50,000 pirate discs destroyed
Nearly 50,000 CDs, VCDS, DVDs were destroyed yesterday by the capital’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism as part of a crackdown launched at the start of the year on digital piracy.
The Hanoi department also oversaw the destruction of nearly 11,000 unstamped CDs, VCDs, DVDs – plus those containing unauthorised games -which were handed over by ministry inspectors.
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To Van Dong, director of the Hanoi department, said the items were seized according to the Government Decree 75 issued in 2010 regulating administrative fines and punishment for violations in the culture sector.
Three injured in coach accident
Three people were injured after a coach smashed into an oncoming lorry and an electricity pole yesterday afternoon in Dong Hoa Commune of Trang Bom District.
The coach was carrying 40 passengers from HCM City to Ha Noi when it crashed into the lorry, forcing it to collide with a roadside electricity pole.
The accident left four communes without power until the evening.
Local police are investigating the cause of the accident.
On Sunday, four people died instantly in an accident between two motorbikes in the Hiep Hoa district of Bac Giang province.
The victims were aged between 20 and 26.
Students drown while fishing on building site
The bodies of two primary school students were found floating in a pond at the construction site of the ongoing Nhat Tan Bridge in Ha Noi yesterday.
The victims were 11-year-old Tran Van Hao and 10-year-old Chu Hai Dang, students at Van Noi primary school.
They were reported missing on Monday evening after going fishing.
The pond, a large embankment of earth being used for the construction, had filled up during the recent rain and covers an area of 100sq.m. Local residents claimed that no signs had been erected to warn people of the danger.
District police are conducting an autopsy and examining the scene to identify the cause of the tragedy.
Training essential to success of weather monitoring system
A project worth millions of dollars, which helped to install the French fisheries satellite surveillance system Movimar on 3,000 ships in coastal provinces and cities, has not been working up to standard recently, according to fishermen in central provinces.
In central Phu Yen Province for instance, the Movimar system has been installed on 94 vessels, however many of them have been removed, just as the new fishing season is approaching.
“During a recent meeting of the province’s fisheries association, many fishermen proposed returning the satellite equipment back to the state but the Department for Exploitation and Protection of Aquatic Resources refused to take them back”, said Phan Thuan, head of Tuy Hoa City’s Fisheries Association, to Nguoi lao dong (Labourers).
Each satellite costs VND65 million (US$3,000) and is supposed to provide vessels with hydro-meteorological forecasts that warn them of approaching storms and other bad weather conditions.
However it caused interference to other electronic systems when turned on, according to Vo Duong, a ship owner in Tuy Hoa City.
Having the same complaint as Duong, Do Nhu Qua, who often goes fishing near the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, said that on one occasion Movimar had not warned him that a storm was approaching his vessel.
“At that time, the storm was headed straight toward my ship but the device still indicated that the weather was fine”, said Qua.
Similarly, fishermen in central Khanh Hoa Province had to use the weather forecasts provided by local coastal radio stations to get information, even though around 300 local vessels had already had the satellite installed.
“The device failed to determine the position, wind direction and speed of storms when they were about to approach our ships”, Tran Van Dat, from the provincial fisheries association complained.
Meanwhile, Movimar always shows the vessels speed as much lower than it really is, according to central Ninh Thuan Province’s sub-department for Exploitation and Protection of Aquatic Resources.
In contrast with the complaints from fishermen, several local authorities have reported that the system is working effectively.
After having received complaints from fishermen about the systems inefficiency, central Khanh Hoa Province’s Exploitation and Protection of Aquatic Resources checked a device and the results showed that Movimar was working well.
A similar check also was taken by the Directorate of Fisheries, according to Nguyen Tri Phuong, Deputy Director of Phu Yen Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Fishermen should receive more training on the device as the checks showed that they are not very competent when using it”, said Phuong.
The 14 million euros (US$20 million) French-funded Movimar project has been conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development since 2011. As part of the project, Movimar will be installed on 3,000 vessels in 28 provinces nationwide to provide fishermen with hydro-meteorological forecasts that warn them of approaching storms and other bad weather conditions.
Central Highlands-southcentral region students win Vallet scholarships
The “Meet Vietnam” organisation has used a September 3 ceremony in Da Lat City to present 170 Odon Vallet scholarships to outstanding materially disadvantaged students from the Central Highlands and the southcentral province of Khanh Hoa.
The scholarships are VND7.5 million for each school pupil and VND12 million for each university student.
Awardees included 150 pupils from Central Highlands-southcentral regional ethnic boarding high schools, Hermann Gmeiner High School, and Hermann Gmeiner Nha Trang High School, as well as 20 students from Da Lat and Nha Trang universities.
The pupils and students were recognised for successfully triumphing over difficult family circumstances to achieve excellent results during the last academic year.
The Odon Vallet Scholarship Fund has awarded 2,188 scholarships for the new 2013-2014 academic year, worth nearly VND19 billion. The scholarships are a demonstration of the international community’s support for Vietnam’s young generations of pupils, students, and researchers.
Overseas Vietnamese Association established in Thailand
The newly established Bangkok branch of the Overseas Vietnamese Association will foster a positive and productive communal spirit shared by expatriate Vietnamese.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Ngo Duc Thang told the August 29 ceremony inaugurating the facility in Bangkok.
Thang thanked Bangkok authorities for supporting the association’s establishment and thereby fuelling mutual efforts to elevate the two countries’ bilateral relationship to an official strategic partnership.
Although the association has been operating since 2010, its founding was formally licensed earlier this year.
Association President Nguyen Ngoc Anh said its recent activities have been conducted with an eye towards the homeland, including educating younger generations of OVs about Vietnamese traditions of solidarity, respect, and support.
Nine of the more than 20 Thai provinces with Vietnamese expatriate residents have permitted the establishment of OV Association branches, helping to create the conditions allowing the OV community to thrive.
Ha Noi eyes remedy to herbal med issue
Developing herbal medicine in Ha Noi has met many obstacles as some authorities are not aware of the medicines’ importance and staff familiar with herbal medicine is limited.
This was the stance of Nguyen Cong Soai, the standing deputy secretary of the municipal Party Committee, during a conference on the development of herbal medicines recently.
He also said that the application of valuable remedies was not implemented, thus many of the remedies and many medicinal plants faced risk of being lost.
Chairman of the Ha Noi Herbal Medicine Association Nguyen Hong Xiem added that the State’s investment in herbal medicines was low compared with modern medicines, and the combination of herbal and modern medicine was limited.
Management of herbal medicine was not good enough, thus the price and quality of medicine was not controlled, he said.
The city also does not have a proper scheme to grow herbal medicine, so sources are mostly based on imports.
“As much as 80 per cent of the present herbal medicines are imported from China, including Ninh Hiep and Gia Lam districts which are the biggest herbal medicine villages in the northern area,” said Xiem.
Xiem and other members of the association proposed the city authorities at different levels to have tight guidelines and supportive policies to create proper conditions for the development of herbal medicine.
Deputy standing secretary Nguyen Cong Soai asked the city’s health sector to join hands with relevant bodies to improve herbal medicine wards in general hospitals.
The sector should also co-ordinate with medical universities and vocational schools to create training courses for herbal medicine physicians and conduct researches on valuable remedies.
A plan for exploiting and reprocessing herbal medicine resources should be set up, he said.
The number of patients receiving treatment with herbal medicine increased from nearly 1 million people in 2008 to more than 2 million people in the first half of this year, according to statistics from the Ha Noi Herbal Medicine Association.
Although the number of patients increased, it did not reach the city’s target.
As much as 20-30 per cent of the patients received treatment without medicine.
The rate of patients being relieved or totally cured reached 70-80 per cent, and no incidents from the use of herbal medicine was reported, the statistics said.
Provinces to apply targeted family planning
Measures to adjust birth rates will be flexible in different provinces and cities in the future so that localities can choose the most suitable measures for their situations, said experts from the General Office for Population and Family Planning.
Nguyen Van Linh, standing deputy chairman of the northern Bac Giang province People’s Committee said that the urgent duty for the province in the future was to adjust the sex ratio at birth.
The province’s sex ratio at birth was 120.42 boys for every 100 girls which was very high compared with the country’s average rate of 112.67 boys for every 100 girls, he said.
In August last year, the committee approved a strategy for population and reproductive health for the period of 2012-15, in which seven measures will be implemented to reduce the sex ratio at birth.
District medical stations will sign commitments to not implement procedures for choosing the sex of a foetus, including ultrasound. The provincial Department of Health will strengthen its inspection of the stations and impose strict punishment for violations.
The provincial health sector will join hands with the local Fatherland Front, women’s association, Department of Information and Communications as well as multimedia to disseminate information to women and the community on the issue, he said.
Nguyen Van Tuan, chairman of the northern Nam Dinh province People’s Committee, said that in the future the province will focus on reducing the birth rate.
At present the province’s total fertility rate (TFR) is 2.19, which decreased from previous years; however, the province still faces a latent risk of the rate increasing due to the high number of maternal age women.
The province is targeting a TFR of 1.8 by 2015. To reach the target, the province plans to hold three conferences, with the participation of more than 200 people, between neighbouring provinces and cities to share experiences related to the issue.
The province will disseminate nearly 200,000 informative leaflets discussing the issue of birth rate reduction, and give counseling to couples registering marriages with local authorities.
It will also hold 20 training courses on the issue for about 1,000 medical workers and volunteers.
Tuan proposed that the General Office for Population and Family Planning have more social welfare policies in place for couples having only daughters, as many people in the province attempt to conceive more children in an attempt to bear a son.
Meanwhile, the HCM City Department of Health has encouraged women in the city to give birth to two children rather than the current trend of one.
On average, the city’s birth rate is 1.3 children per woman, the lowest in the country, said To Thi Kim Hoa, deputy director of the department.
The department will also utilise multimedia to disseminate information on the consequences of a low birth rate, including the shortage of a labour force that will affect the city’s economy in the long term.
The city health sector will join hands with hospitals and medical stations to improve the quality of reproductive health care services for local residents and immigrants, she said.
HCM City housing scheme helps disadvantaged
House rents in HCM City may have increased over the last year, but Le Thanh Hoa of Thu Duc District has kept hers unchanged under a city programme especially meant to benefit disadvantaged people.
Hoa, who rents 40 rooms out to workers in Residential Area No. 5 in Linh Xuan Ward, is one of many landlords who have signed up for the programme.
The programme is one of several social security measures announced by the city’s Party Committee in May.
Hoa has also worked with the Women’s Union in the ward to set up a boarding house owners club with 20 members to help tenants when they have difficulties.
More than 60,000 landlords have promised to keep rents unchanged until the end of this year, helping ease the situation for the one million renters already hit by price hikes for many essential goods, the Party Committee’s Mass Mobilisation Board reported at a meeting last Thursday.
More than 76,000 boarding house owners in the city have also helped 1.16 million tenants register their electricity and water utilities so that they can pay official prices, the board said.
Often landlords force tenants to pay much higher prices.
More than 4,600 companies have also joined the programme and taken measures to support and improve the lives of 505,000 workers.
More than 1,700 private kindergartens and families caring for workers’ children have promised not to increase fees this year.
Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, urged the city Fatherland Front and other organisations to continue monitoring people’s situations, especially the retired, the poor, workers, and those eligible for the Government’s priority policies, to properly implement social policies.
She called on relevant authorities to keep a close eye on the relationship between employers and employees to promptly resolve labour disputes.
She also ordered them to review anti-poverty programmes and draw up a list of those living below and near the poverty line to support them.
At the meeting, the People’s Committee presented certificates of merit to 29 organisations and 74 individuals for their contributions to helping poor people and implementing social policies.
Deputy chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Hong has asked for tax exemption to be continued for local landlords who keep house rents unchanged despite the increased prices for many essential goods.
She said that since 2011, the Government agreed with the city’s policy on exemption of value added tax and personal income tax for the landlords, which helped encourage them to join in relieving the burden for house renters, mostly poor and low-income earners in the city, thus ensuring social welfare.
Accordingly, in the last two years, over 10,000 landlords in the city were given tax exemptions worth VND16.3 billion (US$776,000).
“This benefited millions of workers and poor labourers,” she said, adding that, however, the policy was invalid this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, in his working visit to the city late last month, said that the Government would propose a continuation of the tax exemption to the National Assembly.
He also applauded the positive effect of the city’s campaign that encouraged landlords to keep house rents unchanged.
Social work students worried about modest job chances
Social work is still quite new in Vietnam, therefore, many students in this department are worried about finding a job after the graduation.
At a recent forum on social work orientation held by HCM City Open University, Trang, a student from the Social Work Department of the university, said, “I do not know which agency will hire me after graduation. Currently, it’s too difficult for students of this major to find a job.”
Speaking at the event, MA. Le Thi My Hien, head of the department, said this is a common anxiety among social work students, not only from HCM City Open University, but also other local universities.
However, Le Chu Giang, an official from the HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said students who choose a social activity major should not be worried because the recruitment demand for this area is very high and is expected to be higher in the near future.
According to Mr. Giang, while the top priority is to ensure social security for people, HCM City, as well as many other localities, have been actively implementing the government’s social activity development project, thus, the need for this sector’s labour force is on the rise.
At present, HCM City’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, has 40 social protection units, while, non-state agencies have 60 units.
Students with this major are advised to work as volunteers and practise at social organisations, which will help to give them more experiences for future jobs.
MA. Le Thi My Hien said a survey by HCM City Open University on 98 students indicated that up to 57% of them had found jobs before graduation, most coming from agencies where they were on probation.
Truong Cong Binh from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it’s very important for students to have passion and diligence to work in this field, because at the beginning, they often face hard work, and even dangerous work, but only receive a modest income.