Social News 25/1

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Authorities bust traffickers for transporting firecrackers Several individuals were caught transporting forbidden commodities over the past few days, alerting authorities to the worsening problem of trafficking during the days approaching Tet (lunar new year). In Quang Ninh Province's Ha Long City yesterday, a team of economic and traffic police caught container driver Tran Van Dang transporting 17kg of made-in-China firecrackers. The Hai Duong Province resident said he purchased the goods in Mong Cai City for VND800,000 (US$37) and intended to resell them for profit. City police are completing the necessary documents to charge Dang with transport of forbidden goods. On Wednesday, the General Department of Viet Nam Customs's Department of Investigation and Anti-Smuggling and Quang Ninh Province's Mong Cai Border Gate customs officers dispatched forces to watch for firecracker smugglers. Although the smugglers escaped, they left behind four jute bags containing 30 strings of … [Read more...]

Changes in telephone area codes show poor planning by ministry

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VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Information and Communication’s (MIC) decision to change telephone area codes twice within six years shows an ineffective use of the national telecom number repository and a lack of long-term planning. Businesses have been complaining about the planned changes in the telephone area codes, saying they would cost them a lot of money. Under a new decision by the Ministry of Information and Communication, the telephone area codes of 59 of the country’s 63 provinces and cities (under central government) would be changed. Meanwhile, the 11-numeral mobile subscription numbers will be replaced by 10-digit numbers. Nam, a retailer in Hanoi, said he has underdone two changes in the six years of his business. "The first happened in 2008, just days after my business was set up," he said. "I had to spend hundreds of millions of dong to re-print the company’s telephone numbers on gifts and product packaging. All the products with … [Read more...]

Social News 24/1

Bus fare reductions for holiday travellers Following decreases in fuel prices, Ho Chi Minh City’s bus fares during the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year festival) are expected to drop by 7 to 20 from last year, unveiled the municipal Ministry of Transport on January 22. According to agency statistics, 110 of 130 operators in the Mien Tay bus station and 115 of 214 operators in the Mien Dong station have reduced transport fares thus far. Only five operators have announced their intent to increase their ticket costs for some routes. Currently, the industry is experiencing increased demand on the people’s travel as the holiday season quickly approaches. On January 4, petrol prices were cut by 1,900 VND per litre, the second reduction this month. The price of RON 95 was down to 16,270 VND while the prices of RON 92 and bio-fuel E5 were reduced to 15,670 VND. Diesel prices were cut by 1,460 VND, resulting in a cost between 15,120 and 15,170 VND per litre. Earlier, on January … [Read more...]

Social News 23/1

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US Embassy announces student exchange openings The US Department of State has announced that it is now accepting applications for its Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD) for emerging student leaders from Vietnam. The programme offers study at a U.S. college or university for eight Vietnamese students in which the participants will engage in one semester of undergraduate, non-degree study at an accredited two- or four-year institution. Participants will engage in local community service projects and take part in cultural enrichment activities. The host institutions will also provide participants with academic skill development classes. In addition, participants who do not meet the host institution language requirements will be eligible for two to four weeks of intensive English language instruction in the United States prior to the start of the academic portion of their programme. The programme is managed and funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs … [Read more...]

Wave of bankruptcy of seafood producers

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VietNamNet Bridge – Many seafood processing companies in southwestern provinces of Vietnam have gone bankrupt, resulting in the instability of the largest aquaculture area of the country. Famous businesswoman Dieu Hien went bankrupt. Her house was surrounded by hundreds of fish breeders, while her banking debt reached hundreds of millions of USD. In late 2014, many more bosses of seafood processing firms in the region were arrested for investigations of "swindling appropriate assets". The first case was Mr. Tran Tan Hai, former director of the Viet Hai - Ca Mau Company. Viet Hai was established in 2008 with charter capital of VND15 billion ($750,000). Taking advantage of preferential policies and good relations with some bank officials, Hai borrowed up to VND120 billion ($6 million). The unpaid interest money was close to VND50 billion ($2.5 million) on the day he was arrested. The police also detained Ms. Dang Thi Ngoi, director of Ngoc Sinh Company and Mr. Phan Minh … [Read more...]

Social News 22/1

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Students stable after anaphylactic shock The 35 students who experienced anaphylactic shock after being vaccinated in a secondary school in southern Hau Giang Province are now in stable condition, according to the provincial Preventive Health Centre. On Monday, 35 students at Vinh Vien A Secondary School experienced difficulty breathing, headache, vomiting and fever after getting the measles-rubella vaccination. Ten were in serious condition and taken to the provincial general hospital. Doctors said these students were possibly in anaphylactic shock. The rest of the vaccines were revoked for testing. Head of the centre Nguyen Van Muoi said all the students would be discharged from the hospital and resume their studies soon. Under the measles and rubella vaccination campaign launched by the provincial health sector, children between 1 and 14 years old are being vaccinated from October to the end of this month. Hanoi increases treatment for mental health patients Ha Noi treated … [Read more...]

Raising wild animals in farms causes scare in Vietnam

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Tigers at a farm in Thanh Hoa Province. Photo: Ngoc Minh An attack on a three-year-old boy by a captive bear at his home outside Ho Chi Minh City has focused attention on the dangerous but common practice of keeping wild beasts as pets and as farm animals. The incident happened on January 11 when the boy, identified only as D, put his arm into the bear’s cage through a hole caused by its feeder becoming rusty. The child’s family, living in Hoc Mon District, managed to rescue him but doctors were unable to reattach his right arm that was severely damaged by the 100-kg bear before it was killed by electric shock by an unidentified person. Several neighbors said it was scary to realize that they had been living near a dangerous wild animal for three years without being aware of it. But in many cases, people who are aware of living near dangerous captive animals suffer permanently from anxiety. According to Do Quang Tung, director of the CITES (Convention on International … [Read more...]

Social News 21/1

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Trucks blamed for congestion on Hanoi Highway A nine-hour traffic jam on Hanoi Highway last Friday was due to a long line of container trucks heading for Truong Tho port complex while a road widening project has yet to get off the ground. Container trucks were moving inch by inch to Truong Tho port complex in Thu Duc District, causing serious congestion on other streets including Mai Chi Tho and Dong Van Cong in District 2. The Truong Tho port area comprises Phuoc Long 3, Transimex and Phuc Long inland container depots (ICD), and some steel and cement factories. At present, Hanoi Highway is the only way leading to the Truong Tho port area, so traffic often snarls this time of year as trading activity picks up in the lead up to the Lunar New Year holiday. Le Duy Hiep, general director of Transforwarding Warehousing Joint-Stock Corp. (Transimex-Saigon), told the Daily that Friday’s heavy traffic jam resulted from a narrow road leading to Truong Tho while an increasingly … [Read more...]

EVENTS SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 20-31 (daily updated)

Symphony Concert with Spanish Conductor David Gómez Ramírez Fri 30 Jan 2015, 8 pm Vietnam National Academy of Music 77 Hao Nam, Hanoi You are invited to a symphony concert with: Conductor: David Gómez Ramírez Piano Soloist: Vu Ngoc Linh and the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra Program L.V. Beethoven Overture Egmont P.I. Tchaikovsky Concerto No 1 for piano and orchestra Interval F. Mendelssohn Syphony No.3 About Conductor David Gómez Ramírez David Gómez Ramírez is one of the most promising young conductor and composer in Spain. He has been director of the Lira Saguntina Symphony Orchestra in Valencia, as well as director of the Conservatory of Music "Joaquin Rodrigo" in Sagunto, Valencia since 2007. He has been the resident conductor in Seville and Coutances (France) Orchestre. During the past seven years, he has conducted all the major Spanish orchestras and he appears as a guest conductor in Europe (Italy, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, in Asia and in South … [Read more...]

Social News 19/1

Court jails 27 for gambling The people's court in Cao Bang Province yesterday sent 27 people to prison for organised gambling. According to the court reports, on January 10, 2014, the Cao Bang police raided a guest room in the province and found four people engaging in illegal gambling. They also seized VND742 million (US$34,500) in cash from the site. Further investigations showed that the four persons were part of a larger gambling network that also organised gambling in the province from October 2013 to January 2014. The gambling network comprised 27 people, who received prison terms varying from one to six years. Several other persons were given probation. According to the Criminal Code, gambling is illegal in Viet Nam. Work begins on Ha Noi ring-road link Construction work on the Trung Hoa-Ring Road 3 intersection in the capital city, which will include two tunnels, began on Sunday, the Thang Long Project Management Board has announced. Vu Xuan Hoa, head of the Board, said … [Read more...]

Social News 16/1

Separate jails proposed for transgender, gay prisoners Homosexual and transgender prisoners may be housed in jails separate from the general prison population to protect them from sexual harassment under a plan proposed by the Social, Economic and Environmental Institute to the Ministry of Public Security. The institute has been studying gender-related problems for many years and says many countries provide separate jails for transgender prisoners who are classified as trans-female or trans-male. A 2014 report found that the majority of transgender prisoners wanted separate jails to avoid the risks of sexual harassment. Homosexual and transgender prisoners face the highest risk of sexual harassment. The institute cited statistics from the US state of California, which showed 67 percent of homosexual and transgender prisoners have suffered sexual harassment. The institute said that under current infrastructure in Vietnam, transgender prisoners can only either be held in solitary … [Read more...]

Social News 15/1

S.Korea firm to sue workers for loss-causing strike Striking workers at a South Korean-invested firm in HCM City will be sued for losses caused to the company. Some 800 workers at Carimax Sai Gon Ltd. Co. went on strike January 3 after the company declined to pass on a mandated rise in minimum wages. Company officials said on January 12 that workers who failed to carry out their duties for five consecutive days would be sacked and sued for losses incurred by the company. Carimax said trade union intervention had failed to resolve the strike. The government decreed last year minimum wages would rise by VND250,000-400,000 (USD11.9-USD19) a month, depending on region, from January 1, 2015. But on December 27, the board of directors at Carimax said that because of 2014 losses, the pay rise would be determined according to each worker's attitude, capability and experiences. It also declared the Tet bonus would be 90% of a worker's monthly wage, but if workers went on strike, the … [Read more...]

Social News 13/1

Ministry warns of hand, foot, mouth disease The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned northern and central localities about a high risk of foot-and-mouth disease spreading during the cold weather. The ministry said the cold weather created favourable conditions for the disease to spread. Statistics from the ministry's Department of Animal Health on January 12 showed that foot-and-mouth disease had hit the provinces of Son La, Thanh Hoa, Lao Cai and Ha Tinh. Minister Cao Duc Phat has instructed authorities in the four provinces to work with local people to avert the spread of the disease. "Local breeders should be shown how to stop the disease spreading through their animals," he said. Phat also urged the localities to tighten inspections of animal shipments and slaughter houses, as well as spraying chemicals to sterilise affected areas. The ministry previously supplied 5,000 litres of chemicals for Dak Nong Province to stamp out the disease in late … [Read more...]

Social News 10/1

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Facelift for HCM City Post Office stirs criticism Relate news HCM City Post Office gets facelift after 40 years A facelift for HCM City's 130-year-old post office has stirred critics for being too garish, even through the colours used matched those of the original building that is a landmark of the city. The building, at 2 Paris Commune in District 1 was built in 1886 by the French colonial government and, along with the Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Tax Centre, is considered a symbol of HCM City, making it a popular destination for foreign tourists and attracting thousands of visitors a day. Local authorities spent nearly VND5b to restore the façade, the project starting in September 2014 and scheduled for completion ahead of next month's Tet. The post office is decorated mainly in orange-yellow with white trim and highlights, which was its original colouring and symbolised the colours of the Vietnam post and telecommunication industry. On January 6, the … [Read more...]

Appeal court upholds life sentence on ex-banker in fraud case

The appeal court upheld the life imprisonment sentence for Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, former deputy chief of the Risk Management Department of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank), on January 7. Nhu, born in 1978, was convicted of "swindling to appropriate assets" and "counterfeiting seals and materials of agencies and organisations" at the first instance trial in January last year. The appeal court also kept the order for Nhu to pay compensation to victims, including 45.4 billion VND (2.1 million USD) to Zen Plaza company, 200 billion VND to the Nam Viet Bank (Navibank), 135 billion VND to the Vietnam International Bank (VIB), over 668 billion VND to the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), among others. However, the court annulled part of the original sentence regarding the defendant’s swindling to appropriate assets to five companies, including the Phuong Dong and Saigon Bank Berjara Securities Joint Stock Companies, … [Read more...]

Vietnam raises minimum wage in early 2015

The Government has issued a new decree to raise the minimum wages by VND250,000 – VND400,000 ($11.8-$18.9) per month for laborers in all four of the country’s wage zones. All laborers are happy with the new wage. As per the new decree taking effect on January 1, 2015, the new monthly minimum wages will be VND3.1 million ($146.3) for Zone 1; D 2.75 million ($129.7) for Zone 2; ND2.4 million ($113.2) for Zone 3; and VND2.15 million ($101.4) for Zone 4. Zone 1 covers urban Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; Zone 2 is applicable to rural Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City along with urban Can Tho City, Da Nang City and Hai Phong City; Zone 3 comprises provincial cities and the districts of Bac Ninh Province, Bac Giang Province, Hai Duong Province, and Vinh Phuc Province; and Zone 4 consists of the remaining localities. The Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Labor Union in Ho Chi Minh City enhance checks on implementation of the new decree in enterprises. Over 19,000 … [Read more...]

Social News 1/1

Saigon Railway to add trains for New Year holiday The Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company is scheduling additional trains to meet the increased travel demands for the four-day New Year holiday from January 1-4, 2015. Accordingly, the Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company will add more trains to the SN4 Sai Gon–Nha Trang and SQN4 Sai Gon–Quy Nhon on December 31, 2014; SPT4 Sai Gon–Phan Thiet on January 1,2 and 4; SN5 Nha Trang–Sai Gon, and SQN3 Quy Nhon–Sai Gon on January 3, 2015; SPT3 Phan Thiet–Sai Gon on January 1,3 and 4, 2015; SN3 Nha Trang–Sai Gon on January 3 and 4, 2015. The trains along the Saigon-Hanoi route will also have additional carriages. In additional to additional trains, the Vietnam Railways (VR) and the Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company will offer a 10% discount on rail fares between midnight on January 1, 2015 to 12.59pm on February 1, 2015. Foreign students enjoy New Year gathering in Hanoi The … [Read more...]

Vietnam approves $800mn contract with Japan’s Sumitomo on power plant expansion

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The Ministry of Construction has named Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corporation the contractor for parts of a project to expand a thermal power plant in southern Vietnam. The Tokyo-based company will be the EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contractor for a supercritical power station under the Duyen Hai 3 coal-fired thermal electricity plant expansion project in Tra Vinh Province, the ministry said in a directive. The Japanese contractor is required to use Vietnamese subcontractors during the implementation of the project as they have committed to in the contractor license application, according to the document. Sumitomo announced in a press release in November that Toshiba Corporation would supply the key equipment – the steam turbine and the generator – for the power station, while American firm Babcock & Wilcox would provide the boiler. The civil construction work would be carried out by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. … [Read more...]

Retailers yet to take to online shopping in Vietnam

A popluar online shopping website in Viet Nam. Online retailers have been urged to deliver quality products and good customer service to protect the sector's reputation.— Internet Photo

The development of e-commerce has played a vital role in the world market as retail continues to modernise. However, many retailers have not utilised more modern trade methods, like online shopping, said Vu Vinh Phu, president of the Ha Noi Supermarket Association, at a conference in Ha Noi promoting internet-based retail. Phu said e-commerce makes shopping more convenient, and increases production and consumption. Consumers can save time and find lower prices online, said Nguyen Ngoc Hung, director of Di Sieu Thi Joint-Stock Company. However, some businesses have posted exaggerated advertisements and poor products online, preventing the online market from developing. Phu urged online retailers to deliver quality products and good customer service to protect the sector's reputation. State agencies should have strict measures for dealing with online trading violations, he said. However, just in case, consumers should research products carefully before buying. However, so far, … [Read more...]