Two tonnes of elephant tusks seized at Hai Phong port
The cargo was found in a container shipped from Malaysia en route to China. The banned goods were hidden in sacks of sea shells. The cargo had been declared as sea shells.
Tusks and tortoise-shell are banned goods in Viet Nam under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which came into effect in 1994.
Dong Nai Hospital successfully rejoins arm
Dong Nai Hospital successfully reattached the severed arm of a 43-year-old man yesterday after a seven hour surgical operation.
The man was hospitalised on Sunday after a labour accident resulted in severe trauma to his left limb.
The patient is reportedly in a stable condition.
Collapse of antenna prompts safety review
The construction ministry plans to inspect the quality of all tower-shaped projects nationwide to ensure their safety following recent collapses of some antenna towers, according to an official from the ministry.
Last week, a 150-metre steel antenna tower of Radio Voice of Viet Nam (VOV) in central Quang Binh Province collapsed after storm Wutip made landfall in the central region, killing two people and injuring another.
Inspections would be particularly made for towers with a heights of 100m or over, said Director of the ministry’s Department of Construction Works Quality Appraisal Le Quang Hung.
He said such accidents revealed that tower-shaped projects such as television and radio antenna towers and electricity poles should be seriously checked to ensure safety.
There are hundreds of such facilities nationwide, including projects with a height of 100m or more, which were often built near or within residential areas, posing high risks for people, he said.
“Meanwhile, they were suspected of having structure-related problems,”
The television tower in Nam Dinh Province, for example, collapsed due to a failure to reach the standard requirements of wind loading capacity.
The case in Quang Binh Province was under further investigation, but it was also believed to be caused by a failure to meet design and structural standards, or a failure to keep the tower under regular maintenance, he added.
“It is therefore necessary to carefully reconsider construction planning before deciding to build such towers in residential areas,” he said.
After the collapse of the Nam Dinh television tower last year, the ministry required relevant ministries and agencies to report the status of tower-shaped facilities at localities.
“Although all localities and agencies confirmed that their facilities at present still stand firm, their quality could be proved via storms and floods,” he said.
“The tower in Quang Binh, for instance, could not sustain the strong winds from the past storm,” he said.
Inspections would focus on reviewing the designs, loading capacity and maintenance work of all towers to assure their safety as soon as possible with initial checks being made of towers exceeding heights of 100m.
Project owners would be required to regularly check the structural quality of towers and their loading capacity as well as conduct regular maintenance, he said.
Ha Noi wellbeing scheme spotlights the good, bad and ugly of VN capital
A special project to make the capital more beautiful and civilised is officially launched this morning to celebrate Ha Noi’s Liberation Day.
“Ha Noi, the beautiful and the ugly” aims to build a civilised and well-bred lifestyle – and thoughts on life – for Hanoians by focusing on spiritual life and values.
The community-based culture development scheme, with a special focus on the younger generations, will disseminate images and information depicting what is considered to be good and bad.
As a land of non-stop immigration flows throughout its history, the city’s culture has been continuously filtered and enriched, says Vu Phuong, head of the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Culture Fund.
“However, challenges always accompany opportunities as the result of such exchanges, integration, and social development,” Phuong said.
“There is an alarming degradation in behavioural culture, and attitudes in other daily activities such as eating, dressing, communicating, entertaining, among many others.
“These improper behaviours, as well as the under-evaluation of moral values of a particular section of city dwellers, seriously threaten the sustainable development of the capital city.
“The well-behaved and civilised ways of living have been long considered precious intangible cultural values for the capital city. Therefore, preserving and promoting these values are of overriding importance to Ha Noi, especially in the era of globalisation.
“It’s hard to protect and bring into full play tangible values, and even harder with intangible ones, thus long-term and proper solutions, including participation of the whole society, are essentially needed.”
Also today, the project’s website, hanoidep.vn, will go online.
The website is a tool for encouraging discussions about behavioural culture for people through out the country in five major areas: eating, dressing, walking and traveling, speaking, and entertaining.
In the long run, the website targets becoming a source of images about the life and people of Ha Noi to promote positive life values, Phuong said.
The website will host a range of activities, contests and updates on “hot” social issues. Additionally, community-based activities will also be organised to encourage the participation of local residents.
Among them, an “I love Ha Noi” flash mob event will be promoted to encourage the youngsters to express their love for the city and respect different jobs in the society.
A fan page for hanoidep.vn with a large number of photos has received more than 22,000 likes on Facebook.
Donations pour in for victims of Storm Wutip
State agencies, domestic and international organisations and individuals are continuing to contribute relief aid to victims of Tropical Storm Wutip in central provinces.
For Quang Binh Province, which suffered the worst of the storm, as much asVND13.5 billion (US$635,000) have been collected.
On the same day, the Viet Nam Fatherland Front‘s chapter in southern Long An Province received VND50 million ($2,350) from local donors on the first day of a 24-day campaign to raise funds for those affected by the storm.
The provincial People’s Committee has also provided VND350 million ($16,400) to support victims of the storm.
The central province of Binh Thuan has sent VND700 million ($32,900) to the victims, of which VND200 million ($9,400) went to storm-affected locals in Quang Binh Province.
In a related move, Ha Noi launched a month-long campaign on Monday for those struggling to turn to the normal life.
At the same time, the Viet Nam Fatherland Front chapter in southern Dong Thap Province has received over VND1.4 billion ($65,800) from businesses, organisations and individuals, after already donating VND500 million ($23,500) from its own budget.
On Monday, a delegation from the Golden Heart Foundation under the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour handed over relief aid including 2.5 tonnes of rice, 7,000 notebooks and school equipment and VND120 million ($5,600) in cash to storm victims in Ha Tinh Province’s Ky Ha Commune.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Monday launched a preliminary emergency appeal for $2.3 million to help the Viet Nam Red Cross deliver emergency assistance to 37,500 people following the widespread devastation caused by Wutip.
Storm Wutip caused losses totalling VND11 trillion ($517 million) in central coastal provinces. Quang Binh was the hardest hit, with losses equal to VND8 trillion ($376 million).
The storm killed 14 people and injured 225, while two others are still missing.
Eminent Professor Nguyen Thien Thanh passes away
Labor Hero and People’s Doctor, Professor Nguyen Thien Thanh passed away on October 8 in Ho Chi Minh City at the ripe old age of 95.
The professor was the first Director of Thong Nhat Hospital and made outstanding contributions in building and developing the hospital. He was founder of the Geriatrics Society and Chairman of the Geriatrics Department at Thong Nhat Hospital.
After reunification in 1975, he was made Director of Thong Nhat Hospital. He was also the Chairman of the Geriatrics Department at Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy from 1989-1996.
Professor Thanh received many Party, State and Army awards for his dedication and contribution, including the ‘Labor Hero’ in 1985 and ‘People’s Doctor’ in 1989. He was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hospital Management Asia Conference in 2009 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Professor was father of Politburo Member and Deputy PM Nguyen Thien Nhan, Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee.
Heavy rain triggers flooding in HCMC
A sudden heavy downpour on October 9 inundated several streets in Ho Chi Minh City such as Hoa Binh, Tan Hoa and Dang Nguyen Can in District 11, resulting in severe traffic gridlock.
Residents placed sand bags, logs of wood in front of their houses to prevent black water from flowing in.
Although rain stopped in ten minutes, water still rose more than one meter.
Automobiles went past creating waves and splashing motorbike drivers who fell down on the flooded streets.
Flooding caused many vehicles to break down, resulting in traffic congestion.
Drivers chose to divert on the non-flooded streets like Lac Long Quan, Au Co, Cong Hoa, Truong Chinh, Khuong Viet, and Tran Binh Trong. This led to a mess in traffic along these streets, with heavy traffic jams lasting until 10pm.
Hoa Trang Nguyen Scholarship given to 780 students
The annual Hoa Trang Nguyen scholarship was given to 780 students on October 9 at a ceremony co-organized by the Education and Information Commission of the Party Central Committee, the Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam Private Universities Association and the Tan Tao Group.
The scholarship aims to encourage students to strive for higher achievements in their studies.
The selected students included winners of International Olympiads, excellent students of national contests, those who topped entrance exams to universities and colleges, and students gaining excellent results during their three years at senior high schools.
The scholarships handed out were worth VND1 billion (US$47,374).
A scholarship receiver will also receive a full scholarship worth VND60 million ($2,843) to study at Tan Tao University and medicine students will receive a VND100 million ($4,737) scholarship.
Free check-ups for poor people in Khanh Hoa
Nearly 1,000 poor people, mostly from Raglai and Ede ethnic communities in the mountainous district of Khanh Vinh in the central Khanh Hoa province, were given free health check-ups, treatment and medicine on October 9.
The activity was carried out by the national and provincial Red Cross societies and the UK Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) company.
Besides the checks-up, the participating medical workers together with 30 volunteers gave advice to local people on how to keep hygiene and prevent some common diseases in the mountainous areas.
The programme was funded by the GSK company, at an average cost of 70,000-80,000 VND (3.3-3.8 USD) for each beneficiary.
Environment improvement attracts rare birds
Several rare bird species, even some listed in Vietnam’s Red Book, have returned to forests and nature reserves in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang thanks to the improvement of the environment in the locality.
According to forest rangers and experts from the Institute of Tropical Biology in Ho Chi Minh City, the bird sanctuary has recently welcomed many new species of birds.
Since August 2011, about 4,000 individuals from over 30 species have come to the garden. These include painted storks, darters and Asian open-bill storks, which have all been listed in the Red Book.
With about 5,100 hectares of forest land and 2,500 hectares of forests, HauGiang is home to 71 species of terrestrial animals, and 135 species of birds, in addition to many types of fish, reptiles and amphibians.
International letter writing competition launched
The 43rd Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Letter Writing Competition for Young People 2013 themed “Write a letter describing how music can touch lives”, was launched at Trung Vuong High School in Hanoi on October 9.
The annual contest for children aged 10- 15 was hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union, and Thieu Nien Tien Phong (Young Pioneer) Newspaper.
Accordingly, this year, contestants have to write a letter using no more than 800 words. The winning letter will be translated into English and French and submitted to the international round.
The competition is an excellent way to raise young people’s awareness of the global social issue aiming to reinforcing solidarity and friendship among nations, promoting the participants’ linguistic capability as well as deepening their understanding of the postal sector’s role in social life.
At the launch ceremony, the organising board also presented a consolation prize to seventh-grader Dao Thuy Thuy Duong from the central city of Danang’s Tay Son Junior High School in Hai Chau district for her good performance in the 42nd competition.
Exhibition highlights agricultural research for development
A photo exhibition and seminar will be held at the French Cultural Centre L’Espace from October 14-18 to mark the 20th anniversary of cooperative activities of the Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) in Vietnam.
The event is part of the France-Vietnam Year programme (2013-2014).
The photo exhibition includes 55 posters featuring 173 photos which have been taken by CIRAD experts and Vietnamese colleagues in the implementation of projects on agricultural research and development in various rural areas in Vietnam.
French and Vietnamese experts will join the seminar on October 15-18 to discuss how the household agriculture can provide food to 100 million people in Vietnam with high quality, environmentally friendly products.
Interdisciplinary cooperation in child care
The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) and Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Welfare (MoLISA) on October 9 signed a plan on cooperation in child protection, care and education until 2020.
The plan is targeted towards effective implementation of the goals of building a safe and friendly environment that provides equal education and development opportunities for all children.
It outlines numerous tasks including revising legal documents in the field; building an interdisciplinary cooperation framework at all levels; and improving educators’ capacity for protecting, caring and educating children.
A workshop was also held on the same day to review the implementation of child protection, care and education at schools in the 2010-2013 period as well as the current health and nutrition situation of school children.
According to MoET’s Student Affairs Department, the ministry will continue developing the school system, encouraging children to go to school and improving learning quality at all education levels.
The focus will be on poor and ethnic minority areas with the aim of building 93,000 new classrooms and 23,140 teachers’ rooms at a total cost of over VND32 trillion (US$1.5 trillion).
International conference on conservation of primates
Vietnam is one of few countries in the world home to species of primates which are at risk of extinction and in need of urgent protection, told an October 9 international conference.
The event, jointly held by the Endangered Primate Rescue Center (EPRC), the Cuc Phuong National Park, and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), was attended by 80 Vietnamese and foreign experts and scientists.
The delegates assessed real situations, pointed out direct threats and discussed measures to protect endangered primate species in Vietnam in the future.
Tran The Lien, Head of the Forestry General Department’s Nature Conservation Department said diversity of terrains, landscapes and weather conditions have enriched biodiversity in Vietnam, noting that the country’s biodiversity has been threatened due to climate change and human abuse, he noted.
He called on governments of countries to boost closer cooperation and take urgent measures to prevent the extinction of endangered primate species.
On this occasion, the participants made field trips to several nature conservation sites in the northern province of Ninh Binh.
Low-income housing project underway
The Thu Do Investment and Trade Joint Stock Company yesterday (Oct 9) began a housing project for low-income earners in the Bac Co Nhue-Chem New Urban Zone in Tu Liem District.
The Thu Do Investment and Trade Joint Stock Company yesterday began a housing project for low-income earners in the Bac Co Nhue-Chem New Urban Zone in Tu Liem District.— File Photo
The project, costing VND650 billion (US$31 million), includes four 12-storey buildings, a covered area of two hectares and a total of 930 apartments ranging from 36.5 to 69.6sq.m.
With the estimated price per sq.m of about VND10.3-10.8 million ($490-514), customers will have to pay from VND400 million ($19,000) to VND700 million ($33,300) for an apartment.
The developer will use advanced technology to slash the building time. It is expected that apartments will be ready for occupation by the fourth quarter of next year.
About 30,000 people employed by Ha Noi-based ministries and central agencies have registered for cheap homes. However, the number of low-income housing apartments on the horizon totals only 13,000.
At the inauguration ceremony, the Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade’s Nam Thang Long branch signed lending contracts with five customers eligible for a 6 per cent interest rate.
A new phase of poverty reduction
Vietnam’s poverty reduction campaign has got off to a good start, but has yet to benefit all disadvantaged people in remote and ethnic minority-inhabited areas.
One of the top 38 countries pursuing the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation‘s millennium development goals (MDGs), Vietnam has recently received a certificate of merit for having early fulfilled MDG1 of cutting half of its poor population by 2015.
Economists warn that in its poverty reduction efforts Vietnam is destined to face a host of challenges arising from regional socio-economic realities and global economic fluctuations.
Development Strategy Institute Director Bui Tat Thang says the rapid rate of poverty reduction, although impressive, is not sustainable as maintaining high rates of economic growth and macroeconomic stability will be all the more difficult.
World Bank Vietnam Expert Vu Hoang Linh says economically he is very concerned about the plight of disadvantaged ethnic minority people.
According to WB statistics from 2010, 66 percent of ethnic minority people live under the poverty line, compared to 13 percent of the ethnic Kinh majority. They often have to seek credit to cover production costs and daily living expenses.
A WB survey reveals most of Ma ethnic minority residents in Dak Nong province borrowed a dozen million Vietnam dong from banks to grow maize and coffee or to buy rice seeds, fertiliser, and essential commodity goods. High inflation, price hikes, unfavourable weather, and insect plagues put them in a difficult position to recuperate the money needed to pay off their debts and escape from the curse of poverty.
The United Nations lists Vietnam 6th among the countries which have made considerable progress in fulfilling MDGs.
WB Expert Valeria Kozel says wealth disparities between disadvantaged communities like small ethnic minority groups and large sections of urban population are exacerbated by the former’s isolation and low levels of property, health, nutrition, and education.
Labour Science and Social Affairs Institute Director Nguyen Thi Lan Huong says poverty reduction efforts will require coordinated efforts from the government and all sections of society, including the poor themselves.
As Kozel argues capital growth is a decisive factor behind poverty reduction so Vietnam needs to ensure macroeconomic stability and curb inflation for the benefit of sustainable growth in the future.
She insists on increasing investment in rural areas, improving agricultural productivity, and supporting small-and medium-sized businesses which employ local labourers and realise the importance of equipping them with adequate knowledge and skills to work.
2013 Canada Education Week in Vietnam
The Embassy of Canada in Hanoi and the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh city have announced that the 2013 Canada Education Week will be held from October 13-19 with almost 70 Canadian institutions participating.
Representing the full range of education options, from kindergarten to Grade 12, language programmes, all the way to college and university, these Canadian institutions are among the best in the world. This year, students will have an opportunity to meet with many of Canada’s leading universities like the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, the University of Victoria, Waterloo University, the University of Manitoba, the University of Saskatchewan, and Concordia University.
The fairs will take place at the Melia Hotel in Hanoi on October 13 from 9:30am – 4:00pm, at Ninh Kieu 2 Hotel in Can Tho city on October 16 from 4:30pm – 8:00pm, and at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ho Chi Minh city on October 19 from 9:30am – 4:00pm.
Canada spends more per capita on education than any other G8 country and welcomes more than 100,000 international students every year. Canada’s world-class educators, cutting-edge technology, competitive tuition fees, diverse population, and opportunities for international graduates to stay and work to gain international experience make Canada one of the best choices for prospective students. A recent survey says international students studying in Canada pay some of the lowest fees amongst Western developed nations, lower than those in Australia, the US and the UK.
Students and families are encouraged to take this opportunity to meet directly with Canadian institutions’ representatives, learn about Canada’s education system and study options available, visa application process, and opportunities for international students after graduation. A special seminar on applying for student visas will be led by a Canadian immigration official, aimed at providing the public with transparent and clear guidance on this topic of concern.
High school students wishing to conquer the challenges of the second and third rounds of the “Explore Canada from A to Z” competition should not miss the fairs which will include a lot of interesting and useful information about Canada. The competition, organised by the Embassy and Consulate General of Canada, was launched on August 27 and will end by November 30 this year.-
Inbreeding threatens survival of ethnic minority populations
Some ethnic groups are on the decline because of inbreeding, according to the General Office for Population and Family Planning’s Population Research and Development Centre.
In these tribal groups, it is quite acceptable – and traditional – for cousins to marry to maintain family properties.
The population centre’s survey in six communes in Kon Tum province’s Sa Thay, Ngoc Hoi and Kon Plong districts in 2012’s last six months found 350 early marriages, n early 60 of them between cousins and other close relatives.
Another survey in Lao Cai province’s nine districts and cities last year found nearly 250 similar couples.
They had to go to hospitals occasionally for blood transfusions.
“While they are very poor, they have to buy the blood. The parents cannot give theirs because it is also affected by gene mutations,” he said.
About 5 million Vietnamese children have hereditary diseases caused by gene mutations caused by close marriages. The gene leads to blood disorders and dwarfism, according to the hospital.
Statistics from Lao Cai province’s health sector also show that 50 out of 600 children born to close-marriage couples develop abnormally. They often suffer from albinism, are mentally retarded, paralytic or dumb.
Deputy chairman of the Ha Giang People’s Committee Sen Chin Ly said that the local authorities will ask families to sign a pledge not to marry early or to close relatives.
The provincial Department of Health has decided to help People’s Committees to manage population and family planning. They will also provide training for village-based midwives.
In 2009, eight out of the 22 new couples in the commune had early marriages. Three of the group were also involved in close marriages.
By 2011, the number of early-marriage couples had fallen to five out of 24 – and these were not close marriages.
The commune set up two clubs to explain the problems and has attracted 50 members.
Traditional artists are also being mobilised in many districts to promote modern outlooks on marriages – and, for some unexplained reason, funerals.
Members of the association, including shamans, have become experts at disseminating information on the subjects.
Traditional festivals may be promoted so that young people can make friends with those from other villages and families, according local officials.-
HCM City, Shanghai boost cooperation
Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam voiced her hope for stronger cooperation between the city and the Chinese city of Shanghai in many fields based on the traditional friendship between Vietnam and China.
Speaking at an October 9 reception for a visiting delegation from the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress led by its Chairwoman Yin Yicui, Tam promised to work to enhance the sharing and exchanges of experience between the people’s councils of the two cities.
She congratulated the Chinese city on its great achievements over the recent past, and expressed her belief that Vietnam and China will continue to promote their traditional friendship during the process of cooperation and development.
For her part, Yin Yicui said Shanghai and HCM City have many similarities in terms of geographical position as well as their important role to their countries.
She suggested that the two cities hold various meaningful activities in 2014 to mark the 20th anniversary of their twinning relationship and re-sign the document to further promote the ties.
Nutrition week aims to enhance nutrition security
A series of activities will be hosted during the event encouraging and teaching people how to eat more nutritious food and process food in the right way to preserve nutrition.
The public health departments in cities and provinces nationwide will coordinate with related agencies to popularise knowledge on gardening and husbandry as well as daily nutrition among families, especially those in remote and natural disaster-prone areas.
According to the Nutrition Institute under the Ministry of Health, Vietnam currently has around 7.68 million children under 5, of whom over 2 million are undersized and over 1 million are underweight due to malnourishment.
At the same time, the number of overweighed children in this age group is increasing fast, now accounting for 5.6 percent of the total.
The average height of Vietnamese men in the 20-24 age group is 164.44 cm while that of women in the same age group is 153.42cm.
Quang Ninh inaugurates mud treatment plant
The northern province of Quang Ninh on October 9 put into use a plant treating mud discharged from coal sorting factories.
Invested by the Cua Ong Coal Selection Company under the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Group, the 11.8 million USD project will help reduce environmental pollution in Bai Tu Long Bay and its surrounding areas.
The plant’s construction began from late 2012 and it can process 1 million tonnes of mud every year.
The Cua Ong Coal Selection Company processes and sells over 10 million tonnes of coal annually. Its capacity is expected to increase to 14-15 million tonnes in the future.
Jetstar offers free transport of handouts to flooded areas
Jetstar Pacific on Monday started to transport handouts free of charge to people in central Vietnam heavily affected by the storm No. 10.
According to Jetstar Pacific, it will transport donations from agencies and organizations to people living central provinces, from Thanh Hoa to Thua Thien-Hue, from now until this month-end on HCMC-Vinh flights.
However, the carrier will say no to goods violating air transport regulations and goods which are not used to assist flood-affected people.
Social agencies and organizations with demand of transporting handouts should contact Jetstar Pacific’s in-charge team in advance at 0926 687 979 or via Fax at 08 3547 4515.
The storm No. 10 has caused damages worth at least VND11 trillion in central provinces. Therefore, enterprises have offered assistance to those affected under many forms.
PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation (PVFCCo) grants VND2.5 billion worth of donations in cash and in kind to families in the central and Central Highlands regions affected by the storms No. 8 and No. 10.
According to a brief report of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in HCMC, it has received over VND1.5 billion from agencies and organizations in the city. Before that, the committee granted over VND6 billion to six central provinces.
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