cultural activities of the mountainous regions will be celebated in the central province of Thừa Thiên Huế from May 15 to 17.

Held every two years, the event is an effort to honour, preserve and promote the unique cultural characteristics of the ethnic minority communities living in the district, and to make people aware of the tourism potential of the region.

The festival will see a variety of activities such as an arts performance, traditional clothes fairs and other exhibitions, sports competitions, and mobile film screening.

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, vice-chairman of A Lưới District’s People’s Committee, said the unique cultural activities of the ethnic people in the district, such as traditional ways of bathing in the stream, washing hair and catching fish in groups, will be showcased at the festival for the first time this year.

Around 500 amateur artists and athletes from ethnic minority groups in Thừa Thiên Huế Province’s four mountainous districts of Nam Đông, A Lưới, Phú Lộc and Phong Điền will participate in the event.

New road to ease Hà Nội traffic congestion

A 50-metre-wide addition to Ring Road No 1 and parallel to Đê La Thành Street in Hà Nội will soon begin construction, according to a newly approved city’s People’s Committee plan.

The new road, located in Ba Đình and Đống Đa districts, will start at Hào Nam-Hoàng Cầu crossroad and end at Giảng Võ-Láng Hạ crossroad.

The Ring Road No 1 has 50-metre wide cross section. Đê La Thành road’s cross section is 17m.

The land between Ring Road No 1 and Đê La Thành Street has the width of 8 to 12m.

The crossroads between Ring Road No1 and Đê La Thành Street will be determined following detailed planning along two sides of the Ring Road No 1 approved by local authorities.

The city’s People’s Committee has assigned the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture to approve road marking plans and hand over documents to peoples’ committees of Ba Đình and Đống Đa districts to manage the road construction following approved planning.

The area around Đê La Thành Street is a traffic bottleneck. A series of transport projects were built within Ring Road No 1 to reduce traffic congestion of the city.

Hà Nội’s Ring Road No 1 is a circle route through Cầu Giấy, Tây Hồ, Ba Đình, Hoàn Kiếm, Hai Bà Trưng and Đống Đa districts. It runs from Nhật Tân Ward of Tây Hồ District along Hồng (Red) River to the city’s south and covers Nguyễn Khoái, Trần Khát Chân, Đại Cồ Việt, Xã Đàn, La Thành streets, Bưởi road, and Lạc Long Quân road.

Remains of 107 martyrs repatriated from Laos reburied in Nghe An

The central province of Nghe An on May 12 held a burial ceremony for 107 volunteer soldiers and experts falling down in Laos, whose remains were found and repatriated in the 2016-2017 dry season.

Present at the event was Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung, Secretary of the Nghe An Party Committee Nguyen Dac Phong, and representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Government, Military Zone 4 and special working groups from the Lao Government and Xieng Khouang, Vientiane and Xaysomboun.

Over the past years, the special working groups of Vietnam and Laos, the Steering Committee for the Search and Collection of Martyrs’ Remains, as well as Nghe An and the three Laos provinces have coordinated closely in searching for remains of Vietnamese martyrs in Laos.

In the 2016-2017 dry season alone, 104 sets of remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers and experts were found in Laos and three sets of remains were searched in Ky Son district of Nghe An.

According to Minister Dao Ngoc Dung, currently, about over 200,000 martyrs’ remains are still in Laos and former battlefields across Vietnam.

In the past five years, authorized agencies have repatriated more than 12,000 sets of remains, while the names of more than 300,000 martyrs have yet been defined.

On the occasion of the 70th Day for Martyrs and War Invalids, Dung called for the entire community to exert efforts to care for the revolution contributors and invalids.

Tien Giang constructs technical works to control flood

The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is implementing a sub-project on managing and mitigating the risk of floods in Ba Rai – Phu An area, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Australia Agency for International Development (AusAID).

According to Truong Hoang Dieu, Deputy Director of the Management board of sub-projects in the Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) project under the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the sub-project has a total investment of over 335 billion VND (14.74 million USD), including more than 273.2 billion VND (over 12 million USD) from the ABD and AusAID.

It aims to upgrade irrigation systems and breakwaters to prevent floods and flood tide, thus protecting over 4,500 ha of fruit trees in Cai Lay district, Cai Lay and Cai Be towns.

The locality planned to construct five big sluices and 23 small ones, and upgrading breakwaters and transport facilities in disadvantages areas.

The construction of 13 breakwaters began February this year. The remaining works were scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The sub-project is hoped to make it easy for locals to effectively adapt to climate change, and zone out specialized-planting areas of fruit trees with high value and competitiveness such as mango, green-skin grapefruit, and durian, helping improve their incomes and living standards.

It would also contribute to promoting new-style rural area building, fine-tuning rural transport systems and protecting the environment.

APEC trade policy on environmental services deliberated

As part of the second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2) and related meeting, the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) hosted a Trade Policy Dialogue (TPD) on Environmental Services in Hanoi on May 11.

The dialogue was designed to provide information about the classification of environmental services, study the combination of environmental products and services and discuss ways for APEC member economies to support each other in speeding up negotiations on environmental services.

At the dialogue, Jehan Sauvage, a Trade Policy Analyst in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), shared his expertise about environmental services.

According to him, there are three basic types of environmental services: key environmental services (wastewater treatment, underground water management); environment-related services (consultant and technical services) and other services directly related to the environment (legal and auditing services).

Water resources business was also a topic that gained attention from delegates at the dialogue where they mentioned factors considered as a momentum to enhance creativity and efficiency as well as challenges in this field.

Regarding the limited use of recycled items and disposable products, participants emphasised the importance of circular economic model and ways to reduce the re-use and recycling of items in the daily life. The disposal, treatment and management of waste not only bring benefits to society but also the environment, they noted.

Overcoming the environmental damage was also a type of service debated by the delegates. This sector has faced a number of challenges due to different standards and regulations on the environment in different economies and political institutions.

During the course of the final session, the panels deliberated ways to effectively boost renewable energy business, noting that the sense of efficiency in thinking and action could improve the quality of business and enhance competitiveness in the market.

Legal challenges are likely to hinder development of the renewable energy sector and they should be removed as soon as possible, they said.

Cường wins An Giang cycling tour’s first stage

Quàng Văn Cường won the first stage of the cycling tournament "Return to the Countryside An Giang" on May 10.

Cường of the Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang crew finished the 38km stage around Nguyễn Tất Thành Street in Buôn Ma Thuột City, Đắk Lắk Province, in a time of 49min 27sec and secured the yellow jersey.

Nguyễn Minh Luận of Premium Cycling Vĩnh Long passed Yoeun Phi Yuth from the Cambodian national youth team in the last second to finish in second place.
The second stage of 110km is from Gia Nghĩa Town of Đắk Nông Province to Đồng Xoài Town of Bình Phước.
The annual tournament has nearly 100 international and local athletes vying for a total bonus of VNĐ450 million (US$20,000). It will close on May 19 after 11 stages in Long Xuyên City, An Giang Province.

Police detect smuggled medicine worth $219,968

The department of smuggling prevention (C74) under Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security and Economic Police of District 4 confiscated smuggled medicine worth VND5 billion ($219,968) yesterday.

Tens of police officers abruptly paid a visit to a warehouse at 488 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in district 4.

At that time, a truck driven by Cao Hien Huu traveled into the warehouse. Police officer searched the truck and discovered 41 containers of medicine with more than 750kg of medicine including specific drugs for cancer and diabetes treatment.

The owner of the warehouse confessed that in their permits all medications were imported from Turkey via Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC and then will be exported to Cambodia through Moc Bai border gate in the southern province of Tay Ninh.

However, the owner of the warehouse said, later, smugglers will use smaller vans to carry the medicines back to Ho Chi Minh City for consumption.

Police are furthering the investigation.
Bridgestone donates 100 smart trash bins to city

Japanese tire producer Bridgestone Vietnam in April donated 100 smart trash bins to the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The event which is a part of the “Together with Bridgestone in response to Earth Day 2017” campaign aims to promote a cleaner environment.

The first 30 trash bins that previously handed over on April 16 were installed on a pilot basis at Nguyen Hue pedestrian square in HCMC's District 1. The dustbins feature dual compartments to separate organic waste and inorganic waste, water filtration system to grow trees and reflective decals for visibility at night.

The other 70 smart trash bins were set up in other districts of Ho Chi Minh City.

Joining Ba Na Hills Wine Festival to taste wine of world famous brands

The wine festival called The Taste of Ba Na Hills 2017 will give tourists a new experience of different premium wines free of charge and explore the wine making process.

The festival will take place on May 22 - 26 at the main stage of Le Jardin D’Amour flower garden in Sun World Ba Na Hills.
Visitors will have a chance to experiment La Batalla del Vino rituals, a traditional activity at European wine festivals, get involved in the wine making process, visit grape gardens and explore the Debay cellar.

Between 10am and 1pm, any visitor who buys a cable car ticket will get a coupon for a premium wine of the world’s prestigious brands. Visitors will also enjoy performances by European music band Bryant and dancers.


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