Coal lorry accident adds to traffic tally
A lorry carrying coal killed one person and seriously injured another yesterday morning after plunging 30m and striking a cabin in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
An initial investigation showed that the lorry lost control while driving between two coal companies in Dong Vong and Vietmindo in Uong Bi City and Hoanh Bo District.
Last weekend, three traffic accidents killed two and injured three people in the northern province of Hung Yen.
Of those, the most serious case happened on Saturday morning when a vehicle struck and killed a paralysed man and his daughter as she was pushing her father’s wheelchair across a street in Kim Dong District.
The area – home to about 100 workers – was destroyed.
Local workers have blamed the fire on an electrical leakage that occured while cooking.
Quang Ninh bans poison alcohol
The People’s Committee in the northern province of Quang Ninh yesterday spoke with local health departments and authorities to prevent residents from drinking poisoned alcohol made from sticky rice.
The move came after six people died and 15 were hospitalised throughout the province last week after drinking the alcohol, which was reported to come from the same batch produced on October 12 by the Ha Noi 29 Import Export JSC. Sample testing by local authorities showed that the methanol content in the alcohol exceeded the allowed limit by 2,000 times.
On Saturday, the provincial police announced that the case will be prosecuted for violations of food safety and hygiene laws.
Also yesterday, the Ministry of Health’s Administration for Food Safety and Hygiene issued an urgent notice for the confistication of three products made by the Ha Noi company, which tested positive for excessive levels of methanol, including a drink made from sticky-rice, sticky-rice Vodka and red champage. The products are in glass bottles and were produced on October 12.
HCMC: Water losses estimated at 500,000 cu.m/day
With a water loss rate of 34 percent, Ho Chi Minh City loses nearly 500,000 cubic meters among the total volume of 1.65 million cubic meters of water supplied each day by Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco), Saigon Times Daily reports.
According to Tran Dinh Phu, general director of Sawaco, if the water loss volume is multiplied by the current water price (5,300 VND per cubic meter), nearly 2.7 billion VND is lost every day.
Sawaco targets to reduce the loss rate to 32 percent in 2015. However, to achieve this, Sawaco needs 10.3 trillion VND to upgrade the water supply network.
Phu said that the water loss reduction project funded by the World Bank helped the city’s central area to cut losses by around 100,000 cubic meters per day.
Ho Chi Minh City will be supplied daily with 300,000 cubic meters from Thu Duc water plant next year and another 300,000 cubic meters from Tan Hiep water plant in 2015.
According to Ho Chi Minh City chairman Le Hoang Quan, the city’s water supply system is quite old and needs to be upgraded. The city also plans to reduce the loss rate to 9-10 percent in 2020.
Sawaco will develop a clean water supply network in all rural areas in 2025.
Among 18.72 trillion VND needed in the 2013-2015 period, Sawaco can afford around 3.3 trillion VND.
The current rate of households supplied with clean water in the city’s central districts is 89 percent while in outlying districts it is only 56.1 percent. The rates are quite low in Hoc Mon (6percent), District 12 (34 percent) and Binh Chanh (76.5 percent).
Sawaco’s water supply will be increased from the current level of 1.65 million to 2.4 million cubic meters per day in 2015 to increase the rate of supplying clean water to 92 percent.-
Vietnam successfully produces H1N1, H5N1 flu vaccines
After years of research, the Health Ministry’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals on Friday said it has successfully produced two vaccines against two types of influenza viruses.
Dr Le Van Be, head of the Institute, said the production of the vaccines against the H1N1 and H5N1 flu viruses are underway, under a project funded by the World Health Organization (WHO).
These two vaccines are now being produced at a plant located in Suoi Dau Commune, Cam Lam District, south central Khanh Hoa Province.
The production lines for the vaccines have been certified by the ministry as meeting the WHO’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Standards.
The institute is now conducting trials of another vaccine for the H7N9 flu virus, he added.
With approval of the Prime Minister, the WHO-funded project was jointly set up between the Health Ministry and the Institute in 2008 with an aim to study and produce influenza vaccines at a capacity of 1-3 million doses per year.
The H1N1 virus caused a world-wide pandemic in 2009. It is now a human seasonal flu virus that also circulates in pigs. The virus spreads between people in the same way that seasonal flu viruses spread.
Meanwhile, H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “bird flu”).
Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60 percent, according to WHO.
Lao Cai’s buffalo herd granted national brand status
The Bao Yen district of the northern Lao Cai province on December 6 received a national brand title for renowned buffalo herds.
The district’s buffaloes are considered best in the northern region for their weight, meat product quality and ability to reproduce thanks to years of cross-breeding.
Bao Yen district is now leading the province in developing herds, with over 20,000 buffaloes. Local farmers sell 2,500-3,000 buffalos, earning almost 40 billion VND (1.88 million USD) every year.
Since 2010, the provincial agricultural department has invested tens of billions of VND to reinvigorate and develop the brand for local buffalo. In Bao Yen district, the brand development projects have been implemented for 100 bulls and 2,000 cows from around 1,000 households.
Deputy Chairman of Bao Yen district People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu said Bao Yen will now step up its technology transfer, create incentives for local farmers to expand farm scale and make the national brand a spearhead industry of the locality.
VN targets int’l crab fishing accreditation
A project that will give blue swimming crabs cultivated in Viet Nam an international accreditation is proceeding apace and well positioned to meet its objectives.
Project initiators said the aim is to boost exports and provide a sustainable means of livelihood for local fishers.
The swimming crab now accounts for the second biggest seafood export turnover in the country, with 2010 shipments valued at US$110 million.
Around 20,000 fishers in Kien Giang Province make a living by farming these crabs, but several problems have emerged in recent years, including environmental pollution and unstable income.
To help maintain long-term sustainability of this valuable natural resource, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers’ (VASEP) Crab Council with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Viet Nam), have initiated a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) for blue swimming crabs in the province.
The project aims to obtain the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the crabs that are cultivated in the province.
“All over the world, WWF has programmes to support sustainable development for fisheries with MSC certification. With the certification, local fishers will remain a seafood source and expand exports to EU, the U.S and Japan,” said Nguyen Thi Dieu Thuy, WWF Viet Nam’s co-ordinator for its seafood exploitation programme.
The decision to proceed towards MSC was taken in 2010 and the project began implementation from November 2012,
WWF-US and WWF Viet Nam have provided technical and financial support for the design of a FIP Action Plan which will take blue swimming crab towards MSC accreditation by 2016.
The actions required to get this are: stock assessment; the creation of sustainable management measures to protect the blue swimming crab from over-exploitation; strengthening data collection to feed into stock assessment and provide inputs for the fisheries management.
It also requires exploration of the fishery impacts on habitats and other species including among other things turtles; creation and functioning of a Crab Management Council (CMC); co-management among the fishermen; and strengthening of DARDs role as the principal fisheries manager.
A WWF statement said the dangers of inadequate fisheries management could result in over-exploitation, with an impact of other species. “It is therefore very important to explore ways of improving the current management system in order to preserve the long term livelihood for dependent fishing communities.
It said the objective of the project is to “maintain a sustainable volume of blue swimming crabs in Kien Giang province, facilitate a favorable environment for an effective management and participation amongst the stakeholders, strengthen enforcement through co-management.”
Tran Chi Vien, deputy director of DARD Kien Giang, said that is department would cooperate with VASEP Crab Council and WWF-VN to continue the FIP for blue swmming crab fisheries in Kien Giang.
“This is the first stage of project and we aim to build a 5-year action plan for the blue swimming crab,” Thuy added.
8 foreigners detained for soaking durian in dubious chemical
Eight Thai people who claim to be employed by Chinese bosses were arrested Friday after police in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang caught them red-handed soaking durians in unregistered Chinese-made ripening chemicals.
Local police also detained many kinds of unregistered chemicals in the surprise inspections at the facility.
The arrest came after days of investigation into two fruit storage facilities, said police.
They were detained after being caught applying unregistered ripening chemicals on durians, and working in Vietnam without a license at the two facilities under Thai Lan Co and Sang Huong Co, said the local police agency.
The eight foreigners are Siriruang, Sursing, and Aumsuepchue (working at Thai Lan Co’s facility) and Phaeyai, Phuangkan, Srikanmsuk, Kiadthawiphong, and Sutham (working at Sang Huong Co’s facility).
They said they entered Vietnam more than a month ago for travel purposes and stayed at the two facilities, being hired by some unknown Chinese bosses to collect quality durians for export to China and Indonesia.
Before the local police launched the surprise inspections, Tuoi Trereporters had launched their own investigations at the two places to find out what the foreigners were paid to do there.
At the facility under Thai Lan Co, there were around 20 local male and female workers carrying durians from trucks to the group of Thai employees so that they would be free to pick what they wanted.
The Thai employees then guided local workers to bring the fruit to a separated chamber for soaking, stamping them with Chinese labels and placing them in cartons with Chinese wordings. They will be stocked in a warehouse waiting for export.
A female worker told Tuoi Tre undercover reporters that the main job of those foreigners is to pick the right durians, while local workers will do the rest under their watch.
Tuoi Tre reporters kept watch on a closed-door chamber in which dubious chemicals were mixed, and found a Thai nationality enter the place for a long time, then come back with two local workers carrying a 40-liter bucket of dark-yellow water used to soak the durians in.
The workers there said the facility used about 10 buckets daily, each of which can be used for about 700 durians of all sizes.
Penetrating into this secret chamber, Tuoi Tre reporters saw a Thai mixing three main chemicals with small proportions of other chemicals into 30 liters of water.
A male worker working on the soaking job there said after being applied, the durian will be preserved for a longer period of time, while the fruit will ripe thoroughly, and the ripening time is under control.
According to the local police agency, those Thai workers may be fined VND10-20 million ($470-940) each, while the owners of the two facilities will get some administrative sanctions.
Khong Minh Sang, owner of Sang Huong Co, told the police that his company buy durians to export to a Chinese firm named Quoc Chinh Co.
After the durians are transported to Quoc Chinh Co via Tan Thanh border gate in the northern province of Lang Son, the money will be transferred to Thai Lan Co’s bank account, without any contracts.
The Chinese partners also chose five Thai employees for the fruit picking job, and paid all the expenses, he said.
Mr. Sang argued that after the Thai people arrived, he planned to declare this with local authorities, but as he received no instructions, he only realized he had violated the law after the police’s inspection.
Mr. Sang also admitted that the Chinese chemicals brought in by the Thai workers were used for ripening the fruit at will and lengthening the preservation.
Tran Thi Thu Thanh , deputy director of Thai Lan Co , said the local durians are bought to be exported to Indonesia.
In six months, the firm shipped four containers to Indonesia with around 400-850 cartons weighing 18 to 18.5 kilograms each. The three Thai employees are hired to select quality durians for export, she added.
Dr. Nguyen Van Hoa – vice chairman of Southern Fruit Institute, said the use of chemicals for ripening is allowed, but such chemicals must be approved by authorities and be listed clearly in the label. Therefore, the act of bringing chemicals of unknown origin to soak durians in is illegal.
Tien Giang police so far this year have fined and deported six Chinese after discovering them visiting the province to buy agro produce in mass volume without permits.
Lack of knowledge hinders Asean Community formation
The formation of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 will not be as smooth as expected in terms of enterprises’ preparedness as entrepreneurs for the most parts are still unaware of such a process, heard a seminar wrapping up in Hanoi on Wednesday.
Le Luong Minh, General Secretary of Asean, told the two-day workshop “The post 2015 Asean community: Vision by Asean countries and Vietnam” that lack of knowledge about the Asean community among businessman is one of the biggest challenges for forming this community by 2015.
According to recent survey, of the total business respondents in 10 Asean capital cities, 76% reported that they have almost no idea of what the Asean Community is, said Minh.
Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that businessmen play an important role in forming the Asean community but “nearly 80% of them do not have clear knowledge about opportunities as well as challenges when the Asean community is fully established in 2015. And this is a huge concern.”
According to Vinh, Asean has progressed nearly 80% of the way to forming the Asean community. However, in order to success in dealing with the remaining, thorny 20%, there should be concerted effort from relevant sides.
In order to form successfully the Asean community, policy-makers, enterprises and public have to raise their awareness about this community. Policy-makers need to have plans to disseminate information about Asean community initiatives to the business community and the public, Vinh suggested.
Although Asean has achieved a lot of agreements with regional partners, Le Luong Minh is concerned that a major challenge for Asean is late implementation of regional commitments by member states into domestic laws and regulations because of tremendous resource constraints.
As for enterprises, some big firms with large-scale operation in South East Asia are more advantageous than small and medium sized enterprises (SME), though the latter group is more impacted by this community.
“SME themselves should raise their awareness and capacity to enhance their competitiveness when tax barrier is down to 0% in end-2015,” Vinh advised.
General Secretary Minh observed that the Asean economy has enjoyed sustainable growth, despite of impact of the recent global economic and financial crisis.
By 2015, along with the establishment of the Asean Economic Community, the bloc will also be part of a larger market encompassing East Asia, including 10 Asean countries and Japan, Korea, China, India, Australia and New Zealand with the population of 3.3 billion and accounting for one-third of the world’s GDP.
HCM City removes nearly 10,500 slums
Since 2006, HCMC has relocated 10,461 households living along canals, equivalent to 70% of the plan of relocating 15,000 slums, heard a meeting of the city government on Wednesday.
The progress of relocation, site clearance and resettlement of projects under the slum relocation program has fallen behind schedule as it is not easy to attract investors due to low profitability and the tight budget.
In a report sent to the Prime Minister in March, HCMC authorities last year moved 976 among the total of 1,800 households planned for relocation.
Meanwhile, according to the report released on Wednesday, this year the city has relocated only 237 households affected by the Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Rach Nuoc Len and Bac Kenh Doi canal sanitation projects.
HCM City to boost wastewater discharge supervision
HCMC’s government on Tuesday told the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to combine with grassroots authorities in investigation and supervision of wastewater discharge sources.
Speaking at the seminar on the city’s pollution reduction program between 2011 and 2015, Nguyen Huu Tin, vice chairman of HCMC, said that many factories have yet to invest in their own wastewater treatment plants. So, they have discharged wastewater into a concentrated treatment system in an area, causing overload at this system.
Even worse, many have poured wastewater directly into rivers and canals. Law enforcement agencies must supervise wastewater discharge, not only from industrial parks and export processing zones with a large output over 1,000 cubic meters per day but also smaller sources, he said.
According to the environment department, 35% of production, trade and service units in the city have invested in standard treatment systems. However, Tin were concerned that relevant agencies have failed to control small wastewater discharge sources at below 30 cubic meters per day.
The department at present can control just 30% of 2,100 production and service firms in this group. In addition, the department has yet to investigate a lot of wastewater discharge sources with an output less than 10 cubic meters each day.
Man dies after antibiotic injection in Quang Ngai Province
The Department of Health in Quang Ngai Province on December 7 questioned the Health Center in Ba To District about the circumstances that led to the death of Ho Xuan Khoat after an antibiotic injection administered at the General Clinic in Ba Vi Commune.
Dang Thi Phuong, Director of the Health Center in Ba To District, said the clinic’s medical workers had performed the correct procedures of the injection administered on 49-year-old Ho Xuan Khoat. However, his cause of death is being identified due to anaphylactic shock.
In a meeting with the Department of Health, Nurse Le Van Hanh, who administered the antibiotic shot to Ho Xuan Khoat, said he was hospitalized at 8am on December 6 and after doctors examined him and prescribed the drug, Hanh injected him with Ceftazideme in the vein and asked him to stay in the hospital; however, Khoat left the clinic of his own accord.
At 8.30pm on the same day, Khoat’s relative brought him to the clinic as he suffered from some strange symptoms. Medical workers at the clinic gave emergency treatment but he died 30 minutes later.
Nguyen Tan Duc, Head of the Department of Health in Quang Ngai Province, said an individual has to explain in a written form when a patient is released from the clinic to return to his home. The Health Center must issue harsh penalties on those responsible.
Education expert urges a renovation in education
Many Vietnamese students remain passive in their studies and hesitant to speak during class, one expert said.
Dr. Dinh Xuan Khoa, Principle of Vinh University, said the situation is a result of the traditional teaching method, in which the teacher lectures and the students take notes.
“It’s very urgent that we renovate the teaching methods so as to encourage more creative, proactive student,” Khoa emphasised.
Khoa’s recent survey of his university found that most students questioned said they were afraid of making queries or expressing their own ideas. Even when students were provided a chance for discussion, most remained passive.
In several cases, students refused the chance of discussing and answering teacher’s questions, and showed a lack of curiosity or even to appoint a representative from their study group to speak on their behalf.
To some extent, the situation results from a lack of confidence, which stifles inspiration and enthusiasm to learn new things, Khoa commented.
Dang Thi Phuong, a lecturer from Hanoi University of Education, said she often asks students questions related to the lessons but most students do their best to avoid answering.
“Sometimes, I feel discouraged at the students’ disinterest in discussion, making the atmosphere in the class quiet and boring. Several students still fail to acquire new knowledge from their classes, though they take notes very well,” Phuong said.
A comprehensive renovation of teaching methods would not only foster students to absorb new knowledge but also apply it in real life, Khoa added.
Authorities reinforce HCM City dykes against rising tides
Municipal authorities say they are checking the city’s embankment systems and making reinforcements where needed as rising tides have flooded several areas in recent days.
Last Friday, Le Hoang Quan, Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, inspected a breach in the dyke section in Block 8 of Hiep Binh Chanh Ward in the city’s suburban district of Thu Duc.
Quan greeted the families in the flooded areas and asked local authorities to help residents stabilise their lives as early as possible.
He also asked the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to speed up the projects to build embankments and culverts for tide control so as to prevent flooding caused by rising tides in districts 12, Thu Duc and Hoc Mon.
He told the district authorities of 12 and Thu Duc to dredge local canal systems and culvert systems to reduce (minimise) flooding.
District authorities were told to enhance inspections at key points on several dyke sections to minimise any possible damage caused by flooding.
Quan also asked the HCM City Department of Finance to ensure capital for the project to build five tide-control culvert systems – Thu Duc, Ong Dau, Duc Nho, Go Dua and Rach Da so that their construction can be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
Rising tide that pushed river water levels to 1.68 metres last Wednesday, caused a breach on a 15m section of the embankment along Cau Lan Canal in Ward 8 of Hiep Binh Chanh Ward in Thu Duc District.
It flooded the homes of hundreds of families in the area, with the floor of many houses under one metre of water.
Private health clinics flout regulations
Operating without licenses and employing doctors without professional practice permissions are among violations committed at private clinics in Ha Noi, reported the municipal Health Department.
The department’s just concluded inspections, which began on November 5, discovered violations at nine out of 28 private clinics in the city.
The clinics were also found to have infringed on health service advertisements and price regulations.
Inspectors fined three clinics more than VND100 million (US$5,000). Fines for the remaining clinics will be decided later this week, according to the department.
The inspections were made following scandals which stirred public concern. A doctor from Ha Noi-based Bach Mai hospital allegedly threw the body of a woman into a river after she died at his clinic following a cosmetic surgery operation in late October this year.
Two weeks ago, a 16-month-old baby died after receiving injections for pneumonia at an unlicensed private clinic in Thuong Tin District.
Head of the department’s private health clinic operation management office Tran Thi Nhi Ha told Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) Newspaper that the violations call for stricter management from local authorities of areas where these clinics are located, as a result of a shortage of inspectors.
The city currently has 14 health inspectors who are in charge of inspecting more than 2,300 private medical clinics and 2,800 other establishments providing pharmaceutical services.
Management responsibility should be defined for specific individuals who would be strictly punished if their actions result in threatening public safety, she added.
The department’s director, Nguyen Khac Hien, added that it was essential to tighten restrictions for management of private health clinics, but the task can be completed with the participation of the public.
Citizens should take part in supervising operations of private clinics by checking their operating licenses and informing authorities when discovering any violations at private clinics, he said.
Under recent notices issued by the department, unlicensed private clinics will be shut down beginning next year.
Coercive land seizure delays road project
The construction of a VND4 trillion (US$192.3 million) road connecting Ha Nam and Nam Dinh provinces is lagging behind schedule, as four households refuse to hand over their land.
The four-lane route was planned to open for traffic by the end of this year and was expected to be the main trading gateway between the two provinces and other provinces in the Hong (Red) River Delta, reducing traffic congestion.
The project, which got approval from the Government in 2007, aimed to connect Phu Ly and My Loc districts in the two northern provinces.
The proposed road is almost 21 kilometers in length, of which 16 kilometers runs through Ha Nam Province and the remaining 4.7 kilometers goes through the neighboring province of Nam Dinh.
However, four households in northern Nam Dinh Province have not yet agreed with the compensation amount proposed by the project’s contractor.
Tran Tat Nguyen, Deputy Chairman of My Loc District’s People’s Committee, said that four households in My Thuan Commune had not handed over their land due to disagreements over compensation and the price of resettlement land.
Two claimed they were entitled to one more resettlement portion than they were offered.
The committee has revoked 34.6ha of land from 551 households in the district for the project and organised 37 meetings to answer questions about compensation, in addition to visiting every household to persuade them to hand over their land.
According to Nguyen, the requests of the four households were against regulations and infeasible.
Local authorities abided by all regulations during the compensation and land clearance processes, he said.
Dang Kim Chien, Chairman of the My Loc People’s Committee, said that the authority planned to forcibly take the land of the four households in December if they could not be persuaded to hand it over.
Regulators battle unchartered waters over health supplements
Supplementary foods contribute to disease prevention and promote socio-economic development, however, controlling the food market is increasingly difficult, said health experts.
The so-called “supplementary foods” include vitamin and mineral-enhanced foods which were believed to increase people’s resistance and reduce the risk of contracting diseases. They have been used in Viet Nam since 2000.
At present, nearly 10,000 kinds of supplementary foods are on sale, and 40 per cent of them were imported.
Further, nearly 1,800 businesses produce and sell supplementary foods.
During a conference on supplementary food management and use held last Saturday in HCM City, health experts agreed that these foods helped improve the public’s health, create jobs for workers and decrease hospital admissions.
However, some enterprises and individuals took advantage of the publicity to raise the products’ prices, or sell fake products to earn high profits, said Tran Quang Trung, director of the Ministry of Health’s Viet Nam Food Administration (VFA).
In October, the Ha Noi Police discovered more than 100 boxes of supplementary foods displaying the trade mark of a US company, however, in fact, they were produced in the northern province of Hai Duong.
Moreover, health experts showed how supplementary foods were advertised as panaceas for ailments they could not help.
The Law on Food Safety regulated that doctors must not prescribe supplementary foods on their prescriptions, and but the products are advertised on web sites, leaflets, social networks or even through word of mouth, creating difficulties for health experts in managing them.
Deputy Chairman of the Viet Nam Standards and Consumer Rights Protection Association Nguyen Manh Hung said many people complained to the association since the supplementary foods were not as effective as claimed in advertisements and could not cure diseases.
Hung added that supplementary foods could cause allergies, especially when users were sensitive to some types of medicines. Supplementary food allergies can lead to fatalities, he noted.
The HCM City authorities, during the first nine months this year, issued administrative fines of VND140 million (US$6,000) to 18 enterprises for over-advertising supplementary foods.
To strengthen management of supplementary foods, VFA deputy director Nguyen Thanh Phong said that cooperation and close supervision between different agencies, including health, agriculture, industry and trade and advertisement issuing offices, was needed.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien added that the ministry is to issue a circular on supplementary foods, which would have clear regulations on using supplementary foods in prescriptions and advertisements.
In the long term, the ministry is to have regulations about supplementary foods in place, which is based upon ASEAN’s decree, she said.