Don’t eat poultry meat with unclear origins: Ministry
The health ministry has recommended that people avoid buying and eating poultry meat that does not have clear origins, to prevent an outbreak of avian influenza A(H5N1) and A(H5N6).
The advisory has been issued as over the past few years there have been outbreaks close to Tết (the Lunar New Year) as during this occasion, the consumption of poultry meat is higher than usual.
The ministry has also warned people not to slaughter and transport poultry without clear origins. Breeders have been asked to alert authorities if there are unexplained poultry deaths.
If people suffer from symptoms such as high fever and difficulty in breathing, they should go to the nearest health centre without delay, the ministry said.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), avian influenza has been recorded in many countries this year. Since June, wild birds and poultry have been found with A(H5N8) in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, India and Russia. Scientists have also confirmed a connection between dead wild birds and bird flu found in poultry farms in these countries.
The World Health Organization has recorded cases of A(H5N1) and A(H5N6) infections among the Chinese and Egyptians in 2016.
Vietnam Institute for Green Urban Research and Development makes debut
The Vietnam Institute for Green Urban Research and Development debuted on December 27 at a ceremony held by the Vietnam Fine Art Creation and Design Association in Hanoi.
At the launch ceremony, Prof. Dr. Le Huyen, Chairman of the Vietnam Fine Art Creation and Design Association officially announced a decision to appoint architect Nguyen Huu Hieu, General Director of the Architecture Consultancy – Construction Investment, as the Director of the Institute.
Architect Truong Duy Anh, journalist Pham Minh Duong, architect Nguyen Hai Long, and graphic lecturer Le Van Duan were appointed as Deputy Directors.
Also at the ceremony, the Science Council and the Advisory Board of the Institute, including numerous professors, doctors and experts in the fields of architecture, planning, green works, communication and foreign affairs, were launched, aiming to support and promote the development of the institute in the future.
Speaking at the ceremony, Director Nguyen Huu Hieu emphasised that the Vietnam Institute for Green Urban Research and Development was expected to become a major centre for scientific research and technology transfer in the field of urban development in the country.
The unit will consult and implement projects related to green urban areasand environmental works with efficient use of energy, as well as research and propose measures to improve microclimate conditions for architectural works and raising the quality of the life for people.
Currently, the Vietnam Fine Art Creation and Design Association consists of 20 subsidiary units with nearly 400 members across the country. It has established co-operation with numerous foreign countries around the world.
HCMC chairman presides over citywide meeting to tackle traffic jam
Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong yesterday afternoon presided over a citywide meeting to implement measures to reduce traffic jam in the yearend month and next year.
Reporting at the meeting, director of the Department of Transport Bui Xuan Cuong said that next year the department would build 40 key traffic works, develop public transport, control individual vehicles and intensify science and technology application in urban traffic management to solve the issue.
The department proposed the city Police Department to mobilize human resource to regulate traffic during peak hours and strictly handle traffic law violators especially those parking in streets.
Deputy head of the HCMC Traffic Safety Board Nguyen Ngoc Tuong said that one of reasons for traffic jam in HCMC was from spontaneous markets where citizens had encroached roadbeds to do business.
Chairmen of all 24 city districts in 2012 pledged to restore street order along 159 routes but no significant change has been seen.
Therefore, Mr. Tuong proposed the city People’s Committee to review street order works in the 159 streets to see which districts have well implemented their commitments and which have not. The city should consider launching the program in all streets not only some major routes.
Deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee Le Van Khoa instructed the board to assume the review job and make clear how the situation has changed there. “It is unacceptable that districts have promised with the city to settle the issue but not kept their word,” said he.
Reducing traffic jam is the responsibility of not only the Department of Transport but also other agencies and districts, he affirmed and proposed media to accompany the city to seek the best solutions to settle traffic gridlock at 37 spots in the city now.
Agreeing with the proposal, Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said that he would have a meeting with leaders of newspapers , TV and radio stations early next year to seek their supports to the city’s programs in reducing traffic congestion. He hoped that they would contribute opinions of them and citizens to solve the issue and develop the city.
He required agencies and districts to drastically implement their assigned tasks. The Department of Information and Communications should send SMS messages informing citizens of traffic jam spots to prevent them from traveling into congested routes and worsening the situation.
Districts and agencies who have registered to restore street order along the 159 streets but yet to implement their commitments will see leaders held responsible.
Mr. Phong prompted relevant agencies to crack down on illegal parking as well as illicit operation of coaches and stations.
Locals in central provinces make efforts to restore production after flood
Inhabitants in the central provinces have made all efforts to restore production for the winter-spring crop after floods hit the region; accordingly it has seen the excited atmosphere in paddy fields hoping for a prosperous Tet holiday (the Lunar New Year).
In Ha Tinh Province, 1,500ha of crops had been destroyed, rice farmers converted to cultivate veggies. In Thach Ha District, over 100ha of vegetables died in the flood; local government encouraged farmers to increase land for growing veggies from 400ha to 600ha.
Director of Quang Binh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Phan Van Khoa said that nearly VND4 billion was allocated for farmers in the mountainous districts to buy seeds and seedlings of corn, rice and veggies to soon restore production.
Meantime, locals in Cam Lo District in the central province of Quang Tri are facing shortage of seeds. Head of the district Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Thanh Binh said that his department called for financial aids from People’s Committee and relevant agencies to assist farmers and restore drainage system, irrigation, canals, and pumping station.
Leaders of Dai Loc District in Quang Nam Province urged the Ministry of Agriculture and relevant agencies to support cash to farmers to buy seeds.
In Thua Thien-Hue, thousands of farmers flocked to fields to plant flowers and veggies. This year, farmer Le Van Lu in Tien Non village in District Phu Vang has planned to grow 40,000 varieties of flowers. If successful, his family’s life will be better.
In Ha Tinh, corn and vegetable fields look green. As per the Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection, 1,010ha of corn, 558ha of vegetables and 130ha of sweet potatoes have been mostly restored.
Currently, the number of qualified seeds may satisfy half of locals’ demand, said director of Seedlings Center in Quang Ngai province Doan Van Nhan although Vietcombank branch in Quang Ngai also provided 12 tons of rice seeds, 150 bags of chilli to locals in districts Tu Nghia, Nghia Hanh, Mo Duc, Duc Pho and Binh Son.
Southern provinces need stronger links
Provinces and cities in the Southern Key Economic Region should strengthen their linkages to enable the region to capitalise on its development potential, a recent seminar heard in HCM City.
The region, which consists of a city and seven provinces – HCM City, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Tien Giang – plays an important role in the country’s economy, accounting for more than 42 percent of GDP, 40 percent of exports and more than 60 percent of tax collections.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee and chairman of the Southern Key Economic Region Council for 2016, said the region was also the pioneer in industrial and services development, especially high-tech, electronics, oil and gas, tourism, telecom, finance and banking, commerce, and logistics.
In 2001-15 the region consistently grew at 1.5 times the national average, he said.
However, the development fell short of potential since the growth quality remains unsustainable while human resource quality is low, he said.
Beside, its infrastructure development has not kept pace with development, and there is a lack of co-operation between its component localities, he added.
Assoc Prof Dr Nguyen Van Phuc, principal of the HCM City Open University, said regional connections have been built over the last 10 years, but the linkages between localities in the region remain poor.
He blamed this on the lack of a strong and capable coordinating board that could assess the development potential of each locality and make a master development plan for the region as a whole.
Phong said the region council chairman’s role stops with receiving feedback from member localities and submit to the Government.
The Government set up a steering committee for the development of the region with former Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai as its head.
But the committee has not convened any meeting so far while is head has moved to another position and no successor has been found.
Therefore, feedback from the region no longer reached the Government, he said.
Ngo Dong Hai, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economics, said “each locality is an independent financial body but assigned common targets such as ensuring growth in the economy, production and foreign investment, improving residents’ lives and others.”
This will mean overall development trumps local interests, he said.
Specific legal framework needed.
Prof Dr Mai Hong Quy, principal of the HCM City University of Law, said to enable the region to develop as it expects, the Government needs to have a specific legal framework for the region with specific policies related to land use and investment attraction.
She and many others urged the Government to increase localities’ share of tax and other revenues to enable them to reinvest and develop.
The Government should allow the region to establish two finance companies to mobilise funds for its development, they said.
They also said the region should focus on improving training to supply to the market qualified workers meeting international standards.
Nguyen Dinh Trung, deputy director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Planning and Investment, said the member localities should jointly suggest ways to the Government and relevant agencies to complete land, waterway, railway and air travel infrastructure in the region.
Dinh La Thang, Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, said a regional data centre should be established to make it easy for the region to research and support foreign investors.
In the long run, the Government should have suitable policies for developing the region into an open economic zone, he said.
It should review the master zoning and other plans of each locality in the region to avoid overlaps, he said.
It needs to adopt policies to strongly develop localities with great potential to create a momentum for others with less potential, Phong said, adding that China has such a policy.
Vietnamese ticketholders win US$7 million lottery jackpot
Vietlott, the operator of an American-style lottery, on December 25 announced that two ticketholders have won a total of nearly VND160 billion (US$7 million).
The winning numbers are 05 – 12 – 20 – 29 – 34 – 36 and for the first time there will be two winners to claim the much-sought prizes, according to the company’s website. This means that each winner will take home around VND72 billion, or 3.2 million, after paying a 10% income tax.
Vietnam’s average annual income was US$2,100 last year, according to the World Bank.
They are the seventh and eighth winner of the Mega 6/45 since mid-October. The value of previous top prizes ranged from US$2.4 million to more than US$4 million.
Vietlott in early December officially expanded to Hanoi with 150 agents, hoping to replicate its success of the past few months in the country’s south.
In January, Vietlott signed an exclusive 18-year contract with Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya to launch computerized lottery games.
The Mega 6/45 is the company’s first foray into the market. Players select six numbers from 1 to 45 and win a jackpot that starts at VND12 billion (US$538,000) by matching all six numbers from the draw. Each ticket costs VND10,000 (40 cents).
The prize will keep growing until there is a winner. The odds of winning have been estimated at around one in 8.14 million.
Vietnam generally does not allow its citizens to gamble, but lottery tickets are popular across the country.
Traditional lottery tickets in Vietnam have predetermined numbers printed on them, with the highest prize set at VND1.5 billion (US$65,900).
Facing tough competition from Vietlott’s Mega game, the companies behind these traditional tickets have decided to raise the top prize by 33% to VND2 billion, starting next year.
Red tape slows health insurance signup
The Government has targeted over 90 per cent of nationwide population covered with health insurance by 2020. Despite preferential policies to encourage citizens to buy health insurance, the number of health insurance card holders, especially household health insurance, remains low due to red tape.
Without health insurance, Hoàng Thị Yến, renting a house in HCM City’s District 2, had to pay over VNĐ60 million (US$2,700) for leg surgery, Tin Tức (News) reported.
“To buy household health insurance, I have to bring the family register book of my landlord and all health insurance cards of the family members to the ward authority. Then I have to register for temporary residence. However, my landlord’s family has yet to buy health insurance cards so I cannot buy it,” she said.
Prolonged waiting time is another challenge for health insurance card holders.
Trần Thị Bốn from Thủ Đức District in HCM City, said “I have to wait for the whole day for each health check-up.”
Getting bored of waiting, she decided to buy a health check-up service without health insurance.
To increase public access to health insurance and to meet the above target, Hà Văn Thúy, the deputy head of the Health Insurance Department under the Health Ministry, said that the ministry has issued a set of hospital quality criteria which place patients at the centre of hospital services.
Health insurance covers almost 80 percent of Việt Nam’s population now.
According to Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the HCM City Health Department, the city’s healthcare sector has worked with the city’s health insurance to cut down unnecessary procedures so as to improve healthcare examination and treatment but still ensure quality.
The waiting time of patients to see a doctor has been cut from 120-480 minutes to 30-120 minutes.
According to Tin Tức newspaper, hospitals in HCM City have bought state-of-the-art technology to better serve patients. Eighteen hospitals in the city have newly installed health check-up booking via a hotline. “We are looking forward to smart health insurance cards (electronic) to replace current paper cards,” Bỉnh said.
Chợ Rẫy Hospital, Gia Định Nhân Dân Hospital and the hospital of Thủ Đức District in HCM City have installed automatic queue ticket dispenser machines and have staff to instruct patients at health check-up rooms.
According to Doctor Nguyễn Minh Quân, director of Thủ Đức District hospital, to reduce waiting time, prescriptions are typed out on computers. Also, the doctors’ consultation time for patients is longer.
In addition, the Việt Nam health insurance sector made amendments to the health insurance regulations to provide card holders with additional benefits, Thúy said.
Accordingly, low-income card holders will enjoy 95 to 100 per cent of health insurance. Near-poor people will have coverage of 80 to 95 per cent.
Since January 1 this year, new regulations state that patients who register for health insurance cards at a ward-level medical clinic can enjoy health insurance benefits at any district clinic or hospital in the country.
Under household health insurance, the first card holder of the household will have to pay 100 per cent of the insurance cost. The second one has to pay 70 per cent. The third, fourth and fifth card holders have to pay 60, 50 and 40 per cent, respectively.
Household health insurance will cover 80 per cent of hospital fees for health examination or hospital beds. In case of serious diseases and high treatment cost, the health insurance will cover 50 to 75 per cent of expenses.
High fines for Hanoi express bus lane violations
Vehicles can be fined ranging from USD38 to USD57 if caught going into the bus lane on the Bus Rapid Transit corridor which is planned to operate from January 1.
The 14-kilometre route linking Kim Ma Station in Dong Da District and Yen Nghia Station in Ha Dong District is expected to take only 30 minutes.
Hanoi has designed a separate bus lane with 21 stops located on the median strips of the streets within the route.
Under Government Decree 46 on traffic violation fines, vehicles can be fined between VND800,000 and VND1.2 million (USD38-USD57) if going into the lane for the high-speed bus route.
The lane has traffic signs and street lines while cameras are installed at bus stops along the route to detect violations.
Many doubt that the buses will reduce traffic congestion and instead believe that it will only worsen traffic jams on many of the busy streets it runs on.
Speaking with DTiNews, Doan Minh Tam, Former Director of the Institute of Transport Science and Technology, Vietnam has already spent a decade discussing the implementation of the high-speed bus service. “The biggest difficulty for Hanoi’s plan is having suitable separate lanes as they are too narrow,” Tam added.
“Hanoi will pilot the plan. If the trial is successful, we will open more routes. We’ll learn from the experience if it is a failure and consider that when implementing other routes later,” he noted.
A rapid bus route is only one small measure to ease traffic jams, but it can’t help the city to deal with major congestion, Tam said. The important thing was that local authorities have to do a far better job at urban planning, and set aside more land for transport infrastructure.
It would be difficult for Hanoi and HCM City to improve traffic if the city authorities simultaneously allow more and more high-rise buildings to be built in inner-city areas, Tam said.
Uncle Hồ to take centre stage
Veteran and young artists of the 5B Small Theatre will perform for free a historic play about late President Hồ Chí Minh for students and migrant labourers in HCM City.
The play will be staged at local universities and export processing zones and industrial parks as part of activities to celebrate the New Year.
Dấu Xưa (The Leader) portrays the revolutionary career of the President, a communist and patriot who devoted his life to the country’s independence.
It highlights the works of the President in the 1950s and 60s.
Directed by Meritorious Artist Trần Minh Ngọc, Dấu Xưa has veteran actor Thanh Điền playing the President, and several young actorsl like Quốc Trung, Kim Tùng and Việt Hưng.
“President Hồ Chí Minh is in the hearts of Vietnamese people. Though I’m experienced, I have worked several hours each day to perfect my performance. I don’t want to make a mistake on stage,” said Thanh Điền, who has been a theater artiste for more than 40 years.
“Through my performance, I have gained deeper insights into patriotism and have greater respect for national heroes and soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.”
Dấu Xưa was first staged in 2011 in Hà Nội and left a very strong impression on audiences. It has been restaged several times by leading art troupes and theatres.
Director Ngọc and his troupe will begin their tour next month.
“We want to entertain and educate young people through our art,” he said.
Da Nang cancels fireworks shows for supporting poor people
People’s Committee in the central city of Da Nang yesterday announced it decided to remove firework show from the list of festive activities to commemorate its 20th anniversary of becoming central city and the upcoming New Year Eve.
The decision aims to implement the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s directive No.11-CT/TW issued on December 20 for the upcoming Tet holidays or the Lunar New Year. As per the directive, the Secretariat required all provinces and cities not to hold fireworks displays during Tet holidays; instead, local authorities were asked to spend time and funds for taking care of low-income families and beneficiaries of social welfare policies.
Da Nang People’s Committee also decided to allocate expenditure to support flood-ravaged central provinces including Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen; each will receive VN1 billion and Binh Dinh will get VND2 billion. The amount will be used for restoring production, helping locals in these provinces settle down.
Lam Dong & Danang sign to supply safe agricultural products
Da Nang City People’s Committee signed with the central highlands province of Lam Dong in supplying safe agricultural products (safe agro-products) in the period of 2017-2020, yesterday.
As per plan, from now till 2020, Da Nang and Lam Dong will build and develop safe agro- product chain, aiming to promote agricultural production in the central highlands province and protect Da Nang City’s consumers.
Besides, it will strengthen the socioeconomic development cooperation between two locals; creating favorable condition for enterprises, cooperatives to develop models for safe food production.
Mr. Dang Viet Dung, Deputy chairman of Da Nang city People’s Committee said Danang covers as little as agricultural areas and it is not to supply enough for the market while unsafe vegetable source is flocking to the city, therefore the city hopes this cooperation will ensure safe agro- products meeting the locality’s consumption demands.
Mr. Pham S, deputy chairman of Lam Dong People’s Committee said Lam Dong is home to many agricultural areas specializing in flower, vegetable and fruit growing and the province has been planning to produce safe agricultural chain with high technology, ensuring consumers’ health in Lam Dong and Danang.
Gov’t double checks tidal drains after City floods
The HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has called on all related agencies to check the high-tide controlling culvert system is in good shape to prevent unexpected occurrences during Tết (the Lunar New Year).
It comes after the valves of two culverts in District 12, in Thạnh Xuân Ward’s Cán Dù and Thạnh Lộc Ward’s Cả Bốn, broke on Monday evening and many houses were flooded to a depth of 30-40cm.
The flooding badly affected 50 households in Thạnh Xuân and 30 in Thạnh Lộc in addition to many small traders in Ngã Tư Ga Market.
By Tuesday the flooding had been stopped and the two culverts have been filled with sand bags to prevent a repeat during high tides.
The District 12 People’s Committee is assessing the losses to property and crops to assist them.
The two wards’ embankments are frequently broken during high tides because the culverts often have problems.
On October 16 last year a culvert valve in the Đá Hàn River embankment failed to work and caused the Đá Hàn River to break the embankment, flooding 40 houses and more than 10ha of farms in Thạnh Xuân Ward.
The ward has 70km of reinforced embankment, according to Vũ Anh Đức, the chairman of its People’s Committee.
Cysteamine, used in animal husbandry to be banned
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will soon officially issue a circular to prohibit the use of cysteamine – a substance used in animal husbandry.
This was announced recently by Hoàng Thành Vân, head of the ministry’s Animal Husbandry Department.
Cysteamine would be added to the list of banned substances such as salbutamol, he said.
According to Vân, cysteamine is new substance and adding it to feed could improve the growth hormone level, promote growth performance of the animal and lead to creation of lean meat.
There was no study yet proving the effectiveness or harmful effects of this product in breeding, Vân said.
However, he added that the department’s inspectors had discovered some animal husbandry farms were abusing this substance.
Following consultations with scientists, breeding experts and management agencies, the ministry had officially proposed a circular on banning the use of cysteamine in feed production, the head of the department said.
Those found to be violating the rule would be strictly penalised, he added.
Inspection teams had found that some feed products imported from Thailand contained cystaemine.
They also found antibiotics being misused at many animal feed production plants and pig and poultry farms.
Vân said intensified inspection by relevant agencies had essentially controlled the import, distribution and use of banned substances in animal feeding.
Customs officers tackle air smuggling
The General Department of Customs has asked all local customs departments to take bold measures to prevent the smuggling of goods by air, which is expected to rise around Tết.
It has asked the customs departments in 10 cities and provinces including Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, Nghệ An, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Đà Nẵng, Đắk Lắk, Khánh Hòa, HCM City, Cần Thơ and Kiên Giang, to pay special attention.
The department said it saw positive results in 2016 because of the efforts made to prevent and combat smuggling and illegal transportation of goods by air. However, smuggling by air has continued to rise, which is affecting not only aviation security but also political security and social order, it said.
Operations will now focus on banned, high-value and easy-to-hide goods items such as drugs, weapons, gold, wild animal-based products, telephones, cigarettes, alcohol, cosmetics and supplementary food.
In recent years, smugglers have been using many tactics to illegally transport goods by air, the department said. They often act in groups or form trans-national smuggling rings, many of which are led by Africans. Sometimes Vietnamese citizens living abroad pretend to return to Việt Nam for business or travel, but actually work with local smugglers to transport contraband products.
Of late, smugglers have also been trying to gain the co-operation of airport and airline staff, which makes the fight against smuggling more difficult. For instance, last July, Hà Nội police arrested an air hostess for smuggling 3kg of gold by air.
To prevent smuggling, local customs departments have to increase surveillance, supervision and inspections. The customs branches at the border gates must observe customs procedures strictly for both passengers and luggage during exit, entry and transit, and strengthen inspections and supervision when warnings are issued by risk management units.
Provincial and city customs departments need direction and guidelines to collect and analyse information regarding people’s exits and entries, import and export businesses and suspicious shipments, and determine those who are high risk.
The department has asked the anti-smuggling and investigation department to promote customs inspection operations and focus on sensitive areas such as temporary imports, re-exports, bond warehouses, dependent transportation and businesses for duty-free goods and gift goods.
In the third quarter of 2016, the General Department of Customs detected 3,800 cases of smuggling and seized goods worth around VNĐ47.7 trillion (US$2.13 billion).
In the latest case, on December 25, customs officers at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport in HCM City arrested a foreign woman for allegedly smuggling in around 1.6kg of cocaine.
Coaches operate illegally after route change
Four days after a route change for coaches in Hà Nội took effect, many coach operators are still refusing to move to Nước Ngầm station, instead stopping at Mỹ Đình station area to pick up passengers.
Hà Nội’s Transport Department requested trans-provincial coaches from Hà Nội to northern provinces of Thái Bình and Nam Định and central provinces such as Hà Tĩnh, Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An to change departure point from Mỹ Đình station to Nước Ngầm station (a distance of nearly 15km).
Vũ Văn Viện, director of Hà Nội’s Department of Transport told news.zing.vn yesterday that nearly 150 out of 500 coaches operating from Mỹ Đình station have not moved to Nước Ngầm station.
Viện said that the department and heads of stations are still encouraging coach operators to move. Those who deliberately refuse to follow the regulations will have their slot cut at the coach station.
A report by the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) on Thursday newspaper showed that a lot of passengers are still unaware of the change.
Đỗ Thị Thanh, a student at Hà Nội-based Vietnam University of Commerce said “It costs nearly VNĐ150,000 (US$6.7) to travel from Mỹ Đình station to Nước Ngầm station so I decided to catch the coach along the street.”
According to the newspaper, coaches to northern provinces of Thái Bình, Nam Định, Ninh Bình still run on Tôn Thất Thuyết and Phạm Hùng Street (around Mỹ Đình station) to pick up passengers.
On Ring Road No 3, a number of coaches to central provinces of Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An stop on the road side to pick up passengers.
To skip supervision by authorised agencies, coach operators remove the words Hà Nội-Thanh Hóa from the coach window while the assistant driver invites passengers for the Thanh Hóa journey.
A representative from the H.P coach operator running on the Hà Nội-Nghệ An route told the Tiền Phong that among the coach operators refusing to move, half of them stop operating. The other half operate illegally.
They park at the Mỹ Đình 1 temporary parking area and wait for a message announcing that authorised agencies have left. They then drive to Mỹ Đình station and neighboring areas to pick up passengers.
Nguyễn Văn Lập, director of Nước Ngầm station, said that the unregistered coach operators are mostly on the route to Thanh Hóa, Ninh Bình provinces.
Nước Ngầm station will support 100 per cent of operating costs for the coaches in case there are no passengers. Coaches which leave the station with passengers will be given support of 20 per cent.
To help passengers move to the new station, the municipal People’s Committee has connected bus routes at big coach stations with the city centre and suburban areas, running a total of 1,400 trips per day.
The representative of H.P coach operator said that firms which follow the coach route change face numerous challenges.
Firstly, the number of passengers travelling from Nước Ngầm station is very low.
An owner of L.T coach company named Thảo said “Two days after the route change, the coach operator sold less than ten tickets at Nước Ngầm station.”
The reason is that there are not enough buses linking Mỹ Đình station and Nước Ngầm station.
“If passengers have to spend money on taxis, the number of passengers to Nước Ngầm station, for sure, will decline,” the representative said.
Representatives of other transport businesses are afraid of Nước Ngầm station’s stability because the station is not under coach station planning. Meanwhile, investment to buy coaches and accommodation for staff is not small.
A coach operator, who declined to be named, said that Nước Ngầm station does not have the capacity to meet the demand of coach operators.
In fact, after dropping passengers, coaches at Nước Ngầm station have to park outside the station or at a nearby temporary parking area. Enterprises have to account for parking fees and wages for security guards.
“Total fees at Nước Ngầm station are three to four times higher than Mỹ Đình station. No coach operator can survive for more than six months under these conditions,” the representative said.
According to Hà Nội’s Transport Department, the number of coaches being asked to move out of Mỹ Đình station is only half of the planned number. However, after the change early this year, Nước Ngầm station has been overloaded.
A leading official of the department said that Nước Ngầm station’s capacity is reported at 1,100, but many coaches still have to park outside when capacity reaches 800.
“The fact that the station asks coaches to park outside is irresponsible and causes traffic disorder. We will soon submit a petition on the situation,” he said.
Hồ Thị Hoàng, director of Hoàng Phương Ltd Company, suggested keeping bus routes for coaches that do not run through the city’s centre, such as the route from Thanh Hóa Province-Hồ Chí Minh Highway to Thăng Long avenue-Mỹ Đình to ensure benefits for enterprises and passengers.
Architect Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, former director of Hà Nội’s Department of Planning and Architecture said that the city must learn lessons on scheduling, time, and collaboration between authorities and enterprises from the coach route change.
“Not only Mỹ Đình station, but Giáp Bát and Nước Ngầm stations are usually overcrowded. The city needs to adjust the routes and locations of these stations,” he said. –
Rituals performance – Muong group’s cultural heritage
The book “Rituals performance – The unique cultural heritage of Muong group” was announced as one of the winners at the Viet Nam Book Awards 2016.
The book, edited by Luu Xuan Ly based on the original version on the Muong’s customs, morality, and humanity by folklorist Bui Thien, is considered an encyclopedia of the Muong’s traditional culture.
In 40 years, Bui Thien had studied ritual performance of the Muong including Mo, Truong, and Moi ritual singings, each type consisting of tens of thousands of verses.
Author Luu Xuan Ly said, “The book has great literary values. It reflects the Muong’s view of nature and life, humanity, and customs. It talks about the building stilt houses, making alcohol, human behavior, and love. It also covers human evolution, the space, and the roots of ethnic groups.”
The book also mentions how to popularize the Muong’s cultural values. Luu Xuan Ly said: “The Muong’s cultural values featured in the book may vary between different regions inhabited by the Muong people.
For example, the Muong people in Son La, Thanh Hoa, and Hoa Binh province possess different rituals. The book may not be complete, but it fully covers Bui Thien’s study. It encompasses folklore, historic, literary, and ethnological values.”
New Delhi exchange camp connects Vietnamese, Indian artists
Vietnamese and Indian painters have joined together at an exchange camp held at the Vietnamese Embassy in New Delhi, as part of activities marking 45 years of their countries’ diplomatic ties (January 7, 1972).
The event also attracted representatives from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, foreign visitors and local media.
The artists displayed the best of their works, including ones created right at the camp. They also shared knowledge about painting.
At an exchange on late January 7, Vietnamese Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh said India boasts a great culture which has inspired many artists. Vietnamese painters and photographers’ participation in exhibitions and exchanges with Indian peers was a contribution to bilateral ties which have been lifted to a comprehensive strategic partnership last September since culture is a pillar in this relationship.
He also wished the two countries’ friendship and connections, including in culture, would continue to flourish in the future.
Luong Xuan Doan, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, expressed his admiration for the Indian culture and appreciation for India’s warm welcome towards his delegation.
He also thanked the Vietnamese Embassy for entrusting the Vietnamese artists with organising a big painting and photo exhibition in India as this was the first of a series of activities celebrating bilateral diplomatic relations in 2017.
Vietnamese artists will work harder to introduce works imbued with national identities to people in India and around the world, he added.
On January 4, the Vietnamese painters and photographers had an exchange with their Indian peers at Art Centrix Space in New Delhi. They will also hold an exhibition in Kolkata city, the Indian state of West Bengal, from January 9-11.
HCM City export zone reports outbreak of chickenpox
An outbreak of chickenpox has been reported at Gunze Vietnam Co Ltd in HCM City’s Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone, with 30 people contracting the disease since November 17, according to the HCM City Preventive Health Centre.
The centre warned that the current weather is favourable for the spread of chickenpox.
Dr Nguyen Tri Dung, the centre’s head, said that the company was provided with disinfectants for its premises to avoid a further spread.
It also advised the company’s staff to maintain hygiene, wear masks, and wash their hands regularly to avoid transmission, he said.
It also told workers not vaccinated against the disease to immediately get a shot, he said.
The city Department of Health has urged the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority to take preventive measures against contagious diseases at export processing and industrial parks.
Companies there are required to report to district preventive health centres within 14 days when two workers become ill.
When a disease breaks out, they are required to co-operate with health officials to prevent further spread.
Truong Huu Khanh, head of the infection and neurology ward at Paediatrics Hospital 1, said the chickenpox season lasts from December to May or June.
People who have not been vaccinated could get the disease, Khanh warned, saying that when one member of a family is infected the remaining members could be too.
It spreads easily in crowded environments, he said.
“The virus can be transmitted from patients to other ones through tiny droplets when they have not had blisters or red spots.”
The disease is more virulent in adults than in children, he said.
It affects the foetus when a pregnant woman contracts the disease within the first three months, he said.
A person who contracts the disease could develop skin infection and encephalitis and even die, he added.