A foreigner killed in rear-end collision in Tien Giang
At least four passengers, including a foreigner, were killed and nearly 10 others injured in a head-on crash in the southern province of Tien Giang on April 16.
A 29-seat coach crashed into a water tank truck at section 44km+800 of the HCM City-Trung Luong expressway in Tien Giang province at 09.30am.
The coach, with several foreigners on board, was travelling from Tien Giang to Ho Chi Minh City when the accident happened, witnesses said.
Three passengers died at the scene and another passed away on the way to hospital. Among the deaths were a male foreigner and a child aged between 10 and 12.
A tow truck was dispatched to separate the damaged coach from the water tank truck.
It took rescue workers half an hour to extricate victims who were trapped in the wreckage.
Investigations into the cause of the accident are underway.
Blaze ravages HCM City garbage ground
The fire broke out at 7.30 pm and spread over an area of 1,000 square metres of the garbage ground in the Binh Hung Hoa Ward.
The city’s Fire Prevention Brigade sent firemen from the districts of Binh Tan, Tan Phu and 12 from the Vinh Loc Industrial Park to the site to extinguish the fire.
Thick smoke, heat and electrical problems hampered the firefighting efforts. However, the fire was finally put out by midnight.
The police are still investigating the case to identify the cause of the fire.
Covering a total area of 25 hectares, the Go Cat Garbage Ground is managed by HCM City’s Urban Environment Company. It has a capacity of handling 3.6 million tonnes of waste and treats between 4,000 and 5,000 tonnes of garbage daily.
Southern farmers face
More than 1,500 families in the southern provinces of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan have suffered water shortages for more than a month due to the lack of rain.
“Water from rivers, streams and wells is all gone. Many of us have to travel 20km to buy water for daily use,” said Mang Thi Thuy, a resident of Ham Can Commune in Ham Thuan Nam District of Binh Thuan Province. “We have not even paid for the water. We have to wait until our harvest to pay.”
The Linh River, the main source of water for the commune, is empty, forcing local residents to dig small holes to collect traces of water.
“After we dig the holes, we have to wait the whole night to collect a little water to wash our clothes and bathe. It has been like this for several months,” said Mang Can, head of Village 1 in Ham Can Commune.
The water shortage also hurts farmers. Tens of hectares of dragon fruit in the commune have not been watered properly for the last few months.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ninh Thuan Province has warned farmers not to start their 1,500-hectare rice crops but to save water for other crops as well as the province’s approximately 38,000 cattle.
In the last winter-spring crop, a water shortage affected more than 5,400 hectares of rice in Ninh Thuan Province.
This year, five hydropower reservoirs in the province have gone empty, according to Ninh Thuan Province Hydropower Exploitation Company.
“If it doesn’t rain by June, local residents will no doubt be both hungry and out of water,” said Luu Ngoc Le, vice head of the Agriculture Unit of Thuan Nam District in Ninh Thuan Provice.
About 200 families in Phuoc Trung Commmune of Bac Ai District, Ninh Thuan Province don’t have water for their fields, meaning they cannot work.
Japanese-funded bridge gets last missing links
The last missing links of Nhat Tan bridge spanning the Red River were connected at a ceremony in Hanoi on April 15.
The project has a total investment of more than VND13,600 billion mainly in official development assistance from the Japanese government.
The project has fulfilled 90% of work volume and is scheduled to open to traffic in October 2014 to mark Hanoi’s 50th Liberation Day
When completed the bridge will link the centre of Hanoi with industrial zones in the north and complete the belt road No 2 to shorten travel time to Noi Bai International Airport.
At the ceremony, Ambassador to Vietnam Hiroshi Fukada emphasised that Nhat Tan will be a symbol of the close bond between Vietnam and Japan, and he expressed his hope that Japanese-funded ODA projects will be paid off in the future.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong urged investors and contractors to finish the project on schedule and to a high standard.
Over 23,000 workers sent abroad in Q1
Vietnam sent 23,277 guest workers abroad, including 9,044 females, in the first quarter of the year, according to the Department of Overseas Labour (DOLAB).
In March alone, 9,346 were recruited to work abroad. Taiwan was Vietnam’s labour export market, receiving 5,268 workers, followed by Japan (1,156), Malaysia (442), Saudi Arabia (336), Libya (295), the United Arab Emirates (245), Macao (175), Singapore (82) and Belarus (80).
Particularly, an additional 465 Vietnamese workers were employed by Republic of Korean businesses.
As of the end of March, a total of 4,472 workers had returned to the RoK to work. They all had prior experience working in the RoK and returned home on schedule after their work contract expired.
In the reviewed period, the Government decided to extend the imposition of stiffer fines ranging from VND80-100 million on those who fail to return home on schedule as from March 10, instead of January 10 as previously announced.
The move is expected to reduce the number of Vietnamese workers illegally terminating contract and residing in Taiwan and the RoK.
The number of workers who voluntarily returned home from the RoK was 3,000 as of March 3, accounting for 15% of those whose work contracts expired.
More than 2,000 illegal Vietnamese workers in Taiwan have initiated procedures to come back home.
This year, around 3,594 workers are scheduled to return from the RoK and the DOLAB is continuing to implement a wide range of programmes aimed at encouraging them to return home on schedule.
Deputy PM orders best conditions for measles patients
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has asked the health sector to ensure sufficient medicine and equipment for the treatment of measles patients.
“It must ensure the best conditions for treating child patients at any cost,” the Deputy PM said during his inspection of the Vietnam National Hospital of Paediatrics in Hanoi on April 15.
According to the hospital, it now provides inpatient treatment for 1,750 children, including 250 measles patients. The hospital has dedicated several departments to providing the best treatment for them.
Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam inspected the treatment of measles patients in Hanoi (Photo:Dinh Nam)
Deputy PM Dam also asked the Ministry of Health to organise satellite hospitals and provide them with personnel and equipment to ease the overcrowding at the children’s hospital, while strictly carrying out vaccination work.
The hospital said overcrowding takes place because parents want their children to receive treatment at the highest-level medical establishments.
Some 2,490 children have been diagnosed with the disease so far this year and 25 fatalities reported.
Measles is a cyclical disease, Phu noted, adding that this year measles is spreading at a time when pneumonia hospitalisations are also on the rise, causing a high number of serious infections.
He affirmed that no modified gene or change in toxicity of the measles virus have been revealed in research conducted by the ministry or the World Health Organisation.
A programme on vaccination against measles is being carried out in all the 63 provinces and cities and is expected to be completed within this month, Phu said.
The ministry is continuing to monitor developments of the disease to provide timely information for people and introduce preventive measures in the hope of keeping the disease under control nationwide, he added.
Vietnam aims to have eliminated the disease by 2017.
Three arrested for drug trafficking from Laos
Law enforcement authorities in the central province of Quang Tri on April 14 arrested three men smuggling drug from Laos into the province.
Border guards, anti-drug police and customs officers in Quang Tri seized Nguyen Dinh Cong, Nguyen Huu Luong and Tran Dang Hoa, all residents of the province’s Huong Hoa district when the three were on their way back from Laos.
Authorities found 128 synthetic drug tablets which the trio, all of them drug addicts, said they had bought in Sepon district of Savannakhet province in Laos.
Further investigation is now underway.
Education minister seeks to hone English-language teachers’ skills
Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan has suggested the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organisation’s Regional Language Centre (SEAMEO RELC) improves the professional skills of English teachers in Vietnam.
The centre has partnered with branches to offer Masters courses on English teaching. Such a degree has been offered by the SEAMEO Regional Training Centre based in Vietnam, Luan said.
SEAMEO RELC Director Tay Sor Har expressed her willingness to send a group of staff to Vietnamese schools to survey English learning and teaching, thereby devising a plan to expand connections between Singapore and Vietnam.
Earlier in Brunei on April 8-11, Luan and his Brunei counterpart Pehin Abu Bakar Apong signed a memorandum of understanding on education cooperation between the two governments, expressing hope that both sides will share more information through exchange visits and seminars.
Brunei vowed to welcome more qualified Vietnamese lecturers coming to teach at its educational establishments.
Established in 1965, SEAMEO groups Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and eight associate members. It has set up 20 regional centres and networks to conduct studies and training in education, science and culture, among others.
Vietnam attends lawyers congress in Belgium
Leading Vietnamese lawyers and legal experts are participating in the 18th congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in Brussels, Belgium, from April 15-19.
The meeting provides an opportune occasion for participants to delve into the legal intricacies of domestic laws and regulations governing social issues, international commerce, and international humanitarian law, including the protection of the rights of war victims to compensatory damages.
Addressing the event, President of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) Nguyen Van Rinh emphasised that the US army sprayed nearly 80 million litres of defoliants, 61% of which was Agent Orange/Dioxin over southern Vietnam during the past war.
Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people have been exposed to the toxic chemical and more than 3 million people have died or suffered from severe disabilities as a result of contact with the deadly poison.
Rinh called on participants to support Vietnamese AO victims and raise their voices in opposition to those responsible for the irreparable harm to millions of Vietnamese people, demanding obligatory compensation for victims.
Rinh said he hopes that he can spark a fire in the hearts of people around the world to unite in fighting against chemical warfare and passionately support the plight of Vietnamese AO victims.
At the opening ceremony, IADL President Jeanne Mirear said the congress provided a forum for participants to share experience in setting up a global solidarity network to support its members, including Turkey, Colombia and the Philippines.
She spoke admirably of Vietnam’s initiatives to organise sidelines activities, such as a seminar on AO in Vietnam, and a forum to call for AO victims’ rights to live.
Participants at the forum discussed rights to peace and crisis, the Palestine situation, violation of international law, labour and trade union rights, rights of immigrants, and fighting against racial discrimination, as well as the struggle for gender equality.
Hoang Sa sailors commemorated
The annual “Le khao le the linh Hoang Sa” (Feast and Commemoration Festival for Hoang Sa Soldiers) pays tribute to the men enlisted in the flotilla to patrol the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos to tap natural resources and defend national island sovereignty.
According to Vietnam’s feudal state history, the Hoang Sa flotilla was set up when the Nguyen Lords began their reign in the south of the country. Thousands of sailors overcame roaring waves and storms to survey sea routes, plant milestones and erect steles affirming national territory in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, and tap marine resources at orders by the Nguyen Lords. Their missions were full of dangers, and many of them never returned to mainland.
To pay tribute to the men enlisted in the flotilla, the ceremony has been observed through hundreds of years by families in Ly Son and many coastal areas in Quang Ngai.
Vietnam Children’s Fund chief receives Friendship Order
Samuel Christopher Russell, country director of the Vietnam Children’s Fund (VCF), has been awarded Vietnam’s Friendship Order in recognition of his contribution to child care and protection in Vietnam.
Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong on April 15 presented the honour to Russell at a ceremony in Hanoi on April 15.
VCF was established in 1994 with the aim of building a primary school in each of 63 provinces and cities across the country. So far it has built 48 such schools, offering more than 30,000 poor rural children the chance to go to school.
In his speech, Hong stressed that during the past 20 years Russells has spared no effort to mobilize funds and manage its operations.
The Vietnamese State President’s Friendship Order acknowledges substantial contributions by Russells and the VCF to education development and vocational training for people with disabilities in more than 40 provinces and cities across the country, Hong said.
Russells thanked the State President for the honour and vowed to lobby for new funds to fulfil the VCF’s mission in the country.
Fire ravishes homes in HCM City
A fire broke out at 19:30 on April 14 at the Go Cat solid waste treatment plant in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan district, quickly engulfing nearly 1,000 square metres of housing.
It took the heroic efforts of firefighters more than 6 hours to bring the blaze under control, causing panic among local residents and traffic congestion throughout the immediate and surrounding areas.
Witnesses at the scene said that fires erupted following several big explosions they heard coming from the plant, rapidly spreading as guards tried fruitlessly, to stomp out the flames.
People flocked to the site but were unable to enter the plant due to the fierce heat and flames. Large pieces of solid waste flew through the air landing meters away, forcing nearby residents to run for safety.
At present, functional agencies are investigating the cause and making report on losses of the incident.
Seminar honours late President Ho Chi Minh
A seminar was held in Egypt on April 14 in honour of late President Ho Chi Minh – Vietnam’s great leader, hero of national liberation and outstanding diplomat of the 20th century.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Magdy Morgan, President of Egypt’s Supreme Press Council affirmed that President Ho Chi Minh was a great talented leader who guided the Vietnamese people in the fight against American invaders.
“President Ho Chi Minh transformed Vietnam into becoming a powerful and leading nation in all fields, not just in the military arena,”he said.
He spoke highly of the Vietnamese people who have always loved their leader and are willing to do everything to honour him.
At the forum, Moroccan and Iraqi ambassadors and the cultural counselor of the Cairo-based Chinese embassy presented reports highlighting the historic role of President Ho Chi Minh in the struggle for national liberation, national defense and construction.
All reports at the event affirmed the worldwide influence of President Ho Chi Minh as a driving force in the struggle for national independence in the world.
Nguyen Hong Son, Vietnamese embassy’s Charge d’Affairs in Egypt appreciated the organizing of the seminar and expressed his belief that the event served as an effective bridge to connect Vietnamese people to international friends including Egypt and Arabian nations.
HCM City to set up council to review medical services
In May, HCM City will become the first city in the country to set up a council to supervise patient satisfaction and collect treatment data.
Deputy director of the City’s Department of Health Tang Chi Thuong said that the department directing board decided to set up the council after some hospitals performed inadequately last year.
The council will have boards dedicated to patient safety and satisfaction, treatment, environmental safety and information technology.
The patient safety board will report problems to other medical stations. The patient satisfaction board will gather complaints from hotlines and the media and report them to the Department of Health, which will re-inspect hospitals if necessary. Comparisons of patient satisfaction at different hospitals will be published on the Ministry of Health website.
The treatment board will be responsible for gathering data from big hospitals and the Ministry of Health. It will also provide a legal basis for determining whether doctors are right or wrong when a problem occurs, said Thuong.
By the middle of this year, all City hospitals are expected to have standard treatment program-mes.
Belgium funds Vietnamese planning reform
Belgium has committed 4.3 million euros (US$5.9 million) of non-refundable official development aid to strengthen Viet Nam’s planning reform for four years, the Belgian Embassy to Ha Noi announced yesterday.
A specific agreement for the project was signed last Friday by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and Belgium Ambassador Angelet Bruno.
The project aims to improve the implementation of the socio-economic development plan for policies to support the poor and growth.
The four-year project will focus on preparing, monitoring and evaluating plans and budgeting by central, provincial and local authorities through improved legal framework, training courses and experience sharing.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment is responsible for the implementation and management of the project.
MoC urges probe into water pipe rupture
Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung has called for inspections into the cause of a burst water main that has left tens of thousands of households in Ha Noi without water.
Dung made the request after the main that brings water from the Da River to the capital ruptured for the fifth time since it was put into operation in 1997.
The latest fault was found in Thach That District on April 2, but inspectors are yet to establish the cause of the problem.
Minister Dung asked the Department of State Expertise of Construction Work Quality, the Technical Infrastructure Department, the Institute for Building Materials and the Institute of Science and Technology to revise the processes involved in researching, designing, building and operating the pipelines,
He also asked the units to check the material used for the pipes following reports they were made from synthetic fiber that ruptured easily.
Vinaconex Clean Water JSC and the Viet Nam Clean Water Investment and Construction Corporation have been asked to supply reports on the problem to authorities.
The Da River Water Plant supplies 30 per cent of water to households in the city. Since 2012, the water mains have burst at different points along the Thang Long Boulevard and in Thach That District. The cause of the problem, according to the water company, was weak soil around the pipes and the proximity of the highway.
Tay Ninh cracks down on illegal sand mining
The People’s Committee of the southern province of Tay Ninh will fine the owner of a construction materials shop VND77 million (US$3,660) for illegally sand mining in a section of the Sai Gon river.
Nguyen Thi Thu Giau was also asked to pay back over VND33 million ($1,570) collected from selling 280cu.m of sand in early February.
Illegal sand mining has caused landslides and damaged many rice fields in the province.
Waste-fuel seized in northern craft village
Local producers used the waste, rather than charcoal, to power their kilns as a means of cutting production costs. According to local producers, replacing charcoal with waste saved VND2.5 million (US$120) each day.
All of the waste was destroyed.
Vietnam makes case for AO victims at legal congress
Vietnamese representatives are joining nearly 1,000 lawyers and legal activists from all over the world at the ongoing 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in Brussels, Belgium .
Running from April 15-19, the event is a chance for participants to share experiences and discuss the formation of international constitutions. The ultimate aim is to foster solidarity to protect justice, and help people whose rights are violated, including war victims.
Representatives from the Vietnam Lawyers Association (VLA) and the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) discussed various topics, including the right to peace and the rights of nations.
Among other issues, the congress focused on the violations of international law, working rights, the struggle against racial discrimination, the fight for gender equality and the situation in Palestine.
Addressing the opening session, President of the VAVA Nguyen Van Rinh said during the war in Vietnam , the US sprayed nearly 80 million litres of toxic chemicals to the south of Vietnam , 61 percent of which was Agent Orange laced with 366 kg of dioxin.
Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to the deadly poison, with over 3 million of them dying or painfully struggling from its serious effects, he noted.
Rinh called on the participants to help Agent Orange/Dioxin (AO) victims in Vietnam by putting pressure on the international community to identify those responsible for damaging the lives of millions of Vietnamese people, and punishing them for their crimes.
“I would like to call on people around the world to unite against the chemical warfare and support Vietnamese AO victims, helping them integrate to the community in Vietnam and the world,” Rinh said.
Meanwhile, IADL President Jeanne Mirer said the congress is a great opportunity to establish an international network able to assist members in some countries, such as Turkey , Colombia and the Philippines , where lawyers face high risks of violence.
She lauded Vietnam ‘s organisation of activities on the sidelines of the congress, such as a conference on the AO disaster in Vietnam , a protest against US chemical companies and a call on the international community and the IADL to conduct legal procedures against violators of human rights.
Established in 1946 in Paris, the IADL is a non-governmental organisation with consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). IADL members have challenged groups and individuals who have threatened human rights and international peace and security and violated international law.-
Vinh Long boosts educational ties with Japanese university
Officials from colleges and universities in the southern province of Vinh Long held a working session with representatives from Japan’s Tokuyama University on April 15, discussing the enhancement of educational cooperation between the two sides.
At the function, the Vinh Long University of Technology Education (VLUTE) and the Japanese university inked a Memorandum of Understanding on training cooperation, the exchange of students and lecturers, and structured support to VLUTE students to improve their professionalism and ability to find jobs in Japan.
Tokuyama University’s Director for Asian Overseas Students Yamamoto Takashi said that studying in Japan, and at his university in particular, will enable Vinh Long’s students to raise their qualifications and access better job opportunities.
He added that his university will waive 50-100 percent of tuition fees to local students who satisfy the requirements set by the school.
Earlier, Japanese representatives also met with the provincial Department of Education and Training to discuss organising study tours of Japan for students. The department suggested the Japanese university provide more information on job opportunities during and after the trips and organise additional Japanese-language courses in the province.
The two sides have already collaborated to provide six free Japanese-language courses for high-school students in Vinh Long since last November.
Improvement in educational outputs essential: experts
Improving the standard of qualifications is essential in the education transformation process, a conference in Hanoi heard on April 15.
Educationalists at home and abroad agreed that besides equipping students with knowledge, it is advisable to enhance their critical thinking, self-studying, and problem solving skills.
They touched upon four key areas where quality should be improved: teaching staff, curriculums, training guidelines, and educational output. They added that topics such as learning English for global integration and applying technology in the field should also be implemented.
Professor Nguyen Thi My Loc said education in Vietnam receives great attention from the State; however, due to limited economic conditions, the sector has yet to receive much investment, resulting in working staff being short of quality.
She went on to say that providing training courses for teachers should be a continuous process and it is necessary to balance theory and practice in the curriculum and develop learners’ capabilities for domestic human resources and international integration.
Organised by the Vinschool education system, the event creates a good chance for participants to share experience and teaching methods that are proving effective in the world.
Binh Duong Customs launches one-door mechanism
Binh Duong Customs has officially launched the Japanese-funded electronic customs system known as Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System and the Vietnam Customs Information System (VNACCS/VCIS).
The VNACCSGeneral Department of Vietnam Customs, Japanese Business Association, Korea Business Association and Taiwan Business Association, the provincial Club for exporters and importers attended the launching ceremony.-
Experts suggest ministries rethink IT approach
Many experts have stressed that ministries and local government offices need to hire IT service providers to manage their computer systems, rather than attempting to build and maintain their own – a practice that is currently widespread.
Chairman of the FPT Group Truong Gia Binh said employing external IT experts is a growing trend among top businesses around the world. He claimed that if encouraged in Vietnam, it will forge sweeping reform across State bodies.
Participants hailed the establishment of the committee led by the Prime Minister, which they said will create breakthroughs to turn Vietnam into an IT powerhouse.
Others said that it is advisable to address constraints in putting IT projects in place. They recommended subtracting part of earnings from public services to pay for IT services.-
Water plants planned for Mekong Delta
The Government has planned the construction of three water plants for the Mekong Delta, aiming to serve all residents by 2020.
According to the Steering Committee of the Southwest region and the Ministry of Construction, the plants will need an investment of 36 trillion VND (about 1.69 billion USD).
Meanwhile, the Song Hau II and Song Hau III, both in An Giang province, will ensure needed water for Can Tho city and the provinces of An Giang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau, and part of Hau Giang and Bac Lieu provinces.
The Mekong Delta region comprises of 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million.
It is the country’s largest rice granary and also has a great potential for tourism development.-
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