Same-sex marriage fine to be taken off
Vietnam will abolish the fine imposed on same-sex marriage from November 11 2013.
Currently, homosexual wedding would pay around VND 100,000-500,000 in fine.
The new regulation, stipulated at Decision No. 110/2013/NĐ-CP, aims to reduce discrimination against homosexual couples, showing the administration’s acceptance of lifestyle variety.
Earlier, same-sex marriage is not certified in Viet Nam.
Thrift shop for charity in District 2
Thrift shop, an event that aims to encourage citizens to exchange their old stuff, will take place at Saigon Outcast in District 2 on October 19.
Thrift shop will help participants to trade their products which could be unwanted goods, new or used with other finds. Anything that people have left over that does not get traded will be donated to local charity Cherri Blossom which aims to offer English and art classes to children of Vinh Long City, and support them in as many ways as possible.
The event will have the participation of many local and foreign artists in different fields to gather and share their skills from selling handmade jewelry to giving live performances.
“We want to create the opportunity for everybody who wants to recycle their products. This is the place where you can give and trade not only belongings but social relationships too. Furthermore, this event brings you unlimited visions of art where reality doesn’t exist,” said Quang Nguyen, the event’s director, in a statement.
The event has also attracted the attention of many young local people who are eager to launch their products at the event.
“I have so much old stuff but I don’t have enough space to keep it all. This event will be a great opportunity for me to give my stuff away and trade with other people. I think it would be cool. I will have a chance to communicate with other people helping to improve my social skills,” said Phuong Pham, a design student from RMIT University, in a statement.
For more information please contact: Ms. Corinne Wilkinson, tel: 01207109276, email: [email protected]
Saigon Outcast is located at 188-1 Nguyen Van Huong Street, Thao Dien, District 2.
Online outreach scheme effective for MSM
The use of the Internet as a tool for early detection of HIV cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) has proven to be effective in Ho Chi Minh City.
Satisfactory results were announced during a meeting on October 1 to evaluate the projects with officials from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), one year after the programme was piloted with eight peer educators knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and Internet use.
According to Nguyen Thi Hue, head of the Harm Reduction Department under the Ho Chi Minh City AIDS Committee, the project will be expanded to other provinces and cities.
The city, which has widespread Internet use, has more than 24,000 MSM aged between 15 and 49. Recent surveys show that using Internet to seek partners has become popular among the city’s youth.
The AIDS Committee of Ho Chi Minh City said the model was effective between July 2012 and June 2013. Roughly 5,500 MSM were accessed through the Internet and more than 6,000 reached with traditional methods.
However, in order to achieve good results, the committee needs 58 peer educators for traditional methods, while it needs only eight people for online access. The budget for traditional outreach last year was reported at more than 3.2 billion VND (150,000) while the budget for internet access was 215 million VND.
The city had 450 peer educators for at-risk members of the MSM community, but the number has fallen to 100. In the future, there will be only MSM 70 peer educators who will receive salaries from the State budget, Hue said, adding that the number of online peer educators will be maintained at eight.
Marta Ackers, associate director of the US’s PEPFAR programme office in Ho Chi Minh City, said the project had been promising in the city, and neighbouring countries were also using this method.
Community outreach is one of the most important elements of HIV prevention strategies targeting the people most at risk.
Ackers recalled the situation in 1993 when HIV began to spread. Ho Chi Minh City implemented a harm-reduction programme, by piloting a needle-syringe programme for injection-drug users (IDUs) and condom use programme for female sex workers (FSWs) through peer-outreach workers.
The peer outreach worker network now is used in all of Ho Chi Minh City’s districts to serve the highest at-risk population, including IDUs and FSWs by delivering free needle- syringes and condoms. Currently, only 3 percent of the 20,000 to 25,000 most at-risk population of MSMs in Ho Chi Minh City have been reached via traditional outreach.-
Tonnes of noodles donated to Wutip victims
The Bank of Invesment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has sent 15 tonnes of noodles to victims of the recent Typhoon Wutip in Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces.
Of which, 10 tonnes have been allocated to Quang Binh, and 5 tonnes to Quang Tri province.
The donations were made to help those dealing with the serious damage and lack of necessities left in Wutip’s wake.
BIDV branches in the two provinces have delivered the goods to branches of the Storm and Floods Prevention and Control Committees in the two provinces, where they will be distributed to the victims.
Nguyen Si Hong, Director of BIDV Quang Tri, said that BIDV’s youth union and trade union purchased the goods to be delivered to the affected people on the night of September 30.
HIV/AIDS prevention in Mekong Subregion enhanced
A project to enhance the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the Greater Mekong Subregion was launched in Hanoi on October 2.
To be implemented in 2013-2017, the project targets drug users, sex workers, migrants, ethnic minority people, poor locals and healthcare workers in 80 districts of 15 border provinces.
Apart from improving management capacity for HIV/AIDS prevention programmes at national, provincial and district levels, it will look to enable grassroots healthcare systems to expand HIV preventive services.
It will also contribute to fostering regional cooperation in preventing HIV transmission between border-sharing countries.
Deputy Minister of Public Health, Nguyen Thanh Long, said the project will help realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on gradually preventing HIV/AIDS spreading through providing high quality services for vulnerable groups in the benefited localities.
Participants, who hailed from 15 border provinces, talked about how to organise training courses, coordinate cross-border HIV/AIDS infection prevention plans and organise HIV/AIDS tests.
Vietnam has detected 213,413 HIV carriers who are still alive, of whom 63,373 have developed AIDS. As many as 65,133 accumulative deaths have been reported so far.
In the first five months of this year, on average 29 new cases were found daily nationwide.
US charity provides help for kids with heart disease
A foundation set up by the US-based UPS Corporation, a global leading provider of specialised transportation and logistics services, has donated US$30,000 to fund heart surgery for poor children in Vietnam.
The donation aims to raise funds for the “UPS, Heartbeat of Vietnam” programme, which assists underprivileged kids with congenital heart disease through pre-operation care, open-heart surgery and post-operation follow-up care.
The UPS Foundation has also presented US$26,750 to the Room To Read (RTR) organisation, which works to bring educational opportunities to disadvantaged children.
The grant will be used to implement RTP’s projects to increase the number and diversity of books in libraries in Vietnam.
In 2010, the UPS Foundation presented over US$146,750 to local charitable funds.
Le Quoc Quan jailed for tax evasion
The Hanoi People’s Court sentenced Le Quoc Quan to 30 months in prison for tax evasion pursuant to Clause 3, Article 161 of the Criminal Code at a trial on October 2.
According to the indictment, Quan, 42, born in the central province of Nghe An, set up the Vietnam Solution Co. Ltd in April 2001 with its headquarters in Cau Giay district, Hanoi.
Under its business registration, the company operated in a range of activities, including investment consultancy, labour and vocational training services, electrical engineering, consultancy and technology transfer in agricultural and rural development.
The company has changed its business registration certificate 13 times, with the last focusing on market research information services.
During the operation of the company, Quan instructed his accountant Pham Thi Phuong to make fake contracts and buying bogus added-value tax invoices in order to evade corporate income tax.
In 2010 and 2011, his company struck fake consultation deals worth VND1.75 billion (US$80,000) with nine experts. The tax deductions meant that the company reportedly dodged tax payment of over VND645 million (US$30,900).
The experts who were ‘hired’ have each admitted to signing the fake contracts for a VND1-3 million (US$40 – 140) payment each.
At the same trial, accountant Pham Thi Phuong, 31, was jailed for eight months also for tax evasion.
The court ordered the Vietnam Solution Company to pay back the amount of tax it had evaded in 2010 and 2011, as well as a fine of two times the amount of tax advantage.
Evangelical church holds convention in Hanoi
The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) is holding its 34th General Assembly in Hanoi on October 2-3 to chart a development course for the church in 2013-2017.
It is scheduled to discuss the merger of the two evangelical churches (North and South) into a single organisation in Vietnam.
Addressing the event, Pastor Nguyen Huu Mac, head of the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North), highlighted the church’s activities in the previous tenure, saying the Executive Board has institutionalised its organisations, established new chapters and built new chapels across northern Vietnam.
The church has encouraged its followers to take part in the sect’s activities and social work, he said.
Notably, the Prime Minister authorised the Government Committee for Religious Affairs to sign a decision, allowing the church to open a Bible school in Hanoi. The school has enrolled 25 students for its course which opened in September 2013.
In his address, Nguyen Lam, Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, affirmed the church has performed its role as a VFF member.
All the church’s pastors, missionaries, and followers strongly responded to the national exemplary role model campaign, “Vietnamese buy Vietnamese goods,” and other VFF-launched movements, like “The entire people unite to build a new cultural lifestyle in residential areas.”
They actively involved in supporting natural disaster victims, providing medical check-ups for the poor, and presenting scholarships to excellent students.
The church is the largest Protestant organisation in the north, with more than 150 pastors and missionaries and 100,000 followers practising their faith in nearly 400 recognised chapters.
Ha Noi to open six more pedestrian zones
The Ha Noi People’s Committee discussed extending walking space in Hoan Kiem District on Tuesday.
The city planned to open six routes including Hang Buom, Ma May, Hang Giay, Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dao Duy Tu. The routes will be open from 6 or 7pm to 12am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The project may also expand into the Hoan Kiem Lake area.
The district is required to submit a project report before the end of this month.
HCM City gives walkers a break
Nguyen Huu Tin, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, has ordered district authorities to deal “thoroughly” with the illegal use of pavements and roads for doing business.
Speaking at a recent meeting, Tin said the task of re-establishing order on pavements and roads had not shown the desired results after one year of implementation.
Districts had committed to the municipal People’s Committee that they would restore and maintain order on 159 roads, and this had been done well, the meeting heard.
However, the illegal use of pavements and roadways for doing business, parking vehicles and setting up temporary markets was still widespread on many other roads.
The illegal use of pavements and roadways is the main reason for traffic congestions and disorder, participants said at the meeting.
The city has 175 temporary markets that illegally use pavements and roadways, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.
Such illegal markets are mostly found in Go Vap, Binh Thanh, Thu Duc, Binh Tan, Tan Phu and Binh Chanh districts.
District officials said at the meeting that it was difficult to resolve the issue of illegal markets immediately. They said such markets continued to operate despite repeated warnings and fines.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the city’s Traffic Safety Board, said his office has worked with relevant agencies to strengthen awareness of traffic laws and civilised traffic culture among the city’s residents.
But there were still some population segments where such awareness was still low, he added.
In the first eight months of the year, the city recorded 2,795 traffic accidents that left 532 people dead and 2,800 people injured, the Traffic Safety Board reported.
This marked a year-on-year reduction of 21 per cent in the number of traffic accidents, 1.3 per cent in fatalities, and 22.6 per cent in the number of injured people.
During this period, city traffic police imposed fines in 526,000 traffic violation cases, seized 62,000 driving licenses and 49,000 vehicles of various kinds.
About 80 per cent of traffic accidents occurred at night, the board said.
Tin ordered traffic police to strengthen inspections of traffic violations, especially speeding and driving on the wrong lane.
He said the Department of Transport should work with relevant agencies and install cameras that can record vehicle number plates and their speed at “hot” traffic sites.
More inspections of fire-risk areas
Relevant agencies were urged to increase checks at markets, trading centres, apartment blocks and industrial parks in order to prevent future fires after a host of recent fires.
Those violating fire prevention regulations will be suspended and named publicly for the breach.
Documents on fire fighting and prevention are required to specify individuals responsible for compliance with the code.
Agencies have also been urged to create new ways to raise awareness of people’s duties and rights.
They are also required to check fire fighting equipment, hold drills and review fire fighting practices.
Women to receive free breast-cancer checks
Free breast cancer check-ups will be available to one thousand women, including foreigners, aged 30 and above, in Ha Noi City and neighbouring provinces throughout October.
The programme is being run by Ha Noi-based Hung Viet Cancer Hospital to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month worldwide, and commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the Viet Nam Women’s Union.
People who want to participate in the programme should access the website or call the hotline 0949510707.
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide, according to the Ministry of Health.
Truck group wants deadline extension for correct badges
The HCM City Cargo Transport Association has asked municipal authorities to temporarily suspend fines for container trucks that do not display the correct badges.
Under the transport ministry’s new regulation, container trucks nationwide will only be allowed to operate if they are granted badges by authorised agencies from Tuesday.
Transport departments across the country have been entrusted to grant badges and business licenses to transport businesses that meet the new requirements, such as registration books, traffic safety standards, insurance and black boxes.
The regulation is aimed at better management of licensed transport businesses.
However, the association’s secretary general, Thai Van Chung, said there was not enough time for businesses to meet the requirements before the deadline.
The regulation was issued in August and took effect two months later, he said.
The municipal transport department held a week-long course for transport businesses on the new regulation, but it did not explain all the details to them, Chung added.
The department should not punish container trucks without badges for the next two months before drivers were informed of the new regulations and staff had processed applications for thousands of container trucks, he said.
The association itself has more than 6,000 container trucks, and at present, only 10 per cent of them have badges. It would therefore take time to grant badges for the remaining 90 per cent.
Director of the Minh Lien transport company Do Xuan Phu told the Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper that authorities were in a hurry to start punishing container trucks without badges from October 1.
Transport businesses were informed of the new regulation last week, so it was impossible to grant badges for thousands of container trucks in just a few days, he said.
Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the municipal transport department, said that for the first few days, the department would issue warnings without handing out fines.
Warnings would be given to drivers until the end of this month and fines would be applied for violations from next month, he said.
The department had granted 280 badges to 20 transport businesses and delivered nearly 10,000 leaflets on the new regulations for drivers, he added.
Chairman of the Viet Nam Automobile Association Nguyen Van Thanh also asked the transport ministry to extend the deadline to help transport businesses complete the necessary procedures.
Recent inspections by the transport ministry in HCM City, Hai Phong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Quang Ninh found that nearly 90 per cent of transport businesses were operating without a license.
Vietnam’s lawyer-to-population ratio the region’s lowest
The ratio of lawyers to population in Vietnam is just around 1/14,000, much lower than that in other Asian countries, according to doctor Nguyen Duy Phuong of the Law Department of Hue University.
Statistics of the Ministry of Justice show that the nation has 62 bar associations with more than 6,200 lawyers and over 3,000 lawyer probationers at some 2,700 law firms. In particular, there are only around ten law firms with competence in investment, business and trade, all of them foreign-invested entities.
Phuong said that the number of about 6,200 lawyers in a country having a population of 90 million residents is so small and that a lawyer therefore has to serve more than 14,000 residents while the ratio is 1/1,000 in Singapore, 1/1,526 in Thailand and 1/1,546 in Japan. Furthermore, lawyers in Vietnam are mainly stationed in Hanoi (1,630 lawyers) and in HCMC (2,880 lawyers) while other provinces and cities only have three to five lawyers each.
As the ratio of lawyers to residents is low, only equal to one tenth of the regional and the global figures, local people find it hard to gain access to legal services while they have to pay high for such services. In many cases, citizens couldn’t ask for help from lawyers, thus having their legitimate rights and benefits not protected.
The quality of lawyers is also a problem. In fact, there are many lawyers keen on civil matters, land, marriage and family while the number of lawyers with adequate knowledge on investment, business and trade is low, at 1.2% only. And only about 20 local lawyers have the qualification equivalent to that of their counterparts in other Asian countries.
Therefore, it is necessary for the country to increase the number of lawyers by expanding law training institutions besides improving the quality of lawyers in line with the regional and global criteria as soon as possible.
AusAID funds climate resilience programme in Quang Nam
A child-centred programme funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has got underway in central Quang Nam province with the aim of improving understanding and capacity of children and the community to adapt to climate change impacts.
The “Vietnam Children-Centred Climate Resilience” programme, with a budget of over 10 billion VND (476,000 USD), is being carried out in Quang Nam’s Duy Xuyen and Thang Binh districts.
It also aims to enhance capacity of grassroots managerial agencies and the society to implement community-based climate adaptation programmes as well as increase policy-makers’ involvement in such programmes.
The project will last until November 30, 2014.-
How tropical Vietnam protects the ozone layer
Since participating in the Montreal Protocol, Vietnam has achieved remarkable success in gradually limiting the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer. Reports by the Vietnam Economic News.
As many as 195 countries in the world agreed to participate in the Montreal Protocol (Canada) 1994 to eliminate the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer such as CFC (chlorofluorocarbon), HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) and HFC (hydrofluorocarbon).
These substances are used in cooling mechanism of air-conditioners. Recognising the importance of the elimination of toxic substances, Vietnam joined the protocol in January 1994, and the country’s businesses did not use CFC in cosmetics production. In addition, Vietnamese businesses have strictly complied with regulations, contributing to reducing 3.6 tonnes CFC11 in using air-conditioners in the garment and textile sector, 5.8 tonnes CFC12 in using automotive air-conditioners and 40 tonnes CFC in using commercial cooling equipment.
Vietnam has also achieved positive results in excluding the annual consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer. Together with these achievements, the United Nations Environment Program recognised positive contributions by Vietnam in the implementation of the convention and the protocol.
According to the Montreal Protocol, in 2013, Vietnam is only allowed to consume HCFC at baseline (221.2 tonnes). From October 2015 to the end of 2019, Vietnam must reduce the use of HCFC by 10 percent of baseline. This figure must be reduced by 35 percent from 2020 and the use of HCFC will be completely excluded in 2030. In terms of equipment repairing and maintaining sector, the use of HCFC will be completely excluded in 2040.
The World Bank and the Department of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have completed the adoption of the project on eliminating toxic substances that deplete the ozone layer. The first period of the project was carried out.
According to calculations, Vietnam needed another 20-25 million USD to completely exclude HCFC. Department Deputy Director Nguyen Khac Hieu said that if Vietnam receives the full support in terms of finance and technology from international organisations, the country could completely exclude the use of HCFC in 2025.
Vietnam is calling on people to work together to protect the ozone layer by changing consumer behaviour, such as no longer using air-conditioners, painting houses by brushing or rolling and limiting the use of plastic packaging. Businesses are also urged not to install new equipment that use HCFC.-
Awards presented to Olympiad winners and outstanding students
The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) presented awards on October 1 to ten outstanding students who won Olympiads and 47 others who scored top marks on the recent university entrance exams.
Each student received 10 million VND and a full scholarship to their local public university.
Chairman of BIDV’s Board of Directors Tran Bac Ha presented the gifts to the students.
At the award ceremony, Vice Minister of Education and Training Tran Quang Quy said, ’57 is the number of students praised today, but also the number of years BIDV has been in operation. This coincidence is significant, as BIDV proposed the initiative to join the Ministry in hailing the outstanding students’.
On behalf of the recipients, Ngo Phi Long, a two-time Olympiad gold medal winner from Son La Specialised Secondary School, expressed appreciation to BIDV, which has given them attention and support and to the national cause of education. The students promised to continue their studies and their research to better themselves, and to use their knowledge to contribute to the country’s development in the future.
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