Sappers recover war-era bomb in Ha Tinh
Sappers from the provincial Military Command retrieved the bomb, dropped by US troops during their fierce air attacks on northern localities from 1968 to 1972, and brought it to a location to be safely detonated.
The bomb was uncovered on May 5 at a construction site for a road running through the historical site.
Since the beginning of this year, the provincial sappers have demined five bombs and 30 other unexploded ordnances left over from the US war.
Located in the northern part of the central region, Ha Tinh boasts Dong Loc T-junction, which was renowned as a strategic traffic gateway between the north and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, through which soldiers and supplies were sent from the north to the south during the war.
The US army used more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines in the war in Vietnam, four times the amount used in World War 2. As a result, Vietnam has been listed among the countries most contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXOs).
According to the National Steering Committee for Recovery over Postwar Bomb and Landmine Impacts, about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs are scattering across 6.6 million hectares, or 20.12 percent of the country’s land, mainly in the central region, putting people in danger every day.
Latest statistics show that UXOs have killed more than 42,000 people and injured 60,000 others nationwide.
Hanoi court considers resuming trial of ACB ex-leaders
The Hanoi People’s Court is mulling resuming the trial of Nguyen Duc Kien, former vice chairman of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), and other ex-leaders of the bank on fraud and other charges even if defendant Tran Xuan Gia remains absent due to his poor medical conditions.
According to Vietnam News Agency, the former ACB chairman Gia is said to be waiting for surgery after being hospitalized with high blood pressure and an enlarged prostate. On April 16, the court decided to postpone the hearing since Gia was absent due to his poor health.
The Code on Penal Proceedings stipulates the first hearing could be delayed for less than 30 days. Therefore, the trial should be re-opened on May 16.
Lawyer Bui Quang Nghiem, one of Kien’s four attorneys, told the Daily that Gia wanted the hearing to proceed soon but his health had not improved yet.
Meanwhile, Kien at his latest meeting with his attorneys after the first-instance court postponed the hearing also urged the trial be re-started soon.
“We are waiting for a decision by the court. If Gia’s health has not improved by May 16, his trial should have been suspended and the other defendants will have had to stand trial,” Nghiem said.
Kien and other former executives of ACB are charged with four offences – appropriation of assets, intentional violations of the State’s economic management regulations causing serious consequences, tax evasion and illegal trading.
2 kidney transplants done at HCMC Children’s Hospital
Children’s Hospital No.2 in Ho Chi Minh City performed kidney transplants on two children this week.
On May 6 hospital surgeons along with their colleagues from Cho Ray Hospital operated on a 10-year-old boy in the final stages of kidney failure, who has been undergoing dialysis for six months.
The kidney, donated by his 44-year-old uncle, is showing signs of working in the boy.
Doctors also implanted a kidney donated by his mother in an 11-year-old boy, also in the last stage of kidney failure.
Nationwide measles death toll hits 135
Two more children have died from measles, bringing total fatalities throughout Viet Nam to 135.
The Ministry of Health said that a child had died from the disease in Bach Mai Hospital on Monday and another in the National Hospital of Paediatrics on Sunday.
The ministry said an additional 55 measles cases were reported nationwide on Monday, raising the total number of victims this year to 4,085.
The ministry told its departments to make sure that children aged between nine months and two years old were vaccinated.
The vaccination rate of the country is now currently at 86.5 per cent, but some reports say many children missed their second vaccination.
However, many localities including Ha Noi, HCM City, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh and Binh Duong, have taken steps to correct the situation.
To date, 4,423 Ha Noi children aged between nine months and six years have been vaccinated.
No Vietnamese victims of Ukraine violence
No Vietnamese have fallen victim to increased violence in Ukraine since the political crisis arose late last year, a conference on Vietnamese community affairs heard in Kiev on May 6.
The political instability in the country is exerting a negative impact on the living conditions of around 10,000 Vietnamese expatriates who are currently residing in such big cities as Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, and Donetsk.
Increased conflicts forced many people to stay indoors, and Vietnamese businesspeople felt the pinch of the depreciation of the local currency gripna against the US dollar.
Despite the crisis, Vietnamese people have united to support and protect each other, maintaining community affairs, said delegates at the conference hosted by the Vietnamese Embassy in Ukraine.
Embassy representatives briefed delegates on situations in Vietnam and the world, and Vietnam’s new policies concerning consular affairs and citizen protection.
Bodies of 3 fishermen recovered
The bodies of three fishermen, who were swept away on Monday evening by the sea, off Chay Muoi Beach in southern Ben Tre Province’s Thoi Thuan Commune, were recovered.
One fisherman is still missing, said local police officials.
According to initial information, a boat carrying 17 fishermen capsized when they were on their way to catch clams. Thirteen fishermen swam to safety but four others were swept away.
The bodies of three fishermen were recovered by the police after almost four hours of searching.
The case is being investigated.
Police arrest 21 fugitive drug addicts
Police have arrested 21 of 45 drug addicts who escaped from a rehabilitation centre in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on Monday.
The fugitives used scissors and sharp weapons to threaten the centre’s two security guards on Monday morning, then locked the security guards in a room and stole keys to escape, according to deputy director of the centre Nguyen Ngoc Kia.
A radio broadcast informed area residents to protect their property and contact the police if they had any information on the individuals at large.
Man dies in ammo explosion
A man was killed in Cam Le district after air gun ammunition left from the war exploded yesterday, head of Hoa Tho Tay precinct’s police Ngo Van Them has confirmed.
Cao Thanh Son, 49, from Binh Dinh, died instantly at his house when the 12.7-millimeter caliber ammunition, which he was trying to break for the metal and gunpowder, exploded.
The police seized a bag of defused ammunition from the site.
Vietnam Airlines flight abandons take-off from Melbourne
Flights were delayed briefly at Melbourne Airport, Australia, after a Vietnam Airlines plane bound for HCM City aborted take-off on the morning of May 6.
The airline said flight VN780 experienced an “engineering malfunction” prior to take-off and the flight was cancelled.
Vietnam Airlines announced that all 180 passengers and 13 crew members on board at the time of the incident are safe and accounted for, together with their luggage and personal belongings.
Peter, a passenger on the flight, was quoted by ABC news as saying “The plane aborted take-off, I know it all happened very quickly but it all of a sudden just stopped.”
He said “We were taking off and it just stopped. Engine two failed as the plane was leaving the runway.”
The Airline apologised for the inconvenience and advised customers to go home and contact the airline later to make new travel arrangements.
Melbourne Airport said the “disabled” A330 caused flight delays for about 40 minutes at around 11:00am and eight flights were diverted to Adelaide Airport.
An airport spokeswoman said the plane was not on fire and reports elsewhere of sparks and smoke coming from the plane were likely debris from the plane hitting the runway.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating.
Melbourne couple Steve Lam and Monica Tram had to cancel their honeymoon because of the incident. Lam was angry about the disruption to their travel plans and said they were “lucky to be alive”.
Hai orders inspection of all suspension bridges
The quality of all suspension bridges in the country will be inspected following an official document signed by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.
Hai ordered the People’s Committees of the provinces and cities to assume the responsibility of conducting the inspections.
The committees have to suspend the traffic movement on substandard suspension bridges immediately, as well as formulate a new plan to ensure the smooth flow of traffic in the localities, he said.
Hai asked the localities to use their local budgets and road maintenance funds to repair, upgrade or re-build the substandard suspension bridges.
Each People’s Committee has also been asked to issue regulations on managing, operating and maintaining suspension bridges, he said, adding that the load-carrying capacity signs for vehicles using the suspension bridges should be rechecked, he added.
Hai directed the Ministry of Transport to issue a circular soon on how to manage and operate suspension bridges in the rural road system.
The ministry’s findings showed that Viet Nam has 1,944 suspension bridges, and about 40 per cent of them need to be repaired and upgraded.
Dien Bien Phu campaign inspired Argentinean publisher
The Dien Bien Phu campaign remained at the front line of the battle against colonialism in the world with its “scream” for peace echoing across Asia and Africa, where nations that declined to be oppressed fought for their independence from the rule of others.
Director of Argentina’s Cienflores Publishing House Maximiliano Thibaut made the statement when talking with the Vietnam News Agency about the significance of the Dien Bien Phu victory occasioned its 60 th celebration (May 7).
The triumph led to the signing of the 1954 Geneva Accord in which France agreed to withdraw its forces from its colonies in the three countries of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
He attributed the victory and the success of other struggles against foreign aggressors won by Vietnamese people to the unity that bound the Party, the army and people together in an unyielding determination under the sound leadership of the Party, President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap.
The victory was the perfect combination of modern military strategy and decisive guerilla tactics, he stressed.
Maximiliano Thibaut spoke highly of the role of General Vo Nguyen Giap, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Vietnam People’s Army, saying the value of his military ideologies still remain today.
In 2013, Cienflores published two military books of General Giap in Spanish. It will introduce two others to readers in the near future.
People flock to pay tribute to General Giap
Thousands of people from across Vietnam have paid homage to the late General Vo Nguyen Giap at his final resting place in the central province of Quang Binh.
The well-wishers travelled from far and wide to pay their respects in the morning of May 7 – exactly 60 years to the day that the Giap-led armed forces sealed victory in the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
Lieutenant Colonel Phan Thanh Bong, head of the Roon Border Guard Post, said that between April 30 and May 7, over 95,000 people visited the General’s grave in the Vung Chua – Dao Yen area of the province.
The provincial Border Guards High Command has dispatched more personnel to ensure security in the area, while civil forces have been sent to guide visitors.
On the same morning, officials from the provincial People’s Committee, Military High Command and Border Guards offered incense to General Giap, who passed away in Hanoi on October, 2013. He was born in Quang Binh’s Le Thuy district on August 25, 1911.
In his long and esteemed career, General Giap served as a Politburo member, Secretary of the Central Military Commission, Standing Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defence, Commander-in-Chief of the Vietnamese People’s Army and a National Assembly deputy from the first to seventh tenure.
He was the commander of the Dien Bien Phu campaign, which occurred between March and May 1954.
The victory of the campaign led to the signing of the 1954 Geneva Accord in which France agreed to withdraw its forces from its colonies in Indochina.
Vietnam pushes further help in Africa’s food security
Vietnam vows to help Africa nations ensure food security and sustainable development by dispatching there more farming and aquaculture experts, Ambassador to South Africa Le Huy Hoang has stated.
He informed delegates at a joint discussion session in Cameroon’s Yaounde capital on May 5 that Vietnam’s agriculture project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency has produced positive results in Africa.
The discussion was part of the May 3-5 first ministerial follow-up meeting to review the realisation of commitments made at the fifth Tokyo International Conference on Development (TICAD-5).
Thanks to the support of over 400 Vietnamese farming experts, the rice output in some African nations has tripled from 2 tonnes to 6 tonnes per ha. Vietnam is willing to spread the pilot model to other regional countries, Hoang said.
He also voiced that Vietnam hopes for stronger cooperation with Japan and members of the 2013 – 2017 Yokohama action plan. Adopted at the TICAD-5 last June, the plan focuses on assisting Africa in improving its people’s living standards based on agriculture after 2015.
The follow-up meeting reached a consensus on bolstering the TICAD and South-South cooperation frameworks, in a bid to assist the continent in agriculture, poverty reduction, business climate improvement, women and youth empowerment and security issues.
Agreement enhances ties between Vietnamese, Lao women
The women’s associations of Vietnam’s central Quang Nam province and Sekong province in Laos on May 7 signed a bilateral cooperation agreement for the 2014-2019 period, focusing on exchanging experience in economic development and poverty reduction.
Under the deal, the two sides will ensure their members strictly follow the Vietnam-Laos Agreement on Border Management Regulations and support authorised agencies in protecting the two provinces’ joint border line.
They will also conduct activities to encourage women to avoid illegal migration and illegitimate marriage.
The Quang Nam provincial chapter of the Vietnam Women’s Union pledged to continue canvassing assistance from its members in order to support women and children living in difficulties in Sekong province.
Vocational training prepares to integrate regionally
Vietnam’s skilled workers will find it easier to seek high-income jobs when the ASEAN Community is formed by 2015.
However, the resultant opportunity will also create a challenge for young people and vocational trainers to adapt to rapid regional integration.
In recent years, many vocational training establishments have defined and applied quality criteria to their output, usually following the international CDIO (conceive, design, implement and operate) standard.
Establishments have developed training programmes and methods in the hope of providing students with knowledge and skills based on these criteria.
However, the success of training establishments and the quality of their output have yet to be assessed.
Many experts suggested that Vietnam, together with building standards for output, needs to revise its national standard system on occupational assessment and organise national-level contests for each job.
Following this path is the Ho Chi Minh City Education and Training Department and the Ministry of Education and Community of New South Wales, Australia, who are working together to carry out an international-standard vocational training programme from the 2014 academic year.
Under the programme, students from three pilot schools, namely Thu Duc Technology College, Phu Lam Economics-Technology College and Nguyen Huu Canh Vocational Training School, will be provided with English for Special Purposes (ESP) lessons along with Australia’s advanced vocational training plan.
Future graduates are expected to be confident with their occupational skills and fluent in professional English.
Quang Tri plans to create int’l border gate
The central province of Quang Tri is upgrading its La Lay border gate into an international facility.
Provincial authorities have tasked the Truong Hai Joint Stock Company with drawing out a detailed infrastructure planning for La Lay.
The international border gate will cover 16 hectares under an investment of more than 200 billion VND (9.5 million USD).
A related decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is expected to be released on May 18, according to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Cuong.
Operational since 1998, La Lay is a direct gateway to Laos and also a channel through which Vietnam’s economic exchanges with nearby Thai and Cambodian localities have expanded.
Upgrades to the gate would promote tours through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand and facilitate cross-border trade and travel in the region.
Ninh Binh: preparations in place for Vesak celebrations
The northern province of Ninh Binh has completed all preparations for the opening ceremony of the 2014 United Nations Day of Vesak, which will be held at its spiritual tourism complex in Bai Dinh Pagoda on May 8.
The event, the second of its kind hosted in Vietnam, is expected to welcome about 5,000 guests, including 1,500 from 95 countries and territories worldwide.
All forces are ready to ensure political security, social safety and traffic order in the locality.
The health sector has inspected the water sources and set up three groups to monitor food quality during the celebrations.
Meanwhile, accommodation is available to serve both domestic and foreign visitors.
The celebrations for the UN Day of Vesak (Buddha’s Birthday, Enlightenment and Passing Away) will be organised in Ninh Binh to May 11.
Vietnam first hosted the day in Hanoi in 2008, drawing over 600 Buddhist delegations across the globe.
Vietnamese nationals meet in Ukraine
A conference for the Vietnamese community in Ukraine was held in Odessa city on May 6.
Organised by the Vietnamese Embassy, the function took place amid the ongoing economic and political crisis in Ukraine, which has impacted greatly on some 10,000 Vietnamese nationals there.
The event was attended by representatives of the community from such Ukrainian localities as Kharkov, Odessa, Kiev, Kherson and Cherkasy. Ambassador Nguyen Minh Tri said the embassy wanted to take this chance to hear their opinions about the situation in Ukraine and suggestions for ways of fostering bilateral ties.
The conference also aimed to strengthen solidarity within the Vietnamese community and better their livelihoods, as well as increase the coordination between them and the embassy, he added.
At the event, participants were briefed on the recent progress made by Vietnam and the latest regulations on overseas Vietnamese citizens.
They said the community are still safe despite the recent violent clashes in Ukraine.
Construction begins on major Hanoi traffic project
The Hanoi People’s Committee on May 6 started work on a major traffic infrastructure project in Long Bien district, which is set to play an important role in the capital’s development.
Invested by the Him Lam Joint Stock Company, the project is worth over 2.8 trillion VND (133.3 million USD).
From now to the end of 2015, a six-lane overpass with a total length of nearly 810 metres will be built to connect National Road No.5 and an expanded section of the road running from Long Bien to Dong Anh district.
A roundabout and other supporting roads will also be constructed.
Starting from Hanoi’s Long Bien district, National Road No.5 traverses through Hung Yen and Hai Duong provinces and Hai Phong city.
Once put into use, the new road link will serve northern industrial zones and urban areas, thus helping promote the overall development of Hanoi.
Buddha’s birthday celebrated in Hue
The Huong (Perfume) River in the ancient imperial city of Hue, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, was lighted up with seven huge lotus lanterns on May 6, signaling the start of Lord Buddha’s 2558th birthday celebrations.
Each floating lotus lantern, which is 300kg in weight, 7.6 m in diameter and 3.7 m in height, is made of steel and silk.
According to Thich Khe Chon, deputy head of the permanent board of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s Thua Thien-Hue Chapter, the art work symbolises the first seven steps of Buddha immediately after he was born more than 25 centuries ago.
During this year’s cerebrations of Lord Buddha’s birthday, pagodas and streets in Hue city and surrounding areas have been decorated with lanterns and flowers.-
Vietnam responds to 2014 Global Action Week
Vietnam launched its nationwide activities for the 2014 Global Action Week in central Thua Thien-Hue province on May 6.
During the week, themed “Equal Right, Equal Opportunity: Education and Disability”, a number of events will be held to raise public awareness of the importance of education for people with disabilities and their right to access it. The week, which lasts until May 13, also aims to promote the implementation of policies, programmes and measures to help the disabled overcome barriers to have equal rights and opportunity in education and life.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia stressed society’s responsibility to remove barriers for the full integration of disabled citizens.
She called on authorities, domestic and foreign organisations, family members and the community to better support disabled people, enabling them to comprehensively integrate into the community.
Education in Vietnam has seen considerable progress, with an increasing number of integrated children and improved quality of education for the disabled, she said.
Katherine Muller-Marine, Chief Representative of the UNESCO office in Vietnam, said that the organisation of the week reflected Vietnam’s commitment to not only improve access, but also ensure a quality education that suits to all people.
Vietnam has put in place legal frameworks in assisting education on integration for disabled children over the past decade, she added.
In Vietnam, there are about 6.7b million disabled people, including 1.3 million children.
The Global Action Week is a worldwide annual campaigned organised by the Global Campaign for Education to raise awareness of the importance of education for all and to mobilise support from the international society to reach the goal of education for all.
Dien Bien Phu docs screened in Sri Lanka
The Vietnamese Embassy in Sri Lanka held a film screening on the Dien Bien Phu victory and General Vo Nguyen Giap on May 5 at General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) in Colombo, as part of activities to mark the 60 th anniversary of the historic triumph.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh reiterated that the Dien Bien Phu victory 60 years ago is Vietnam ’s biggest military achievement from the resistance war against the French, which lasted from 1945-1954.
The victory surprised the whole world, as the strong, experienced and modern French army was defeated by the Vietnam People’s Army, led by General Giap, he noted.
It resulted in the withdrawal of French troops from Vietnam and Indochina , leading to the collapse of the French colonial system around the world, the diplomat added.
The two documentary films chosen were “ Dien Bien Phu and the Historic Decision” and “Vo Nguyen Giap – the General of the People”.
Major General Milinda Priris, rector of the KDU, expressed the admiration of the Sri Lankan army and people for the victory. Sri Lanka has leant many useful lessons from the triumph, he said, adding that many military colleges and universities in Sri Lanka have lectured on the event as part of their strategy and tactics curriculum.
He also mentioned his deep respect for Vietnam ’s decision to put aside bitterness from the war and focus on building a peaceful and prosperous future.
Vietnam honours foreign humanitarian activists
The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRC) on May 6 presented “For the humanitarian cause” insignia to foreigners who have made great contributions to humanitarian activities in Vietnam.
The honourees are Marta Alejano, Chief Representative of the Spanish Red Cross in Vietnam, and Giuseppe Ungaro and Paul Van Deer Lan, her counterparts from Italy and the Netherlands .
Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Hanoi, VRC General Secretary Doan Van Thai thanked the laureates and their organisations for their support to charitable activities in Vietnam , and requested more assistance to be given in the field in the future.
Alejano, who is leaving the country to take up another position, said she will apply Vietnam ’s experience in order to help people in other countries where poverty and wars still linger.
In the past years, the foreign organisations have given much aid to Vietnam, for example in hygienic and environmental projects in Kien Giang, Binh Phuoc and Binh Thuan provinces, and a “cow bank” project helping border communities improve their livelihoods.
Charitable activities benefit children
Agent Orange/dioxin children in the central city of Da Nang were entertained with a performance by renowned Czech magician and illusionist Michal Sindelar and Vietnamese artists on May 5.
The performance, and other charitable activities, will benefit the children in their integration into the community, said President of the municipal Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin Nguyen Thi Hien.
Da Nang is now home to more than 5,000 AO victims, of whom 150 children victims are being cared for at support centres.
Between March and April, over 200 orphans and children with disabilities in Hanoi were taught with life skills such as how to communicate with each other and how to stay away from incidents and injuries when playing.
Under the support of the Johnson&Johnson Asia Pacific Foundation, the disadvantaged children also learnt traffic regulations and road signs.
Meanwhile, 12,000 children in the southern provinces of Dong Thap and Tien Giang have been provided with skills to survive natural disasters.
Launched since February 2013, the effort is part of a 197,000 USD project funded by the Prudence Foundation under the Prudential Corporation, with the assistance from Save the Children.
The project has also equipped the children with life jackets, waterproof bags and lifebuoys.-
Work starts on school for orphans in Binh Duong
Hundreds of parentless children in the southern province of Binh Duong will have a chance to go to school as work on a primary school for them started on May 5.
The 6-storey building, including a canteen and accommodations for orphans, is being constructed in Tan Dong Hiep ward, Di An town at an estimated cost of over 16 billion VND (752,000 USD).
According to Director of the Que Huong Humanitarian Centre Huynh Tieu Huong, the centre is taking care of 332 abandoned children found at local industrial parks, many of them are old enough to attend classes.
Once operational in the 2014-2015 academic year, the school will benefit not only the centre’s children but also others in the town and neighbouring areas, she added.
Vietnam needs to build relevant solar technology
While demand for solar powered machines is increasing sharply in Vietnam, enterprises producing solar powered batteries meet difficulties, many projects have to be halted before implementation, the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper reported, adding that this problem makes the solar powered machine market an unsustainable development.
Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Energy Conservation Center (ECC-HCMC) Huynh Kim Tuoc said that Vietnam has great potential for solar power especially in the central and southern regions of the country, which have many hours of sunshine and high solar radiation intensity.
Thus, the Government’s policy should strive to increase the proportion of renewable energy sources to about 8% of the total primary commercial energy consumption by 2020 and 11% by 2050. To realise this goal, localities, including Ho Chi Minh City have actively cooperated with businesses to support users by up to 1 million per machine.
Thanks to this, in recent years the market for water heaters using solar energy has grown quickly with various providers. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) shows that in 2011, the whole country had over 30 industrial works with about 42,000 machines sold each year, an average growth of 20% per year. Particularly, in Ho Chi Minh City, about 30,000-40,000 machines are installed each year, one in every two newly built houses is installed with a water heater using solar energy.
To increase the localisation rate, in 2009, the Red Sun Energy Joint Stock Company was the first solar battery manufacturing company in Vietnam.
In addition, the country has about 90 companies specialising in manufacturing and trading of solar power products, especially water heaters. Several models of products have been exported to neighbouring markets such as Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
The number of machines sold is increasing rapidly and people’s awareness of taking full advantage of renewable energy sources has been improved , however the solar power market in Vietnam has left many worried. It is easy to recognize that Vietnam’s product designs are simple and the scale of industrial production is not great so is it difficult to compete with imported products.
Besides, the majority of solar powered machine manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam are just at the early stages of production. For example, vacuum tube technology (which makes up 70% of total products in the market) now has to be imported from China, and the solar power flat plates are also imported from Taiwan and Malaysia.
Additionally, a series of projects producing solar power battery panels in Vietnam are meeting difficulties, which have caused slow production or even stop production. In April 2011, the US First Solar Group had to announce the cessation of a project with an investment of 1.2 billion USD in an industrial zone in southeastern Ho Chi Minh City after the official launch eight months ago.
The Management Board of the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone also admitted the project on solar power battery production by Dong Duong Power Industry Limited Company with an investment capital of 390 million USD had to slacken the implementation progress due to difficulties relating to markets and the manufacturing industry. Most recently, the 300 million USD project carried out by the Worldtech Transfer Investment Joint Stock Company in Thua Thien – Hue has also officially stopped.
At a recent workshop on solar power held by the Ho Chi Minh City Centre for Science and Technology Information, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology Phan Minh Tan affirmed that with solar power technologies Vietnam has not produced, transfer connectivity solutions is necessary.
The technologies must be suitable with Vietnam’s climatic conditions, regardless of the technologies of China, the US or Europe.
Teams monitor hand-foot-mouth prevention progress
The Ministry of Health has set up five inspection teams to examine the prevention and treatment of hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease, which is entering its peak season.
According to Director of the General Department of Preventative Medicine Tran Dac Phu, the teams will focus on localities with large numbers of recent HFM cases, including Ho Chi Minh City and Ca Mau province in the south, and Kon Tum and Dak Lak provinces in the Central Highlands.
Since the beginning of 2014, 17,410 HFM patients have been recorded across Vietnam, with two deaths in the provinces of Long An and Ba Ria – Vung Tau. The majority of cases, 14,254, have been registered in the south.
Phu said that HFM cases usually increase from March to May and from September to December.
He also warned that there have not been any vaccination programmes against the disease, meaning an outbreak is inevitable if drastic measures are not carried out swiftly.
To cope with the situation, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen has ordered local health departments and hospitals to devise HFM prevention plans.
PM urges stronger measures against seasonal diseases
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on May 6 issued a note urging ministries and localities to strengthen measures preventing and containing the spread of the hand-foot-mouth disease and dengue.
The note pointed out that since the beginning of this year, the diseases have swept through most cities and provinces nationwide. So far, 17,410 hand-foot-mouth cases with two deaths have been reported, and 7,931 dengue patients have been diagnosed.
The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Health to keep a close eye on the treatment of the patients to minimise fatalities, especially in localities with high morbidity such as Ho Chi Minh City , Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Kon Tum and Ca Mau.
He also asked the ministry to coordinate closely with authorities in cities and provinces to enhance the inspection and direction of preventative measures, while also observing the status of the diseases in neighbouring countries.
The PM requested the ministries of health and information and communications to work more closely in updating the public on the situation.
Particularly, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Vietnam Television, the Radio of Vietnam and the Vietnam News Agency should actively popularise the ways to diagnose and prevent the diseases.
He also directed the leaders of People’s Committees of localities to monitor local healthcare departments and other authorised agencies to create the best conditions for the effective treatment of patients, preventing the diseases from further spreading.
The PM also urged the Ministry of Education and Training to launch activities to control the diseases in schools, especially kindergartens, by cooperating with local healthcare departments and conduct cleaning in educational facilities.
At the same time, the Ministry of Finance has been asked to ensure there is enough money to fund the fight.
Saltwater affects 20,000ha of rice land in Ca Mau
Saltwater has intruded into nearly 20,000 hectares of rice fields in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Van Su has said.
The situation is, for the most part, due to climate change impact and seawater level rise, he noted.
At the same time, local farmers themselves have also worsened the intrusion after they pumped sea water into their rice fields to raise shrimps, thus affecting surrounding rice land.
Su warned that saltwater intrusion will pollute the environment and diminish the quality of land, which is unfavourable for both shrimp and rice farming.
To tackle the problem, the Ca Mau People’s Committee has ordered its localities to build more breakwaters and water retention walls to prevent saline water.
It also plans to further educate farmers to raise their awareness of the issue and firmly handle intentional violations. In the long term, the province will consider converting poor-performing rice land into shrimp farming areas.
With a coastline of 252km, Ca Mau has an eastern sea dyke linked with Ganh Hao in the southern province of Bac Lieu . Meanwhile, its western sea dyke stretching from Phu Tan district to the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has suffered heavy damage in parts, resulting into salt intrusion.
This has adversely affected production and livelihoods of thousands of local households.
IFAD funds Ben Tre climate change adaptation project
A Mekong Delta project on sustainable rural development and climate change adaptation will start in Ben Tre province later this month, according to Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Truc Son.
The scheme is a follow-up to a project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which has developed businesses in Ben Tre’s poor rural areas from May 2008, and is scheduled to end in June 2014.
With funding of 24.66 million USD, 17 million USD of which from the IFAD alongside the 3.78 million USD from the government, the new project will respond to the poverty incidence rate, vulnerability to climate change and the national target programme on rural development in 30 local communes.
Several cultivation models adaptive to changing climate will come up, generating jobs for some 125,000 impoverished residents and offering capital for production and vocational training.
The infrastructure system, including bridges and roads, will be built and more canals dredged.
Poor households in which women are breadwinners will also benefit from the scheme.
Foreign NGOs fund nearly VND75 billion to Dong Thap
Foreign non-governmental organizations have donated nearly VND75 billion to Dong Thap province over the past three years to implement a number of projects on education, health, poverty alleviation and charitable activities.
The projects which have brought practical results include a VND12 billion project to support children and families affected by natural disasters in the Mekong Delta, a Children-Action-funded project to provide heart surgery for children, a Heifer-funded project to improve famers’ lives and an IOM-funded project to promote gender equality and women empowerment.
Disaster Risk Reduction project, funded by Prudence Foundation Asia, has benefited students and teachers at 15 primary schools in 2 border districts of Hong Ngu and Tan Hong with total funding of over VND1.3 billion. The project provided nine swimming pools, dozens of speaker tutors, life jackets and a wealth of information on climate change.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) granted VND3.1 billion to build houses for 74 poor households in Tan Binh and Tan My communes affected by floods in 2011.
In 2012, European Commission – Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO) and Save the Children provided more than VND3.5 billion to support over 4.800 poor households in flood-prone areas.
In the future, the Dong Thap provincial Union of Friendship Organisations will mobilize additional foreign funding in the fields of disaster prevention, and support for disabled and poor children.
Crystal meth addiction causes mental disorders
In the past three years, Nguyen Manh Hung, head of the Detoxification Ward under National Psychiatric Hospital 1, has seen the number of patients hospitalised for mental disorders caused by crystal methamphetamine double.
In 2011, the hospital received about 10-15 such patients per month, but the number has since increased to 30.
“Heroin addicts suffer metal disorders after years, but crystal meth addicts suffer from such disorders after only a few months because the meth ravages their brain faster,” said Hung.
Crystal meth addicts typically cannot control their behaviour, putting them at risk of causing public disorder.
“The patients have various delusions. One always worries that he will be killed and hides in the toilets whereas another sings and dances all day,” said Hung.
Treating the patients was very difficult, he said, as their brains were seriously damaged. The treatment takes at least three months but can last years depending on how long the patient has been using.
Ha Noi Police statistics indicate that 72 per cent of crystal meth users are between 18-30 years old, while 26 per cent are more than 30 and the remaining 2 per cent are under 18.
PM tables discussion of textbook reform project
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has agreed to withdraw the draft project on textbook reform from the list of items to be discussed at the upcoming general session of the National Assembly, following a suggestion by the Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan.
The decision came after the draft project triggered a wave of public opposition from lawmakers and educators alike, with many describing the US$1.7 billion project as costly and lacking direction.
The PM’s decision will give the Ministry more time to revise the plan and provide a clearer strategy and timeline for the project.
Earlier last month, Education Minister Luan asked to withdraw discussion of the plan from the 6th plenary session of the Committee on Culture, Education, Youth, and Children of the National Assembly. He further stated that the estimated cost was not only for expediting textbook reform, but also for teacher training, infrastructure upgrades and a nationwide roll-out of IT applications.
The project was originally planned to be carried out from October this year, with the first phase including the compilation of experimental textbooks for the first, sixth and eighth grades. Textbooks for the remaining grades would be created from 2016 to 2020.
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