Men arrested for stealing gene research devices
Tran Van Vinh, 26, and Le Dinh Thang, 18, were working as technicians at the university when they reportedly stole equipment and copyrighted software containing information on genetic research. The stolen contents were reported to be of high value.
Thang later confessed to authorities that at 4am on August 21, he broke into the centre via a window on the second floor and stole a Dell laptop belonging to the facility.
Thang later called Vinh in September to help him break into the centre again; where the men stole a Vaio laptop, a Nokia E71 mobile phone and an electronic heater.
VN-Japan ties grow with woodland project
Around 60 volunteers from Japan and several other countries, together with dozens of local residents, have planted three hectares of mangrove forest in north-eastern Quang Ninh Province’s Tien Yen District.
The activity was held on Saturday to mark the 40th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Viet Nam and Japan. It aims to protect the environment and raise public awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems.
The programme was organised with co-operation from Japan’s Action for Mangrove Reforestation (ACTMANG), Ha Noi-based Viet Nam National University, and Quang Ninh Province’s Red Cross.
Kbang police remand lax forest rangers
Police in Kbang District in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai have prosecuted and remanded two forest rangers who have been in custody for “negligence causing serious consequences”.
During the investigation, police found and seized 24 cubic metres of giang huong (Pterocarpus macrocarpus) timber from poachers in early January. The timber, which is listed as one of Viet Nam’s precious woods, is estimated to be worth about VND1.6 billion (US$75,200).
However, the two forest rangers, who were assigned to take responsibility to protect the forest, failed to discover the poachers.
Potential storm system develops over East Sea
A tropical low-pressure system was reported to form in the eastern part of the East Sea yesterday morning, according to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.
By 1pm yesterday, the eye of the potential storm was about 430km to the eastern part of Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago with wind speeds ranging from 39-61km per hour.
The tropical low-pressure system was forecast to gain strength and moving west and west-north-west at 20km per hour. It was predicted to create rough seas and strong winds in the northern and central parts of the East Sea.
The National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control sent an urgent message yesterday to coastal provinces to urge them to actively prepare for the tropical low-pressure system.
The coastal provinces were also requested to inform offshore fishing vessels about the progress of the tropical low-pressure system and find safe anchorage.
$3.8 million invested for Buddhist institute
A total of nearly VND80 billion (US$3.8 million) has been invested to build a Buddhist institute in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, according to the headmaster, Most Venerable Thich Tam Tuong.
The institute will be located in Pleiku City’s Dien Phu Commune with a total area of 10 hectares. Construction began in late 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2016.
The institute has enrolled 75 students, who are monks and nuns at pagodas from the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Nong, Kon Tum, Lam Dong, Gia Lai and central Khanh Hoa Province, for its first training course.
Strategic planning needed for Ha Noi
Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai yesterday urged thorough and scientific planning for the development of the Ha Noi Capital Region – the nation’s political, cultural and economic centre – into a high-quality, investor-friendly urban zone by 2050.
In 2008, the Government approved a development plan for Capital Region geared towards the year 2020 with a vision extending for another 30 years.
Under the plan, the region consists of Ha Noi and the seven neighbouring provinces of Ha Tay, Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Ha Nam and Hoa Binh.
After the expansion of Ha Noi and the merger with Ha Tay and part of Hoa Binh Province in 2008, three other provinces – Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang – were included in the region’s development plan.
Last year, the region occupied an area of over 24,300 square kilometers and had a population of about 17.5 million people.
Hai said that planning and development investment in the region had made progress in recent years, as evidenced by improved infrastructure and a greater number of projects, especially improving the transport system.
Speaking at a meeting of the Steering Committee for the planning and development of the region, Construction Minister Trinh Dinh Dung added that economic growth of the whole region remained high and stable for years.
Last year, its GDP was about VND646,7 trillion (US$30.7 billion), accounting for 21.72 per cent of the country’s total.
At present, the region has 136 urban areas with an urbanisation rate of over 30 per cent.
However, Dung said that more specific planning and zoning was needed.
“The development of infrastructure and social infrastructure in urban areas and industrial zones is still incompatible, leading to slow and unsustainable development,” he said.
Dung noted that planning activities still faced difficulties because of a lack of legal frameworks and co-operation mechanisms between central and local governments, which caused overlapping management.
The Deputy PM said that when it came to planning, the committee needed to pay much more attention to the typical features and potential of each locality while ensuring that projects were not plagued by delays.
The Ha Noi People’s Committee has planned to issue Government bonds worth VND1 trillion ($47.3 million) to finance eight key infrastructure projects in the city in the next two years.
The issuance is planned from September 25 to October 2 to mobilise capital for projects, including two hospitals in suburban areas, a water drainage station in Yen Nghia and several transport developments.
This will be the second time the city has sold bonds this year. In June, the capital earned VND1 trillion from the transactions.
Unsafe poultry seized from buses
Nearly 1,000 ducks without legal proof of origin were seized in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum by the provincial police on Thursday.
They were found on a bus travelling on Ho Chi Minh Road’s section that runs through Kon Tum City. The driver, Nguyen Van Hoa, 53, from the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, failed to submit the animal quarantine certificate to the police.
The poultry was handed over to the local Sao Mai Quarantine Station for the animals to be treated.
Previously, nearly 2,000 swans without legal proof of origin and animal quarantine certificate were seized on a bus by local police.
War veterans fund kindergarten in Hue
Central Thua Thien Hue Province’s Phong Son Commune will have a kindergarten soon.
This is made possible thanks to the financial support from the Veteran Viet Nam Restoration Project, an NGO formed by a group of American veterans.
The kindergarten will be built at a total cost of VND1.5 billion (US$71,000) coming from both the project and local budget.
The project pledged additional funds for more facilities in the kindergarten.
Food safety violations widespread
Violations in food safety procedures relating to the use of toxic substances in cattle and poultry farming and production are widespread, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development warned at a meeting yesterday.
According to reports from the ministry’s National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, 178 out of 886 establishments recently inspected in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces fell short of veterinary hygiene standards. Problems were found at farms, slaughter houses and markets.
According to the Viet Nam Food Administration, 126 cases of food poisoning were recorded nationwide, affecting more than 3,187 people and killing 19 so far this year.
Lam Quoc Hung, head of the Food Poisoning Supervision Division, said the situation had also been worsened by a lack of control of input materials and the usage of toxic substances in agricultural production.
Cao Duc Phat, minister of agriculture and rural planning, expressed huge concerns over the management of plant fertiliser, with substandard and unknown brands being widely used.
Nguyen Xuan Hong, head of the Plant Protection Department, acknowledged the situation, adding that the department was working to prevent the smuggling of plant protection chemicals.
The minister also asked all relevant agencies to finalise the development of a safe agri-food supply chain that can be applied nationwide.
LV Bank branch director arrested
The Ministry of Public Security on Saturday arrested Do Hung So, director of Lien Viet Post Bank’s branch in the Mekong Delta’s Hau Giang Province for lending to the Phuong Nam Food Joint Stock Company without obeying regulations.
On the same day, Lam Minh Man, the company’s chief accountant, was also arrested for wrongly declaring the value of the company’s mortgage in order to borrow VND1.6 trillion ($75.2 million) from the bank.
The police are still in the process of searching the two defendants’ house for further evidence in the investigation.
ACCV puts up $700m in student grants
The American Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam announced on Saturday that it would award 45 scholarships and organise 70 free soft-skill training courses this year at a total cost of VND700 million (US$32,945) to HCM City students.
The beneficiaries would also join the AmCham Scholar Alumni Club and be recognised by more than 450 AmCham member companies.
The programme, begun in 2001, has so far given away 315 scholarships and 177 honourable awards to students from 11 city universities.
PM prescribes funding to cure HCMC hospital overload crisis
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung held a working session on Saturday with the HCM City People’s Committee on ways to reduce the overload at the city’s hospitals.
During the session, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Hua Ngoc Thuan said the city’s hospitals have been gradually upgraded to meet the people’s demands, but revealed that on average there are only 42 beds available for every 10,000 people.
He said that overloading usually hits specialised hospitals the hardest, as people from rural areas flock to them for better treatment than they could get at their home locality.
In response to the situation, the city has been implementing a master plan, approved by the Prime Minister, to establish satellite hospitals in the 2013-20 period. Hopefully this move will help mitigate the overload.
Accordingly, hospitals at grassroots levels across the country will be given advanced equipment and their staff will be trained to develop their qualifications. Improving these hospitals will allow them to attract more patients.
The Prime Minister affirmed the government’s decision to provide the city with funding for its key clinics, the Oncology Hospital and the Children’s Hospital, as well as upgrading several existing institutions, such as Cho Ray and Thong Nhat hospitals.
The PM urged the city to promptly finish the land clearance process in order to complete the construction within the next three years and offer a better service to patients.
Construction of the HCM City Children’s Hospital in Binh Chanh District started in early August this year with total investment of VND5 trillion (US$238 million). It will provide 1,000-1,500 beds.
Meanwhile, work on the Oncology Hospital in District 9’s Tan Phu Ward is scheduled to begin in next month. The 1,000-bed hospital will be built at the cost of VND5 trillion.
US continues helping Vietnam fight HIV/AIDS
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched another five years of collaboration with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and the Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) to prevent and treat the disease in the country.
According to a press release issued by the US Embassy in Vietnam, the next phase, with funds from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), aims to further reduce HIV/AIDS infections, provide care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS, and build capacity for the national health system.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long hailed the remarkable results over the past five years of the VAAC-CDC collaboration, saying that they have contributed significantly to the control of HIV/AIDS and the successful implementation of the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS in Vietnam.
Dr. Michelle McConnell, CDC Country Director, emphasized capacity building as a critical part of the strategy to ensure sustainability.
“We have had 14 years of a very successful partnership and today marks the beginning of a new phase of that partnership,” he said, adding that CDC and VAAC must work together to build capacity and plan for sustainability”.
CDC has been working in Vietnam since 2001 and Vietnam has received almost US$600 million in PEPFAR funds to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS care and treatment services since 2004. Last year, CDC provided HIV testing and counseling services for about 120,000 people and care services for over 80,000 people living with the disease.
Truth behind extremist acts in My Yen parish
Several websites overseas recently published stories, allegedly accusing the Nghe An provincial administration of repressing Catholics in My Yen parish, Nghi Phuong commune, Nghi Loc district. What is the truth behind these slanderous allegations?
On September 3, approximately 1,000 parishioners in My Yen converged on the headquarters of the Nghi Phuong commune People’s Committee, opposing the local administration’s arrest of two parishioners.
They carried bandrolls, circled around the headquarters, offended and threw stones at six on-duty officials.
One day later, when the local administration was convening a meeting, 30 local Catholics, mostly women, tried to storm into the commune’s headquarters, demanding the release of Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai – two Yen My parishioners who had been earlier arrested for law violations.
Relevant forces prevented these elements from entering the buiding.
At 15.30pm the same day, the Trai Gao church bell rang out, inciting hundreds of local Catholics to rush to the commune’s headquarters.
Some extremists threw stones at on-duty officers, leaving several policemen and 14 parishioners seriously injured.
They pressured local authorities to sign a paper, demanding the provincial People’s Committee and provincial police release Khoi and Hai.
The incident came after Khoi and Hai were arrested in May for their law-breaking activities. Khoi, Hai and other parishioners chased away three Nghi Loc district’s policemen who were inquiring into the situation in the locality with representatives of the Ministry of Public Security.
The parishioners even vandalised the house of Dau Van Son – a local villager – suspecting Son of welcoming the officials.
After investigations, Nghe An police detained Khoi and Hai who later confessed to breaking the law.
The provincial administration and relevant forces immediately informed the local church’s bishop of the arrest and asked him to work closely with the administration to deal with the case according to the law and reveal the exact nature of the arrest to the public.
Despite the provincial government’s efforts, Yen My parishioners’ social disturbances which reached their climax on September 3-4, are serious law-breaking activities.
The naked truth refuted some Internet reports by domestic and overseas bad elements that the administration has suppressed religious freedom. These slanderous allegations will only strike a discordant note and soon be doomed to failure.
Ambitious programme boosts Japan’s Asian business profile
Media partners of a programme entitled ‘Catch Asia! Media Network’, co-founded by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Japanese Fuji Television nearly two years ago, gathered at a recent meeting in Tokyo, Japan.
Attending the event last Friday were six leading media agencies and newspapers in Asia, namely ANI from India, TV3 from Thailand, Vietnamplus under the VNA, the Jakarta Post and MetroTV from Indonesia, and RTM from Malaysia, along with hundreds of Japanese businesses.
The meeting focused on tightening information connections between Japanese businesses and Asia.
Broadcasters including Metro-TV, RTM and TV3 have also co-ordinated with FujiTV to set up new programmes on Japanese technology and businesses, helping popularise the country’s image in Asia.
At the meeting, Yoji Itagaki, Executive Director of Technology Research and Development Department of FujiTV, spoke highly of Catch Asia’s achievements and voiced his hope that more Japanese firms would join in the programme in the future
Casualties rise after northern region’s natural disasters
The National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention’s September 7 report puts the death toll from recent heavy rain, floods, and landslides in northern provinces at 25.
Lao Cai’s 10 fatalities make it the heaviest hit, followed by Thai Nguyen, Lai Chau, and Vinh Phuc with three deaths each; Lang Son and Dien Bien with two; and Ha Giang and Son La with one.
The floods injured and additional 16 people, destroyed 139 houses, and inundated over 6,800 hectares of rice and other crops.
Total financial losses caused by the disaster are estimated at about VND39.2 billion. Local authorities have begun clearing roads blocked by water and debris.
The National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting warns water levels are still rising dangerously in a number of northern provincial rivers, but is optimistic the flooding will ebb slightly over September 8.
The centre also issued flood and landslide warnings for the northeastern localities of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Bac Can, Thai Nguyen, and Phu Tho.
Hanoi hosts the 20th ASCOJA conference
As many as 350 Vietnamese and foreign delegates representing 10 Southeast Asian countries are currently attending the 20th ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) conference in Hanoi over September 6-8.
The event is part of activities marking 40 years since Vietnam and Japan first established diplomatic ties and four successful decades of ASEAN-Japanese relations.
The conference’s overarching theme of “ASCOJA towards the Cooperation and Development of ASEAN and Japan” invites delegates to discuss issues relating to diplomacy, the environment, education, science and technology, and consolidating regional cohesion. Attendees will also review the Council’s 2012-2013 activities and lay out a roadmap for its 2013-2015 operations.
This is the first time the Japan Alumni of Vietnam (JAV) have hosted an ASCOJA conference at home. It offers an opportunity to promote Vietnam’s features and achievements to international friends, bolstering the country’s regional prestige and perpetuating cooperation between Vietnam, Japan, and other ASEAN countries.
ASCOJA was founded in 1977 by members of the Japan Graduates’ Association of Indonesia (PERSADA), Japanese University Graduates Association of Singapore (JUGAS), Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA), Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia (JAGAM), and the Old Japan Students’ Association (OJSAT). All 10 ASEAN nations have since joined.
JAV joined ASCOJA in April 2007 on behalf of its 1,500 members.
ILO specialist honoured with trade union insignia
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) has awarded Yoon Youngmo, a specialist from the Office of International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam an insignia for the cause of building trade union organizations.
The award ceremony took place in Hanoi on September 6.
As Chief Technical Advisor for the Vietnam-ILO industrial relations project, Youngmo helped the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, VGCL and employer organisations to achieve better industrial relations.
Besides forging an effective partnership between ILO and its Vietnamese partners, he also dedicated his efforts to policy and wage reforms in Vietnam, notably the Labour Code and Trade Union Law.
His articles on labour law and industrial relations have been circulated widely, serving as valuable references for Vietnamese policymakers.
Addressing the event, Youngmo said though his working term in Vietnam has ended, he promised to stand side-by-side with the VGCL to develop it into an ever-strong organisation, working as a trustworthy mainstay to protect the legal and legitimate rights of workers.
WB project benefits low-income earners
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the World Bank (WB) on September 6 signed a credit agreement worth over US$55 million to help people on low incomes improve their standard of living.
The credit will be used for a WB innovations project on developing and supplying high-tech products at low prices in traditional medicine, information technology and communication, agriculture and aquiculture for the sake of the poor.
The initiative will help realise the dual targets of enhancing productivity through effective technological usage and continuous poverty reduction, said WB Country Director in Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa.
It also means to help policymaking agencies enhance their proficiency in supervising, implementing and evaluating policies.
The project, which is financially supported by the International Development Association (IDA), a WB organisation, is carried out nationwide in 2013-2018 by the Department of Business Development under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Efforts to boost traditional markets ‘ineffective’
Recent development of traditional markets in many localities has proved ineffective, causing wastefulness while failing to meet local residents’ demands.
Many newly-built and costly markets have been left abandoned while customers still prefer open make-shift alternatives.
Gio Hai Market in central Quang Tri Province’s Gio Hai Commune, for example, has been built at a total cost of VND1.9 billion (US$90,000) but was still left unoccupied three years after being put into operation.
Meanwhile, a nearby street market is always full or even overloaded with both traders and buyers.
In a similar situation, the Mekong Delta’s Ben Tre Province has tens of abandoned markets.
Quoi Son market in the province’s Chau Thanh District, for instance, was built one year ago at an estimated cost of VND18 billion ($857,000) but remains abandoned. It covers an area of nearly 5,000sq.m with more than 400 booths.
Dr Nguyen Minh Phong from the Ha Noi Institute for Social and Economic Development Study said there were many reasons leading to ineffective investment in building markets.
Many markets were built at locations difficult for buyers to access or far from commodities and services suppliers, so they failed to attract both traders and buyers, he said.
Besides, many markets were under construction but then were delayed as a result of capital shortage, he added.
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that the whole country upgraded nearly 3,000 markets and built more than 2,000 new markets by the end of 2012, bringing the total numbers of markets nationwide to 8,547.
Director of the Ministry’s Domestic Market Department Vo Van Quyen said the development of the market system helped to promote agricultural production and boost commodity consumption.
However, market development and management has many shortcomings, including the low quality of markets and inappropriate market planning for rural areas, he stressed.
The market system failed to meet residents’ real demand. Most of markets were small-scale, unequally allocated, with backward infrastructure, he said.
Around 28 per cent of the markets are make-shift ones. There are only eight large-scale wholesale markets across the nation.
To prevent wastefulness or make markets more attractive to both traders and buyers, Quyen said attention should be paid to ensuring interests for both buyers and traders as well as creating conditions for traders and small businesses to operate in the market at low cost.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said the ministry proposed localities limit the construction of new markets at inappropriate locations.
The construction or upgrade of markets must be considered carefully to meet the real demand of both traders and buyers.
The ministry proposed the State continue providing investment assistance in building markets for poor provinces with high demand for markets, particularly in remote and mountainous areas.
People’s Committees of localities should have policies to encourage different economic sectors to invest in developing markets, she said.
Lao Cai urges residents to reap artichoke profits
An additional 15 hectares of artichoke have been grown in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai’s Sa Pa District this summer-autumn crop, raising the total cultivation area of medicinal plants in the region to nearly 50 hectares.
Artichoke growers in the communes of Hau Thao, Lao Chai, Ban Khang, Sa Pa, and Ta Phin have been provided with free artichoke seeds by Traphaco, a Ha Noi-based medicine manufacturer, while the district People’s Committee has provided fertilizer and pesticide.
Traphaco also guaranteed to buy 100 per cent of the artichokes harvested in the area to produce artichoke extract.
According to Nguyen Tien Thanh, head of the district’s economic department, artichokes had high economic efficiency and were sold at a stable wholesale price of VND2.500 (US$0.1).
“A local family once earned nearly VND50 million (nearly $2,500) in one year by growing artichokes,” Thanh said, adding that the income could double.
For this reason, artichoke cultivation nowadays was offering local residents with high incomes, he said.
Having realised the crop’s potential, the district was looking to increase the cultivation area of herbal trees to hundreds of hectares, of which artichokes would make up 50 per cent, Thanh said.
Artichoke cultivation will also be conducted in other communes such as Ban Ho where there is enough land budget to cultivate them and residents have experience in growing the trees.
In Viet Nam, artichokes are grown only in Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and in Sa Pa in the northern province of Lao Cai.
As a mountain district in Lao Cai Province, Sa Pa had a cool climate all year round, which was ideal for growing many valuable medicinal plants such as buttercups, peppermint and artichokes, according to Nguyen Dac Tien, director of the Lao Cai Medical Materials Joint Stock Company.
However, Tien added that the amount of plants produced was falling due to poor management by local authorities and the industrialisation process.
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