Second Ngoc Linh ginseng festival opens in Quang Nam
The second Ngoc Linh ginseng festival began in the mountainous district of Nam Tra My, the central province of Quang Nam on August 1.
The festival featured a procession of Ngoc Linh ginseng symbol, a fair showcasing ginseng and signature farm produce from local mountainous districts, a photo exhibition on Ngoc Linh ginseng and music performances.
Ngoc Linh ginseng is a rare medicine containing 52 sanopin compounds helpful to health. As many as 779 households in Tra Linh, Tra Nam and Tra Cang communes are growing the ginseng in forests on an area of over 932ha.
In June 2017, Ngoc Linh ginseng was named in the list of national products by the Prime Minister. It has not only improved lives of local famers in Nam Tra My but also protected local primeval forests.
Many people have become billionaires thanks to high economic value of the variety. The province has zoned off over 15,000 ha for Ngoc Linh ginseng cultivation and many enterprises have applied for.
The district has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to conduct scientific studies on preserving and developing original genes of Ngoc Linh ginseng.
It also worked with Ham Yang district, Gyeongsangnam province – the capital of Korean ginsengs – to learn from its experience in marketing Ngoc Linh ginseng trademark.
On the occasion, the MoST’s National Office Intellectual Property announced geographical indication of Ngoc Linh ginseng for 7 communes of the district.
The festival will last till August 3.
Official support leads to cashew crop crisis
The dying cashew trees in the garden of Hoang Van Thanh
Cashew farmers from ethnic minority groups in Thong Nhat Commune in Binh Phuoc Province have lost their crops after using pesticide promoted by local agricultural officials.
Hoang Van Thanh from Village 9 said, “Most farmers are very poor and our livelihoods depend on the cashew trees. We were so glad when it was announced that the provincial authorities would provide support to the farmers. But instead of the funds, the communal officials gave us pesticide.”
Each household was given one litre of pesticide, one litre of liquid medicine and one litre of nutrients. Following the advice from the officials at the Agricultural Promotion Centre, many farmers used everything on the cashew gardens. But one week later, the unripe cashew nuts suddenly fell off trees and the farmers lost the entire crops.
“Those didn’t use the pesticide and medicine have harvested over a tonne of cashew per hectare. Other households only harvested 200kg. More importantly, there are no new buds and the trees are dying,” farmer Be Van Tinh said.
One farmer questioned whether Bu Dang District Agricultural Promotion Centre had given them the wrong pesticide and medicine. The officials at the local agricultural promotion centre haven’t commented.
Huynh Giang, head of Bu Dang Plant Protection Department, said, “We didn’t know anything about this because the Agricultural Promotion Centre sold the products without discussing with the plant disease prevention team or us. Those drugs are for rice leaf folders and will kill cashew nut trees.”
In the report to Bu Dang People’s Council, Giang proposed clarifying the individual responsibility of the officials who sold the inappropriate drugs to poor farmers at high prices.
According to Binh Phuoc Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, due to bad weather in 2016-2017 crop, thousands of households suffered from losses due to plant diseases. That’s why this year, the provincial authorities spent VND44.7bn (USD1.78m) to support farmers in 10 districts with 22,395 hectares of cashew cultivation.
Thanh Hoa to receive over 50,000 tonnes of rice to support forest protectors
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Ministry of Finance to provide 50,790 tonnes of rice from national reserves to the central province of Thanh Hoa to support families involved in forest protection.
The grain will be sent to ethnic minority households and poor families voluntarily planting and protecting the forest when they cannot afford food themselves in 2018-2024 period in Quan Son, Quan Hoa, Lang Chanh and Nhu Xuan districts.
The provincial People’s Committee was asked to hand over the rice to the beneficiaries in a timely manner without conflicts with other food supply programmes in the locality.
The Ministry of Finance was requested to coordinate with the committee to agree on the amount of rice for each year and the time and roadmap to implement the plan, ensuring that total rice provided will not exceed the total amount granted to the province under the PM’s decision.
According to the Institute for Forest Ecology and Environment, as of 2015, Thanh Hoa ha 395,164 hectares of natural forests and 91,845 hectares of planted forests. Over 97,000 hectares of its forest land is awaiting tree plantation.
Vietnamese Cultural Day held in Singapore
An art performance at the event
A Vietnamese Cultural Day was held in Singapore on July 31 night in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Vietnam-Singapore diplomatic ties (August 1) and five years of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries (September 1).
The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, who was on an official visit to Singapore from July 30-31, and Singaporean Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, along with hundreds of guests.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said over the past 45 years, the Vietnam-Singapore relationship has continuously moved forward with marked progresses made in cooperation in various areas, ranging from politics to economy, trade, investment, national defence and security, education-training, and tourism.
Singapore is one of the first ASEAN nations with which Vietnam has set up the Strategic Partnership, he said, noting that the two countries have shared similar viewpoints and strategic visions on many major issues such as the regional structure, ASEAN’s central role, and the advocacy of multilateralism and the rule of law in a changing world.
Successes in bilateral economic, trade and investment collaboration have made Vietnam and Singapore indispensable partners of each other, the diplomat said.
Singapore is the leading ASEAN trade partner and the eighth largest trade partner globally of Vietnam, he said, adding that Singapore’s projects have played a key role in Vietnam’s regional economic transformation.
Minh highlighted the nine Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIP) in Vietnam as a symbol of the bilateral economic and investment ties.
He affirmed that for each Vietnamese, Singapore is a great and faithful friend. Cultural similarities have brought the two countries closer and served as a firm pillar for the relationship.
Echoing Minh’s views, Singaporean Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu praised the growing bilateral partnership, affirming that cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchange is a spotlight of the bilateral ties.
Vietnam and Singapore will step up cultural collaboration and exchange between their people in order to enhance mutual understanding and trust, thus contributing to consolidating and deepening the Strategic Partnership, she said.
The Vietnamese cultural day featured impressive art performances and paintings by Vietnamese and Singaporean artists along with Vietnamese cuisine. A highlight of the event was a drama directed by Singaporean director Chua Soo Pong and performed by Vietnamese and Singaporean artists.
Mekong Delta’s biggest waste treatment plant to close for three months
The Cà Mau Province’s People’s Committee has suspened operations of the biggest waste treatment plant in the delta for three months for maintainence reasons.
The Cà Mau Province’s People’s Committee has suspended operations of the biggest waste treatment plant in the delta for three months for maintenance reasons.
The committee asked the Cà Mau Limited Urban Environment Company to handle the waste in the interim.
The committee has set up a 200 square metre area for waste collection and has dug two landfills totalling 5,000 square metres.
Công Lý Construction, Trade and Tourism Company, the investor of the waste treatment plant, has been asked to speed up the maintenance process.
The waste treatment plant opened six years ago with a capacity of 200 tonnes a day, and a total investment of VNĐ350 billion (US$15.2 million).
Measures sought for e-government, smart urban development
A conference on measures to accelerate the building of electronic government and smart urban areas was held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on July 31
A conference on measures to accelerate the building of electronic government and smart urban areas was held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on July 31.
At the event, Director of Quang Trung Software City Lam Nguyen Hai Long said the building of e-government and smart urban areas requires digital technology in all aspects of society. Each locality needs to view the building of e-government and smart urban areas as vital in its development.
A model smart urban area which builds infrastructure using high technology was introduced at the event.
Participants of the event discussed the establishment of a computer emergency rescue team, cooperation of private sector and government and regular checkups on emergency rescue capacity. They also stressed the significant role of training for public servants to use technology.
According to a report on Vietnam’s e-Government development in 2017, the Ministry of Finance led the way, with more than 20 million requested records processed online.
Announced by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association, the report featured evaluations and rankings for three categories, including ministries and ministerial-level agencies, governmental agencies and centrally-run cities and provinces.
Among ministries and ministerial-level agencies, the Ministry of Finance led with 0.71 points, followed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (0.692 points) and the Ministry of Justice (0.678 points).
Meanwhile, for governmental agencies, Vietnam Social Security led with 0.814 points.
In terms of centrally-run provinces and cities, the central province of Hue topped the list with 0.727 points, followed by central Da Nang city, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the northern province of Quang Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City.
LEGO Education and Samsung Vina kick off STEM robotics competitions
LEGO Education, which is represented by local firm Viet Tinh Anh, and Samsung Vina have launched two STEM robotics competitions – the third First Lego League (FLL) Vietnam and the fifth Robotacon WRO Vietnam.
Robotacon WRO Vietnam 2018 with the theme “Food Issues” will take place at the Seventh Military Region Stadium in Tan Binh District, HCMC on August 18 and 19. It is open to students aged from 8 to 18, who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and robotics.
It aims to create opportunities for educational exchanges and seek Vietnamese representatives for the World Robotics Competition. More than 300 teams, with around 1,000 students, from 100 schools across the country are participating.
Contestants are required to use their STEM knowledge and robotics design and programming skills to solve food issues.
Meanwhile, FLL Vietnam 2019 themed “Explore Living In and Traveling Through Space” has two categories namely Junior and Senior.
The Junior category is designed for children between 6 and 11 years old. Each team consists of a minimum of two and a maximum of six children.
The Senior category is open to students aged from 9 to 16, with each team consisting of two to 10 children.
FLL challenges children to think like scientists and engineers to solve real-world problems. They will build, test and program robots which can be used to explore the space.
The competition attracts more than 2,000 students from 160 primary and high schools from around the country.
The national final round of FLL Vietnam 2019 is scheduled to be held in HCMC in January 2019. Winners will represent Vietnam to compete at the World First Lego League Senior & Junior 2019 in the U.S. in April 2019.
At the launching ceremony of FLL Vietnam 2019, Vietnamese teams participating in the World First Lego League Senior & Junior 2018 in Texas, U.S. in April 2018, including STEAMWASS from The Western Australia International School, WELLSPRING Hanoi, CREATIVE from Hai Ba Trung Primary School, and LIGHTNING from Le Ngoc Han and Lac Long Quan primary schools were honored for their success at the competition.
Particularly, LIGHTNING won the Model Design award in the Junior category.
Thousand nutritional supplement facilities at risk of closing
Only 300 in 4,000 nutritional supplement facilities across the country had Good manufacturing practices (GMP) certificates, said Head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Food Administration Nguyen Thanh Phong yesterday.
As per the government’s decree No. 15, from July 1, 2019, all nutritional supplement facilities must have GMP certificates; notwithstanding, just a few of them achieve the certificates.
Mr. Phong said that there had been no production regulation for nutritional supplement facilities before; these facilities must produce in accordance with regulations for food manufacturers; accordingly, it is a real challenge for them.
After July 1, 2019, uncertified nutritional supplement facilities must close. Certified companies must spend much to meet GMP requirements while companies without GMP certificates just rent an office, a workshop, bought packing equipment and sold products. Therefore, consumers are confused about product quality in the market.
The government is determined to tighten the controls over dietary supplement production expecting to curb substandard products, said Mr. Phong.
Competent agencies will make their best to support producers in finishing paper work, affirmed Mr. Phong.
Hoi An Impression Theme Park opens
Hoi An Impression Theme Park officially opened on Hen islet in Hoai river in the ancient town in the central coastal province of Quang Nam on July 28.
The park which is considered as the first themepark in the country will feature stage shows presenting to visitors the blend of Western and Asian architecture, architectural works of Vietnam, Japan, China and Western countries as well as reviving images of Hoi An as a major trading center of Southeast Asia in the 16th century and the center of the legendary Silk Road, bringing silk products from Vietnam’s southern region to China, Japan and various European countries.
There are also Vietnamese traditional music performances; popular rites and ceremonies, folk festivals and traditions observed from generation to generation.
One of the highlights of the event is the reappearance of the wedding procession of Princess Ngoc Hoa and Japanese trader Araki Sotaro to commemorate the princess who helped build the relationship between Vietnam and Japan.
According to Deputy director of the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Quang Nam province, the park is expected to offer more choice of tourist products to attract visitors to Hoi An.
HCMC strives to become free-rabies city by 2020
Ho Chi Minh City started to undertake some activities to be recognized a city of no rabies risk by 2020.
In its document to district authorities, the municipal People’s Committee requested to write the number of cats and dogs in each households, residential quarters as well as increase information of rabies dangers, measures against the disease and importance of vaccination for pets.
As per the document, the authorities ordered households raising dogs and cats to register with local governments. These households must keep environment hygiene in their neighborhood.
Additionally, they are not allow to let animals freely roam in the public and take the animals to vets for vaccination periodically and keep up the vaccination.
Administrations must build a system to supervise animal disease to detect case of rabies early. Plus, mass vaccination program is needed in area where has reported deaths due to rabies.
The governments must ban the roadside sale of animals.
The city strives to be city free of rabies by 2020.
Los Angeles to support HCMC in innovative startup activities
Eric Garcetti (3rd, L), Los Angeles City mayor, discusses cooperative plans at a meeting on July 30
The U.S. city of Los Angeles will accompany HCMC in innovative startup activities in the days ahead, heard attendees at a meeting between the HCMC government and Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti on July 30.
Addressing the meeting, Eric Garcetti said the city is in the process of seeking opportunities to launch a direct air route connecting Los Angeles and HCMC in a bid to create favorable conditions for the two cities’ trade cooperation.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, HCMC chairman, said the HCMC government is prioritizing the project to develop HCMC into a smart city, and that some U.S. enterprises have met with the HCMC authorities and discussed the project. Los Angeles City and HCMC have the same goals in major fields, especially in innovative startup activity, which could lead to long-term cooperation, added Phong.
A representative for the Los Angeles group revealed that an agreement on supporting the development of the Vietnamese startup community had been signed on the occasion of the visit to the HCMC Hi-Tech Park on July 30. The agreement is aimed at helping startups turn out products based on clean technology.
Los Angeles City pledged to share its experience in construction, smart city governance and public transportation development and turn HCMC into one of Southeast Asia’s leading cities.
The representative said that earlier, the group had worked with some Vietnamese ministries and departments to speed up the establishment of direct air service and a Vietnamese trade office in Los Angeles.
KTO offers free S.Korea tours for transfer passengers
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has introduced a free Korea tour program for transfer-transit passengers. Such passengers, when landing at Incheon International Airport, can book a free transit tour to visit Incheon or central Seoul, which can last two, four or five hours.
Passengers can visit the website at www.airport.kr for reservations and further information about the program, according to KTO Vietnam. The tours depart daily, but passengers should make advanced bookings to participate in the free tours.
Tour guides will use English during the tours, and officials noted that while the tours are free, visitors might need to pay for entrance fees at some tourist attractions.
Earlier, the program offered one, three, five, and seven hour tours, which were less suitable for the amount of time transit passengers had available. Therefore, KTO made some adjustments, as well as added more tourism sites to itineraries, said Nguyen Thu Ha, head of public relations for KTO Vietnam, on the sidelines of an event introducing Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) tourism in HCMC on July 26.
The free Korea transit tour offers diverse options, for instance, as visitors can select sightseeing-shopping tours or special tours to auto showrooms, Ha added.
In the year to July, South Korea had welcomed an estimated 250,000 tourists from Vietnam, a 43% year-on-year increase, according to KTO Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam also saw a robust growth in its tourism sector in the last three years, rising 30% per annum, on average, and was listed among the highest-growing source markets for South Korea.
The Reverie Saigon among Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Asia
The Reverie Saigon has been voted one of the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Asia by readers of Smart Travel Asia, an online magazine for travelers, in the publication’s recent “Best in Travel Poll 2018”.
The survey was of frequent travelers worldwide that make at least 14 trips annually to or within Asia. This is the 14th year the magazine has conducted the survey, which is done without nomination fees or voter inducements.
Kai Speth, Vice President Operations and Business Performance of the WMC Group, which operates The Reverie Saigon, said the award was acknowledgement of the unique experience the hotel presented and its commitment to providing superior service and luxury.
“Opulence and luxury in a hotel must be backed by exquisite service if you are going to create a truly memorable experience. This is what we do here and I believe it is why we have been recognized as one of the best hotels in the region, if not the world,” he said.
The Reverie Saigon offers an astonishing hotel experience, showcasing extravagant European opulence in a storied Asian setting.
The latest luxury addition to the country’s flourishing hotel scene features 286 rooms and suites alongside 89 fully furnished serviced apartments, all of which are among the largest in the city and feature incomparable views of the winding Saigon River and the city skyline.
The property features five distinctive food and beverage outlets, a 1,200-square-meter spa and fitness center, an expansive outdoor swimming pool and 16 versatile and elegantly decorated function spaces.
The hotel and residences are located in the 164-meter tall Times Square building, a mixed-use development, which includes eight storeys of prime office space and the showrooms of some of the high-end Italian furniture brands whose pieces are featured throughout the hotel.
“Charity Bazaar” brings smiles to HIV/AIDS-affected children
New and used items are collected with care for sale at the upcoming fundraising Charity Bazaar
Novotel Suites Hanoi, in coordination with Smile Group, will organize a Charity Bazaar (often known as Staff Market) at its Gourmet Bar on August 3 to support children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Hundreds of items including brand new or gently used clothes, shoes, cosmetics, homewares, accessories and many other things will be collected and sorted with care to sell at the event from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, food and drinks will be sold at the “Charity Bazaar” this year.
Thirty percent of the profit will be donated to Smile Group, a non-governmental organization whose mission is to help people with HIV/AIDS live their lives with the respect and care of the community.
“We are committed to helping children and young adults have equal access to education, medical care and social services. We assist AIDS victims in adopting a lifestyle, which allows them to live with AIDS as a chronic disease rather than a death sentence. And perhaps most importantly, we educate the community about the disease to fight discrimination and prevent the spread of AIDS,” Smile Group said.
Charity Bazaar is an annual event held by affiliates of AccorHotels, including Novotel Suites Hanoi, with the slogan “Get rid of that stuff you don’t need any more and turn it into something that will bless HIV orphans around the world!”
Swiss-Vietnam medical association presents awards for the most outstanding publications
A historic photo of his medical work by Alexandre Yersin
The Consulate General of Switzerland has been busy recently. Not only is it preparing to celebrate Switzerland’s national day on August 1, and shortly afterwards to say goodbye to its current Consul General. In addition, last Thursday it presented the awards for the most prestigious academic papers in the medical field based on research conducted in Vietnam, the Alexandre Yersin Prize.
The prize is run by the Helvietmed association, a group of doctors of Vietnamese origin now working in Switzerland. Pioneering work in the medical field is normally perceived as mostly coming from Western countries, but this prize aims to highlight, instead, outstanding research work done here in Vietnam.
Four individuals and the teams they work with were selected this time round. The subjects of their research ranged from the relative effectiveness of fresh and frozen embryos, how to minimize the risk of death in emergency-ward patients by early risk diagnosis, the effects of “lean mass” and “fat mass” on osteoporosis, and the optimization of the use of a certain kind of septicemia diagnosis.
Two of the successful research teams came from HCMC, one from Hanoi, and one from Can Tho City. These winners were chosen from over 80 entries, and were selected by experts from Switzerland, France and Austria.
Among the criteria used by the judges were scientific quality, scientific influence, innovation, and the prestige of the publications in which the work appeared.
The prize is named after the famous Swiss/French doctor, Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943), who worked for decades in Vietnam and among other notable achievements isolated the bacillus that caused bubonic plague, thus saving millions of lives. He also founded Vietnam’s Indochina Medical College, now the Hanoi Medical University.
Othmar Hardegger, the current Swiss Consul General in HCMC, said that Yersin, who died 75 years ago this year, symbolized the cooperation between Vietnam and Switzerland. An exhibition of Yersin’s photographs illustrating his life and work in Vietnam was arranged by the Swiss Consulate General earlier this year.
Hardegger will move from HCMC to Mumbai in India later next month as part of a system whereby Swiss consuls are rotated once every four years.
All the winners or their representatives spoke at the award ceremony, as did Professor Nguyen Van Tuan and the President of Helvietmed, Dr. Nguyen Quan-Vinh. There was also piano music by Mozart and Debussy played by Lisa Nguyen.
The leading authors of the winning publications were Dr. Vuong Ngoc Lan from the HCMC Medicine and Pharmacy University, Dr. Ha Tan Duc from the Can Tho City Central General Hospital, Dr. Ho Pham Thuc Lan from the Ton Duc Thang University in HCMC, and Dr. Ngo Tat Trung from the Military Central Hospital 108 in Hanoi.
But the individuals named stressed that it was not they who were responsible but their whole team, plus all the other researchers in the medical field in Vietnam.
The award ceremony was followed by a particularly splendid buffet laid on by the Saigon Prince Hotel on Nguyen Hue Boulevard in District 1, where the event took place.
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