S. Korean investor plans $5-bln property project at Saigon historic shipyard

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Ba Son shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: VnExpress Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are waiting for the state government’s opinion on a US$5-billion real estate project at Ba Son, the city’s oldest shipyard, being proposed by a South Korean investor. If approved, the plan of EUNSAN will be implemented on September 2, the HCMC People’s Committee announced on Thursday. However, no details were revealed about the project which aims at "renovating" the city’s look. Under a plan greenlighted by the city’s authorities a few years ago, the current shipyard would be moved to Thi Vai-Cai Mep Port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau by 2010, to make space for a complex consisting of hotels, office and apartment buildings. As of the end of last year, the site clearance was yet to be completed because Ba Son Company, a major shipbuilding arm of the defense ministry, did not have enough money to build the new shipyard. Ba Son’s history was … [Read more...]

Ba Son christens largest freighter

Photo for illustration. Source: samco.com.vn PANO - Ba Son Company, under the Ministry of Defence's Department for Industry, successfully shipped out the Princess freighter with the capacity of 6.800 DWT. The ship was built within a ten month time spanand is the biggest ship that Ba Son has built. It was also recorded as the biggest ship launched in the South of Vietnam. The Princess is 103.067 metres long and 17 metres wide. The total value of the contract to make the ship was at USD 11.150 million. Translated by Ngoc Hung … [Read more...]

Premier orders Ho Chi Minh City to urgently curb inundation in residential areas

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged Ho Chi Minh City to immediately focus on building infrastructure for flood control and consider the task a top priority. The head of the government has also approved a ten-year plan for flood control in the city with a view to wiping out floodwater on the streets in residential areas in the first stage, from 2016 to 2020. The second stage of the plan lasts till 2025. He suggested authorities in Ho Chi Minh City coordinate with other ministries and relevant agencies to seek investment for carrying out the constituent projects of the plan. In addition, the premier recommended city officials to work with their colleagues in neighboring Long An Province and at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on water drainage in the southern part of the metropolis. The government chief noted that the city has a low land foundation and is thus inundated during heavy rains and rising tides. A survey in 2013 showed that the peak of … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City plans $5.5 billion for transport projects through 2020

Vehicles are seen on a newly-built overpass in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Authority in Ho Chi Minh City plans to pump VND124.2 trillion (US$5.54 billion) into transport projects over the next five years, a three-fold increase from the fund earmarked for the 2011-2015 period, local media reported on Wednesday. More than 44 percent of the fund will come from the city budget, and the rest from different sources including the state budget and private investors. The HCMC People's Committee was quoted as saying that part of the fund will be distributed to projects aimed for reducing traffic congestion and accidents around the city, and some for new roads connecting the city with nearby provinces. With nearly VND39 trillion ($1.73 billion) spent on the transport sector since 2011, HCMC has achieved most of its transport objectives, but its public transport system is still underdeveloped with no express buses and subways, the authority said. Public transport was expected to … [Read more...]

ASEAN flag hoisted in Ho Chi Minh City

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday conducted a ceremony to fly the ASEAN flag in the heart of the city to mark 20 years of Vietnam’s admission to the bloc and the 48th founding anniversary of the group. The flag-hoisting ceremony was organized at a park at Bach Dang Quay, District 1, with the participation of the city’s leaders, including Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, and representatives from ministries, state agencies, and embassies as well as consuls general of the ASEAN member states. "This is an event of great significance to the city administration and its residents as this is the first time that the municipal authorities have inaugurated the ASEAN flag pole, along with those of the bloc’s country members, in the downtown area," said Nguyen Vu Tu, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Affairs. The display of the ASEAN flag and those of its 10 members shows the city’s determination to … [Read more...]

Two students dead after reservoir release swept them away

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Rescuers look for the second body after two girls were swept away during a water discharge at Dau Tieng reservoir on July 26, 2015. Photo: Giang Phuong A sightseeing trip is southern Vietnam turned tragic on Sunday after two teenagers were swept away by water discharge at a reservoir in southern Vietnam. Rescuers have found the bodies of two 16-year-old girls, who joined seven other 11th graders from Tay Ninh Province in a trip to Dau Tieng Reservoir, about 90 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City. According to the other students, they were playing by the Ca Noc Lake near the discharge gate of the Dau Tieng reservoir, which was then releasing water. Four of them were reportedly missed their footing and fell into the lake. Two of them were swept away by the torrent and found dead soon later, while the other two managed to hang on to large rocks and survive. Police are investigating the deaths. Dau Tieng is one of the biggest reservoirs in Vietnam, with the capacity of around 1.6 … [Read more...]

Authority denies tightening control over foreign visitors to famous Can Gio reserve

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Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, nearly 50 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City's center. File photo The immigration authority in Ho Chi Minh City has said that procedures are "simple" for travel companies to bring foreign tourists to the UNESCO-recognized Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, news website Saigon Times Online recently reported. The agency made the comment after several tour operators expressed concerns that the tightened control over foreigners' visit to the famous destination could result in red tape, affecting their revenues. It takes only one day to get a license, the agency under the HCMC Police Department said, adding all the companies have to do is submit lists of tourists and their passports a day before their tours start. Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions, which has sent nearly 4,000 foreign tourists to Can Gio this year, worried it will not be that easy with tours on Sundays and holidays, when state offices usually close. Early this month travel companies said they … [Read more...]

Japan seeks investment approval to upgrade HCM City canal

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has asked municipal authorities in Ho Chi Minh City for permission to take part in the Xuyen Tam Canal upgrade project, worth over 5.1 trillion VND (around 234.1 million USD), in Binh Thanh and Go Vap districts, Hanoi Moi Newspaper reported on July 17. The project involves dredging the 6.21km main section of the Xuyen Tam Canal, which runs from Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal to Vam Thuat River, as well as dredging three other subsections, developing transport infrastructure and upgrading urban residential areas along the canal in Binh Thanh and Go Vap districts. JICA proposed to invest 3.5 trillion VND (approximately 160.5 million USD) in the project, or roughly 70 percent of total investments, in the form of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement. Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Tin has asked the city’s departments of Investment and Planning, and Finance, as well as a other relevant … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City sets up 33 mobile teams to cope with MERS

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Thirty-tree mobile teams have been formed to confront with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Ho Chi Minh City, amid fears of a possible spread, the municipal health department said Friday. Vietnam’s health ministry sets up hotline, runs training courses to cope with MERS Health authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are worried that the deadly disease could penetrate into Vietnam and the city in particular via visitors from epidemic-affected areas, the department told Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tuyen at a meeting the same day. Minister Tuyen visited the city yesterday to examine measures to cope with MERS, which has spread to 26 countries, affecting more than 1,300 people and killing more than 450 of them as of Thursday. These mobile teams have been assigned to a number of hospitals and preventive health centers in 24 districts of the city, the health department said. It also reported that 88 isolated beds have been arranged in three hospitals assigned to … [Read more...]

Prices of almost 2,000 medical services hiked in Ho Chi Minh City

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Health authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have raised the prices of nearly 2,000 medical services offered at state-owned facilities since the beginning of this month. The prices of 477 of 1,996 medical services at public health facilities in the city have been hiked since June 1 to be equal to 85 percent of the respective ceiling rates in place now, the Department of Health said on Monday. Meanwhile, the prices of the remaining 1,519 services have been raised to be equivalent to 75 percent of the respective caps, also since June 1. The price hike was made as the second step of the three-step road map for raising medical service prices, based on the ceiling rates set by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance in their joint circular dated February 29, 2012. The new prices are applied to 378 state-owned health facilities, including 52 hospitals, for this second step (June 1, 2015 - June 1, 2016), the department said. In the first step of the road map (June 1, 2014 - … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City to collect road fees from bikers next month

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City will begin to collect road maintenance fees as of July under a recent decision made by the municipal People’s Committee, thus becoming the last local government in Vietnam to apply such fees to bikers. Under the decision, owners of motorbikes with engines of up to 100 cubic centimeters (cc) will have to pay VND50,000 (US$2.3) per annum, and those who own bikes with 100-175 cc engines will be liable for a higher rate, VND100,000 ($4.6) per year. As for bikes with engines of over 175 cc, the fee rate will be VND150,000 ($6.9) per year. No fee will be imposed on electric bicycles. The people’s committees of wards, communes and towns are tasked with instructing motorbike owners to fill out fee declaration forms for motorbike use, according to the fee collection plan of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport, said Ngo Hai Duong, deputy head of the Road Development Division under the department. Based on such declarations, competent … [Read more...]

Weekly round up: Made-in-Vietnam phone, tourist visa fees, software piracy

Tourism industry seeking visa fee waivers for all visitors   The Vietnam Tourism Association is asking the government to offer visa fee waivers to all tourists between July and December this year.

Police have discovered eight foreign companies using 1,000 pirated software programs worth up to US$618,000. Officials decided to revise their plans for a controversial property project along the famous beach of Nha Trang. Dangerous defect recurs on multi-million dollar road The Ministry of Transport on Thursday ordered authorities in Ho Chi Minh City to repair a severe problem that has plagued one of its main streets. … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City ordered to fix dangerous defect on multi-million dollar road

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The Ministry of Transport on Thursday ordered authorities in Ho Chi Minh City to repair a severe rutting problem that has plagued one of its main streets over the last month, endangering traffic safety. The order came after local media reported that the surface of Mai Chi Tho Street in District 2 has sunk into multiple layers again. Several traffic accidents have taken place, even though none was fatal. The recurring problem has been reported at least six times since the street was opened to traffic in August 2010, as part of a massive VND9.84 trillion (US$451.2 million) project aiming to connect the city's east and west sides. The project was funded by Japan. This time the depression, up to 15 centimeters deep, stretches half a kilometer, Lao Dong newspaper reported. The troubled section was located near an entrance to Cat Lai Bypass, where motorbikes, cars and trucks were using to either enter or leave the elevated road, so whenever one vehicle stumbled into the sinked part, a … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s 2nd Arsenal-supported football academy to start recruiting trainees next month

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The second Arsenal-supported football academy in Vietnam will start recruiting children aged from 11 to 12 for its first course next month after the training facility was established in Ho Chi Minh City on May 7. The Nutifood – Hoang Anh Gia Lai – Arsenal JMG football training academy will initially organize seven sessions for the preliminary recruitment round in Ho Chi Minh City from June 6 to 14 under the supervision of experts from Vietnamese food company Nutifood and English Premier League side Arsenal. After that, the experts will travel to various venues in the north and central region to look for more trainees from June 16 to July 20. The final round of recruitment will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from August 10 to 15. All trainees will be temporarily stationed at the Phu Tho sports house in District 11 before the academy is built in the Rach Chiec sports center in District 2. Those learners will go through their seven-year course at the school. This is … [Read more...]

500 helmets given to students, parents to increase awareness of traffic law

FPT Group liaised with authorities in Ho Chi Minh City's Cu Chi District gave 500 helmets to students and residents in the district on May 9. The program aims to increase information and inhabitants' awareness of students and their parents' in obeying the law of wearing helmet for children on motorbikes to decrease death of traffic accidents. Before giving helmets to students and parents, traffic police in the district have checked and assess these unqualified helmets for drivers. Police told people about the bad effects of wearing fake and poor-quality helmets which aren’t capable of protecting the user’s head as they are supposed to, and worse, they aggravate the user’s injuries in case of accidents. The program is one of the content on the safety traffic festival themed "Being good parents means wearing helmets for your children" launched by the National Traffic Safety Committee. … [Read more...]

Pregnant woman, last victim of Da Nang car-bus collision, dies in coma

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A car-bus collision that killed 7 people in a family in the central city of Da Nang on April 29. Photos: Nguyen Tu The seventh and final victim in a crash between a car and a sleeper bus in the central city of Da Nang last week died on Wednesday. Nguyen Thi Huong Mai, 24 and two months pregnant, succumbed to her injuries after being in a deep coma ever since the accident. Her husband, two-year-old son, parents and younger sister had been killed when the bus, driven by Le Nhat Phuong, 42, collided into their car on April 29. All of 30 passengers on the bus escaped the crash unscathed. Phuong fled the scene, but was arrested four days after. Bus driver Le Nhat Phuong, 42, was arrested after the accident He is now being investigated on charges of violating traffic rules, punishable by a jail term of up to 15 years. An early report from the National Traffic Safety Committee showed that Phuong was driving the bus at 85 kilometers per hour on Nam Hai Van Bypass, where the speed … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City to inspect taekwondo division next month on bribery suspicion

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City will begin a 45-day inspection at the city’s taekwondo division and Sports Center, where taekwondo and other martial arts artists are training, next month after a taekwondo chief has admitted to receiving money from another team, believed to be paid in return for gold medals at the National Sports Festival last year. The Ho Chi Minh City Inspection Department said Wednesday that its inspectors will look into four areas at the taekwondo division and the center, including financial matters, training activities and the organization of taekwondo competitions, the management and transfer of taekwondo fighters, and other related affairs. "We will prepare necessary documents and start our inspection in early May," said a member of the inspection team. Last month, Hua Ngoc Thuan – vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee – accepted the request of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports to conduct the … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City expands vehicle-free zone for national reunification anniversary preparations

Photo:  Tuoi Tre    From District 4 to Binh Thanh District: Route 1:

Transport authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have decided to enlarge a designated area in the heart of the city to be shut down in preparation for many ceremonies to celebrate Reunification Day (April 30). Vehicles will be banned from this area at certain times on three separate days in the next seven days, according to the Department of Transport. The closed area has been expanded toward the bank of the Saigon River and is now bounded by Cach Mang Thang Tam - Nguyen Thi Minh Khai - Nguyen Binh Khiem - Nguyen Huu Canh - Ton Duc Thang - Ham Nghi - Le Lai - Pham Hong Thai - Cach Mang Thang Tam Streets. Earlier, the transport department designated a smaller vehicle-free zone from which vehicles were banned. All vehicles will be prohibited from entering the new zone on April 24 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am, and on April 26 and 30 from 4:00 am to 12:00 pm each. Vehicles can travel on alternative routes as follows: From Binh Thanh District to District 5 and District 10:Route 1: Xo … [Read more...]

Seaplane operator seeks to offer aerial tours of Ho Chi Minh City

A Hai Au Aviation seaplane operates in UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay, located in the northern province of Quang Ninh. Photo:

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have just requested the local transport department to consider a seaplane operator’s proposal to launch aerial tours above the city. The municipal People’s Committee has recently tasked the Department of Transport and other competent agencies with taking into careful consideration a proposition which was put forward by Hai Au Aviation, a private firm, regarding such tours. The company earlier sought permission to launch a new tour that would allow tourists to explore the city from the sky. The expected itinerary of the seaplane tours is Tan Son Nhat International Airport-Thanh Da Peninsula-the downtown area-Phu My Bridge-Can Gio District. The Thanh Da Peninsula is situated in Binh Thanh District, while the Phu My Bridge spans over the Saigon River sections in District 2 and District 7. Luong Hoai Nam, CEO of Hai Au Aviation, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that his company will work to implement this project in the next six months … [Read more...]

Cameras to be set up at welfare centers after abuse of HIV-positive children

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Children, from 3 to 6, play at the Linh Xuan welfare center for HIV-positive children. Photo credit: Dan Tri Local authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday asked the social affairs department to install surveillance cameras at every welfare center for children in the city, after a case of serious child abuse was exposed earlier this month. Hua Ngoc Thuan, vice chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, also ordered the department to review the operation of the Linh Xuan welfare center for children with HIV. Three caregivers here were caught on video slapping children of between 3 and 6 years old, pulling their ears and hitting them with a slipper. The video, reportedly filmed between late January and early March, showed that the abuse occurred mostly during meals when the women tried to force the children to eat. A total of five caregivers have been suspended since last week, together with their manager Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, as investigators look into the case. An official … [Read more...]