Thứ Ba, 27 tháng 6, 2017

Social News 27/6

Rural transport development helps promote poverty reduction


Measures to promote transport infrastructure development in rural areas and the use of official development assistance (ODA) for the work was the focus of a seminar held by the Dai bieu nhan dan (People's Deputy) newspaper in Hanoi on June 26.

The event aimed to gather opinions of NA deputies, experts, scientists, and managers on the current rural transport development and issues in the coming time.

Participants said transport has significantly contributed to promoting socio-economic development in general and serving agricultural production and rural development in particular.

In recent years, capital sources for developing rural transport infrastructure have been increasing, including ODA. The Government has spent a remarkable amount of ODA capital for rural transport projects.

In the last five years, about 48 trillion VND (2.1 billion USD) was poured into rural transport, up over 10 trillion VND from those for the 2005-2010 period. The ODA capital for rural transport accounted for between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total source for transport construction.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong underlined the importance of stepping up transport development, which he described as a foundation for developing other sectors.

While highlighting the role of rural transport in poverty reduction, deputy head of the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs Bui Si Loi affirmed the NA and Government need to continue prioritising investment for transport development, and consider the work as part of activities to promote sustainable poverty reduction.

Deputy head of the NA Council of Ethnic Affairs Nguyen Lam Thanh emphasised the involvement of local people and authorities in rural transport development.-

Hai Phong asked to turn private sector into momentum of development

The northern port city of Hai Phong should make greater efforts to turn the private sector an important motivation of its economic development, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

At a working session with the municipal Party Committee’s Standing Board on June 26, PM Phuc said that, despite its strong performance in the first half of 2017, Hai Phong has yet to meet requirements as the major industrial hub of the country and the driving force for socio-economic development of the northern coastal region.

The government leader asked Hai Phong to mull over development orientations to deserve its position as the third largest city of the country and develop itself into a green, modern port city, and a big centre of services and industries with high competitiveness edge.

To contribute to the country’s economic growth of 6.7 percent this year, Hai Phong must strive to achieve a 14 percent GDP growth rate in 2017, he said.

The PM suggested that Hai Phong coordinate with domestic and foreign agencies in completing its development planning to make it a leading seaport centre of the country and the region.

At the same time, Hai Phong should continue improving its investment environment, enhancing its competitiveness through speeding up administrative reform, and complete its infrastructure system for tourism, turning tourism an important economic sector of the city, he said.

Statistics released at the working session showed that in the first half of 2017, Hai Phong saw the highest gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth in the past 10 years.

The total volume of goods handed by Hai Phong port reached 43 million tonnes, up almost 13.8 percent, while total social investment was 23.9 trillion VND, an increase of 22.56 percent. The city’s budget collection topped 35 trillion VND, a rise of 10.7 percent.

Hai Phong remained one of the top 10 most attractive investment destinations with 24 foreign-invested projects licenced in the first six months of this year, while 20 existing projects permitted to increase their investment, with a combined capital of 617 million USD.

The city also disbursed over 3.7 trillion VND as public investment, equivalent to 40.8 percent of the annual plan. The number of newly-established firms in the first six months of 2017 was 1,598, 23.7 percent higher than the same period last year, with a combined capital of over 7.4 trillion VND.

Vietnamese in India, Nepal look towards homeland’s sea, islands

The Vietnamese Embassy in India on June 26 launched a campaign themed “Looking towards the homeland’s sea and islands.”

The programme aims to promote solidarity among Vietnamese in India and Nepal to protect sea and islands of the homeland.

At the launching ceremony, the participants, including the embassy staff and officials of other Vietnamese agencies, donated their one day’s salary to support forces who are protecting national sovereignty at sea.

The campaign will last until September, 2017.

More martyrs’ remains repatriated from Cambodia in dry season

The team for searching and repatriating martyrs’ remains of the southern province of Long An brought home 21 sets of remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers and experts from Cambodia during the 2016-2017 dry season.

At a conference to review the work on June 26, the team also revealed that it helped move and rebury 38 sets of remains of martyrs who laid down their lives in domestic battlefields.

On this occasion, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Can presented certificates of merit to five collectives and ten individuals who made important contributions to the search and repatriation of remains of Vietnamese martyrs who died in Cambodia.

Also during the 2016-2017 dry season, two teams for searching and repatriating martyrs’ remains in Tay Ninh province collected 263 sets of remains of Vietnamese martyrs in Cambodia.

From the 2001-2002 dry season until now, the two teams discovered and repatriated 4,131 sets of remains of martyrs from Cambodia.-

PM pledges actions to build facilitating Government to voters

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that not only the central government but also grassroots administrations must take actions to build a transparent and facilitating Government while meeting with voters in the northern port city of Hai Phong on June 26.

“The construction of a transparent and facilitating Government must be carried out with actions, not just through words”, he said.

The PM also spoke about the government’s measures to address a number of socio-economic issues of great public concern.

Answering a question on the settlement of 12 prolonged loss-making projects, PM Phuc reiterated the Government’s viewpoint of quickly recover the lost property.

The investigating bodies have launched criminal proceedings against and detained some stakeholders who will be strictly punished according to law, he added.

Regarding numerous violations of the order to close natural forests in the Central Highlands, the PM stressed that the responsibility of local authorities will be clarified in implementing the Government leader’s directions while resolutely preventing violations from re-occurring.

Regarding the fight against corruption, Phuc said positive changes have been recorded in the detection and handling of corruption cases, adding that many corruption cases will be drastically addressed in the coming time.

Talking about the East Sea issue, the PM stated that Vietnam pursues the policy of building peace, friendship, and freedom of aviation and navigation in the sea, on the basis of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while well implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and working towards a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

“Vietnam protects her legitimate interests via implementing international law on the East Sea issue”, he affirmed.

At the meeting, the PM also explained policies for persons who made contributions to the nation and the revolution, the implementation of policies on high tech agriculture development and education reform.

He also briefed the outcomes of the third session of the 14th National Assembly and his official visits to the US and Japan.

GCF funds project to increase Vietnam’s climate change resilience


The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on June 26 announced a GCF-funded project to increase the resilience to climate change for coastal residents in Vietnam.

The 29.5 million USD project, approved by the GCF in 2016, has been developed as a partnership between the UNDP, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Construction, the MPI and coastal provinces.

It will focus on supporting communities vulnerable to natural disasters to protect themselves from the impacts of frequent typhoons and floods and improve their livelihoods.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong said that Vietnam has an urgent need for investment to mitigate climate change impacts, reduce risks and develop the low-carbon economy.

This project is the first step in the long-term strategic partnership between Vietnam and the GCF, he stated, adding that the country also wants to contribute to the fund and share its experience with other GCF-supported countries.

Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, said that UNDP is working with the Vietnamese Government on initiatives to strengthen the resilience to extreme climate phenomena for poor people in rural areas, many of whom are women and ethnic minorities.

Vietnam is one of the 30 countries rated as at “extreme risk” of climate change by Maplecroft, a global risk and strategic consulting firm based in the UK, in its Climate Change Vulnerability Index within the next 30 years via 42 socio-economic and environmental factors.

During 1992-2012, natural disasters claimed the lives of 457 people, destroying over 96,000 houses, and caused losses equivalent to 1.3 percent of GDP each year.

The rate of poor households accounts for 23 percent in coastal areas, two times higher than the average rate of the country, which is partly caused by natural disaster-related losses.

Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the central coastal province of Thanh Hoa, Nguyen Duc Quyen said to cope with climate change, it is necessary to mobilize resources from the private sector in the forms of public-private partnership, official development assistance (ODA) and aid of non-Governmental organisations.

He also stressed the need for the Government to upgrade sea and river dykes, improve the early disaster warning system, support poor households in production and build livelihood models adaptive to climate change.

At the event, delegates also discussed Vietnam’s strategy to access the GCF with focus on the country’s strong commitments to climate change, investment in climate change adaptation and green growth and strengthening strategic cooperation between Vietnam and the fund.

Vietnamese students in Belgium convene third congress

The Vietnamese Students Association in Belgium (SIVIBI) on June 25 convened its third congress to review activities during 2014-2017 and set out orientations for the next three years.

Attending the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vuong Thua Phong encouraged Vietnamese students to further participate in external activities of the embassy and affirmed that the embassy would continue support for the students in the host nation.

He suggested that the association should enhance connections with the General Association of Vietnamese in Belgium to popularise Vietnam’s culture and cuisine to international friends.

In its 2014-2017 tenure, the association gained significant achievements, including sharing learning experience, supporting new students with learning materials, accommodation, travel and other necessary procedures.

The congress elected a new executive board for the 2017-2020 tenure with seven members led by Trinh Hoang Khai.

There are some 300 Vietnamese students living and studying in Belgium’s big cities like Brussels, Gent, Louvain, Liege and Antwerp.

Social investment in Central Highlands increases

Social investment in the Tay Nguyen Central Highlands has increased in recent years thanks to the improvement of the business environment.

According to the regional Steering Committee, total social investment in the region reached 267.6 trillion VND (11.77 billion USD) in 2011-2015 from 40 trillion VND (1.76 billion USD) in 2001-2005.

The proportion of non-State capital poured into the region rose from 38.37 percent in 2006 to nearly 70 percent in 2015, with Gia Lai the most attractive destination.

Central Highland provinces focused investment on developing the transport system and building irrigation facilities in Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Lam Dong.

In 2016, total gross regional domestic product exceeded 151 trillion VND (6.64 billion USD), a year-on-year rise of 7.47 percent, and per capita GRDP was estimated at 39.56 million VND (1,740 USD), up 8.57 percent.

The Central Highlands comprises Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong provinces, with total population of about 5.64 million people and 47 ethnic groups.

1 dead, 1 injured after motorbike crash in southern Vietnam

A province of Dong Nai motorbike driver is dead and his passenger left clinging to life in a hospital bed after a crash this morning (June 26) in the southern Vietnam city of Bien Hoa.

The motorbike was travelling at a high rate of speed on National Highway 51 in the city of Bien Hoa when it lost control and collided head on with an oncoming truck, according to police officials investigating the accident.

Police officials said their preliminary investigation revealed that the driver, Nguyen Van Giau, 58, of the motorbike was travelling to fast for road conditions and was killed upon impact with the truck.

The female passenger of the motorbike was transported to the hospital with serious life-threatening injuries.

The name of the woman has not been released pending notification of the family.

Quảng Ninh coal mining sector to protect environment

The People’s Committee of northern Quảng Ninh Province has ordered the coal mining sector to implement urgent solutions to protect the environment.
Accordingly, the committee has asked for lowering the height of coal dumps, planting trees to cover the dumps and stepping up monitoring of the environment.
Việt Nam Coal and Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) and Đông Bắc Corporation under the Ministry of Defence have proposed solutions under six groups.
The proposals include solutions to avoid landslides and rocks floating to protect the environment; dredging and improving water drainage system; relocating inhabitants out of risky areas; treating waste water, water on the surface, toxic waste and solid waste; and reducing level of dust, noise and emissions. Vinacomin also proposed recovering environment of some 190ha of land with dumps at Chính Bắc Núi Béo, Đông Cao Sơn and Hà Ráng areas within this year.
In addition, the corporation aims to stop dumping of coal at dumps exposed to Highway 18A during the 2018-20 period and construct conveyor belts to transport coal from and to ports and power plants by 2020.
To effectively implement the proposals, deputy chairman of Quảng Ninh Province’s People’s Committee Đặng Huy Hậu asked the two corporations to share the conveyor belt system to avoid waste, reduce released dust while using the mistorising system and launch projects to dredge rivers and streams.
The companies were also urged to build automatic environmental monitoring stations following standards.
Earlier, households living in Mông Dương Ward, Cẩm Phả City, submitted a petition to local authorities detailing the risks they face from coal mining activities of the Thăng Long One Member Ltd Company, located nearby.
Within this month alone, three downpours have washed mud from the company’s dumps towards houses in the area, causing floods and landslides. Some families have been forced to leave their homes for temporary shelters.
Hoàng Ngọc Chí, a local, said the company started coal mining activities in July 2015, dumping piles of soil and rock 30 to 70m high without any safety measures. The dumps are less than 50m from the houses of locals.
The company often drills the ground for mine explosions without informing the public.

Drop in traffic accidents, deaths

More than 9,500 traffic accidents occurred across the country in the first six months of this year, killing more than 4,100 people and injuring more than 7,900, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

The numbers represent a drop of 636 in the number of accidents, 229 in the number of dead and 1,004 in the number of injured compared with the same period last year.

The dealiest accident occurred in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai at the beginning of May when a coach crash into a lorry killing 13 people and injuring dozens of others.

In June, more than 1,500 traffic accidents were recorded with more than 600 dead and more than 1,300 injured.

Teen survives being stabbed in heart

Doctors at the Định Quán Town General Hospital in the southern province of Đồng Nai successfully operated on a 16-year-old after he was stabbed in the heart.

Nguyễn Minh Sang was hospitalised on Thursday in a serious condition with the wound about two centimetres deep.

Doctors conducted surgery within two hours.

Tạ Quang Trí, deputy director of the hospital, said that Sang might have died if he hadn’t undergone the timely surgery.

Sang is now stable and should be discharged from the hospital in 7-10 days.

Eight weak bridges in dire need of repairs

Hà Nội Urban Traffic Works Investment Management Board has proposed the city allocate fund to upgrade eight weak bridges.

In 2011, the municipal People’s Committee was approved to appoint contractors to build or upgrade 34 bridges in the city. The projects were deemed urgent to ensure traffic flow and safety, yet not all the bridges have received upgrades.

After six years of implementation, 16 bridges have been reported as downgraded. Of those, eight were seriously weak, including Chiếc Bridge in Thường Tín District, Suối Hai 1 in Ba Vì District, Phú Tiên Bridge in Hà Nam District, Hạ Dục in Chương Mỹ District, Gốm in Chương Mỹ District, Hồng Phú in Thanh Oai District, Phú Thứ in Thạch Thất District and Ái Mỗ in Sơn Tây Town.

These bridges have a high usage rate, causing traffic congestion and danger, especially during stormy season. Management units have installed warning signals on trucks’ weight and mobilised staff to be on duty during peak hours to monitor the bridges.

Chiếc Bridge was built in 1999 with maximum capacity of 10 tonnes. In 2010, the bridge was reinforced with steel plates on its surface and a barrier was installed to prevent trucks taller than 2.1 metres getting through.

However, since the Giáp Bát-Kim Bài bus route was set up, the barrier has become useless.

A resident in Hiền Giang Commune’s Nhân Hiền Commune said that the bridge was slippery in the rain and traffic jams struck everyday.

Other bridges are in the same situation. Ái Mỗ Bridge even lacks a pedestrian path, forcing them to walk under the bridge on the road for vehicles.

Phùng Tuấn Minh, director of Hà Tây Road Management No1 Company said that among these eight bridges, some were built in the previous century with outdated technical criteria and low capacity, which failed to ensure traffic flow.

Head of Thạch Thất District’s People’s Committee’s Urban Management Unit Phí Đình Phùng said these bridges had not been upgraded due to a shortage of funds.

He cited Hạ Dục, Gốm, Hồng Phú bridges as examples. The bridges were approved for upgrades in 2012, but these have not been carried out.

Capital investment for these bridges was about VNĐ10-115 billion (US$440,000-5.06 million) depending on the repair levels.

Phùng said that upgrading the bridges was necessary and should be done promptly to ensure socio-economic development in the city.

Fishermen resuced at sea

The Việt Nam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre (VMRCC) and the Nghệ An Border Guards yesterday rescued 17 seamen from a floundering fishing ship.

At about 3pm on Friday the VMRCC received signals asking for help from the fishing ship, owned by Hoàng Văn Hoa, from Cửa Lò Town, the central province of Nghệ An. The ship’s enginge stopped working, water was going to flood the ship and the seamen had ran out of food and water. At that time the ship was about 110 nautical miles off the province’s Lạch Quèn seaport.

The VMRCC reached the vessel at 9am on Saturday, with the crew having been battered by strong waves.

The ship and its crew were taken to the Cửa Lò seaport.

Programme honours Raglai ethnic people’s culture


An arts programme, introducing the unique cultural identities of the Raglai ethnic minority people from Ninh Thuan province, will take place at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Dong Mo, Son Tay district, Hanoi, on June 24-25.

Themed ‘Giac mo Chapi’ (Chapi dream), the programme will offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy the performances with the Chapi, a traditional musical instrument of the Raglai people.

In addition, visitors will have the chance to learn about the origin of the instrument, as well as the way to make the Chapi.

During the programme, the ‘bo ma’ ritual, an important and traditional ceremonial ritual in which the Raglai ethnic group pays tribute to the dead, will also be reproduced. Raglai people believe that two separate worlds exist at the same time – one for the living and one for the dead. The ritual is believed to help the dead unite with their ancestors and become reborn into a new life.

The programme will also honour the cuisine of the Raglai people in Ninh Thuan province, including traditional food and offerings in their spiritual rituals.

Notably, the relationship between Raglai and Cham ethnic group will be introduced at the programme.

As many as 20 photos on the beauty of Ninh Thuan province, as well as activities in the daily life of local Raglai people, will be on display during the two days of the programme, which is expected to attract a large number of visitors.

Number of visitors soars 50% during Da Nang firework festival

The number of visitors to the Da Nang International Firework Festival (DIFF) 2017 has surged by 50% in the two months of festival.

The information was announced on June 22, by the organising board of the 2017 DIFF, at a press conference outlining the programme during the festival’s final round and the result of the 2017 Firework Display on Computer Competition.

Themed “Shining Marble Mountains”, the 2017 DIFF has offered a lot of activities to entertain visitors, in addition to the eight nights of fireworks on display from April 30 to June 24.

The festival featured the participation of eight teams from different eight countries – Switzerland, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Austria and Vietnam.

Over 6,000 artists and actors have also participated in the event. Up to now, the investment cost for the event stands at nearly VND130 billion, with nearly 100,000 tickets being issued. In particular, the amount of funding from donors (including artifacts) is around VND37.5 billion.

According to General Director Le Quy Duong, the final round of the fireworks festival promises to bring spectacular performances combining harmony and light. During the final round, three fireworks teams from the UK, Australia and Italy, who are considered as the "players" in the world of fireworks, will showcase their most modern techniques.

The winners of the 2017 DIFF Championship will be awarded a US$ 10,000 prize after the final round.

As part of the press conference, the organising board honoured the three most outstanding works in the 2017 Firework Display on Computer Competition.

HCMC says to cut tourism services checks

Tourism services providers in HCMC will not have to meet as many inspection teams of authorities as before, said city vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen.

The city government told relevant agencies to strictly implement Decree 103/2009/ND-CP of the Government governing cultural activities and services.

The city has fetched VND451 trillion (US$19.8 billion) from retail and tourism in the first six months of the year, a year-on-year rise of 10.3%.

The city has welcomed about 2.8 million visitors in the year to date, up 14.7% year-on-year and accounting for 51.5% of the year’s plan. Tourism revenue rose 12% to VND53.6 trillion, representing 47.9% of the full-year plan.

Switzerland assists Vietnam to develop natural ingredients

Hanoi last week saw the launch of a Switzerland-funded project designed to conserve biodiversity through sustainable trade of natural ingredients following the BioTrade principles in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

The BioTrade project is financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, a Swiss government agency, and carried out by Helvetas Vietnam, a Swiss-based international non-government organization.

Total capital of the project for Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar is US$4.9 million, with US$2.7 million for Vietnam by 2020, according to a statement issued by Helvetas Vietnam.

The natural ingredient sector has been facing a slew of challenges. For instance, the overexploitation of biodiversity-based resources from natural forests for exporting to low-quality markets like China is threatening the environment and livelihoods of upland farmers, and limiting export opportunities for local companies, said Nguyen Que Anh, director of Vietnam Star Anise Processing and Exporting Co Ltd.

The project pays special attention to enhancing the competitiveness of local exporters and producers, and the livelihoods of rural residents, and encouraging them to apply BioTrade principles, according to Miroslav Delaporte, head of cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam.

“Over the next three years, we will work to increase the competitiveness of local exporters and enable them access high-end markets, while providing better income and job opportunities for harvesters and producers. By incorporating the principles of BioTrade, we will ensure that, biodiversity is protected and encouraged during this process,” said Andrew Wilson, regional project manager of Helvetas Vietnam.

BioTrade refers to the collection, production, transformation and commercialization of goods and services derived from the native biodiversity in line with the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Natural ingredients are products processed from plants, animals and microorganisms collected and cultivated in the wild or domesticated and produced in an ecological way, without the use of petrochemicals. They are used in many ways in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics or food industries for commercial purposes.

In Vietnam, regional museums are a state budget black hole

While museums in Ho Chi Minh City lack the exhibition space to display prized artifacts and national treasures, counterparts elsewhere crave both the funding and technology to protect their exhibits from permanent damage.

Several lack the essential infrastructure to operate or exhibit their valuable artifacts publicly, and receive scarce visitors, let alone appeal to tourists.
Some are unable to employ qualified staff and have made basic mistakes in identifying their own artifacts.

During a recent visit to the Museum of Vietnamese History, near the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden, at 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the municipal Department of Tourism, made the observation that local museums should create more compelling ‘narratives’ in order to make them regular destinations for tourists instead of attempting to cram such a large number of items into a limited space.

Speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, Hoang Anh Tuan, the museums director, acknowledged the shortcomings.

“While the museum space remains unchanged, its number of artifacts has surged eightfold since 1975 to 40,000 individual pieces, with the majority covered in dust inside a warehouse,” he added.

The institution has become desperate for space to properly showcase and preserve its collection of national treasures.

One of these is the museum’s collection of more than 100 age-old Buddha statues. Currently, only 20 are on public display.

An appropriate area to exhibit more antiques from Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), the country’s last monarchy, remains Tuan and his predecessors’ burning desire, as they can now only display around one-sixth of their total assortment.

The Museum of Southern Vietnamese Women, at 202 Vo Thi Sau, District 3, does not fare much better.

Its valued collection includes wartime banknotes, 200 ao dai (a traditional Vietnamese gown) worn by celebrities, and approximately 15,000 war mementos still awaiting their first public showing.

Unbeknownst to most, eight years ago the municipal People’s Committee granted the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, at 65 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, VND3 billion (US$ 130,793) to purchase a collection of 220 gold and silver coins and bars used as bonuses during the Nguyen Dynasty.

Luu Tuyet Trinh, the museum’s deputy director, said they had so far only been able to put a portion of the collection on view due to a lack of proper exhibition space.

The situation is equally grim and even worse in other parts of the country.

A worrying number of artifacts, including some designated as national treasures, have suffered from years of neglect.

Among them are two of the three Uy Phuc cannons, both named Bao Quoc An Dan Dai Tuong Quan (High-ranking General who fights to safeguard his country and people), which were recognized by the government as national treasures in late 2013.

The otherwise cherished items are currently lying neglected in an aisle at Ha Tinh Museum in the namesake province in north-central Vietnam.

Nguyen Tri Son, the museum’s director, acknowledged the risk of extensive damage, adding they had no other choice, other than spending millions of dong (VND1 million = $44) saving the items from further decay.

The cultural facility is currently home to more than 8,000 prized artifacts which fill four warehouses to capacity.

“Our ‘cutting-edge’ equipment includes electric fans and vacuum cleaners. It really makes our hearts ache to see the items wasting away, but our hands are tied,” Son noted.

Nghe An Museum in the namesake province in the north-central region, which prides itself on 25,000 pieces, is in a similar state.

Its centuries-old collectibles from Vac Village, representing the peak of the Dong Son culture that flourished between 700 and 100 BC, lie dormant and at the mercy of the elements.

Several of these priceless cultural exhibits, including exquisitely adorned daggers and iconic bronze drums, currently fetch thousands of U.S. dollars on the open market.

According to Nguyen Duc Kiem, the museum’s acting director, the institution can do little to prevent the collection, as well as others crafted from paper, leather, fabric or herbs, from further deterioration.

Meanwhile, Hue Cultural Museum, located in Hue City, the country’s former imperial capital, in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, remains ‘an empty institution.'

Established in 1989, the facility did not settle into its current home, two French villas, until 2012, after its directorate had sought an official premise for years.

With a mere 752 artifacts and 12 staff members, only two of whom are qualified, the museum’s regular activities so far include leasing space for exhibitions, and ca Hue (traditional Hue music) performances.

Nguyen Hong Hoa Tranh, its director, admitted that they were yet to hold any exhibitions given the paltry number of items, and are yet to receive sufficient funding to make purchases, which is also a time-consuming process.

Experts, however, have pointed out that even if museums manage to recruit qualified personnel, most of the staff are not knowledgeable about the artifacts, particularly how to tell fakes from the genuine articles.

Commune officials take high school graduation exam

The recent National High School Graduation Exam saw some special candidates, one of whom was Hoang Thi Dong (46), a member of the Women's Union of Hong Tien commune, Huong Tra town, Thua Thien Hue province.

Ms. Dong took her 2017 national high school exams at Kim Dong Primary School (A Luoi town, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province).

According to Ms. Dong, she had failed nine high school graduation exams.

Ms. Dong taking her 2017 national high school exams at Kim Dong Primary School (A Luoi town, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province).

Although not being confident in her answers, she still hoped to pass the exam at her 10th attempt.

"I have become a grandmother this year. However, to better serve career, I still have to try my best to study and get a high-school certificate. Learning is a lifetime job and I want to set an example for my children, showing thema lesson: never be discouraged", she said.

Mr. Huynh Truong Than, Chairman of the Examination Board of Kim Dong Primary School, said that 200 candidates from 3 high-schools in the area participated in the exams. There were some aged examinees.

The oldest examinee was Nguyen Van Quy (47), a resident of Hong Tien commune, Huong Tra town while a number of others were communal-level officers.

New Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism appointed

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has appointed Mr. Trinh Thi Thuy as Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Ms. Thuy was former Director-General of Grassroots Cultural Department, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Noi Bai airport tells airlines to reduce delays

The Nội Bài International Airport has asked all domestic airlines to improve operations so as to cut down on the increasing number of flight delays recorded recently.

Airlines that have been asked to get their act together includes national carrier Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific.

Figures from June 1 to 15 show that VietJet Air led the list, with 435 of its total 1,094 flights being delayed, or 39.8 per cent.

Vietnam Airlines had 191 delayed flights of its 1,489 flights, or 12.8 per cent. Its subsidiary Jetstar Pacific operated a total of 244 flights, of which 26.2 per cent was delayed.

The Nội Bài airport has instructed the airlines to strengthen their flight operations control to minimise the number of delays, and to improve the experience for passengers.

Houses on farmland in HCMC can be reconstructed

Existing houses on farmland that had been in use prior to July 1, 2006 can be repaired, upgraded or reconstructed with a height limit of three storeys, according to a new decision on construction licensing issued Tuesday by the HCMC government.

In particular, houses built before the planning scheme of scale 1/2,000 was approved by government agencies can be repaired, upgraded or reconstructed but not exceeding three storeys.

Houses that were built after the planning scheme of scale 1/2,000 was approved by government agencies can be repaired (raising the floor, raising the roof, upgrading the floor and roof by using light materials and repairing the walls) but changes to the houses’ structure and functions are disallowed.

For houses inside safety corridors for bridges, their owners are allowed to do simple repairs that do not affect or change the houses’ structure, scale and functions, such as raising the floor and the roof, repairing the walls, and upgrading the floor and roof by using light materials.

Besides, the municipal government allows the management boards of the Saigon South New Urban Area, Thu Thiem New Urban Area and Tay Bac Urban Area as well as the management boards of Saigon Hi-Tech Park and other industrial zones and export processing zones to grant construction permits to buildings within their assigned precincts, except individual houses, special buildings like historic or cultural monuments and statues.

Social Insurance Fund may get nod to invest in high-return projects

The Vietnam Social Insurance (VSI) reports accumulated revenue of a whopping VND500 trillion (about US$22 billion), so part of the fund may be used to invest in high-return national projects apart from the bulk being used now to buy Government bonds.

The organization plans to invest the fund in the banking sector, and some key national projects that are financially viable, said a VSI representative at a conference in HCMC last week.

In a bid to safeguard the fund from risks, VSI has issued a board resolution on the 2017 investment plan focusing on purchasing G-bonds.

The combined proportion of funds to buy G-bonds and lending to the State budget is around 85% of the total by the end of this year. VSI intends to make the most of the remaining capital for other investment forms in line with the Government’s Decree No. 30/2016/ND-CP dated April 28, 2016.

Specifically, the agency plans to diversify its investment channels, such as placing term deposits at banks, purchasing promissory notes, securities, and certificates of deposit at banks.

Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, said the fund has enjoyed higher returns than interest rates at banks, with last year’s average rate reaching 7.8%.

In the coming time, the NA committee recommends VSI invest in some financially viable projects of national importance for higher returns.

VSI said at the conference that the total number of enterprises partaking in social insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance was over 208,397 as of end-2016. Notably, 7.7% or 16,085 companies of the total were from the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector.

VSI has earned revenue of more than VND151.5 trillion from the business community, with over VND71.6 trillion, or 47.2% of the total, from the FDI sector. The total number of employees joining these insurance programs was over 8.7 million, with 3.7 million from FDI enterprises.

However, VSI deputy director Trinh Dinh Lieu said the total insurance premium arrears at FDI enterprises amounted to VND1.24 trillion, equivalent to 3.9% of the amount the agency should have collected.

Many enterprises have been late in paying insurance premiums for their employees due to business difficulties; some were even disbanded or suspended. Meanwhile, some companies deliberately tried to find ways to evade or delay their payments for other investment purposes.

These have had adverse effects on the legitimate rights and interests of employees, and social security in general.

Int’l students to learn about Vietnam agriculture

Twenty-six students from Vietnam and seven other Asia-Pacific countries will spend two weeks learning about sustainable agriculture and impacts of climate change on smallholder farmers in the country.

The students majoring in agriculture from Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Korea and will participate in a field trip to HCMC and the Mekong Delta from June 25 to July 7 to gain an insight into small farming households and the role of agricultural enterprises, governmental and non-governmental organizations in assisting smallholder farmers and improving food security in the region.

The program “Connecting students 2017” is co-organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Syngenta, a supplier of genetically modified (GM) corn varieties. The program is also supported by Winrock International, Rimfire Resources, MimosaTek and Grameen Intel.

Launched in 2010, the annual program benefits developing countries in the region. This is the second year Vietnam has been chosen to host the program.

Subscribers’ vexation

Enhancing the effectiveness of State management for the benefit of the society is a justifiable goal, but it is also generally agreed that even the right end cannot justify the means. When the means employed to achieve a righteous end causes public disturbance, tough reactions and protests are understandable. That can be the case of a new rule requiring all mobile phone subscribers to have their portraits submitted to mobile carriers to facilitate State management.

Angry voices are heard in local media these days, when the Ministry of Information and Communications orders mobile carriers to send digitalized data of subscribers, including their portraits, to the ministry within one year. Those subscribers who fail to have their photos submitted will have their mobile services suspended, in line with the Government’s Decree 49/2017, effective from April 24, 2017.

Local media is flooded with questions as to whether such a demand is logical or not, what the cost-effectiveness of the new rule is, and why the disturbance is unnecessarily imposed on not one or two, but tens of millions of people nationwide.

Under the decree, all mobile carriers will have to take pictures of those people subscribing to new mobile services after Aril 24, 2017, which is quite an easy job for them. For those people who have subscribed mobile phone services prior to this date, carriers will have 12 months to complete the required data.

Such a rule triggers public outrage, as it “causes difficulties for users and is not necessary,” says Sai Gon Giai Phong. The newspaper explains that when subscribing to mobile services, users already have to submit the scanned copies of their identity cards and other personal data with photos included in such papers, so any extra requirement for them to add portraits is a waste of time and money.

In explanations to local media, the Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications gives various important reasons to assert that adding portraits to subscribers’ data is of utmost importance for the benefit of the society.

Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy director of the Telecommunications Department, says in Dan Viet that full data of subscribers is critically necessary to safeguard national security and social order and safety, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the people. She refers to the practice in some other countries such as the U.S., India and Pakistan, where subscribers have to submit not only photos, but also their fingerprints or even blood samples, all to ensure national security.

Asked about the data previously collected from subscribers’ legal papers, Mo says such personal data, and even copies of identity cards of subscribers available in databases or mobile carriers, can be falsified. A report from the Telecommunications Department, Mo says, shows that as of early 2016, data from over 80 million subscribers out of the total 120 million subscribers were incorrect, as identity cards could be forged beyond the recognition of mobile service agents.

“Without the corrective measures, certain subscribers can make unidentified phone calls or messages intended to cheat or harass others, send spam or even poisonous information beyond the control of management agencies,” she is quoted in Nguoi Lao Dong as saying. As such, the new requirement is meant to verify the personal status of each and every subscriber, according to Mo of the Telecommunications Department.

Such an argument is challenged by the widespread public.

Nguoi Lao Dong, quoting several people, says that if data including photos and fingerprints from legal papers like identity cards can be forged, then photos or portraits can face the same fate. “If mobile service agents can send fake information into the system, they could do the same with portraits,” the paper quotes a reader as saying. Therefore, the new rule only spells trouble, leading to a waste of time and money for both enterprises and the people.

As of the end of 2016, there had had some 140 million subscribers nationwide, according to Thanh Nien. To implement the new rule, all these subscribers will have to come to mobile service agents to have portraits taken, which is impossible due to such a huge number, economist Nguyen Minh Phong says in the paper.

In addition, extra costs will be huge. Each mobile carrier has over 1,000 agents, and if such agents have to acquire new equipment to conform to the rule, then cost will be hundreds of billions of Vietnam dong, says Thanh Nien.

National Assembly deputy Luu Binh Nhuong, speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing NA sitting in Hanoi, estimates the total social cost may amount to trillions of Vietnam dong due to the new rule, according to the news site of the Voice of Vietnam radio station.

Echoing the point, Lawyer Truong Thanh Duc with the law firm Basico says in Thanh Nien that if each subscriber spends just a few minutes to implement the rule, the total social resource spent on this move will be tremendous, let alone costs borne by enterprises. “Why did the State agency before issuing any new regulation fail to estimate the benefits in relation with the expenses? If the expenses outweigh the benefits, the rule should not be implemented,” he is quoted as saying.

Bui Trinh, an economic expert, also affirms the new rule is troublesome. Any policy before being issued must be weighed in terms of pros and cons, from reality in the society to possible impacts. “Don’t let it repeat the case of a rule by the Ministry of Transport to force drivers to change their driving licenses from paper to plastic, which was later dismissed by the Ministry of Justice as illegal,” says Trinh in Thanh Nien.

Nguyen Ngoc Son, dean of the Economy-Law Faculty of Ton Duc Thang University, says in Thanh Nien that stringent requirements for telecommunications already exist, but unidentified SIM cards for mobile phones are still awash, which is the fault of mobile carriers in their management, while subscribers are not to blame. It is the responsibility of such carriers as well as State management agencies to correct their faulty practices, rather than to place a new burden on users. The first step should be to deal with fake subscribers, singled out to be 80 million as stated by the deputy director of the Telecommunications Department early on, rather than to choose the easier way of forcing all subscribers to redo their contracts with carriers by adding portraits. Such an approach will only increase the subscribers’ vexation.

Chemical in dialysate hundred times higher than allowable level

The test results of the investigation carried out by the Criminal Science Institute of the Ministry of Public Security indicated that the concentration of fluoride in water dialysis exceeds a certain level up to 245-260 rolling causing the catastrophe in Hoa Binh Hospital.

Tests of water used for dialysis showed that dialysate, the fluid in a dialysis machine, has high fluoride concentration; accordingly, it failed to meet water quality for dialysis.

Concerning to the dialysis catastrophe in Hoa Binh Hospital in the northern province of Hoa Binh infecting 18 patients and killing eight others, the provincial Department of Health June 26 decided to continue suspend director Truong Quy Duong for further investigation.

Before, director of Tram Anh Company Bui Manh Quoc, hospital employee Tran Van Son, and doctor Hoang Cong Luong had been detained for their involvement in the catastrophe.
Quoc was arrested on the charge of “accidentally causing human death because of violating career regulation”, Tran Van Son was prosecuted for irresponsibility leading to serious consequences while Dr. Hoang Cong Luong was facing prosecution of violating treatment regulation.
Before, director of the Department of Health Tran Quang Khanh said that Thien Son Pharmaceutical Company in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District is a medical supplier to clinics including dialysis equipment in the General Hospital Hoa Binh.
One day before the incident, on May 28, Thien Son hired Tram Anh Company owned by Bui Manh Quoc to carry out maintenance of RO water filtering system in Hoa Binh Hospital’ dialysis ward.

Subsidized medicine program achieves good results

Subsidized essential medicine program in the 2016-2017 period achieved good results, said the Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the Department, the quantity of medicine in the program increased and stores selling subsidized drugs have been mushrooming in the city. Consumption of these drugs also went up.
Subsidized drugs comprise 21 local drug groups: 176 active ingredients, 563 medications for normal and chronic diseases with huge demand.

Some 12 new drugs are added into the list of subsidized medication, meeting the demand of infirmaries and pharmacies that participated in the program.
Of additional 164 participating drug stores, 154 private pharmacies and 10 stores of enterprises registered to partake in the program bringing the total number of subsidized drug stores to 4,016. Prices of subsidized drugs are 5-10 percent lower than market prices.
Sale figure of subsidized drugs gradually increased monthly; for instance the sale figure of subsidized medicine in 2016-2017 reached VND78.2 billion meanwhile sale figure in hospital pharmacies accounted for 30 percent of the program’s total sale figure in the city.
Tran Van Muoi who is in charge of the program said that enterprises well implemented the regulation of production plan and stock.
Hospital stores even sell subsidized drugs 5 percent lower than the current market price to offer patients good prices. The program contributed to maintain domestic medications’ price therefore.
To have good result, the program has received regular instruction from Party Committee, People’s Committee, and related agencies.
Many hospital management boards adopted measures to encourage doctors to use domestic drugs in their prescription.
The Department of Health in coordination with media, pharmaceutical companies continued to increase information of the program plus enhanced inspection to distribution and sales of subsidized medicines.
Yearly, the health authority liaise with enterprises to find out more drugs for the program.
Overall, the program is also to help to raise participating enterprises’ capability and encourage them to invest in facilities and technologies as well as expand the consumption market to satisfy patients’ demand.

HCMC administrations urges people to strengthen environment protection

People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resource to enhance information on environment protection programs.

Related agencies and people in districts, unions will carry out the program, including spreading information of environment protection and raising quality of the Environment Award for individuals, teams or enterprises that have great contribution in protecting environment.
The municipal People’s Committee also asked district people’s committees to call for people’s agreement in implement the regulation of environment protection by planting trees, build civilized lifestyle and keep the living space clean and fresh.

Chairmen of people’s committees in districts will be in charge of keep good hygiene in the jurisdictions. Enhancing inspection is needed to check locals’ obedience of the regulation.

HCMC might install smart pumps to cope with street flooding

HCMC leaders yesterday worked with Quang Trung Industry Joint Stock Company about pilot installation of a smart pumping system to cope with flooding in Nguyen Huu Canh street, Binh Thanh District.

The leaders comprised secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee Le Van Khoa and agency representatives.
At the meeting, chairman of the company’s board of directors Nguyen Tang Cuong said that coping with flooding in Nguyen Huu Canh street needed a smart pumping system, automatically removing garbage and soil while pumping water out from the street.
The company’s system designed with centrifugal pumps moves water from low to high ground at the capacity of 27,000-96,000 cubic meters an hour. The pumps operating with oil or electricity will be connected with the available sewer system of the city.
Investment capital will total VND88 billion (US$3.88 million). The company pledged that it will not receive money if the system does not work.
Director of the Department of Transport Bui Xuan Cuong said that the agency had collected opinions from experts and scientists about the feasibility of the project. Most of them said no doubts about the pumping ability of the system.
Still, they said that the street has been flooded because the drainage system has been damaged due to depression in the area. Therefore more surveys should be conducted to prove that the sewer system is able to receive water volume from the pumping system. The project should count locations to install pumps and environmental impact.
Mr. Cuong said that radical solution to solve flooding in Nguyen Huu Canh street is to upgrade the street and rebuild the drainage system.
The Department of Transport has assigned Urban Traffic Management No.1 to be investor of a project to repair Nguyen Huu Canh street, part of a priority program to reduce traffic jam in the phase of 2017-2018 with the total investment capital of VND473 billion ($21 million).
Deputy chairman Le Van Khoa said that previously a delegation of agency representatives led by the Department of Transport had visited anti-flooding pumps of Quang Trung company at its plant in Quang Ninh province.
He required agencies to urgently study the sewer system, water flow and pump installation locations within ten days before reporting to the city People’s Committee to decide.
Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan said that the pumping system project must meet all relevant requirements to be implemented, stressing that it is unfeasible for the city to spend VND88 billion on the system now.
He suggested the company to rent the pumping service with a specific and clear price frame.

SCG & Hanoi FC provide game-day fun

SCG partnered with the Hanoi Football Club on June 24 to create activities aimed at lifting professional football in Vietnam and encouraging youth development via sports.
At the V-league match between Hanoi FC and Hai Phong on the same day, SCG offered free tickets to hundreds of children and university students to watch the game, arranged pre-match activities, and donated sports facilities to local communities.
“Based on the principle of human development and sustainable development, SCG is delighted to partner with the Hanoi Football Club to inspire and engage Vietnamese youngsters in football,” said Mr. Montri Mahaplerkpong, Deputy Country Director of SCG Vietnam. “Creating more exciting activities on the field and improving the club’s performance will attract more fans to the stadium to watch the game and encourage the younger generation to develop via football.”
“As part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR), SCG continues to donate sports facilities, like football, badminton, and basketball equipment, to Hanoi neighborhoods to provide opportunities for local youth to have a healthy lifestyle in their free time,” he added. “This is in line with SCG’s corporate vision of creating better lives for Vietnamese.”
Early this year, SCG announced its sponsorship of the Hanoi Football Club in the 2017 and 2018 seasons out of a desire to support the development of professional football in Vietnam and as part of its corporate sustainable development strategy, with the goal of human development. The cooperation between the two also marks a milestone for SCG, as its first sports sponsorship in Vietnam.
SCG is widely known for supporting regional sporting talent to head to the global stage. It has sponsored Ariya Jutanugarn to become the world’s Number 1 golfer and also sponsors famous Thai football club SCG Muangthong United and the SCG Badminton Academy in Thailand.
Aside from sports sponsorship, SCG leads many CSR projects that focus on human development, such as the SCG Sharing the Dream Scholarship program, the SCG Sharing the Dream Playground at Hoang Van Thu Park in Ho Chi Minh City, and the SCG International Internship Program for university graduates, among others.

HCM City urged to improve transport infrastructure

Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong said HCM City’s infrastructure projects had lots of problems during a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 23.
Dong said even though HCM City was Vietnam’s key economic hub, its road infrastructure left lots to be desired and this was an obstacle to the city's development. HCM City must quickly finish slow road and metro projects including Ring Road 3 and the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway.

"HCM City's infrastructure is a far cry from Hanoi's. In Hanoi, all roads entering the city are wide, there are routes to various provinces and the closed ring roads helps make travel to the airport easily. HCM City doesn't have closed ring roads and the road and traffic to Tan Son Nhat Airport is a huge problem," he said.

He urged the quick completion of Ring Road 2 and deal with difficulties in the construction of Ring Road 3 that play an important role in the city's and the region's traffic planning and economic development.

"There's congestion whenever goods are brought in from Cat Lai Port. There's hours-long traffic jams every few days. The damage to the economy is immeasurable," he said.

HCM City needs fund from the government to complete the Ring Road 3 and the metro line. Currently, the city is trying to improve the traffic around Tan Son Nhat Airport by government directive.

He said, "With a population of over ten million, HCM City needs its own urban railway network. Only three million-plus population cities already have metro lines."

Dong also constantly urged the government to give additional ODA to key traffic projects. With the current slow disbursement rate, contractors had sued and demanded the city to pay them interest. If no money is forthcoming, contractors may stop working or the project completion dates will be delayed by two years to 2022.

The Ministry of Transport will prioritise on-going construction and give the contractors funds first to complete the projects on time, ensuring the good relations with other countries and credits institutes.

HCM City to open maiden river bus route in August

Ho Chi Minh City is expected to operate its first-ever river bus route this August to help relieve the increasing traffic pressure on local streets.

After nearly eight years of preparation, the river bus route No.1 is set to connect Bach Dang Port in District 1 with Linh Dong Ward in Thu Duc District.
The 10.8-kilometer-long route will run along the Saigon River and Thanh Da Canal.

The construction of the second route stretching from Bach Dang to Lo Gom in District 8, measuring 10.3 kilometers, is anticipated to begin in 2018.

The two projects cost a total of VND125 billion (US$5.48 million).

The upcoming inauguration of the maiden river bus route has received quite positive feedback from local residents.

Nguyen Minh Phong, a student from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, expressed his joy at the new form of transportation.

“My house in District 2 is only 20 minutes away from the school. However, I’m often late for class due to serious traffic jams,” Phong said.

“I will absolutely switch to using the river ‘bus’ to avoid the jams as well as smoke and dust on the road,” he continued.

Nguyen Thi Huyen Mi, a law student, said she could not wait to get on the waterway bus.

“It will be a great convenience as my school is located near the Bach Dang Port,” Mi elaborated.

Trinh Thi Phuong Anh, a resident in District 6, considered the river bus a good way to ease road congestion and air pollution, and to take advantage of the city’s river and canal system.

According to Nguyen Kim Toan, director of Thuong Nhat Company, which is the investor of the river bus project, the new transport system has to meet a variety of requirements regarding esthetics, convenience, and punctuality.

Aside from providing a comfortable journey and sightseeing opportunity, these buses have to be on time in order to attract passengers, Toan stated.

A one-way journey will take approximately 21 minutes, during which the boat will drop by seven stops besides the two main terminals, Toan explained.

Each trip will cost VND15,000 ($0.66), he continued, adding that the fare would remain the same in the first one or two years.

While supporting the river bus, Associate Professor Nguyen Van Hiep, a lecturer from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, still voices some concern over the new means of transportation.

“Water pollution has to be addressed to maximize the potentialities of these river buses,” Hiep remarked.

“I have been on speedboats and cruises along the Saigon River so many times and I notice that garbage in the water affects the speed of the boats,” the expert explained.

It is necessary or dredge the river and deal with rubbish properly for the smooth operation of the waterway bus, thus attracting more passengers, he added.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the city’s Traffic Safety Committee, asserted that dredging activities should be carried out promptly to ensure pleasant scenery for passengers.

The project investor and the municipal Department of Transport should also inform local residents of the new transport service before its official opening.

Junior tennis tournament opens in Sóc Trăng

More than 300 players are participating in the National Junior Tennis Tournament, which is being held in the southern province of Sóc Trăng.

The athletes, aged 12 to 18, are from 21 teams nationwide, including the Military, Hà Nội, Bắc Giang, Sóc Trăng, Lạng Sơn, Bình Dương, Tây Ninh and Lào Cai teams. The athletes are competing in both the men’s and women’s singles and doubles category.

The event will give young players a chance to hone their skills and gain experience, as well as get selected for the national teams.

The event will last until July 3.

Thanh Hóa beat Đà Nẵng at V.League

LC Thanh Hóa defeated Đà Nẵng 3-2 in the 14th round of the national premiere league at Thanh Hóa Stadium on Saturday.

Thanh Hóa started attacking as soon as the referee blew his whistle. Lê Quốc Phương opened the score for Thanh Hóa in the 14th minute.

Fifteen minutes later, Đà Nẵng’s Phan Văn Long levelled the score at 1-1.

After the break, Thanh Hóa continued dominating the match, and their efforts were rewarded with Pape Omar Feye and Lê Văn Thắng scoring the goals in the 69th minute and 76th minute, respectively.

In the remaining time, Đà Nẵng who last won the league in 2012 and were the runners-up in 2013, tried their best to narrow the gap to 2-3 with a goal by Eydison Teofilo Soares.

With this victory, Thanh Hóa topped the ranking with 29 points and Đà Nẵng ranked eighth with 18 points.

“Thanh Hóa showed a different face in this match. We played actively and effectively, so we are worthy of the win. This was very valuable three points, as Đà Nẵng are a strong candidate for this year’s tournament,” said coach Ljupko Petrovic of Thanh Hóa.

Meanwhile, coach Lê Huỳnh Đức said he was sorry for his team’s loss.

“We exerted ourselves. We deserved to have one point. The host team played very well, especially on the attack line,” said Đức.

In the other match, Sông Lam Nghệ An (SLNA) drew 1-1 with Quảng Ninh Coal. Despite not beating their rival, coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng was satisfied with his players’ performance.

“After two months of training, we improved many things. We started well and played unitedly. Trần Phi Sơn played a key role for SLNA. We scored first but were levelled in the final minutes,” said Thắng.

Elsewhere, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai bested Becamex Bình Dương 2-1, Khánh Hòa lost to Quảng Nam 0-3, HCM City beat Long An 3-2, Sài Gòn crushed Cần Thơ 2-1, and Hà Nội won Hải Phòng 2-0.

HCM City and Long An Province to ensure safety of agricultural products

HCM City Food Safety Management Board and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Long An Province signed an agreement regarding the production, trade and consumption of agricultural products for the 2017-20 period.

Under the agreement, they will strictly control safety in the cultivation, breeding, fishing, production, processing and slaughter of agricultural products.

They will co-operate with each other to check and supervise areas of vegetable and fruit cultivation, animal breeding and fishing in Long An Province, which provides products for the city’s markets.

They also will co-ordinate with each other to find the origin of products which violate regulations on food safety and hygiene.

Through this co-operation, enterprises and co-operatives as well as producers in the province will have favourable conditions to access the city’s wholesale markets, stores and supermarkets.

The board and department’s staff will exchange experiences in management and market information to improve effectiveness in production and consumption.

Long An Province is the first province to sign an agreement with the HCM City Food Safety Management Board.

Young Vietnamese scientists present research in RoK conference

The fourth annual Conference of Vietnamese Young Scientists (ACVYS) took place in the Republic of Korea (RoK) on June 25, featuring nearly 100 reports and research presented by Vietnamese scholars and students living in the host country.

The event was held by the Vietnamese Students’ Association in Korea (VSAK) at Gachon University, Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province with about 300 Vietnamese and foreign academics and students from universities across the RoK in attendance.

Opening the conference, VSAK President Pham Hai Chien said, with the goals “connecting knowledge, igniting passion”, the ACVYS lets young scientists present their latest research and share their interests and experience in biotechnology, mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, information technology, telecommunications materials science and more.

Vietnamese Deputy Ambassador to RoK Tran Anh Vu noted that the 15,000 Vietnamese students and alumni in the RoK form the second largest foreign student society in the country.

He lauded the knowledge and skills they obtained in the RoK, contributing greatly to Vietnam’s economic development, adding the event marks the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-RoK diplomatic relations.

Highlights at this year’s conference were reports on the Industrial Revolution 4.0, Vietnamese-Korean automatic translator Utagger, energy transition and the East Sea issues.

Traffic accidents, deaths drop in six months

More than 9,500 traffic accidents occurred across the country in the first six months of this year, killing more than 4,100 people and injuring over 7,000 others, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

The figures represented a drop of 636 in the number of accidents, 229 in the number of dead, and 1,004 in the number of injured compared to the same period last year.

The deadliest accident occurred in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai at the beginning of May when a coach crashed into a lorry, killing 13 people and injuring dozens of others.

In June, more than 1,500 traffic accidents were recorded with over 600 dead and 1,300 injured.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia front chiefs meet outstanding students

The Presidents of the fronts of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam had an exchange with outstanding students from the three nations at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi on June 25.

Opening the event, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man stressed the necessity for the younger generation to keep the three countries’ traditional solidarity.

He urged the youth to spare no effort to foster their capacity and do together more for their homelands and the tri-lateral ties.

President of the Lao Front for National Construction Saysomphone Phomvihane asked the students, particularly Lao students in Vietnam, to support one another in learning.

He thanked Vietnamese teachers for their assistance towards Lao students in Vietnam.

On behalf of the participating students, La Thi Thu Hue, from the University of Languages and International Studies, showed her pride in the strong friendship shared among Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

She pledged to work with her Lao and Cambodian peers to contribute to the relations’ growth.

The exchange featured performances of signature music of the three nations.

Vietnam hosts UN staff officer training course

A training course on UN peacekeeping for staff officers funded by the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) opened at the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre in suburban Thach That district, Hanoi on June 21.

The three-week course drew the participation of 24 officers, including those from partner countries of GPOI – Cambodia, Indonesia and Mongolia.

They are working as managers and planners for the preparation and deployment of individuals and units to UN peacekeeping operations, and those who are planned to perform duty in UN peacekeeping missions.

In his opening speech, Lt. Gen. Pham Hong Huong, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, said the course aims to prepare forces for effectively joining UN peacekeeping activities, contributing to implementing Vietnam’s consistent external policy of peace, cooperation and development, multilateralisation and diversification of relations. Vietnam is a realiable friend and partner and a responsible member of the global community, he stressed.

The course is hoped to equip officers with professional knowledge, skills and experience, contributing to improving peacekeeping work for Vietnamese officers.

Cần Thơ court hears traffic inspectors’ bribery case

The People’s Court of southern Cần Thơ City on Thursday opened the second day of trial to hear the case of seven traffic inspectors accused of bribery.
The inspectors are Dương Minh Tâm, 37; Đoàn Vũ Duy, 39; Võ Hoàng Anh, 35; and Nguyễn Trần Lưu, 40; as well as Lý Hoàng Minh, 32; Hồ Công Thiện, 40 and Trần Lập Pháp, 31 tuổi.
Two other defendants -- Trần Tường An, 39, and Nguyễn Văn Cần, 30 -- are also accused of the same crime.
According to the indictment of the People’s Procuracy of Cần Thơ City, the accused were prosecuted and brought to trial on charges of bribery in connection with an amount of nearly VNĐ4 billion (US$177,700).
During 2013 to 2016, the seven accused colluded with Trần Tường An and Nguyễn Văn Cần to negotiate with some local transport enterprises and neighbour provinces in the Cửu Long Mekong Delta to impose fines for minor traffic violations only.
Transport enterprises and individuals were forced to pay cash or transfer at least VNĐ1 million to VNĐ28 million per month to the above mentioned defendants upon violation of traffic regulations.
In four years, the defendants received nearly VNĐ4 billion from several enterprises and individuals.
According to the indictment, five defendants -- Dương Minh Tâm, Đoàn Vũ Duy, Võ Hoàng Anh, Trần Tường An and Nguyễn Văn Cần -- were charged with "taking bribes" and will receive the highest sentence of life imprisonment or death penalty if found guilty.
On the first working day, the trial panel began a questioning session to clarify the offense of each defendant in the case. The trial is expected to be completed within three days and sentencing will take place on Friday.

Vietnam junior golf tournament tees off

The Vietnam Junior Open 2017 starts June 22 and runs through June 25 at the Bluffs Ho Tram Strip 18-hole championship golf course in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, reports the Tienphong Online Newspaper.

About 90 junior golfers comprised of 70 local players and 20 foreigners registered for the tournament, the biggest junior golfer challenge sponsored by the Vietnam Golf Association.

Yen Bai works to care for HIV/AIDS-affected children

The northern mountainous province of Yen Bai has carried out a lot of measures to protect and care for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

The province has more than 2,000 children affected by HIV/AIDS, of whom 70 are living with HIV and 460 at high risk of getting HIV.

To date, over 95 percent of these children have been provided with services in health, education, nutrition and entertainment, and social welfare policies, depending on their age and demand.

All local HIV/AIDS treatment clinics and staff were equipped with knowledge and skills on caring for children affected by this disease.

The provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs guided its sub-departments at the city, district and town levels to implement the Prime Minister’s decision on taking action for children affected by HIV/AIDS, and expand care services for the needy at high-risk communes.

The department has also coordinated with the HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre in stepping up communications to avoid discriminations against HIV/AIDS-affected children and in providing them with free check-ups, consultations and treatment.

The children have been provided with health insurance cards, while those at high risk of getting HIV have received early screening tests.

Since 2012, the Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and several non-governmental organisations have supported Yen Bai in implementing a project on connecting services for children affected by HIV/AIDS in several communes in the mountainous districts of Van Yen and Van Chan, benefiting hundreds of children.

As a mountainous province inhabited by many ethnic minority people with limited awareness, Yen Bai will continue stepping up measures to change locals’ awareness in order to make a breakthrough in the protection and care for HIV/AIDS-affected children.

It will also work to attract more financial assistance from central agencies and social organisations to do this work effectively.

Writing contest on Vietnam-Russia friendship launched

The Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association under the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations has launched a writing contest on Vietnam-Russia friendship on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution (November 7, 1917).

The contest aims to highlight the significance and historical role of Russia’s October Revolution to Vietnam’s revolution as well as deepen the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

All Vietnamese and Russian citizens can participate in the contest. Entries should be written in Vietnamese and Russian with no more than 2,000 words and can be attached with photos or audiovisual materials.

There will be one special prize worth 30 million VND (1,320 USD), three first prizes, five second prizes, 10 third prize, and 20 consolation prizes.

The entries should be submitted between June 19, 2017 and March 30, 2018. The prize announcement is slated for June 2018.

Second ISSF spotlights Industrial Revolution 4.0, smart city

The second International Student Science Forum (ISSF) took place in Ho Chi Minh City on June 22, focusing on the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and smart city development.

The three-day forum attracts the participation of 108 students from 10 countries.

They are set to present opinions on the role of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in global development and smart city models and solutions.

Smart city services and citizens’ roles are also part of the discussion.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Nguyen Duc Nghia, Vice President of the Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNUHCM), said the southern city is leading Vietnam in innovations for sustainable development and integration.

The forum helps Vietnamese students exchange views and learn from their international peers, he added.

On the sidelines of the forum, international students will visit the Ho Chi Minh City high-tech industrial park and take part in exchange activities with students from the VNUHCM.


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